Monday, March 21, 2011

Fears About Early Voting In Egypt Confirmed

After forcing out Mubarrak as leader of Egypt, Egyptians held a vote on Sunday on a number of different amendments and changes. One of the issues on which the people voted was whether or not to have speedy elections. The people have spoken, and the answer is: yes. Yes, they do want speedy elections.

Here's the thing. There is only one group that is well organized. Any guesses as to who that group would be? If you said "Muslim Brotherhood," you would be right. This NY Times article, Egyptian Voters Approve Constitutional Changes, highlights the effects of the vote:
Egyptian voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum on constitutional changes on Sunday that will usher in rapid elections, with the results underscoring the strength of established political organizations, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, and the weakness of emerging liberal groups.


The military council has been somewhat vague about the next steps. But Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Shaken told Al-Shorouk newspaper in an interview published on Sunday that the generals would issue a constitutional declaration to cover the changes and then set dates for the vote once the results were announced.

The Muslim Brotherhood and remnant elements of the National Democratic Party, which dominated Egyptian politics for decades, were the main supporters of the referendum. They argued the election timetable would insure a swift return to civilian rule.

Members of the liberal wing of Egyptian politics mostly opposed the measure, saying they lacked time to organize into effective political organizations. They said early elections will benefit the Brotherhood and the old ruling party, which they warned would seek to write a constitution that centralizes power much like the old one.

What a double-edged sword this is. On the one hand, it is great that the Egyptian people are so excited about their ability to vote, and feeling that their votes will actually count. I am sure their delight in this event which we take so for granted is palpable. But, when it benefits terrorist-spawning, Sharia-law supporting organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, it makes it a bitter pill to swallow:
[snip] “It is very, very disappointing,” said Hani Shukrallah, who is active in a new liberal political party and is the editor of Ahram Online, a news Website.

He and many other opponents of the referendum said religious organizations had spread false rumors, suggesting that voting against the referendum would threaten Article 2 of the constitution, which cites Islamic law as the main basis for Egyptian law.

“I saw one sign that said, ‘If you vote no you are a follower of America and Baradei and if you vote yes you are a follower of God,’” he said. “The idea is that Muslims will vote yes and Copts and atheists will vote no.”

Mohamed El Baradei, a former top United Nations nuclear official and Noble Prize winner planning to run for president, opposed the amendments, as did Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, another potential president candidate. In a vote remarkably free of problems, Mr. Baradei was attacked by a mob when he went to vote, fleeing a shower of rocks and bottles. His supporters said the mob was paid.

There is much more to this article, and I urge you to read the rest. But the disinformation campaign is telling in and of itself. I think that is the kind of thing we can expect to see more of should the Muslim Brotherhood win in the upcoming election. Unfortunately, that seems exceedingly likely.

And that is exceedingly disturbing. As I have stated before, there is a reason why this organization was banned from Egypt for so many years. Egypt, once a more progressive Middle Eastern country, will turn into something a whole lot more regressive under the Muslim Brotherhood. This is sad on so many levels, especially in terms of the treatment of women in a country where women had known some freedoms. Yikes.

Just in case you need a reminder of who the Muslim Brotherhood is, I will leave the last word on them to Niall Ferguson:

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