Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Egypt needs a new social contract

  • Tuesday, 27 April 2010
  • Fouad GM
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  • On April 24, Al-Masry Al-Yawm English carried a piece by Waheed Abd el-Maged: "The Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide considers the president a father for all Egyptians. This is what he said during his first appearance on TV four months after he became supreme guide. He actually meant what he said, as he believes in patriarchal authority, whereby the nations are seen as incapable of ruling themselves.

    "The Islamic state that the supreme guide wants is just another version of the patriarchal state Egypt has known since the 1950s, although his state has different points of reference that are more totalitarian in nature. He wants to re-produce the kind of state which Egyptians are already looking beyond with increasingly strident calls for change.

    "Egyptians are now dreaming of a democratic state whose president they will elect and who can be held accountable for his actions. They want him to be a citizen just like they are, because seeing him as an exalted father makes them feel politically inept. Egyptians want a president with defined powers who will rule for a limited number of terms.

    "However, the supreme guide does not share the same dream. He has totalitarian reference points that can only produce absolute authority. When people with such references--not necessarily restricted to political Islam--think of change, they tend to focus on people. They are unaware that reform requires a new social contract; totally different from the one which established the patriarchal state based on the 1956 Constitution--which evolved into the slightly better Constitution of 1971.

    "According to the old social contract, Egyptians forfeited their political rights and freedoms--or most of them--in order for the state to expand its canopy of care. The state played the role of the father who provides food, clothing, and a home to his family. In return, the father has the right to monopolize the affairs of the people.

    "Even though the first party to the contract (the patriarchal state) is no longer capable of meeting its obligations, it still does not want to admit its failures.

    "The social components of the patriarchal state are eroding, but the supreme guide still does not see an alternative, as if those who accepted this type of state more than half a century ago are still children.

    "Patriarchal authority is something of the past. The social contracts of today are between equal parties, a democratic state and a free society." -
    Al-Masry al-Yawm English, Egypt
    Click here for source

    ** forwarded from the Mideastwire.com daily briefing - Monday, 26/04/2010 **

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