New doubts about democratization

For the past few months, Egypt, one of the most important Arabic countries in the world, has been experiencing what can only be deemed a revolution.

It started in January after general upset over the politics of Hosni Mubarak, the reigning president of the last 30 years.

Under his rule, the government has struggled to meet the demands of Egypt’s growing population, resulting in mounting economic woes. The country has been a Western ally despite strong Muslim roots, which subsequently has ensured Mubarak’s tenure in office.

Egypt’s shift toward democracy poses a unique situation on the international stage. The struggle to incorporate basic tenets of democracy in a formerly authoritarian regime is an issue that deserves more attention on a global scale.

It seems safe to assert that Egypt’s revolution corresponds with cultural shifts associated with a rise in self-expression values. This shift in generational values, coupled with a floundering economy seems to have sparked the massive uprisings against the Mubarak regime and fanned the flames of democracy.

This raises a very important question: Considering Egypt’s transition toward democratic ideals, should every interest within society be allowed to compete in a free and fair election? That being said, how would the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in an election influence American interest in the region?

If we understand democracy we can say that democracy must include everyone. But that would also mean giving the chance for minorities from the south and other oppressed groups to vote. The inclusion of fringe groups also poses a threat to the stability of democracy and the maintenance of individual freedoms.

In the face of such serious concerns, I remain skeptical of Egypt’s ability to fully transition to a consolidated democracy in the future.

Despite other revolutions in neighboring countries, I fear our Western enthusiasm will not be enough to ensure the success of democracy in Egypt. In a world where democracy is the ideal, we are far from it.