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Questions for Egypt's rebooted revolution

Celebrations continue, but soon questions about Egypt's future will need to be answered.
Last modified: 4 Jul 2013 05:21

The jubilant scenes in Tahrir Square lasted well into the small hours.

They were every bit as spectacular – some say more so – than 11 February 2011, when Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.

The deafening roar of the crowd filling the square and its every access point; unending volleys of fireworks; green lasers beamed onto military helicopters overhead that dropped Egyptian flags; the chants of "We are the Egyptian people".

They knew they'd won again, swept a second president from power in just over two years – not, this time, after 30 years of dictatorship, but after one year of a democratically-elected four-year term. President Morsi – former President Morsi – had earned not just their enmity, but the hatred of many, because of what they judged his rule by religious exclusivity, the primacy of his Muslim Brotherhood beliefs, his failure to tackle corruption and a rapidly deteriorating economy.

What comes next?

Following the coup d’etat that few but the pro-Morsi crowds are actually acknowledging as a coup d’etat, there comes military rule (dressed up as an interim technocratic government led by the Chief Justice). No one can now deny that the military is the real power. The basic law is put to one side as a new constitution is drafted. Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members will hunker down in fear of arrest. At some point hence Egyptians are promised new elections. No one knows what threat exists of violent reprisals.

Large questions loom over Egypt’s Rebooted Revolution.

What is people power when it is backed by military threat?

What is democracy when a president elected in a free and fair vote, internationally recognised, can be forced from office after just one year?

And what is the inclusivity and stability that the military intervention is said to be aimed at when one large and influential sector of society – the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, so called political Islam – is shut out of the process altogether, its leaders detained or on the run, its protesting supporters under military watch, its TV stations taken off air?

None are questions asked or answered in Tahrir Square on Wednesday night.

Their time will come.