Any new democracy makes mistakes, letter by Prof Bulent Gokay

DSC_4483(Financial Times, August 26, 2013) I am surprised to read Ezzedine Choukri Fishere’s rather confused attempt to whitewash the violent military coup that destroyed every last remnants of infant democracy in Egypt (“Egyptians will no longer put up with authoritarians”, August 21).

He cites “legislating anti-democratic laws, restricting liberties [and] imposing an autocratic constitution” as among the crimes of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood won power fairly and democratically through the common vote, for the first time in the troubled history of Egypt. They made mistakes, many mistakes, of course. No government is perfect and, more importantly, democracy has a learning curve that takes time and requires patience.

No matter how many mistakes Mohamed Morsi’s government made, its regime remained within the boundaries of the constitutional democracy. Such mistakes and setbacks are typical of the democratic process.

With time and experience, the rule of law would improve, and the dividends of democracy would trickle down. It does not matter where you live – in Europe, North America, or Middle East – the learning curve is the same: steep, full of setbacks, and slow. However, this is the only way to establish a democratic system: with patience and compromise, not through the barrel of a gun.

Bulent Gokay

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