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revue de presse sur l'actualité culturelle, archéologique, politique et sociale de l'Égypte
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L’apprentissage de la démocratie, par Nabil El Choubachy

L’apprentissage de la démocratie, par Nabil El Choubachy | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Il semblerait que le chemin de la démocratie soit un apprentissage encore long pour le peuple égyptien. Mardi dernier, quelques dizaines de personnes se sont réunies devant le théâtre où Bassem Youssef, l'animateur de l'émission satirique "el Bernameg" enregistre son émission hebdomadaire pour l'empêcher de se rendre au théâtre et de travailler. Ces personnes reprochent à l'animateur de s'être moqué ouvertement de l'Armée et du ministre de la Défense, le Maréchal Abdel Fattah As-Sissi. 
Il est vrai que les téléspectateurs égyptiens ne sont pas habitués à ce genre d'émission et que l'humour politique est un nouveau venu sur les écrans de la télévision égyptienne. Mais il est grand temps d'apprendre à accepter des avis autres que les nôtres sans essayer de les interdire. Le grand écrivain et philosophe français Voltaire disait «Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire.» Cette phrase est la définition même de la démocratie et de la tolérance dans la mesure où elle s'applique à une personne qui émet son avis d'une façon pacifique et civilisée. Il nous faut apprendre à laisser des gens qui ne partagent pas forcément notre avis, qui ne sont pas d'accord avec nos idées à exprimer les leurs sans forcément demander à les bâillonner et sans les voir comme des espions à la solde de l'étranger. 
Il est temps de comprendre que celui qui n'est pas d'accord avec un journaliste ou un écrivain peut ne pas acheter son journal ou son livre, et que celui qui ne partage pas les mêmes idées qu'un présentateur de télévision peut utiliser une arme beaucoup plus efficace que la censure, la télécommande. Il suffit en effet de changer de chaîne de télévision pour exprimer son opposition à tel ou tel journaliste ou à tel ou tel programme. Et si beaucoup de téléspectateurs boycottent une émission, les publicitaires se rendront compte et la chaîne se verra obligée de déprogrammer cette émission. Il faut surtout relativiser toutes choses et ne pas donner à quiconque un rôle plus grand que le sien. Les émissions comme "el Bernameg" existent sur toutes les chaînes de télévision occidentales et aucune d'elles n'a réussi à changer le cours de l'histoire. John Stewart aux États-Unis est resté plusieurs années à critiquer George Bush junior sans pouvoir l'empêcher de se faire réélire pour un deuxième mandat. Il ne faut pas se tromper de combat ni se tromper de guerre. 
On ne peut pas aujourd'hui mettre sur un pied d'égalité un animateur satirique et un fondamentaliste ou un terroriste qui appelle ouvertement au meurtre. Ceux qui font cet amalgame ne se rendent pas compte qu'ils mettent en danger la démocratie et qu'ils font le jeu des Frères musulmans et de leurs alliés. Pire encore, ils reproduisent les mêmes erreurs que les partisans de Mohamed Morsi et de la confrérie des Frères musulmans quand ces derniers se sont rendus devant la Haute Cour constitutionnelle pour empêcher les juges d'entrer dans le bâtiment pour délibérer sur la légalité de la commission qui avait rédigé le projet de Constitution controversé. Aujourd'hui, si nous voulons vraiment construire un pays démocratique et moderne, il faut faire cesser ces méthodes et ne pas se tromper d'ennemis.


https://www.facebook.com/leprogres.egyptien

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Égypte : L'armée une menace ou une panacée pour la démocratie?

Égypte : L'armée une menace ou une panacée pour la démocratie? | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Par Eugène Aballo, journaliste béninois

Trois ans après la chute du régime de Hosni Moubarak, l’Egypte peine à se relever. Entre une armée qui exerce depuis toujours la réalité et la plénitude du pouvoir politique, et la confrérie des frères musulmans qui a fait preuve d’amateurisme dans l’exercice du pouvoir, l’année 2014 s’ouvre pour le peuple égyptien en pleine fracture sociale, sous les auspices de l’espérance d’une restauration de la démocratie et des libertés publiques.
Faut-il faire confiance à l’armée égyptienne pour promouvoir la démocratie et la liberté dans ce pays?
Si on a tôt fait d’applaudir l’armée d’avoir délogé Mohamed Morsi dont les velléités à la fois autocratiques et inspirées d’un courant islamique font peu de place au droit à la différence, il n’en demeure pas moins que l’armée comme partout ailleurs n’est pas un partenaire sûr pour la promotion de la liberté et la démocratie. (...)
Il faut souhaiter à ce pays, berceau des civilisations, qu’il retrouve les sentiers de la démocratie. C’est la seule voie qui lui permettra de panser les plaies et les entailles nées de la remise en cause de l’État de droit et des libertés publiques. Avec l’aide de la communauté internationale et la volonté des acteurs politiques nationaux, l’Égypte pourrait renaître de ses cendres et étonner le monde entier.

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Egypt made progress in democratic transition, Haddad tells EU

Egypt made progress in democratic transition, Haddad tells EU | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The separation of military and civilian powers, democratic presidential elections and the new constitution are milestones on path to democratic transformation, said President Morsi foreign policy advisor in Berlin.

 

President Mohamed Morsi’s foreign policy advisor Essam Haddad stated on Saturday that Egypt was keen on building its democratic institutions and fulfilling the revolution’s goals, in addition to forging a national dialogue without preconditions amongst all political factions.

 

Speaking in Berlin during a session allocated to the Arab Spring revolutions organised by the Trilateral Commission in the German parliament, Haddad expressed his appreciation for being chosen as the keynote speaker for the session.

He further expressed his appreciation at being granted the opportunity to present a “case study of the democratic transition in the Arab world and in Egypt as a specific case,” official state news agency MENA reported.

Haddad commented on the role of the military and the regime, asserting it was crucial that the clear division of powers and responsibilities would be realised for the creation of a truly civil state.

“In accordance with the civil democratic model, a relationship has been formulated based on respect between the elected civilian government and the military establishment whose performance was characterised by discipline and professional awareness,” Haddad asserted.

 

Haddad stressed that it has proved that the building of democratic institutions still is one of the most “pressing tasks at this stage in an attempt to establish a principle of good governance.”

 

More on: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/67020/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt-made-progress-in-democratic-transition,-Hadd.aspx

He also shed light on what he stated was a challenge in combating corruption prevalent during the former regime—coupled with grave violations of human rights—which seeped into the different state institutions and was carried into the transitional period.

 

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The U.S. Hasn't Helped Egypt's Liberals Nearly Enough

The U.S. Hasn't Helped Egypt's Liberals Nearly Enough | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

When Kerry visits Egypt this weekend, he should focus on pushing for democratic reforms, not just economic ones.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama stood at a White House podium, echoing the pride of the Egyptian people's call for freedom in a speech on Feb. 11, 2011, the same day that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally relinquished power.

In his remarks, Obama told the world, "The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt. We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary--and asked for--to pursue a credible transition to a democracy."

In the two years since the beginning of Egypt's transition to democracy, nearly every point of inspiration delivered in Obama's speech suffered a major setback. Even promises of U.S. assistance to Egypt remain only partially fulfilled at best. The most glaring gap in U.S. support to Egypt, however, lies in the arena that can most significantly impact the democratic transition: support for liberals and liberal ideology. With news that newly appointed U.S.


¨[with] Secretary of State John Kerry arriving in Egypt, expectations run high in the hopes that the Obama administration can move away from an economy-based approach and instead engage in a new political strategy that supports the transition to democracy and fulfills the president's promise.

 

Despite occasional threats from U.S. Congress, military assistance to Egypt remains immune to political developments. The Obama administration intensified its efforts to support the Egyptian economy through development assistance and broad transition initiatives while driving support for a loan from the International Monetary Fund. But the U.S. focus on the strategic relationship and economics in Egypt has left Egypt's liberals to fend for themselves. Liberals include not only members of the opposition, increasingly viewed as unrepresentative of the revolution and its demands, but also the local watchdog and civil society organizations.

U.S. and E.U. officials regularly complained of the lack of a negotiating partner in the early days of the transition, and that figure eventually arrived in the form of President Mohamed Morsi - and the Muslim Brotherhood, by extension. As the Egyptian presidential elections came to a close, the Brotherhood had already begun its "charm offensive" in April 2012 to convince the White House and the U.S. Congress of its support for the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and free-market credentials. (...)

 

The U.S. disengagement from democracy promotion in Egypt diminished the capacity for many NGOs to perform their duties, and the trial forced some groups to keep a lower profile. Foreign NGO employees were eventually released, diffusing tension with the United States, but the ongoing criminal trial contributed to Obama's preference for a light footprint in Egypt

 

More on: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/03/the-us-hasnt-helped-egypts-liberals-nearly-enough/273625/

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Égypte : transition démocratique en péril

Égypte : transition démocratique en péril | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

L'Egypte s'enfonce chaque jour un peu plus dans le chaos. Pour Robert Anciaux, spécialiste des pays arabes, cela tient en partie à l'aveuglement et au manque de maturité des formations politiques nées du mouvement de la place Tahrir.

 

Porteur d’immenses espoirs pour les populations locales, le " printemps arabe " suscite aujourd’hui d’amères déceptions.

Parmi les quatre pays (Tunisie, Égypte, Libye, Yémen) touchés par la vague de contestations populaires, qui ont réussi à évincer les pouvoirs autoritaires en place, seules la Tunisie et l’Égypte ont, pour l’heure, ouvert une voie transitoire susceptible de mener à terme à la mise en œuvre d’une expérience d’État démocratique.

Les séquelles de l'ancien régime

L’Egypte n’a jamais connu de démocratie et les formations politiques démocratiques y ont été systématiquement réprimées par les pouvoirs en place. Seules deux forces politiques structurées subsistaient au moment du déclenchement des émeutes du " printemps arabe " : l’armée et l’Association des Frères musulmans, par ailleurs, périodiquement en butte à des mesures de répression orchestrées par le régime, mais bien implantée dans le tissu social égyptien.

Le problème pour l’édification d’un nouvel ordre politique susceptible de porter les objectifs énoncés sur la Place Tahrir lors de la révolution du " printemps arabe " est que celle-ci a été le fruit d’un soulèvement populaire spontané, qui ne s’est jamais donné un leadership identifiable à partir d’un projet de société, articulé autour d’un programme politique et socio-économique plus ou moins structuré.

En l’absence de formations politiques non-islamistes issues du printemps arabe, organisées et bien implantées dans le tissu social égyptien, l’issue des premières élections démocratiques et libres qu’a connues l’Égypte fut sans surprise : le Parti de la Justice et de la Liberté, organe des Frères musulmans, obtenait quelque 49% des suffrages exprimés, tandis que le Parti Nour, organe de la mouvance salafiste atteignait les 20% de voix.

