Egypt has experienced a military coup barely two years after hosting its first democratic elections in a generation. Media reports that the Egyptian military receives the bulk of $1.6 billion dollars in aid from the United States are problematic. Since President Obama has not recognized the removal of an elected government as a military coup, plainly contradicts US support for democracy in Africa.
Obama’s refusal to emphatically condemn the military coup is inconsistent and his unwillingness to withdraw the billions given to the Egyptian military reflects profound hypocrisy. His vibrant speech on African democracy and freedom at UCT are words without substance. Even US Senator John McCain a former presidential candidate has demanded the withdrawal of monies paid to the Egyptian military.
Obama has sacrificed the ideals of freedom and democracy at the altar of materialism and US self-interest. A free and democratic Egypt poses many threats to US hegemony in Africa and in the Middle East. If Egyptians prove that democracy can work without US interference and headship, other Arab and African people may also want democracy. This is a superfluous dilemma as the US already has the current African and Arab tyrants under its control and does not need rational democratic states.
Secondly, free and democratic North African and Arab nations may collaborate and threaten Israel who has historically humiliated them militarily. To sustain mayhem and general mistrust amongst Africans and Arabs is a political, social, economic as well as a military necessity for Israel’s survival.
While the Egyptian military remains on the US pay roll, Israel will remain secure from any potential democratic political threat. What may bring a contrived American proxy democracy back to Egypt, is for the political authority to ensure that American and Israeli interests are protected. Without this pact, in my view, the US will not condemn the military coup or positively intervene on behalf of democracy.
The thousands of civilians that could conceivably die or be displaced by a Syrian style conflict in Egypt are irrelevant to the US and Israeli interests. Across Africa and the Middle East tribalism and religion has been used to foment violence, in Egypt these facts are not relevant, yet violence subsists.
With recent events in Tunisia, Libya, Syria and now Egypt it is tempting to consider African and Arab nations as generally thoughtless and brutal savages incapable of cooperative democratic governance. Then again, we could ruminate about the astounding ability of western imperial powers to influence and to manipulate our beliefs. In both cases African and Arab leaders reveal their infantile grasp of long term political, social and economic outcomes.
In the end, for Africa and the Middle East to eventually succeed, free and democratic elections must be pursued. If elected leaders allow the democratic resolve of the people to remain subjugated, mayhem will remain part of our collective legacy.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress