Egypt’s New Year Resolution - NYTimes.com
|Friday, January 4,2013 22:51|
|By Dr. Ahmed Zewail|
EGYPT is in turmoil, and many so-called experts have concluded that religion is the cause. It is not.
The source of turmoil is the gap between expectations of speedy change by those who made the people’s revolution two years ago and the slow process of building an entirely new society.
Throughout my life I have never seen Egyptians expressing such an intense feeling of national ownership. This is one of the most important rewards of the revolution. The people are thirsty for real democracy after the revolution empowered them to seek their rights.
They may have been patient for 30 years of Hosni Mubarak’s reign, yet are impatient with the progress made so far precisely because it is their own expectations they must live up to.
The liberals and protesters are fearful of a return to dictatorship. The Islamists who have suffered for decades from jailings, torture and underground struggle now have the above-ground legitimacy to govern and do not wish to go back to their unfavorable status.
Besides this political divide, there exists the silent majority, the so-called “Kanaba Party,” or the couch party, which is sitting and waiting — and will vote when the opportunity arises — for the return of normal life.
One middle-class Egyptian Muslim, Ahmed Mostafa, told me, “A president from the Muslim Brotherhood is fine with me, but he should rule guided by our Islamic values and not in line with his Gamaa ideology.” Al Gamaa al-Islamiyya, or Islamic Group, is one of Egypt’s largest extremist organizations.