Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Egypt and the steeple chase | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In steeple chasing, the horse tries to jump barrier after barrier until it reaches the highest and most difficult [jump]. Then, in accordance with its abilities, it will either attempt the jump and win, or jump, fail and break its leg, or refuse to jump altogether, despite being urged on by the jockey on its back. This steeple chase analogy can apply to the current situation in Egypt: do the revolutionaries know their limits, and when to stop jumping? Should the jockey be thinking about tomorrow’s races, or concentrate on today’s race only?

In Tahrir Square, many high barriers have been jumped and overcome, but it seems that the protests last Friday resembled the highest jump, which would be a challenge for any horse.

Most regimes in the world do not permit their military to strike or demonstrate because they hold enormous power, and secondly because the military is based on discipline and obedience. In addition to this, soldiers’ joining political organizations threatens the neutrality of the army; the army must safeguard all members of society, not any one group…this is in theory. In practice, it was the Egyptian military institution that implemented the revolution. Without the cooperation of the army, perhaps the revolution, as we see it today, would not have succeeded.

Last Friday in Tahrir Square gallows were erected and a mock trial was held for the deposed President and members of his family, under the auspices of a judge who was at odds with the former regime, with regards to the issue of judicial independence. In addition to this, a member of the revolutionary youth coalition, Safwat Hegazi, gave a speech demanding the dismissal of the public prosecutor and the heads of banks. Whilst Abdul Jalil Mustafa, the coordinator of Egypt’s “National Association for Change” said that he would spend his days ensuring that all demands had been achieved. Other speeches called for the prosecution of security personnel, and one speaker in the Square urged a response to Israel, which had recently bombed the Gaza Strip, while Mohammed ElBaradei reiterated his demand that the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Force pursue figures of the former corrupt regime. There were also those who warned of opportunists, saying that not all the “revolutionaries” were revolutionaries. So the list is long, and up until now it does not seem that the revolution is anything other than a program for revenge, with no plan for the future. The question is, how many barriers will the revolution’s horses have to jump? And at what height?

All of this reveals the extent of the confrontations, trials and outbidding between the speakers. Any revolution that has been preoccupied with revenge has never worked, ending with the rebels consuming one another, whilst revolutions that have sought to reconcile and look to the future have survived and succeeded. We need only compare the results between the following two revolutions: namely Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in Iran and Nelson Mandela’s revolution in South Africa.