This is my message to ALL secular parties in Egypt: coalesce before the next election. Do not remain fragmented and weak. Instead, form one strong party. The writing is on the wall; Egypt may enter a long dark cold tunnel of a Theocratic regime if you fail to act promptly.
Dr. Morsi is moving quickly towards a theocratic regime (I hope I am wrong). You may say that he and Dr. Qandeel (his prime minister) had little political or managerial experience and that, therefore, this administration will surely fail. You may say that those who rule by suffocating others eventually smother themselves. That may prove to be true. However, how many years will that take; in Iran Theocracy has hijacked the "Green Revolution" in 1979 and is ruling with obvious brutality since then. True, cracks are taking place in the Iranian regime and the rift between Ayatollah Khomeini and Ahmedinajad became obvious and public, but can Egypt afford a similar outcome? Does Egypt deserve to become counted among the most ignorant of nations when it was the mother of cultures and the trend-setter for the whole region?
Please ask yourselves the following questions:
- Do you want a secular Government that extends justice, equality and freedom for all citizens recognizing that all human-beings have the same intrinsic worth and, therefore be subject to the same rules, the independence of the judiciary and mature Civic Institutions?
- Should women be equal to men; therefore the tradition of genital mutilation, teen-age marriages and forced marriages of women must cease? Should women be treated as inferior to men in divorce, inheritance, pay and other aspects of life?
- Isn’t Democracy much more than the ballot Boxes? Doesn’t it reflect how people think, behave and act? Do you believe that religious minorities are entitled to the same rights afforded to the religious majority? Do you believe in the "Universal Human Rights"?
If you believe in all of these things but you differ in how to get there, it behooves you to coalesce, find common ground, compromise and develop a unified platform. Let me whisper in the ears of those of you who have been married: do you agree with your spouse all the time or you have to compromise to maintain the peace required in a happy marriage? After you form one party, education of the masses about the short term and the long term benefits of such a platform are absolutely imperative for the lasting success of this much needed effort.
What aborted the initial spectacular success of the Egyptian youth is that each group wanted to take all the credit for the "Arab Spring". Sixty years of despotic regime had its way of not educating them how to become good team players. Individualism is human but it is the last thing that Egypt needs now. A good journey has its own rewards (to quote Waldo Emerson). It does not matter who gets the credit; let us build the best machine possible to produce this enduring product for Egypt’s sake. The country has always been blessed with its superior thinkers and entrepreneurs. We must create the right environment that allows them to excel.
To those who invoke the Will of God all the time let me ask: will the unalterable Dogmas inherent in every religion apply to our current problems including political reform, good governance, and economic development? Which God is He who condones heinous acts, barbaric behavior or violence against fellow human beings? I am reminded that when the Dalai Lama (the chief Buddhist Monk) was asked: what is the best religion? His answer was: it is the one that makes you more caring, more understanding of others and a better listener.
Thomas Jefferson (one of the writers of the American Constitution) said in his first inaugural address: "Let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions".
Dr Lotfy Basta, MD, FRCP, FRCPE, FACP, FACC, FCCP, FAHA
Coptic Solidarity is a U.S. public charity organization under section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are deductible under Section 170 of the Code.