What happened in Egypt prior to and during the June 30th massive protest action have caused a wide range of responses in favor and in criticism of democracy. (*)
Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, along with the Western governmes as well as rigged governments such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, claimed that Morsi was democratically elected and the only legitimate method to remove him from the power was the ballot box.
Looking at it from the perspective of democracy, Morsi was right. What was wrong was democracy itself. Democracy fails where people direct participation enters the decision making picture. Democracy is about letting “others” to decide for you, a representative system. Democracy is not equivalent to free and direct participation of people in decision making body of the society. Democracy is not equivalent to freedom. Quite the contrary, democracy is a form of dictatorship, the dictatorship of a minority, the 1%.
Democracy vs Freedom
Democracy says: Wait once every 4 years or so, give the richest persons and/or political parties a chance to bombard you with the 'election campaign'. Then cast your vote in favor of either of these wealthy folks/political parties. Once you cast that vote, voila, you're hooked. You cannot change your mind till the next round of 'election campaign'! This is democracy!
Egyptians showed an alternative. They voted by their feet, over 30 millions of them. They said: "We make the decision. We change the government anytime we want. You say we can't, it doesn't fit into your democracy? Watch me, we did it and it fits in our declaration of freedom.”
Freedom is about, among others, the ability to elect and remove the elected at anytime by the very people who voted someone in. In democracy, there is no room for that. You have to 'live with it' for another 3, 4 years or you have to revolt to maintain this basic principle of freedom.
Considering the advancement of technology, the ballot box of a free society is in fact your phone! There is no reason why people should still line up for a ballot box at a certain day poisoned by the ‘election campaigns’. All you should do is to press that YES/NO button on your phone to elect & remove a person from a position at any time. That’s the ballot box, isn’t it?
Favoring Racism over a criticism of democracy
In defense of democracy and in dismissing the direct participation of people in the decision making body of society, Michael Coren, a Toronto Sun columnist, has gone as far as favoring racism over a criticism of democracy (“Oh, for a better Egypt”, The Sun, Fri July 5, 2013). For Michael and his likeminded folks, the tool (democracy) through which the decision is made is the holy grain and the people for whom the tool is used can go to hell! To him, if the tool (democracy) fails to serve human being, it is because of the human fault! Rather than democracy, it’s the people who should be thrown out of the window and hence he makes this racist remark: "Not so in a country with almost 30% illiteracy, where concepts of freedom of speech and religion, gender equality and a civil society are foreign, often alien, concepts."
(*)The above is obviously not dealing with the events, including the coup d’etat, that followed the historical protest of June 30th. The Army’s coup d’etat was in fact a response to the people direct participation; a response to stop the people’s direct involvement in removing Morsi, that is, it was a coup d’etat against the very participants of the June 30th and in favor of keeping the state apparatus intact.
Born in Iran , Abbas Goya has been a political activist for 3 decades in defense of workers rights, children and women’s rights,Bo freedom of expression, student/immigration/refugee rights, against capital punishment/stoning, against fascism, racism, and against the IRI.
July 11, 2013