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Today, is Egypt Honored, or Humiliated? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The above title was the headline of one of the major Egyptian newspapers yesterday, yet the title is not as significant as the question itself. Did Election Day honor Egypt, or humiliate it? I think this is an unfair question, and our starting point here should be the Arab situation on the whole, and specifically Arab states that claim to be democratic.

Did the latest elections in Iraq honor the nation? No, the electorate’s choices were not respected, and the political crisis was resolved by foreign interference, particularly through Baghdad’s mayor; the U.S. ambassador. Was Lebanon honored after its last elections? Again no, because the resulting Lebanese government will be defined in the Arab political dictionary as “a collection of mobsters under an Arab umbrella”. Elections, and specifically Arab ones, are not necessarily related to the honor or humiliation of the nation. Whatever the outcome, the loser of the election will believe that the nation has been humiliated, whilst the winner will believe the nation has been honored. This theory is against democracy in every sense, and it reminds us of the famous saying that fundamentally, democracy needs democrats.

Nations are not honored by democracy, but by production, stability, and the preservation of human dignity. Nations are noble when they incorporate all their citizens, regardless of their roots, sects, or religions, and every citizen enjoys equal rights.

Therefore, whatever the shortcomings of the Egyptian political system today, we can say that there is less injustice and inequality compared to previous years, especially during the era of Jamal Abdul Nasser. The freedoms enjoyed by Egyptians today, even if they aren’t complete, represent a significant improvement from the Nasser era, and the faults of the current system are also far fewer. I am not saying that the Egyptian political system should be praised, or criticized, but we should recognize what has been achieved, and build upon this, rather than destroying everything and starting from scratch. States, like knowledge, always develop in a cumulative manner. A good example here is Spain: Until the 1960s, Spain suffered from crises and dictatorships. Yet today, it is one of the brightest and radiant European democratic nations. This has been achieved through work and stability, in contrast to the Arab states that claim to be democratic.

Thus, it is not a case of whether Egypt has been honored or humiliated [as a result of the elections]. What matters here is that Egypt preserves what it has achieved, and builds on it without foreign influence or interference, under any pretext. This foreign influence could come from the corridors of Washington, or through the media and financial assistance of Iran, as was the case with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. It is puzzling that some have criticized the Egyptian regime for being an ‘agent for the Americans’, whilst the critics themselves actively seek to utilize the Americans. Homelands are built on the foundations of their citizens, and not foreign intervention.

Washington overthrew the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, yet more people have been killed under the new democratic Iraqi regime, than during Saddam’s rule. More money is stolen these days than during the previous regime, and the sectarian situation has worsened. What we want to say is: Let us preserve our homelands, and implement rational and cumulative changes, instead of emotional or reckless ones. China is also a state without free elections, yet the whole world views it with appreciation and respect.

In summary, we would say that our homelands are honored when we preserve them, and not when we gamble with their futures. This is our message.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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