Discussion Paper: Review of Egypt in Crisis
After more than 30 years of authoritarian rule under Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has finally moved towards democratization – a theme that is highly apparent during the so-called Arab Spring that caused massive uprisings and protests within the nation in 2011. With resounding calls for the establishment of free and fair elections following the ouster of Mubarak, Egyptians finally succeeded in electing their first-ever democratically elected leader in 30 years, Mohammed Morsi. Morsi, a leader of the Islamic political faction Muslim Brotherhood, won the elections not through a landslide victory, but rather through a mandate highly skeptical over his opponent, a Mubarak-era minister named Ahmed Shafik. Yet, the deposal of Morsi via a military coup somewhat compelled Egypt to go back to the drawing board for another blueprint for democracy, given that its so-called “Deep State” has yet to fade out in the post-Mubarak era. How must Egypt deal with its struggle for democratization? Why was Morsi not an effective replacement for Mubarak? What are the existing political factions within Egypt that provides for its dilemma in becoming a full-fledged democracy? This analytical review of the PBS documentary film Egypt in Crisis seeks to provide answers to the foregoing questions usually asked in relation to the contemporary problem of Egypt in fulfilling democratization. Through analyzing the political factions within Egypt and the continued subjugation of Egyptians under the Deep State, this analytical review of Egypt in Crisis provides constructive evaluations and predictions pertaining to the future of democracy in the beleaguered nation (Smith & Gaviria).
Egypt in Crisis sought for an accurate depiction and analysis of the tumultuous political situation in Egypt brought forth by the Arab Spring uprisings and protests in 2011. The downfall of the Mubarak regime signaled the pent-up frustration of many Egyptians who have suffered under the authoritarian rule of Mubarak and his elements in government, particularly the military. At the same time, political factions within Egypt began uniting with one another in favor of democratization, albeit without forgetting their major differences in interests especially in terms of religion. One could not possibly ignore the turmoil, fury and pain felt by the Egyptians, as shown in Egypt in Crisis, due to their blatant refusal to allow the Mubarak regime to last further. On the field, interviews with those involved in the revolutions during the Arab Spring and experts in Egyptian politics – scholars, politicians and organizational heads, provided a holistic approach for Egypt in Crisis in its objective to document Egypt as it reels towards democratization. One may view Egypt in Crisis as a highly reliable documentary of Egyptian democratization due to its consistent timeline-based depiction of events, which gradually featured crucial elements in Egyptian politics such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Coptic Christians forming the Egyptian citizenry, and the Egyptian military and judiciary comprising the Deep State. The portrayal of the Egyptian citizenry in Egypt in Crisis was done in a balanced manner, despite the fact that it had to focus on the Muslim Brotherhood since the elected successor to Mubarak, the less prominent but nevertheless controversial Morsi, was among its key figures. The Deep State, pertaining to the elements of the Mubarak regime that has since been embedded in Egyptian politics, is thoroughly discussed in Egypt in Crisis as it seeks to explain why democratization in Egypt is currently proceeding at a stunted rate. Moreover, the coverage of the deposal of Morsi makes Egypt in Crisis an accurate depiction of the immediate situation of Egypt in the post-Mubarak era. It is through the foregoing where clarifications on the dubious nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, as Morsi and his stalwarts in parliament sought to introduce Sharia law - conflicting with the vision of a liberal democracy for Egypt, and the intensity of the Deep State as a large hindrance to Egyptian democratization, have emerged. While the accuracy of Egypt in Crisis comes from its on-the-field coverage and interviews with those deeply involved in the democratization struggles of Egypt, it inevitably emerges as a documentary antagonistic to the Deep State, particularly hostile figures such as those in the Egyptian military (Smith & Gaviria).
Comparison to Class Discussions
Egypt in Crisis thoroughly complements much of the class discussions on the emergence of Islamic political groups in the Middle East. Explaining the Arab Spring uprisings and protests required further explanation of the nature and history of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political group that regained ground in Egypt following the ouster of Mubarak. Specifically, Egypt in Crisis devoted a section focusing on the nature and history of the Muslim Brotherhood – how it came about, how it underwent persecution and how it sought to turn Egypt into an Islamic state based on Sharia law. The consistency of the foregoing details to topics presented during class discussions make Egypt in Crisis a suitable and well-researched learning supplement that is vivid yet objective in approach (Smith & Gaviria).
Conclusion: Prediction on Egyptian Democratization
Presently, political development in Egypt lies on the removal of all elements of the Mubarak regime encapsulated under the Deep State. Those who thrive under the Deep State are those who have gotten used to the malignantly corrupt ways of Mubarak and his cohorts, which in turn has illicitly benefited then through the accumulation of vast sums of wealth and interests within Egypt. Therefore, not even Morsi, whether or not he fuelled antagonism through his blatant desire to introduce Sharia law across all of Egypt, could instantly eliminated those embedded figures of the Mubarak regime. The Egyptian military, in particular, possess massive properties across Egypt and the support of the United States (US), both of which have helped legitimize their deposal of Morsi through a coup. With the military having so much influence due to the perks they received from their embedded power dating back to the Mubarak regime, it is set to remain as an influential figure in Egyptian politics that may prove beneficial or antagonistic to the move of Egypt towards democratization. Presently, as shown in Egypt in Crisis, the process of democratization still has a long way to go in Egypt (Smith & Gaviria).
Egypt in Crisis. Prod. Martin Smith & Marcela Gaviria. PBS WGBH/Boston, 2013. Online.