Les partis d’orientation séculière[1], totalement absents du terrain social, sortaient de la confrontation électorale totalement laminés. On peut certes attribuer, en partie, ce résultat au manque de temps et de moyens dont ils ont disposé pour s’organiser, mais on ne peut ignorer les effets dévastateurs d’une abstention qui a surtout été le fait de nombreux jeunes animateurs non-islamiste du " printemps arabe ".

Depuis les élections législatives et présidentielles, l’Égypte n’a connu qu’une succession de bras de fer opposant tour à tour le président élu à une opposition politique anti islamiste, aux hommes forts de l’institution militaire, et à la Cour constitutionnelle. (rtbf.info)

 

Plus : http://www.rtbf.be/info/opinions/detail_egypte-transition-democratique-en-peril?id=7934862

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Forum France-Egypte : Libertés publiques et nouvelles technologies

Forum France-Egypte : Libertés publiques et nouvelles technologies | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Séance 1 : Libertés publiques et nouvelles technologies Lundi 4 mars 2013 : amphithéâtre de l’IFE : 18 – 20 heures Traduction en arabe simultanée.

1/ Mohamed Chawqi (Conseiller d’Etat, président de l’Association internationale de lutte contre la cybercriminalité) : 25 mn Le développement de la carte d’identité électronique en Europe : une atteinte à la vie privée ?

2/ Corinne Thierache (Avocate du Barreau de Paris) : 25 mn La liberté d’expression sur internet : entre opportunité et responsabilité.

Modérateur : Christian Velud (Attaché de coopération à l’IFE)

Débat sur les libertés publiques et la protection de la vie privée des citoyens face aux nouvelles technologies et sur la protection de la liberté d’expression sur les réseaux sociaux.

Alors qu’Internet est et restera au regard de l’histoire un des principaux vecteurs de la transition en Egypte et que son accès libre est revendiqué comme étant un droit de l’homme majeur, le discours sur les effets positifs de la modernité et de la science est mis à mal par les risques encourus par les citoyens dans leur vie quotidienne. Se posent ainsi de façon particulière la question de l’éducation des masses citoyennes et celle, plus large, des rapports entre sociétés développées et sociétés en phase rapide de développement.

 

http://www.cfcc-eg.org/spip.php?article3116

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Ready for Democracy ? Religion and Political Culture in the Orthodox and Islamic World

Ready for Democracy ? Religion and Political Culture in the Orthodox and Islamic World | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

 

Russian and East European Institute | College of Arts and Sciences 
Ballantine Hall 565, 1020 E Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington,

February 28-March 2, 2013
Indiana University - Bloomington 
Egypt-actus's insight:

Can cultural and religious expression create a barrier to the development of democratic government? Recent events in predominantly Islamic and Orthodox regions invite us to reexamine conventional assessments of Russia, Central Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of the world as historically ill-suited to democratic political practice.

The aim of this conference is to examine common assumptions about the limits to democratic practices in societies that are largely Orthodox or Islamic. Within this comparative framework, we aim to move beyond generalities about religion, religious institutions, and politics to consider what specifically might be the relationship between religion and political culture. We expect that panels at this conference will focus on:

the roles that religious institutions, religious movements, and their leaders play in civil society and democratic processes;the ways that religious tradition and beliefs impact ideas about and practices of democracy;the significance of religious rituals in shaping the practices of the public sphere.

We hope that this conference will offer scholars ― from a variety of disciplines interested in these two religious traditions and their political contexts ― an opportunity to compare notes and perhaps develop common frameworks for speaking about religion's place in the debates about democracy that have become more intense in the wake of the Arab Spring and the recent Russian protests. Publication of a volume based upon the conference will be considered.

 

Panel I: The Arab Uprising in Three Scenes
Panel II. First Encounters and Continuing Legacies
Panel III. Theology, Law, and Politics 
Panel IV. State Churches and State Politics 
Panel V: Negotiating Institutions from Below and Above 
Panel VI: Religion and Blasphemy: A Social Movement in Russia Today 
Panel VII: Belief and Bureaucracy, Democracy and Devotion: 
What Have We Learned? A Roundtable Discussion
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Egypt: There are no short cuts in democracy

Egypt is an experimental democracy in progress, but when the evolution of this process turns bloody it begs the question: is it worth it?

An Egyptian tourist guide who has lost his job, or a businessman affected by ongoing street violence, would probably respond with a resounding no.

This should be a wake-up call for current and aspiring political leaders.

It has been established that Mohamed Mursi became Egypt's first democratically elected president following a public uprising, with 13.23 million votes (51.73 per cent).

While Mursi was the Muslim Brotherhood's (MB) nominee, votes from across the political spectrum were crucial in defeating the old regime's candidate.

In fact, Mursi's victory was only possible thanks to votes cast by the same people protesting in the streets of Cairo today.

His victory belonged to those who toiled and laboured to end the dictatorship of former president Hosni Mubarak.

It was obvious to all - except perhaps the Muslim Brotherhood - that many of Mursi's votes were simply a rejection of the old system, rather than a vote of confidence in him as a candidate. (....)

There are umpteen occasions when Mursi has made poor choices, from his backing down from early promises to reach outside the MB hierarchy to his handling of a vote on the constitution. But should that disqualify him from serving his elected term? I say no.

