Why will I Vote a Reluctant “yes” to the Proposed 2013 Constitution

I will be voting “yes” on the next constitutional referendum. It will be a vote with limited enthusiasm and excitement. It comes about from a painful analysis of the sorry state Egypt is now in. My aspirations for a post revolutionary Egypt remain much higher.

My concern is that the alternative to a positive outcome of the referendum are a great deal more grim. The way I see it, we have three options on the menu:

1. A very hard-core Islamist constitution that will be regressive and anachronistic if the MB or their ilk rise again to power…a “no” will make that more probable.

2. The 2012 constitution which already included military trials (the most abhorrent part in the new constitution), but missing out on many of the good points with regards to freedom of belief and minority rights in the proposed constitution

3. The 1972 constitution which gives the president completely unchecked powers. i.e. full regression to the pre 2011 state.

Escaping the sad fate of 1 makes 2 or 3 (or some mix of the two) very likely . I do not see a fourth option. The revolutionary idealists never managed to organize themselves politically over the last 3 years. Beyond making moral statements, and standing for what they believe is right, their sacrifices have been well exploited by many parasites.

The proposed constitution is still a small victory for the civil and progressive camp. A beach head, that I hope they will be able to expand upon later. The alternative is to risk domination by the Islamists, in which case society will come to complete stasis and no progress will be possible except via an all out civil war.  Although the military will continue to play an active role in Egyptian politics in the coming years, with some hard work and a bit of luck we  might be able to gradually contain and limit their influence. With the Islamists our chances of doing that is zero.



Changing the rules of the game

Morsi turned out to be a mastermind at scheming and hatching plots and making bold moves. In one swoop he:

  1. Neutered the dreaded SCAF
  2. Cut sweet deals with high members of the judiciary and the military 
  3. Singlehandedly canceled  amendments to the constitutional declaration and even rewrote bits of the constitutional declaration to give him more power

The events that transpired yesterday is still leaving many with their heads spinning. None expected the mighty SCAF could be so easily displace. Very few are questioning if his moves are legal or constitutional. Among the ranks of the revolutionaries, many are just happy to see SCAF gone, and that an elected president is asserting his powers. With regards to ridding rough-shoot over legal constraints, the logic is  “SCAF has already  done that before, many times, so why not a elected president”.

Yesterday, Morsi managed transform himself from a fumbling president to a national (or even supranational) leader. His powers seem to expanding without limit. During last night’s speech his tone, demeanor and words seemed to be of someone who is trying to attain full spiritual and corporeal powers in the manner of the “rightly guided caliphs” in the early days of Islam. He made sweeping allusions to the wider Muslim Ummah and the important role the Egypt must play in it. Morsi alluded to the divine mandate under which he sees himself operating. His said:

Islam has everything we need as we progress to stability, security, safety, renaissance, and development…. we move towards and better tomorrow. Do not worry, for it is God who protects this Ummah, not by my work, but through his will.

Morsi clearly sees himself as the executer of  divine will and the man most capable of gleaning solutions to the nation’s troubles via his elevated reading of Islam. Some went as far as seeing his speech as a veiled declaration of the “Islamic Republic of Egypt”. The new Caliph is in town, he gets make new rules and execute them at will. 

Many do not yet see it, but this is bad news for the revolution and the revolutionaries. Combining executive and legislation powers and having substantial influence over the judiciary is quite worrying. Morsi has more power than Mubarak ever did. History teaches us that power,once obtained, is rarely ceded without a fight.


The Strength of Protests and the Dearth of Leadership

Thousands gathered last night in Tahrir to expresses their anger and frustration with the verdict of life in prison for Mubarak and his henchman Habib El-Adly, the ex-minister of interior. Their anger was not driven so much by a desire to execute both men, but by the fact those who carried out the orders to kill the protesters are walking free due to lack of evidence. Their was plenty of outrage that the evidence that was supposed to implicate those murderers were tampered with my police. Imagine if you are being put on trial and asked to come forth with evidence that would implicate you! The setup is ludicrously abusrd and is truly symbolic of the messy transition to democracy that has been lead by the generals of the supreme council of the armed forces (SCAF). This transition has been at best circuitous and at worst truly retrograde.

