Retired basketball coach Bobby Knight recently came out with a book entitled The Power of Negative Thinking. In Sunday’s New York Times, Knight confirmed he is not one of those eternally positive thinkers. He said, “the worst word in the English language is ‘hope’.” Well, most of us don’t remember Bobby for getting any nice guy awards, but he certainly would be right for an analysis of the situation in Egyptian.
Hope is fading fast along the Nile.
As reported in an earlier blog, the latest crisis erupted over a soccer game when the ultras (Cairo’s hard-core violent soccer fans) got into brawls with Alexandria’s fans and people were killed. The court ruled 21 people should be executed for the deaths. Riots followed across the country and still continue.
Obviously, there’s more going on here that sport enthusiasm gone awry. The real issue is the ability of the new president and the Muslim Brotherhood to control the country. Barely winning in the first democratic election in the vast history of Egypt, a short passage of time has revealed they do not seem to have the power to control the country which continues to slide toward economic ruin and more demonstrations in the streets. To date four policemen has been killed and 40 civilians died in the rioting. President Mudhammed Morsi appears to be falling in a tail-spin with no idea how to stop the mobs short of calling out the military.
And that’s the BIG ISSUE.
The police have completely lost control and many are now reported hiding in their stations. People are now discussing the possibility of a military coup as the best answer to restore order. While there is no threat of an immediate coup, many are still saying that military intervention might be the only way to prevent a collapse of public security. In Port Said, a form of local military control has already taken place. Banners around the city read, “Port Said is in the protection of the military.” People don’t like the military, but it was better than what they currently have.
While there is in incongruity in calling for a return of the military only months after the general’s were pushed out, the situation reflects how seriously control has deteriorated.
The bottom line is that the results of the first election have not produced the result that many had hoped for. Egypt is caught in a vice between contemporary modern people and primitive Muslim fundamentalists who want to impose religious law on the entire nation. Murbarak held the nation together with the army and the exercise of a big stick policy. Dictators function with such cruel means. Now that those tactics have been exposed, the country is at loose ends to stop disruptive turmoil.
Americans often forget that centuries of political debate and reaction stood behind the emergence of democracy in this country. It did not happen overnight and it isn’t happening in the daylight in Egypt.
Hope is indeed fading fast.