Mursi's failure is typical of doctrinal, elected leaders endeavouring to satisfy their organised ideological base and the public at large. Trying to balance the two is impossible and they end up failing both constituencies.

 

More on: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1302/S00029/egypt-there-are-no-short-cuts-in-democracy.htm

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Egypt: A Difficult Learning Curve (Analysis)

Egypt: A Difficult Learning Curve (Analysis) | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Entering its second year, the uprising that brought down President Mubarak is still trying to define itself. Would it evolve into full-fledged revolution with ALL the risks involved? Or will it be a parenthesis between two military regimes?

Judging by events of the past weekEgyptmay appear to be bracing for a giant revolutionary leap into the unknown. Footage of hooded youths in street battles against the security forces, with burning vehicles in the background, depicted scenes of urban guerrilla. Groups using the Black Bloc brand name have been on hand to add colour, recalling anarchist violence inEuropein the 1960s.

However, the possibility of the second option, that of a new military-dominated regime, also looks serious if only thanks to General Abdul-Fattah al-Sissi’s musings on his Facebook page. (...)

I think a third option may be possible and, hopefully, more likely.Egyptis neither moving towards revolution nor a new military dictatorship.

The rioters, including Black Bloc, have nothing positive to offer the Egyptian people. As for the military, they would do well to find other subjects to play with on their Facebook page.

Of the three options available, the third one, building the institutions of a pluralist state is hardest to achieve. It requires patience and imagination on the part of President Muhammad Mursi and those of his opponents who take  a longer view of things.

Mursi must never forget that he is president of all Egyptians and as such must bear even with those who challenge him with street riots. In the past week or so, however, he has overreacted, triggering the reflex of the old regime by calling in the army. Imposing he state of emergency was a mistake, not only because it reminded people of the bad old days but because it exposed his government’s nervousness.

Facing opponents who want to provoke him, Mursi’s best bet was not to be provoked. Mursi, however, played into the hands of the party of provocation.

The party of provocation is divided into two camps.

One wants to pull the nation’s politics into the streets and provoke the Muslim Brotherhood into urban guerrilla. It would then use such an event as the excuse to call on the military to “save the nation from annihilation” as suggested on General al-Sissi’s Facebook page.

A second camp hopes to turn the “street” into a counter-weight to a presidency backed by the Brotherhood’s shadowy underground networks.

In both cases, the politics of provocation could bring nothing but misery forEgypt. The last thingEgyptwants is another military dictatorship. Also, putting the “street” in the driving seat could preventEgyptfrom dealing with its problems in a serious manner.

Egypt-actus's insight:

Contrary to al-Sissi’s claim, street riots do not threaten the survival of the state. The general should also know that “differences concerning the management of the country” are normal in any civlised society.

Mursi and his government do not have a monopoly on wisdom and patriotism and should be challenged where and when necessary. However, the opposition also needs to review its copy. Right now, we have a great deal of dissent but little real opposition in Egypt.

Dissent means rejecting the options offered by the power in place without subjecting them to critical analysis and offering alternatives. (....) In the politics of dissent those in charge of government are judged by intentions attributed to them (...). Opposition is something different. Real opposition is capable of indicating both what it does not like and what it does want. More importantly, it judges those in charge not on the basis of assumed intentions but concrete acts.

 

Thus, Mursi should be judged not by what he might do but by what he has done and is doing. In virtually all circumstances, governments and oppositions learn from one another and modulate their respective strategies accordingly.


An opposition that pushes politics towards violence is bound to end up facing violence from the state. Conversely, a government using violence against opponents sows the seeds of violence against itself. An intellectually lazy government breeds an opposition that is equally lazy intellectually. Birds of the same feather not only fly together but, in politics at least, also fight one another.

Unleashing the police to bludgeon demonstrators into silence is a sign of intellectual laziness on the part of Mursi’s government. At the same time, setting dustbins on fire, to the chagrin of the zabbaleen in Cairo, exposes dissidents who cannot offer credible opposition to Mursi’s fragile government.

Mursi and "street" dissidents are in the same boat. If the boots return to the presidential palace both Mursi and the Black Bloc could share the same dungeon. If on the other hand, Egyptian cities are turned into battlegrounds for rival armed bands there would be no place for Mursi, who is not a street-fighter, and the opportunist politicians who are trying to surf to power on a wave of "street" anger.

 

New Egypt is on a learning curve. Both Mursi and those of his opponents who want a democraticEgyptmust take a deep breath. Mursi should learn to behave like a president rather than a party leader. His opponents should learn to behave like an opposition not a bunch of dissidents.

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Learning democracy in [Iraq and] Egypt

Learning democracy in [Iraq and] Egypt | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The events in (Iraq and) Egypt these days are particularly important to follow and understand as best we can, because of what they tell us about how some Arab citizens and leaders behave at stages of the process in which they have the opportunity to shape their own political governance systems.

For in Egypt (and Iraq), most dramatically, (…) the most basic elements of state integrity, national identity and the legitimacy of power are all being challenged and reshaped.  The bad news is that process includes political intemperance, violence and death. But the good news is that it mostly occurs nonviolently and will keep moving some Arab countries on the slow path to stable democratic republics.