There was more on the minds protesters in Tahrir last night than the verdict of Mubark’s trial. They have been reexamining what has happened since Feb 11, 2011 when Murbark formally stepped down and SCAF took over. The mood of  many who took part in the early days of revolution has been terribly somber since the outcome of the first round on presidential elections came out. Due to a divided revolutionary vote, the two remaining candidates in the presidential race were the least favored the majority. The democratic process had failed them. Many felt their revolutionary dreams are slipping away and they are being robbed of hope.

The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) saw in the popular expression of  discontent  an excellent opportunity to rejoin the revolutionary fold and secure support for their presidential candidate. The MB’s Morsi, declared that under his presidency a retrial will be carried out and new damning evidence will be presented. However, many of the revolutionaries still see the MB along with SCAF have been accomplices in setting Egypt on an incredibly tortuous  path of democratic transition possible. Here are but a few examples:

  • The MB threw their weight entirely behind seriously flawed constitutional amendments in March 2011.
  • The MB sat on their hands as 
    • thousands were being subject to military trial,
    • women protester were subject to forced virginity tests
    • killing and eye gouging were going on in and around Tahrir last November and December
  • The MB parliamentarians have 

The so called “liberal” and “leftist” parties have also done little in terms of pushing for laws that would satisfy the stated demands of the  revolution. However, their poor performance has drawn less popular ire than the Islamists since they are quite defuse and have little claim on real power. The revolution’s demands have yet to be convincingly adopted by any of the dominant political parties. 

During the first round of the presidential elections, there where three candidates who managed to attract the support of the revolutionary voters. The liberal-Islamist Abou El-Fetouh, the Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahi, and the leftist Khalid Ali collectively received more votes than any of the two finalists.  Hence, many now feel cheated by the voting process and disappointed that those three did not combine forces.

The discontent is real and growing, as I write these lines throngs in Tahrir are calling for a five person presidential council that would include Morsi, Sabahi, Abou El-Fetouh, Khalid Ali, and El-Baradei. The governing laws of this council remain unclear, and it is really doubtful if Morsi will concede to those demands. We are at an impasse were no politician is willing to step-up propose a workable way out and lead.


Democracy a’ la SCAF

As I write these lines, members of the first “post-revolutionary” parliament are being sworn in. Most TV stations are calling it the “revolution’s parliament”. The process of democratic transition is almost complete. We should be seeing a new president being sworn in a six months or so, and we should be well on our way to becoming the largest democracy in the Arab world. The Islamists now dominate parliament, and that should take the sting out of their bitterness after decades of marginalization. A casual observer of international news would conclude that the world now is  safer and more stable, with freedom and justice for all. A cause for celebration? Not really.

We have endured decades of faux democracy and many of us are smelling the familiar stench of oppression in the air. I am not trying to imply here that the Islamists will be the new oppressors (although that is not entirely unlikely) or that Egypt is on its way to become another Iran, Afghanistan, or Iraq. Egypt is subject to a different set of dynamic forces that will push it along its own peculiar trajectory. Historical analogies are of little value in our current situation.

The ruling junta, or the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) have made many statements where they declared that they have little interest in power. They often repeated that they would like to be honest custodians of democratic transition. Many believe that to be a lie.  Scratch a bit beneath the surface and  many unsavory facts start to ooze out:

