Elections Will Kill the Egyptian Revolution - by Mark E. Smith
Even though the Egyptian army is still arresting and torturing protesters, and sentencing many to prison, Egyptians are excited about the upcoming elections.
Many seem to think that the elections are a step towards democracy. They're wrong.
Until now, even though the Egyptian army, whose Military Council forms the "interim" government, has been violent towards protesters, it has not demonstrated the kind of violence seen in Libya and Bahrain, where armed troops attack masses of protesters with heavy weapons. That will change after the election.
Right now the army only has the authority of its own brute force. It is viewed as the remnant of an old and much-hated Mubarak regime. After the election the army will claim to be a democratically elected government with the consent of the governed obtained through free and fair elections. Protests will then be considered treason against a legitimate government.
Egyptians will blame each other and blame the various voting blocs and political parties, rather than blaming the government. After all, there was a free and fair election, so it can't be the government's fault.
Protests will be smaller because, having had free and fair elections, many will believe that the revolution is winning and that each future election will bring more progress.
It was Obama who suggested to the Egyptian army that they form an interim government and hold elections. The government didn't change, but instead of calling itself the permanent government, which it is, it called itself an interim government and the people accepted that lie. But it is the same Mubarak regime that was in power before he stepped down and will remain in power after the elections, with slight changes to the Constitution that the army can choose whether or not to implement and enforce, and with some newly elected spokespeople to distract Egyptians from the fact that the military regime is still in control.
Violent crackdowns on protesters will be blamed on the new Parliament or the new President, rather than on the army, but of course these will happen after the elections no matter who is elected.
Some Egyptians recognize that various elements in the interim government and various factions planning to run in the elections, are counterrevolutionary. What they don't seem to grasp is that the elections themselves are counterrevolutionary.
The Egyptian revolutionaries had a choice to either continue their revolution until the torture stopped, the detainees were freed, and the state of emergency was lifted, or to settle for an interim government with the promise of elections. They made the wrong choice and will suffer the consequences.
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