The two most dramatic new examples in the past week to my mind have been the events in Fallujah (…) and the violence and unrest across several Egyptian cities. In both cases, local citizens have not only challenged the decisions of the democratically elected central government represented by the president of Egypt(and the prime minister of Iraq); to some extent, they have also questioned the leader’s legitimacy in both cases, or at least challenged the leader to translate legitimacy into credibility. These are not isolated cases, either, for a deeper crisis of political integrity is spreading across many parts of the Arab world these days.

InEgypt, several local municipalities defiantly ignored the president’s curfew and martial law Monday, taking to the streets in the thousands to play football at 9 p.m., when the curfew was supposed to start. A few, like Mahalla,Suez andAlexandria, have even symbolically declared their autonomy or independence from the central government. They are not challenging the integrity of the Egyptian state, but rather the efficacy and equity of the central government’s policies.

(…) In both cases, many ordinary citizens feel that one group is trying to monopolize power and seize control of the state. The (Iraqi and) Egyptian leaders have both acted with an authoritarianism that remind us of their predecessors’ policies in many ways., which Arabs now wish to leave behind them for good.

 

[other ] Arab countries are all experiencing milder variations of these grievances and citizen responses. What makes Egypt (and Iraq) so important is that in both cases the central government leadership was democratically elected – in other words it is legitimate and as such is a rarity in the Arab world. Nevertheless, citizens risk their lives to protest its policies, defy its decisions, and even distance themselves from its authority, in order to seek local alternatives to delivering essential public services. This does include just water, jobs, security and medical care, but also credible political representation and participation, and assurance of basic rights.

Neither Nouri al-Maliki nor Mohammad Mursi have used their democratic legitimacy as freely elected leaders to develop the kind of trust, credibility, integrity and efficacy that are the true hallmarks of quality leaders. They – with the multitudes of defiant demonstrators – remind us once again of two critical lessons that we in the Arab world are learning for the first time through actual experiences on the ground: that elections alone do not necessarily lead to a stable democratic system, and that even democratically elected legitimate leaders must practice equitable and diligent policymaking, through rule-of-law-based consensus-building, in order to achieve a stable and productive governance system.

Egypt-actus's insight:

In other words, we are witnessing perhaps the most extreme example of the principle of “the consent of the governed” actually being implemented, as disgruntled citizens take to the streets and defy their government to ensure that their views, interests and, most importantly, their rights as citizens are taken into account by the state. No doubt, both the government and the demonstrators or opposition leaders are making some mistakes, and sometimes behave immaturely and impulsively.

This is understandable, since neither party has any real experience in democratic political contestation, and is learning on the job. The occasional bouts of violence here and there should not blind us to the greater fact that serious, citizen-based, political contestations have taken root across parts of the Arab world, and the process of legitimate state-building is under way for probably the first time ever in modern Arab history.

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Dangereux déclin de la démocratie en Egypte et en Turquie

Dangereux déclin de la démocratie en Egypte et en Turquie | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The future of democracy in Egypt and Turkey is under threat. Developments in these important countries bring into sharp relief two key trends at play in the world today: the reversal of post-cold-war democratic gains and the decline of American will to positively influence democracy around the world.

Egypt and Turkey are large states with the ability to project power beyond their borders. Internal developments in both places are closely watched by outsiders, especially neighbors. Egypt and Turkey are also central to US foreign policy. Turkey is a member of NATO, hosts a US military base, and is a candidate for European Union membership. Egypt receives more than $1 billion a year in US military aid, has an important peace treaty with Israel, and controls the vital Suez Canal. 

Both Egypt and Turkey have also seen democratization derailed recently. This has entailed an open assault on the media, the rule of law, civil society organizations, and civil liberties. And it has been accompanied by a rising tide of official and popular anti-Americanism.


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Égypte : L’armée, une menace ou une panacée pour la démocratie ?

En Égypte, depuis le coup d’État de juillet 1952 qui a mis fin à la monarchie du roi Farouk, l’armée n’a jamais cessé d’occuper les commandes du pouvoir. Lorsqu’on jette un regard vers le passé, on s’aperçoit que tous les chefs d’État égyptiens en sont issus, et aucun processus de succession ne lui a échappé. Du général Néguib (1952-1954) à Moubarak (1981-2011), en passant par Nasser (1954-1970) et Sadate (1970-1981), le sort de l’Égypte a toujours été entre les mains de l’armée. Son rôle prépondérant dans la vie économique du pays est si important qu’elle concentre l’essentiel des pouvoirs et conditionne toute transition démocratique. Selon plusieurs sources, l’armée pèserait environ 30% du produit intérieur brut. L’histoire va sans doute se répéter car la nouvelle constitution soumise au référendum les 14 et 15 janvier dernier, concoctée sous l’inspiration du pouvoir transitoire en place fait encore un lit douillet à l’armée. Quelques morceaux choisis : «  Le ministre de la défense doit être obligatoirement un militaire et ne peut être nommé qu’« en accord » avec l’état-major, du moins pour les deux prochains mandats présidentiels. En outre, le Parlement et le gouvernement n’ont toujours aucun droit de regard sur le budget de l’armé »

Le chemin semble tout bonnement tracé pour l’annonce de la candidature du général Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi à la présidentielle. Et même s’il advenait que ce dernier ne se présente pas, au cours des prochains mois, tout candidat à la présidence aura donc en tête le fait qu’il ne pourra pas remettre en cause le poids de l’armée.