  • There are over ten thousand Egyptians who are locked up in prison after  kangaroo (aka military) trials, while the ones involving Mubarak and his coterie are proceeding at a snail’s pace. Those thousands are placed in military prison facilities that are beyond dreadful.
  • Activist and groups the where at the forefront of the revolution are being targeted by SCAF. Some of the have been imprisoned, others “temporarily detained”.
  • Many of the families of the martyrs of the revolution are left without any form of support despite promises to the contrary. Many of the wounded have been denied proper medical care.
  • Many of the wounded and the families of the fallen have been subject to threats and have been offered “blood money” to stay hush about all the atrocities the have been committed.
  • SCAF had conducted a Goebbelsian propaganda war against protesters, shifting the blame on them for all the ills of the country and accusing them of being agents of unidentified foreign powers. 
  • Coptic Christians and have been subject to numerous attacks on their houses of worship. The perpetrators of the attacks were seldom prosecuted. Thirty protesters were killed during  a peaceful demonstration against this injustice. Furthermore, the SCAF controlled media incited violence against the Copts during the protests.
  • Protesters have been dragged into violent confrontation with security forces in November and December, resulting in the death of over fifty five and the maiming of countless hundreds.
  • All SCAF promises for a swift investigation of abuses by security forces since Feb 2011 have been reneged.
  • No serious effort has been put in chasing Egypt’s billions that have been siphoned by the ruling cleptocracy.
  • Thanks to SCAF appointments almost all the mayors of Egypt’s governorates are either ex-military or ex-police.
  • Over the past ten month many key position in various ministries have been taken up by ex-military men.
  • It is becoming patently obvious that SCAF never wants to be held accountable to the people. It will meddle with the process of “democratic transition” to achieve that end.
  • Electoral law prohibits the use of religious slogans in political campaigning, but the rules were flaunted by the Islamists with SCAF’s apparent blessing. The Islamists relied heavily on their platform in the mosques for political campaigning. This reeks of “special deals”.
  • In Feb 2011, SCAF promised a swift plan for full democratic transition with a deadline of six months. They are six months behind schedule and the date for “full” handover may even slip if not for the continued pressure for the protestors.
  • And Finally, members of parliament are swearing to uphold and protect an ambiguous constitution (there are doubts if it is SCAF’s constitutional declaration, the seemingly defunct/amended 1971 constitution, or the one they will help draft).

We will not settle for nothing but genuine democracy. We can not build the foundations of a new Egypt on lies and deception. The revolution continues.


Alaa Abd El-Fattah to face further charges

=====Update!!! I  learned that some of the charges in the Shorouk  article that I translated  were not levied against Alaa, but were against others who were summoned alongside  him. The reporter in Shorouk failed to make that distinction. I would like to thank Moftasa for double checking the information and going through the trouble transcribing the lawyer’s statements. Find this and more at his  blog post here.

According to an article in Shorouk New, activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah is to face further charges for the bloody events that unfolded on October 9. It says (translated verbatim):

Shorouk news has received detailed information about the questioning/interrogation that were conducted by the high “emergency” prosecutor’s office with activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah. The latter being accused in the events that took place in Maspero (in-front of the state TV building) on the 9th of October; during which 27 lost their lives and 350 were injured. The number of accused persons, others than Alaa, in relations  to theses events stands at 31, and the case is numbered 391/2011.

The details that we have obtained reveal that three more charges have been pressed against Alaa, most alarmingly  is “willful killing for the purposes of executing a terrorist act”. This brings the total number of charges against Alaa to to twelve.

Abd El-Fattah arrived to the questioning session under heavy security from Tora prison, where he is incarcerated. The questioning session lasted for five hours nonstop. The head of the prosecutor’s office, Khaled Diaa’, along with general councilors Taher El-Kholy and Tamer El-Fergany, and also councilor Hisham Badawy who head the appeals court, have decided that Alaa should be detained for fifteen more days.

The head of the prosecutor’s office accused  Abd El-Fattah  of the following charges:

  1. Congregating with five others for the purposes of committing crimes
  2. Attacking uniformed men and violently resisting them 
  3. Violence, by carrying knives and fire arms that could cause death
  4. Willful killing for the purposes of executing a terrorist act
  5. Attempting  forceful entry of a public building (State Television at Maspero) 
  6. Attacking civil  servants
  7. Attacking persons, resulting in the death of conscript Mohamed Ali Sheeta
  8. Stealing under duress weapons and ammunition belonging to the armed forces
  9. Carrying unlicensed firearms 
  10. Purposefully vandalizing public buildings to realize terroristic ends
  11. Carrying “implements’ that can be used to attack person 
  12. Using such “implements” to disrupt public order. 

