Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Lesson Does Morsi's Egypt Have for India?

A very dear friend of ours gets posted all over the world through his American company. He was posted in Moscow where he and his wife had to learn to speak Russian to get by comfortably. To my untrained ears they sounded pretty fluent. I remember their three year old daughter singing western classical for us. To watch her get lost in it, with her long eyelashes blinking in tune, to watch the parents swell with love and pride at our obvious delight - the stuff of great memories! I remember the kids sliding on their bums down a slide and on reaching the ground, seeing who went furthest because the ground was covered in frictionless ice. I remember the Russian folk dancing show - the men, for once, out performing the women. One day us wives took a break from the kids (leaving them in the capable hands of our husbands) and went off to visit Tetracov gallery to gaze at the wonderful paintings on display. After feasting on the wonderful art we reached home in a slightly exalted state of being.

Similarly, when we were posted in Bangkok they came visiting and the kids had a ball. We next visited them in Scotland. They made a quick trip to visit us in Kuala Lumpur. It was the done thing between us to visit wherever our respective postings were. We enjoyed seeing places we visited through the eyes of someone who was almost local - the best way to immerse ourselves in a new culture.

We were all set to visit them in Cairo and they, to visit us in New Zealand. Unfortunately they've been asked to pack up and return home to the US. As for their visiting NZ, what with the earthquake and hundreds of major after shocks I don't think they are keen right now!

It is sad about Cairo. Not too long ago Egypt was the admiration of the world. They ousted someone they believed was a corrupt dictator through the sheer determination and unity of the people. They were out in huge numbers. They camped out in Tahrir square at great discomfort to themselves for several weeks. They demanded and got free and fair elections. The Muslim Brotherhood won the elections fair and square.

Why did the Egyptians rise up against their newly elected leaders? Why was their sense of injustice rattled once more?

According to this site "the application of Islamic ideology in government policy and the victimization of Coptic Christians and secularists by the Islamic fervor following the Brotherhood's rise to power" was responsible. Another article said there were open and increasing sexual attacks on women on the streets. Apparently the Morsi administration had made a promise to Egyptians - that they would appoint "a female vice president, and a Coptic Christian deputy." They didn't keep that promise. Khaled Fahmy, the chairman of the history department at the American University in Cairo had this to say:

'We did not risk our lives simply to change the players'


So now, Egypt is once more going through a difficult phase. On the one hand, Morsi supporters are right - he is Egypt's legitimately elected leader, and on the other, the opposition is right - they didn't fight so hard for the Islamisation of their mainly bi-cultural nation nor the replacement of one kind of dictator with another.

Intolerance between communities, as we know in multi-cultural India, is a curse. No one wins. For a country to prosper we need every citizen, irrespective of community, to feel they have the opportunity to be free to prosper. Can't help admiring China for they seem to have woken to the fact (to a degree) that the community of politicians and their goons cannot be the only ones who prosper.

10 comments:

  1. Unfortunately it is the goons that prosper and call the shots:(

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    1. You're so right, Rahul. That is why, what the Egyptian people did to oust them, twice over, is all the more admirable. One of the reasons they succeeded was because they united.

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  2. Actually there are many lessons that one can learn from China in many, let's just for once forget everything for once and look at the infrastructural development it has created ... they too have problems but then who doesn't ... It would be really wise if we Indian can take lesson from Egypt ...

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    1. Exactly, Sangeeta. The money meant for infrastructure must've been used for infrastructure. How else would they have electricity to run their factories and connectivity to receive raw goods and deliver finished products?

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  3. India has a long way to go before they reach China..especially the Indians..I believe in a secular country like India one should give importance to their country first rather than community or religion..We are so busy in Community and Religion that our political leaders take advantage of it and we face the consequences..

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    1. The strange thing is that so many people you meet are relaxed about living with different communities. Yet, a hardcore minority who think being pro their own community means being hostile towards the others, hold so much sway.

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  4. There is no clear direction as far as India is concerned. We are too divided to achieve anything. But things are changing. It is a slow change but enough to give hope.

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    1. That is the best thing I've heard today, Amit. Thanks :-)

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