Il faut souhaiter à ce pays, berceau des civilisations, qu’il retrouve les sentiers de la démocratie. C’est la seule voie qui lui permettra de panser les plaies et les entailles nées de la remise en cause de l’État de droit et des libertés publiques. Avec l’aide de la communauté internationale et la volonté des acteurs politiques nationaux, l’Égypte pourrait renaître de ses cendres et étonner le monde entier.

 
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"Whatever Happened to Egypt's Democratic Transition ?", by Ellis Goldberg

"Whatever Happened to Egypt's Democratic Transition ?", by Ellis Goldberg | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

There is a paradigm nobody talks about much anymore in regard to Egypt: the democratic transition. The problem with the idea of democratic transition, dearly beloved by the Barack Obama Administration, most of my colleagues in political science, and the Muslim Brotherhood, was that it presumed the institutions of the state would be passed, intact, from the old regime to the new. Through elections, constitutions, and the circulation of new elites, popular sovereignty and democratic practice would re-invigorate the barren institutions of the old order. Where necessary, new ones would be created.

What, we are impelled to ask, went wrong in Egypt? What made it, as one analyst is reported to have said, the stupidest transition ever or the revolution that never was? Or did the fault lie not in our Egypt but our selves? Not least in our inability to recognize that the complicated and confusing period, lasting a decade or more, between the first observation of revolutionary upheaval and its conclusion, is both more important and more uncertain than we feel comfortable with. (...)

The dominant concern in Egypt today is the high, and increasing, level of polarization. It seems to be common in the US and Europe to describe this a conflict between the country’s minority urban secular middle-class and its religious (Islamic) majority. That Egypt has become increasingly polarized is apparent, but it is doubtful that the polarization that paralyzes the country is between the secular middle-class and the rest of Egypt. Much of the violence in the streets today is occurring outside of Cairo in the Canal Zone and the provincial cities of the Delta, places not known for their large, secular middle classes. The violence is often specifically between the Muslim Brotherhood, its direct supporters and its occasional allies on specific issues, and the restive lower middle and working classes in these cities. Socially, we can speak of polarization on many dimensions. There is a marked rural/urban dimension to what we see. There is also a clear aspect of educational attainment. In terms of religion there is also an obvious Christian/Muslim dimension, but within the Muslim community there may also be an antagonism based on how the Brotherhood understands Islam in the modern world. Lastly, there is a rather widespread dissatisfaction with what many Egyptians perceive as the Brotherhood’s own internal lack of transparency and democracy and aggrandizing organizational ambitions. These, in turn, provide both local and national elites with the basis through which they have opposed the Brotherhood but over which they have very little direct influence.(...)

Looking forward, then, we can see two institutional forces with significant legitimacy: the Armed Forces and the courts. And we can see, two institutions, paradoxically based on liberal notions of legitimacy—an elected presidency and legislature— are having the most trouble establishing broad acceptance. One problem for the president is that he tries to wield the power of his office in ways consonant with a regime that is dead (the old republic) or with a regime that has not yet been born.

(Jadaliyya)

 

More : http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/10444/whatever-happened-to-egypts-democratic-transition

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Last call for Egypt's activists? | openDemocracy

What Egypt’s revolutionary activists lack is a coherent organisational base. Only the Muslim Brotherhood manages to reach out to the electorate and by doing so easily grabs the levers of power.

Egypt is in turmoil, with almost daily clashes between the authorities and a variety of protesters that according to some threaten the very foundations of the state. (...).

How are outsiders supposed to know what’s going on if one of the most influential street art interpreters of Egypt’s revolution now sighs: “I need some time to think of what to do next. I’m not sure what to do with the situation.”

But one thing is clear: the story is not yet finished and activists are not giving up. The only question is whether they’ll be able to regroup effectively.

The contradictions in Cairo were all too apparent one Friday at the beginning of February. Two girls in headscarves sat at their laptops, intently staring at their screens and deftly moving their fingers over touchpads to produce a series of screeching sounds and thumping rhythms in a dimly lit new experimental music space in downtown Talat Harb Street. (...)

Many of the secular activists who drove the revolution and who laid the foundations for it by exposing the brutality of the Mubarak regime and the police are dejected about the way things have turned out. They place almost equal blame on the Muslim Brothers, whom they accuse of pernicious lies and manipulation, and on the raft of vainglorious opposition leaders who failed to unite and offer a viable alternative.

Egypt-actus's insight:

Some have concluded that violence is the only answer, as it will keep the Muslim Brothers aware of the depth of the resistance against their vision for the country  (...).

How this will play out during the parliamentary elections that are to be held soon is anybody’s guess. But based on past performance, the Muslim Brotherhood is the only organized political entity (...)

 

When it’s so easy to grab almost all the levers of power, it is hard to blame the Brotherhood for doing so. A counterweight is badly needed but violence is a dead end that will only alienate the population and turn it away from politics or drive it further into the arms of the Brotherhood.

The international community can help, not only by imposing conditionality for aid on the Muslim Brotherhood dominated government, as it is doing, but also by imposing conditionality for aid on the opposition and the activists. If they do not unite, organize and reach out to all layers of society, they will become even less relevant than they are already in danger of becoming.

 

More on: http://www.opendemocracy.net/ferry-biedermann/last-call-for-egypts-activists

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Mohamed Morsi Mubarak: The Myth of Egypt's Democratic Transition

Mohamed Morsi Mubarak: The Myth of Egypt's Democratic Transition | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Two years ago today, Egyptians celebrated their toppling of President Hosni Mubarak and looked ahead to a future of change. Yet the second anniversary of Mubarak’s departure has been marked by further demonstrations, bloodshed, and new scenes of extreme state violence. Amid the now-routine use of tear gas and live fire on protests nationwide, there was the incredible footage of the repeated beating and violation of a citizen stripped naked by a gang of policemen in riot gear, and the death by brutal police torture of Popular Current activist Mohamed El-Gendy.