Abd El-Fattah categorically denied all the above charges. He insisted that he was not around while the deadly violence was taking place. He left his home that day after 9pm, i.e. three hours after the events. Abd El-Fattah stated that while the events were unfolding he was following an Arab bloggers  conference that  taking place in Tunisia. He latter met one of his friends at a subway station and left for Maspero. By the time he arrived there were no army personnel in the vicinity.

He added that he saw a number of thugs attacking the protesting Copts, afterwards a detachment from the central security services arrived and cordoned-off the Coptic protesters.  Later he left for Tahrir square.

Alaa made a point of mentioning the the military prosecutors office summoned him fourteen days after the events. There were no orders to incarcerate him given the seriousness of the charges.  At the time Alaa was out of the country and his family made a request to prosecutor to delay the summon. Upon his return, Alaa went to the military prosecutor’s  office where he was shocked to learn of the charges levied against him. He refused to acknowledge the military prosecutor’s authority in that case and was detained for fifteen days.

The prosecutors presented Alaa with “eyewitness” testimonies of Abdelaziz Fahmy (member of “Egypt the Free” party), and reporter Hana Khawasek.

Fahmy testified that on that day he was heading to the his party’s headquarters in Kasr El-Ainy St. to get some papers. On his way he learned about the large demonstration taking place at Maspero. He added that when he got there he found members of the April 6 youth movement and throngs of activists. The situation got more violent he saw members of the armed forces who were there to protect the building viciously attacked. He said, “while at Abdel Moniem Reyad Square I saw Alaa Abd El-Fatttah and number of his friends, including Wael Abbas and Baha Saber”. Fahmy insisted that “Alaa was agitating against the army since the 9th of March and that I heard him in Tahrir saying ‘We will teach the Army…we will cut off its hands'”. He added, “I saw Alaa with his friends mercilessly beating up a soldier and taking away his machine gun. Alaa then ran with it towards the Nile  and probably threw it there. Alaa then got into a car the left after he and his friends inflamed the situation.”

The second witness, Hanan Khawasik, said: “I swear I saw Alaa stealing a weapon from an armored personal carrier (APC) that was on the 6th of October bridge”. She added she wrote an article about those events titled “For God and Country”. She expressed her staunch support of SCAF “because they protect the country” and that she “fears none and he testimony is for God and country.” Khawasik finally mentioned that she saw Alaa carrying a machine gun and there were others with him at Abdel Moniem Reyad Square.

Alaa responded “those testimonies are devoid of any truth, and they are very contradictory. The first witness saw me with Wael Abbas and this can not be true. Wael was at the time in Tunisia and he only arrived to Cairo much later that day.
The second witness’ account of what shape and form of the APC was absurd as what she described is a truck and not an APC.”

Alaa added that “a further evidence of their perjury is that one witness claimed that I threw the weapon in the Nile, while the other saw me carrying it was at  Abdel Moniem Reyad Square.”

Alaa’s father, Ahmed Sief El-Islam, requested that the “general prosecutor listen to the the defense’s witnesses. They are Wael Abaas, who was arriving that day from Tunisia on flight number 844K (details easily verifiable with the airline company),  Alaa’s sister Sana Seif, his mother Laila Soueif and his wife Manal Bahi El-Deen Hassan.

Seif El-Islam request that  an investigative judge  preside over the case as there is mounting evidence from  national council for human rights that a number  of military officials are implicated in that case.

Seif El-Islam, added, “the prosecutor general office could bend under the pressure from the military in a manner that would prejudice them against the accused, hence I demand that an investigative judge take over”. He also asked that mobile operators should come forth with the logs of Alaa Abdel Fattah’s phone and the prosecutor’s two witnesses during the period from 5 to 9 pm.  He also demanded the the surveillance tapes in-front of Maspero and the Egyptian Museum be brought forth as they will show that Alaa was not present while the violence was taking place. He added that Alaa’s Facebook and twitter status update are further evidence of his son’s innocence.


