Two years after the 25 January Revolution began and Egypt is still teetering on the edge. Most recently clashes occurred between demonstrators and police forces when tens of thousands across the country took to the streets to mark the second anniversary of the revolution. It feels like no sooner has a cycle of violence abated than a new one erupts. Many wonder how a peaceful revolution that earned the world’s admiration two years ago has sunk into this quagmire of unrest and uncertainty. And many more are wondering: is there a way out?
Certainly, there is.
History shows that many revolutions have been associated with longstanding waves of violence. But history also teaches us that national reconciliation and dialogue can provide a smooth, non-violent way out of vicious cycles of violence;(...)
Some of Egypt’s religious establishments are playing a role in reducing the on-going violence already. Al-Azhar and the Coptic Church championed an initiative to denounce violence used by all sides on 31 January. Key Islamic and opposition parties and revolutionary youth representatives signed a document committing that they would not use violence to resolve political disagreements. They also agreed to start a national dialogue to put an end to the volatile situation.
Since our democracy is still in its infancy, political inclusiveness and power sharing among political forces is imperative. Egypt’s chronic social and economic problems are too big to be solved by one political party. A coalition government, including qualified politicians from Islamic and secular parties can at least bring about stability in the volatile political scene and cause the tide of violence to subside.
Perhaps one of the causes of the recent wave of violence is the Constitution. Thirty-six per cent of Egyptians rejected the new constitution drafted by the Constitutional Assembly, which was dominated by Islamic political parties (...)