In this latest wave of national mobilization, Egyptians have been challenging a new president, whom they have dubbed “Mohamed Morsi Mubarak.” With this wordplay, and with the photo-shopped posters to match, Egypt’s revolutionaries have been demolishing the myth of the democratic legitimacy of the current incumbent, and ultimately that of the transitional period to which Egypt was subjected in 2011-12. They are also signaling that the revolution continues, a slogan that is hard to dismiss today.

Youthful political activist Ahmad Douma captured this reality perfectly in his retort to Abdel Moneim Abul Fettouh’s initiative for dialogue with Morsi: “this is the kind of talk that can be said in a television studio, but it has nothing to do with the street. Talk of dialogue while people are being killed is unacceptable. We should be talking about the president, who, for me and the people on the street, is not legitimate. He is merely a criminal on the run…” Activist and revolutionary icon Ahmad Harrara stated simply: “Morsi is not my president because he is a liar.” How did Morsi become Mubarak in just seven months? And how has the revolution grown to cope and resist?

Mubarak’s rule was reviled for many reasons, multiplying down the class scale. The language of the call to protest on 25 January 2011 gives the best indication: it was declared against “torture, poverty, corruption, and unemployment.” There was also a clear rejection during the eighteen days and afterwards of Mubarak’s deferent foreign policy pact with the United States and Israel. And yet, since the accession to the presidency of Muslim Brother Mohamed Morsi in summer 2012, each one of these political grievances has been refueled and reloaded. (Jadaliyya)

 

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US ambassador: Egypt “needs much more” to complete democratic transition

United States Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson said on Sunday that “for Egypt to complete its transition to a free democratic nation, it needs much more”.

Speaking at the Rotary Club of Alexandria Mariout, Ambassador Patterson outlined the steps Egypt needs to take to become a democratic nation. This included strengthening civil society, political structures, and the economy.

Patterson called for the creation of a new NGO law that “clarifies the role of civil society” and establishes a “process by which these organisations can register themselves and protects their rights”. (Daily News Egypt)

 

More : http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/02/11/us-ambassador-egypt-needs-much-more-to-complete-democratic-transition/

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Les clefs de la révolution arabe

Les clefs de la révolution arabe | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Au-delà de la logique révolutionnaire, il y a la complexité de la démocratie elle même. Aujourd'hui dans le monde, la division de leurs opinions publiques rend les régimes démocratiques de moins en moins gouvernables. L'existence de désaccords sur les fondamentaux s'exprime sur des questions centrales, qu'elles soient de société comme le droit au mariage pour tous, ou sur la place et le rôle de l'Etat dans la gestion de l'économie. Mais l'existence d'une culture démocratique rend ces divisions plus ou moins gérables. Le respect de la personne et des idées de l'autre est la base même de la démocratie. Et il existe des institutions capables d'imposer un principe d'ordre qui s'impose à tous. Aux Etats-Unis, par exemple, personne ne conteste les décisions de la Cour suprême. Mais « l'esprit des lois » est une conquête tardive et fragile. En Tunisie et en Egypte, le respect de la différence chez l'autre existe d'autant moins qu'il n'existe pas de culture démocratique ni d'équilibre institutionnel. Seule l'armée, en Egypte, peut apparaître comme garante de l'impartialité de l'Etat. L'armée n'a pas cette centralité et cette force dans la société tunisienne.

A cette absence de culture et d'institutions démocratiques s'ajoute une dimension de nature culturelle et idéologique liée à l'islam lui-même. Les partis religieux sont portés par une foi qui ne distingue pas entre ce qui appartient à Dieu et ce qui appartient à César. Dire qu'il y a une incompatibilité entre islam et démocratie est une simplification abusive de la réalité. L'expérience de la Turquie ou celle de l'Indonésie constituent un démenti à cette affirmation. Mais, à l'inverse, nier qu'il puisse exister un problème d'ajustement entre islam politique et progrès démocratique serait se voiler pudiquement la face. Il n'existe pas à la tête de l'islam l'équivalent d'un pape, une autorité de référence qui puisse s'élever contre les dérives autoritaires et fondamentalistes. De même qu'hier ,au lendemain des attentats du 11 septembre 2001, il n'y a pas eu de grandes manifestations des musulmans pour condamner les actes terroristes, les Frères musulmans en Egypte ou le parti Ennahda en Tunisie ne s'élèvent pas avec force et clarté aujourd'hui contre les dérives extrémistes en leur sein. Un silence retentissant qui sonne comme une forme, sinon de soutien, tout du moins de compréhension. (Dominique MoÏsi/Les Echos)

 

Plus : http://www.lesechos.fr/economie-politique/monde/debat/0202557755425-les-clefs-de-la-revolution-arabe-537096.php

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Can Egypt become an emerging democracy? by Ibrahim Nawar

The second anniversary of the revolution was far from peaceful in clear contrast to the main characteristic of the revolution itself. Egypt was unnecessarily bleeding and violent crowds took to the streets everywhere from the very peaceful city of Luxor in Upper Egypt to the resilient city of Port Said in the far north. Celebrating the second anniversary in such a way has cast a dark shadow on the whole political process of transformation from a totalitarian regime to an emerging multi-party democracy in Egypt.

Egypt-actus's insight:

Looking at Egypt from a distance and you will find that the country enjoys excellent merits and advantages. Ironically, the country seems not able to capitalise on these merits and advantages. There is a science called “Egyptology” that studies the ancient Egyptian civilisation. No other country in the world has such a privilege. Egypt links the three old continents through the great man-made maritime passage, the Suez Canal, which carries more than 10 per cent of total world freight trade. Ancient treasures, human and natural resources, location and a leading role in Arab history and culture should qualify Egypt to acquire and maintain an excellent position on the world political map. Egypt, because of its political system, has stopped short of achieving this. Moreover, Egypt has recently wasted a great chance to capture a moment in history when the whole world greatly celebrated the success story of the 25 January Revolution. It was a great chance for Egypt to move up the international ladder as an emerging leading force for democracy. Tahrir Square lost its shine when almost all political factions preferred reaping selfish benefits to working for the goals of the revolution.

 

This failure to capture the historical moment overshadowed the whole political process since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. There are moments in history that cannot be re-created and 25 January 2011 is one of them. In order to make up for such a failure, Egyptians need to work hard to make a new brand for themselves. If we have to re-market Egypt in the whole world, we should think of this country as a brand, because the name “Egypt” alone is not enough to create a brand after such a series of fatal shortfalls. In all cases, we should know that above all Egypt would not be able to create a new brand for itself without becoming an emerging democracy. (...)

The question is, can we really succeed in creating international interest in Egypt as a potential global transportation hub, trans-continental energy hub and global tourist destination? The answer is no if we suffer a very high deficit in democracy, security and political stability. Although these deficits are not the responsibility of the economy, it pays the price for them. The political leadership of the country and the wide spectrum of the political elite should bear this responsibility and create the right environment for economic growth and prosperity. Egypt should become an emerging democracy, not a failed state or a rogue state harbouring terrorism. This nation has a real chance to compete for a high-ranking place in the new world order.


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Mohamed Morsi promises Germany he will lead Egypt on road to democracy

Mohamed Morsi promises Germany he will lead Egypt on road to democracy | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, has sought to reassure the German government that he is committed to leading his country on the road to democracy as he seeks funding and relief on €240m of debt amid concerns that his country is sliding into deeper chaos.

Morsi, on a whistlestop tour of Europe while deadly clashes continued in his homeland, gave his assurance that parliamentary elections would go ahead "within a few months" and that a constitutionally valid government would be on its feet "within three or four months".

Egypt-actus's insight:

He said Egypt was on the path to becoming "a constitutional state – it will be a civil state, it will not be of military or theocratic nature – a state which will allow all range of opinions to be expressed and will enable a transition of power".

But German politicians made clear that financial aid was dependent on progress towards democracy, with several politicians expressing their fear that Egypt was sliding towards dictatorship.

The chancellor, Angela Merkel, pressed the point home saying she had "made clear" to Morsi that help from Germany required Egypt's leadership to prove that it was working towards building a free society.

"Of most importance is that there is always a line of communication with all political powers in Egypt, that the various political powers are able to play their part, that human rights are observed … and above all that religious freedom can thrive," she said. She urged the president to give democratic developments "all the room they need" to flourish.

 

More : http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/30/mohamed-morsi-germany-egypt-democracy

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Egypt’s climate of intimidation

Egypt’s climate of intimidation | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

THE MOST important measure of Egypt’s Islamist government will not be how it manages the economy or even whether it maintains friendly relations with the United States and Israel; it will be whether it preserves the democratic norms that allowed its own rise to power. If Egyptians are able to freely criticize the government’s performance and can eventually vote it out of office if they are dissatisfied, the inevitable mistakes and occasional abuses of President Mohamed Morsi will be correctable.

THE MOST important measure of Egypt’s Islamist government will not be how it manages the economy or even whether it maintains friendly relations with the United States and Israel; it will be whether it preserves the democratic norms that allowed its own rise to power. If Egyptians are able to freely criticize the government’s performance and can eventually vote it out of office if they are dissatisfied, the inevitable mistakes and occasional abuses of President Mohamed Morsi will be correctable.

Foremost among them is the increasing pressure being brought to bear on critical journalists. In recent months at least half a dozen prominent editors, writers and cartoonists have been the targets of criminal investigations, many of them launched by a prosecutor appointed by Mr. Morsi following complaints from the president’s office. The charges range from reporting false news to blasphemy; a cartoonist for the independent Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper was accused of the latter after she published a cartoon depicting Adam and Eve.(....)

 

It has also tolerated — at least — a climate of intimidation. The offices of several independent television channels were besieged for weeks by supporters of a popular cleric. During demonstrations against Mr. Morsi’s government, his Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets and were accused of targeting journalists; one was killed by a rubber bullet.



.

Egypt-actus's insight:

While calling for preservation of democratic freedoms in Egypt, the Obama administration has been slow to take note of or respond to the attacks on journalists. Officials say they are feeling their way with Mr. Morsi’s government, trying to preserve cooperation on matters such as counterterrorism. Yet the United States retains considerable leverage over Egypt, including its influence over a pending International Monetary Fund loan the government badly needs. That sway should be aimed at preserving space for free media and a democratic opposition — which, in Cairo, is not just a liberal good but a vital U.S. interest.

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