Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Egyptian Uprising Nothing Like 1776 American Revolution

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The American Left and the mainstream media touted the Egyptian revolution as a democratic one, even comparing it to the American Revolutionary movement. Perhaps it is for that reason that those same groups are now ignoring all indications that what happened in Egypt was anything but similar to what happened in America in 1776.

For example, on Monday, an Egyptian military tribunal convicted a blogger of being critical of the Egyptian army after he published reports of abuses by the military, and sentenced him to three years in prison. The trial was the first against a blogger by Egyptian military rulers since their takeover on February 11.

The Blaze reports:

The military court issued the sentence against Maikel Nabil Sanad, 26, Sunday without the presence of his lawyers, according to a statement by seven Cairo-based rights groups. It was the harshest sentence against a blogger since 2004, when one was convicted of insulting the former president and offending Islam and sentenced to four years in prison.

Sanad’s conviction is over a blog he posted two weeks ago, entitled “The people and the army are never hand in hand,” in which he questioned the military’s allegiance to Mubarak:

In fact the revolution has so far managed to get rid of the dictator but not of the dictatorship. A broad sector of Egyptian political Elite and rebels share this same vision with me. One of them is Dr. ElBaradei who mentioned in his article concerning the current situation in Egypt: “The army is leading the transitional phase in a mysterious and monopolizing way.” Many rebels continued to protest against the armed forces’ will calling for a civilian council instead of Supreme Council of the Armed forces.

As I participated in the revolution since day one, I’ve witnessed the majority of the events. In the following study I will present all the evidences and documents which prove that the army did not stand by the people’s side, not even once during this revolution and that the army’s conduct was deceptive all the time and that it was protecting its own interests. In order to simplify this study, I’ve divided the Egyptian revolution into three stages that describe the army’s position.…

Standing behind the ruling, Major General Mohammed al-Assar of the military council said that criticism of the military was justified sparingly:

There is a difference between criticism with good intentions from a citizen, a journalist or a broadcaster, who mean the public good. There is no problem with that. The problem is in questioning the intentions of the army.

One of Sanad’s lawyers, Adel Ramadan, noted the implications of the conviction: “The danger extends to all bloggers, rights activists, and journalists.”

Reporters Without Borders was allegedly “shocked” by the sentence against the blogger and has demanded that authorities release Sanad “without delay.”

Since the military takeover just two months ago, 10,000 civilians have been convicted and sentenced by military tribunals. The trials have been quick and did not follow court procedures, observes Adel Ramadan.

Noting that the freedoms of speech and the press are apparently two rights that did emerge from the Egyptian revolution, BBC World News reports that the country is descending into extreme Islamic politics as well.

For example, the Salafi group of Muslims, which has tried to identify themselves with an earlier and, in their words, a “purer” form of Islam, has recently been blamed for a series of violent incidents in rural areas. The group is said to be responsible for the vandalism of an Asushi shrine, claiming that shrines are un-Islamic.

According to the news report, “Salafi leaders are making the most of their new freedoms in post-revolutionary Egypt, and they say they want the country to have a pure Islamic government.”

One Salafi member indicates that he and his colleagues feel freer to participate openly in public life following the revolution, and more comfortable to promote their ideas.

Additionally, Egypt’s pop music channel has already been transitioned to all-religious programming. BBC World News explains:

This channel used to broadcast pop music and dance videos. Then its owners thought it could make more money with religious songs and sermons. Religious broadcasting is increasingly popular in [the] post-revolutionary movement, and the question is whether religion will play a greater role in politics as well.

Partizane.com notes what that would mean for “democracy” in Egypt:

We know the nature of Islam to be undemocratic. Islam brands non-Muslims as inferior to Muslims, and one would have to be living under a rock not to know that women are treated as second class citizens in Islam. Moreover, being a Muslim male isn’t enough to guarantee freedom to a man, as we know from watching Shiites and Sunnis kill each other over the years. Finally, there is the unsavory aspect of Islam and slavery that still happens even today.

Christian churches have already been targeted and burned, while Christian homes have been ransacked and pillaged in post-revolutionary Egypt, indicating that freedom of religion is yet another right that did not make its way out of the Egyptian revolution.

The Assyrian International News Agency wrote of the events on its website:

Thousands of Christians, joined by many Muslims, have been staging [a] sit-in since March 5 in front of the Egyptian TV building on the Nile Corniche in Cairo, protesting the attack on the church in the village of Soul and the inaction of the Egyptian armed forces in preventing the Muslims from torching and demolishing the church and terrorizing the Christian Copts and forcing them to evacuate the village. The church, which has been completely demolished, has been used by Muslims to pray there to humiliate the Copts[,] said the protesters.

Mona Obeid, an Egyptian political analyst, observes that her countrymen are growing increasingly frightened at the direction in which the government is headed: “Everybody is concerned. Where are we going and what is the government doing?”

The lack of freedoms in Egypt should come as a stark surprise to those who supported the “democratic” revolution in Egypt. For those who compared the Egyptian uprising to the 1776 American Revolution, conservative author Thomas Purcell, just days after Egypt’s military government took power in Egypt, carefully enumerated the vast differences between the two revolutions on his website — including the disparities in the ways the citizens of each nation reacted to their predicament as well as in the leadership of each revolution.

Likewise, such dissimilarities in the two revolutions highlight once again the importance of recognizing the difference between a raw democracy, wherein the majority rules, and the constitutional Republic form of government — rule by law (the Constitution) — under which America is constructed. In a “democratic” Egypt, the majority of citizens may very well opt for a radical Islamic form of government. American citizens are fortunate to live under a constitutional Republic, where individual rights and liberties remain protected by the Constitution, regardless of the current prevailing opinion.

It is for this reason that true conservatives realize that calls for a constitutional convention — which would open the founding document to any changes at all desired by delegates — are so dangerous.

Photo: Protesters gather in Tahrir Square, the focal point of the Jan. 25 revolution, in Cairo, Egypt, April 1, 2011.: AP Images

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