مصر ما بعد المجلس العسكرى

أكتب هذه االمدونة  وآالاف من المتظاهرين فى ميدان التحرير يعانون من وابل من الغازات المسيلة للدموع و ما هو أخطر. أنهم يجاهدون بإرادة حديدية من أجل ان يحافظوا على الميدان. أجد نفسى أحاول ان احكم القبضة على حبال أفكارى وبين الحين و الأخر أحاول ان اطمئن على أصدقائى و رفقائى فى الميدان. وبينما يسقط أنبل و أشجع شباب مصر ما بين قتيل و جريح يتجلى بوضوح شديد حتمية تنحى المجلس العسكرى. هذا الأمر ليس محل جدل عقيم او حتى إستفتاء خادع. هذه الحتمية يفرضها العقل و المنطق و الحد الأدنى من الإحساس و الإنسانية. كيف يمكن ان نثق فى قيادة سياسية تستبيح القتل و التنكيل بمن يعارضونها كيف يمكن أن نثق أنها قادرة على إدارة عملية التحول الديمقراطى؟ أى جرأة و إنعدام المشاعر هذه التى تمكن المشير طنطاوى من ان يعلن عن وعود بتسليم السلطة بينما قواته شارعة فى مهاجمة و قتل المتظاهرين السلميين؟ خطايا المجلس العسكرى المتنامية يمكن تعويلها على سوء إدارة سياسية فادح أو كما يرى البعض هى تغليب المصلحة الشحصية  بما يعرض الوطن لمخاطر جسيمة.  

فى أى من الأحول تنحى المجلس اصبح  أمرا لا مفر منه. الثوار لن يرضوا بما هو أقل من ذلك. السؤل المهم هو كيف يمكن أن يحدث ذلك دون إحداث ما هو أسوأ منه؟  في هذا السياق يبرز عدد من القضايا الشائكة، وأتناولها كالتالي و يجب مواجهاتها والتغلب على ما يذخر فيها من تحديات من أجل ان يتم نقل السلطة بطريقة سريعة و منظمة

  1.  تشبث المجلس بالسلطة
  2. الألية التى سوف تعطى السلطة الجديدة شرعيتها
  3. آلية تسمح للشعب مراقبة عملية التحول الديمقرطى والتعبير عن رؤيته لتكون موازية ومتكاملة مع المجالس النيابية، وسأوضح لماذا لا يكفي في هذه المرحلة أن تكون المجالس النيابية هي الآلية المنفردة بالمراقبة الشعبية.

قبل تصريح طنطاوى و الهجوم الشرس الذى تلاه كان العقل الجمعى فى التحرير مستغرقا فى تأمل دقيق لهذه القضايا من خلال الاف المناقشات التى كانت تجرى فى الميدان. كثير من هذه المناقشات كانت تجرى فى اجواء من الجدية شديدة. كانت هذه اللحظات الغالية التى يتاح فيها لجموع الشعب المصرى -من كل طبقاته و إنتمائاته الإيديولوجية- بالتحدث والنقاش يتم دفع ثمنها من دماء انبل و أطهر شباب مصر. أحاول فى السطور القادمة ان اقدم قراءتى للتحرك الأمثل من وحى هذه النقاشات.

