The modern Egyptians have always been an impatient folk. On the individual level, the average Egyptian, much like his brother from the Levant, has been known to be a bit, let’s say, ‘short’, when faced with matters which affect them directly. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not attempting to demean the Egyptians, or for that matter, the Levantines. I’m just describing a single trait that can be said to be common to a culture or a people – much like overzealous efficiency is a peculiarly Germanic trait, or guzzling down half a bottle of vodka every half an hour is a solely Russian characteristic. Again, my apologies to the Germans and the Russians – I’m trying to showcase a point here.
However, over the past few years, this impatience in the Egyptian people has translated itself into the macro level. First, spurred on by their North African comrades, Tahrir erupted in 2011, as the collective Egyptian conscience grew impatient with some man called Hosni Mubarak. Perfectly reasonable, after all, this Mubarak fellow had ruled over them with an iron fist for the better part of 30 years. And if it had stopped there, we would all be congratulating the Egyptians on a job well done. Unfortunately, the Egyptian people decided that their new found expression of collective impatience with the government had not been showcased enough to the world. And so, as historical experience has shown – don’t ask me what historical experience, try Wikipedia – when a people are successful in removing an establishment that has been in power for decades through street protests, it becomes an aphrodisiac. The answer to any niggle, problem, issue or complaint becomes civil disobedience and massive Facebook and Twitter organized sit-ins. Revolution – I’m using the word very loosely here – becomes the all too easy 2-minute microwave solution. Apart from the fact that this practically stalls a country’s ability to, well, do anything, this new found ‘power of the people’ is also used by vested interests to further specialist agendas. Yes, I’m talking about you, Mr. Sam Yankee, you and your friend Sheikh Oilypants.
Never mind that dear old Mr. Morsi barely had enough time to appoint his full cohort of ministers, forget solving the myriad of issues relating to a downtrodden economy and changing regional political influences. No, the Egyptian people (well, some of them) wanted a better economy, better governance and free ice cream Sundays (see what I did there), and they wanted all this NOW. Mr. Morsi couldn’t deliver, so Mr. Morsi had to go, with a little help from Gen. Sissi (name misspelt intentionally).
So, children! The moral of the story is, the people were impatient, the people were stupid, and now the people die – other people. Egypt, unfortunately, will slowly but surely slip towards civil war now. That’s not a prediction; we don’t do prediction in political science. That’s just deduction.
And lastly, my dear Pakistanis, what can we learn from this? I mean, we don’t have the best performing government ourselves either (cue understatement of the year award nomination). This is what we can learn:
When facing problems of chronic ill-governance, 9/10 of the time, violent street revolution resulting in overthrow is not the answer. And the 10th time, think 10 times before pursuing it. It is extremely addictive!