Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Terror in Port Said | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A year on from the outbreak of the Egyptian “revolution”, and a bitter harvest has been reaped in Port Said stadium.

Egypt is currently facing a difficult situation and critical situation. Feelings there are ranging from fear to confusion, anger to suspicion.

There is a state of fear arising from the astoundingly lax security situation: bank robberies in broad daylight, road blocks, and cars being stolen with passengers still inside, after guns or knives are waived in the faces of those sitting behind the wheel, before the stolen cars are then returned for money to their rightful owners. This is not to mention the increasing incidents of burglaries and pick-pocketing, and the rise of gang leaders like “el-Hambouli” and “Farafero” among others.

There is confusion when it comes to explaining these incidents, political differences and ongoing escalation. Is the reason behind all this purely internal, like the Egyptian revolutionaries argue, believing that their revolution has been hijacked and circumvented via a deal between the Islamists and the military? Or could we attribute the state of instability to the former regime’s “remnants” and interest groups that are currently losing out, and want to spoil Egypt’s political course? Or could it be that the revolutionaries camped in Egypt’s main squares are simply agents and pawns mobilized by external powers such as America, Israel, or some other evil force?

Anger stems from the inability of the state, military and security apparatuses to enforce order, take the reins of power, and stabilize the street. There is also anger towards the media that is profiting from the blood of the people and their fears, by infusing the situation with further rancor, incitement and rumors, presenting everyone with the opportunity to add fuel to the already blazing fire.

There are also strong feelings of suspicion regarding the future, the feasibility of the revolution in general, and the credibility of all that is being said about hidden deals, explanations trying to reveal the truth about what is going on, and all those who stand behind this sorry state Egypt has reached, a year on from its uprising. Initially, everyone, with very few exceptions, extolled the virtues of this revolution inside Egypt and abroad. Some are still singing its praises despite the latest Port Said stadium massacre.

In the heart of this darkness, some, especially those living abroad, coldly reiterate that this is natural, and all revolutions must go down this route to ultimately reach stability. They argue that democracy needs time in order to develop and mature.

However, this argument is more like fortune-telling, or even akin to gambling, on the destinies of entire societies and countries. For example, Somalia and Afghanistan have been stuck in the swamp of anarchy for over two decades now, and there seems to be little light at the end of the tunnel.

The argument that democracy is capable of developing itself, and that the people will gradually mature into an entity capable of dealing with it as time passes, is neither persuasive nor compelling. It is suffice to observe what is happening in some of the old Arab democracies and the nature of the ongoing debates within them, with Kuwait and Jordan serving as two prime examples.