تشبث المجلس بالسلطة
نعلم بدون ادنى شك ان المجلس العسكرى لن يتنازل عن السلطة بسهولة. من المرجح ان كل عضو فى هذا المجلس الشديد الإرتباط بمبارك وعائلته كان له دور فى منظومة الفساد. سياستهم التى تبدوا متخبطة ما هى إلا محاولة لكسب وضع خاص فى المنظومة السياسية القادمة تجنبهم اى نوع من المساءلة. كانت محاولتهم دءوبة من أجل تسويق منظومة “ديمقراطية” مغشوشة، وهو ما تؤكده الأحداث المتوالية منذ تولي المجلس العسكري مهماته الرئاسية والتي كان الشعب يئن ولكنه يصبر انتظارا لبصيص من النور دون أن يقع في مواجهة مباشرة مع المجلس على قدر المستطاع. إلى أن جاءت مذابح التحرير الحالية والتي يصعب معها التسامح أو طأطأة الرأس أو تسمية الأشياء بغير مسمياتها. هناك إجماع بين الثوار ان القصاص ضرورى، ولكن كيف؟ إن التصورات الموجودة والناتجة عن الغضب المشروع قد تؤدي إلى  تكلفة باهظة هذه بعض النتائج المحتملة التي يرفضها العقل والمصلحة العامة للوطن.

  • معارك طاحنة مسلحة مع بعض قطاعات الجيش المصرى وقوات الأمن و الدمار الناتج عنها
  • نقلاب عسكرى يعيد إنتاج ديكتاتورية جديدة
  • إنقسامات داخل الجيش تهدد أمن مصر الوطنى
  • حرب أهلية من بعض القوى التى راهنت على بقاء المجلس و عملت معه مساومات

ولأن هذه النتائح لن تصل بنا إلى ما نصبو إليه ونحلم به ، لهذه الأسباب فإن المصلحة العليا تقتضى ان نعطى العفو التام لأعضاء المجلس من المساءلة. اعلم ان هذا الكلام من الصعب جداً تقبله و لكنه تطبيق لحكمة سان تزو التى تقول:

إبنى للأعداء جسورا من ذهب لينسحبوا من المعركة.

ولذا يصبح المطلب الرئيسي الآن المطالبة من المجلس بتسليم سلطاته الرئاسية بسلام ضمان سلامة أعضائه وعدم مساءلتهم. ويصبح السؤال هو من الذي سيتولى شئون إدارة البلاد سياسيا؟

السلطة الجديدة و شرعيتها
كثر الجدل عن المجلس الرئاسى المدنى و من سيكون ضمن أعضائه. أليه إختيار الأعضاء غير واضحة و إن كان البعض يدعوا أن يكون هذا المجلس مكونا من كل المرشحين المحتملين للرئاسة، وهناك أراء أخرى لن أتعرض لها بالتفصيل فهي موجودة على الساحة، ولكن الإجماع يتمحور في إيجاد أي بديل يحل محل المجلس العسكري
و لكن بدون ألية واضحة لأختيار أعضاء هذا المجلس قد تدخل البلاد فى دوامة التطاحن السياسى. و كثيرون من السخفاء سوف يعلنون حربا شرسة على “ديكتاتورية الميدان” الذي قاد البلاد إلى تخلي المجلس العسكري عن الرئاسة ، وندخل في غياهب الظلام والشلل من جديد.

وقد يرى البعض أن الحل يكمن في تكوين  المجلس الرئاسى عن طريق نظام الإنتخاب الترتيبى(ranked voting method). ميزة المجلس الرئاسى المنتخب بهذه الطريقة أنه سيكون ممثلا لكل التيارات السياسية المصرية و الأمل ان يخلق هذا نوعا من التوافق يمهد الطريق لدستور توافقى. و لكن هناك تخوف من أن يجد هذا المجلس صعوبة شديدة فى التحرك و إتخاذ القرارت و أن يكون بذلك غير قادر على قيادة عملية التحول الديمقراطى بشكل فعال.

ممكن كبديل للمجلس الرئاسة المدنى ان ننتخب رئيسا للبلاد تكون فترة رئاسته سنتين  و لا تجدد. انا أفضل هذا الطرح حيث ان سرعة إتخاذ القرار فى هذه المرحلة ضرورى.

سيكون هذا الرئيس منوط فى الأساس بإنجاز هذه المهام:
إرساء قواعد التحول الديمقراطى فى البلاد و ما يصحبها من خطوات ضرورية من أجل  التحول من دولة أفراد لدولة مؤسسات.
إعادة بناء وزارة الدخلية بما يحقق الأمن و الأمان مع ضمان كل الحريات المدنية
تدعيم الثقة فى إقتصاد البلاد و مسار التحول الديمقراطي.

