Egypt continues to struggle for its identity

Two years after Egypt rid itself of Hosni Mubarak, the country continues to struggle as protests could erupt again. Photo: Egyptian protesters Photo:

CHARLOTTEJune 24, 2013 — Egypt ousted Hosni Mubarak two years ago in a revolution that many said would bring democracy and prosperity to the country. The Muslim Brotherhood, which represents less than 20 percent of the population, had moderated, so many experts said. The land that gave us the pyramids was on its way to returning to that golden age of an ancient civilization.

Instead, a funny thing happened on the way to freedom and, today, nearly half of the country survives on less than $2 a day.

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In an article in Foreign Policy, Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate and leader of Egypt’s Constitution Party, wrote, “It’s not a question whether they are Muslim Brothers or liberals – it’s a question of people who have no vision or experience. They do not know how to diagnose the problem and then provide the solution. They are simply not qualified to govern.”

Clearly Mr. ElBaradei is distressed about the plight of his country where 25% of the eligible work force gets up in the morning without a job.

“Freedom is still new to people,” says ElBaradei.

In a country like the United States where freedom is a major facet of our cultural identity, such a statement might be difficult to understand. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the opportunity for newfound freedom seemed like the ultimate panacea for all the ills of years of Soviet repression.

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What was overlooked however, was the learning curve. Freedom is hard work. It does not come naturally, especially to societies that have never experienced it before. When Germany reunited, the East Germans struggled to adapt to West German lifestyles.

Russians came to the United States in search of new opportunities and many quickly returned to their homeland when they discovered they could not handle the challenges of making decisions for themselves.

Mohamed ElBaradei sees a similar situation in Egypt, “We are paying the price of many years of repression and strongman rule. This was a comfort zone for people — they didn’t have to make independent decisions.”

Unfortunately, ElBaradei is only focusing on half of the problem. The Muslim Brotherhood has in no way modified. Whatever vibes the Brotherhood expressed regarding moderation were purely window dressing to gain control during and following the revolution.

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In the forward to Serge Trifkovic’s book The Sword of the Prophet, former Canadiam ambassador to Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria, James Bissett wrote, “…something is wrong in the Muslim world. With all of their oil wealth, why are there no Muslim countries among the top 30 of the world’s richest nations? Why is it that two-thirds of the world’s poorest people live in Muslim countries? Why, in the last 20 years, have over 2 million people died in conflicts involving Muslim communities? Why are democracy and the rule of law nonexistent in most Muslim states? Why do Muslims carry out so many of the worst acts of terrorism?”

Bissett continues, “The core problem is that under Islam there can be no separation of church and state. Islam is a way of life, and the faithful must accept and affirm their surrender to Allah, and live as members of the total Islamic community. The most virulent form of Muslim extremism owes its growth to shortsighted United States foreign policy.”

Without realizing it, ElBaradei agrees, “The Brotherhood doesn’t have the qualified people, who hail mostly from liberal and leftist parties. You need to form a grand coalition, and you need to put your ideological differences aside and work together to focus on people’s basic needs. You can’t eat sharia.”

Simply put, even if the Muslim Brotherhood had modified, it is not equipped to govern primarily because the ideological construct of Islam with no separation of church and state does not allow for compromise that results in workable solutions.

Writes ElBaradei about present day Egypt, “Law and order is disintegrating. You see people being lynched in public, while others take pictures of the scene. Everybody thinks that everything is permissible.”

When other countries revolt, Americans logically think of our inherent understanding of Jeffersonian democracy as created by our founding fathers. To much of the rest of the world, such concepts are totally alien, particularly in many Muslim nations where the religion dictates the way of life.

The Muslim Brotherhood is ill equipped to handle the problems in Egypt and that is the result of ElBarade’s observation that the government is run by “people who have no vision or experience.”

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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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