Monday, February 14, 2011

Egypt Without Mubarak

Democracy is the worst form of the government
Except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
-Winston Churchill
Protest at Tahrir square in Egypt

The 18-day long protest finally ends three decades of despotism in Egypt. Mubarak has finally stepped out of his presidential palace. Undoubtedly, it’s a day of liberation of the Egyptians. But would Mubarak’s fall out really make any difference to Egypt. Can democracy alone eradicate corruption and financial and political instability from the land of pyramids?

To find the answers of the above questions, we must scan the present scenario of Egypt. Egypt is a semi-presidential republic under emergency rule. Egypt has been under emergency rule since 1967. Under the emergency rule, virtually every action against Hosni Mubarak has been made illegal. Censorship has been imposed on media, depriving them from freedom of press. Free election has become a dream for Egyptians. Restoring democracy would perhaps, bring political equality and stability in the country. It is quite reasonable to expect that democracy in Egypt would break the emergency rule and consequently bring the rights back to the citizens.

But can democracy wipe out the corruption that exists in every corner and every institution of the government? Perhaps, not. If we excavate the previous records of democracy, it becomes clear that democracy has failed to handle corruption. In fact, the biggest loser is India. Being the world’s largest democracy, it remains to be the most corrupt in the world. So, democracy itself cannot stamp out corruption. However, it’s the people of Egypt who can make pearl of sand; their active participation in politics can, certainly, make the government less corrupt.

On the other hand, financial stability is the need of the hour for Egypt. As economic equality and stability is concerned, democracy fails again. If we compare the economies of all democracies and dictatorships between 1950 and 2000, we find that countries under dictatorship regimes are economically better than that under democratic regimes. The statistics show that within democracies also, there are wide economic inequalities. For instance, in South Africa and Brazil, the top 20% owns 60% of the country’s wealth and bottom 20% earn less than 3% of the total income.  So, democracy is not a guarantee for economic development. 

So, does democracy suits Egypt? Well, from the following arguments, it seems that democracy is nothing more than old wine served in a new bottle under eye-catchy tag. So, should Egypt slip back to the era of Mubarak? Never, because democracy is much better that autocracy. We must remember that democracy is not Harry Potter’s magic wand that would end their miseries just by chanting magic charms. Democracy only creates conditions, which will ensure equality of citizens before law of the country and enhance the dignity of individuals. But, for proper functioning of democracy, the citizens have to know their rights and duties and enforce them. After all, in democracy, people are their own masters.