بدون شفافية و بدون رقابة من المرجح ان يبعد الرئيس  عن تطلعات الشعب و ما يصاحب ذلك من موجات غضب عارمة. فى الظروف العادية يكون مجلس الشعب هو القائم بهذا الدور و لكن فى ظل الظروف الحالية و إلى ان تستقر الخريطة السياسية لمصر ندى شك من قدرة المجلس النيابي القادم على القيام بهذا الدور. السبب الرئيسى فى ذلك انه لم يتاح للشعب بعد الفرصة لتكوين أحزاب فاعلة وناضجة سياسيا لتكوين برامج واضحة وممكن تحقيقها. ثانيا النظام الإنتخابى الحالى الشديد التعقيد لا يتيح للشعب أن يعبر عن إرادته، لأن اختياراته ستكون عشوائية أكثر منها نتاج لتفكير في البرامج المقدمة لها من الأحزاب الموجودة.  وللتغلب على هذه المعضلات أجد أن الحل يكمن فى الديمقراطية المباشرة و ذلك من اجل ان تعبر جموع المواطنين عن رأيهم فى كافة السياسات. تنظيم القدرة على الآطلاع من قبل متخذي القرارة على أراء الجماهير دون مظاهرات أو احتجاجات يتطلب فكرا إبداعيا، وأحد الافتراحات التي أقدمها تتعلق ببناء نظام معلوماتي  يتيح الأتى

  1. التعبير عن المشاكل الملحة من جموع المواطنين و التصويت على بدائل الحلول
  2. إطلاع  المواطنين ف  على السياسات التى يتم وضعها من خلال نشرها على مواقع إلكترونية معروفة. 
  3. تلخيص و تصينف كافة شكاوى المواطنين من أجل تحديد الأولويات و تنظيم البت فيها.

 هذا النظام المقترح ممكن بلورته بشكل دقيق فى المستقبل و لكن هذه هى  خطوطه العريضة.

يجب ان نطالب بالأتى:
تنحى المجلس العسكرى مع العفو عن كل أعضائه
انتخاب رئيس جمهورية إنتقالى نظام معلومات يسمح بالديمقراطية المباشرة مع وجود مجلس تشريعى موازى.

ارجو من قارئى هذه المدونة  تناول هذا المقترحات بمداخلات تزيد من بلورة الفكرة أو تقدم حلولا أخرى كما أرجو منهم  نشرها على قدر الإستطاعة إذا وجدوا هذه الإقتراحات مقبولة.

لا يكمننا ان نفقد زمام المبادرة هذه المرة!


Post SCAF Egypt

As I write this post thousands of protesters in Tahrir are under a barrage of tear gas fighting with steely determination to maintain control over the square. I struggle to maintain my focus as I constantly check on safety of my  friends. While many continue to lose life and limb it is becoming patently clear that the supreme council of the armed forces (SCAF) MUST step down from political office. This is not a matter for academic debate or national referendum. It is a self evident fact that demands but a grain of sense and a smidgen of basic human decency. How can political leadership that brutally murders those who disagree with it policies be trusted with democratic transformation? How can SCAF’s head, Tantawy, be any position to make promises to the Egyptian people while his forces are engaged in pitched battles with those who are doing their best to keep there protest as peaceful as possible? SCAF’s sins are too numerous to recount and if one was ridiculously generous it would put down due to gross incompetence, though many now see their actions are treasonous.

SCAF’s quick departure is now a forgone conclusion. The protesters will settle for nothing less. The question is how? What we need is a rapid and orderly transfer of power. In order to do that the following issues must be addressed:

  1. SCAF’s hold on power.
  2. The process by which SCAF’s replacement will have legitimacy.
  3. The system in place that would insure that the process of democratic transition will go smoothly and be subject to public scrutiny.
Before Tantawy’s speech and the massive tear gas attack that followed, the collective mind of Tahrir was engaged in deep consideration of those issues through thousands of discussion around the square. Many of those discussion were held with the utmost seriousness and sense of urgency.  Those precious moments today in Tahrir were only sustained by the hemorrhaging of the country’s bravest and noblest on entrances of Tahrir. I will attempt here to present my perspective on the ideas that have been put forth. We need to crystallize a consensus on those issues soon. We can not afford to lose initiative at this crucial point in time.

SCAF’s hold on power
Without a doubt SCAF will not step down easy. Each member of SCAF probably has loads of skeletons in their closet. They are also burdened by glaring present sins. Their apparent fumbling with the process of democratic transition seem to have been put themselves in a privileged political position that would make them immune to any form of scrutiny. They were trying to do this will peddling a very adulterated faux democracy. 
The principled revolutionary would argue that we can not let them get away with their crimes. However, the cost of doing that might be too expensive. We risk the following:
  • Pitched battles with army with the wide scale destruction that would ensue
  • A coup d’etat that would results in either a new dictator power or
    at the very least a very serious threat to Egypt’s national security 
  • Civil war with those whose who have put all of the marbles in SCAF lap (hint: many Islamists)

It hence seems that the rational (though definitely not moral) thing to do is to declare full amnesty to SCAF members, we should give them a clean a smooth exist. As Sun Tzu would put it 

Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across

The structure and legitimacy of the new transitional authority
Many are talking about presidential council and putting forth names. There seems to be a consensus on this as way the forward. However the mechanism for selecting members for this council is not clear. Some  say, lets through in all the current presidential hopefuls. Anything but SCAF.
However, without a clear mechanism for selecting that council, the country will be incapacitated by serious bickering. Many indolent pundits will call it the “dictatorship of Tahrir”. Democracy often needs a bit of bootstrapping and there is many instances were it starts of by undemocratic means. However, we will need to concede even to those who like to put revolutionaries who are shedding blood for new Egypt and politicly complacent couch potatoes on equal footing. We can not afford to be patronising, even to arm chair analysts who are often drawing their information from the SCAF controlled Goebbelsian propaganda machine.

Hence what is need is an elected council. This could be done by a ranked voting
The downside of the presidential council is that the decision making process is likely to be lengthy. The upside is that as an outcome of the election the council will have representatives from all the major Egyptian political streams and that (with a bit of luck) they could lay the foundations of consensus that will be essential for our new constitution.

The mandate of this council would be to primarily:
1. Lay down the foundations for democratic transition
2. Rebuild/Reform the ministry of interior
3. Establish confidence necessary political and economic stability

An alternative to this scenario is to just elect a new transitory president with a two year term. Unity of command will allow for rapid decision making and will spare us fractionation which we do not need at this point. The president with the exact same mandate as the council a s/he will be able be the face of Egypt in the next couple of years and conduct delicate negotiations with foreign powers in a
manner that presidential council might not achieve. I am more in favour of that
option, though the idea has yet to gain sufficient currency.

The system
Without enough transparency and without a modicum of checks and balances, the new president/council are likely to go wayward and more instability will ensue. Normally, a parliament job is to do exactly that. However, I am doubtful that our first parliament will be up to the task (the reasons are worthy of lengthy post). It is hence my believe that a minimal degree of direct democracy will be needed. This may be achieve by a requisite IT infrastructure that will include
means for:

  1. Expressing group concerns and voting on them.
  2. Voting on specific policies that put forth by the president/council
  3. Summarising and clustering the various opinions to detect festering problem areas.

The president/council must answer to top concerns presented by system on weakly basis. They might be a bit of hand-waving, but I believe we should get the best management, political science and IT experts in the country to build such a system.

To sum up
We should call for:

  1. A quick departure with amnesty for SCAF
  2. An elected president or presidential council (we have to decide on which one we would perfer)
  3. A system that would allow for direct democracy in parallel with parliament (to be worked out will the presidential election are taking place)
I urge my readers to share this if they believe it to be worthy, or expresses the objections or comments below.