Egyptian Example Shows Need for Homegrown Democratization in the Middle East

By Oweiss, Ibrahim M. | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 2005 | Go to article overview

Egyptian Example Shows Need for Homegrown Democratization in the Middle East


Oweiss, Ibrahim M., Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


"Democratizing" the Middle East-one of the Bush administration's primary foreign policy objectives-has been presented as an integral part of the overall war against terrorism. Regardless of where one stands concerning the link between the two issues, however, it seems reasonable to conclude that the former is a worthy cause in itself.

But in order for this endeavor to achieve its intended results, it must be pursued as a collaborative effort in which the governments and societies of the Middle East themselves lead the process of reform, supported by the United States and the international community as a whole, rather than a case of one side prescribing formulas and dictating terms to the other under a shadow of coercion.

Another prerequisite for the success of this policy is the realization that not all Middle Eastern countries are the same-and, in fact, are at varying stages of evolution regarding their political development.

Egypt, for example, recently has been undergoing an inclusive process of introspection and critical evaluation aimed at introducing needed political reform.

The current internal debate in Egypt reveals a close national consensus for a gradual, sustainable process of reform that starts by ensuring the creation of the necessary political and cultural precursors in the form of sound democratic institutions: namely, representative political parties, freedom of expression whether in media or otherwise, an independent judiciary, and an empowered civil society. It is worth mentioning in this regard that The Egyptian High Constitutional Court dissolved two successive parliaments-in 1987, as a result of electoral irregularities in the 1984 elections, and in 1990, because of the absence of legal supervision of election booths in the 1987 elections.

Another feature of this process upon which all actors on the Egyptian political scene seem to agree is that political reform is a domestic affair. While outside support and assistance are needed, a prescriptive approach to a clearly domestic issue such as political reform is highly objectionable, as it would be to any people, and as the Lebanese most recently have demonstrated.

Thus far the reform process in Egypt has borne some positive results. The country now has a relatively liberal and open media where a large number of opposition newspapers freely express their views on any issue. There also are a growing number of privately owned and managed television networks operating freely from official control. Satellite television is available to all, and Internet access is widely accessible. An expanding civil society is scrutinizing government policies in every field. Indeed, it is worth noting that on June 19, 2003 law No. 94 created an independent National Council for Human Rights, with a membership comprising some of the most vocal critics of the Egyptian government.

American policy should be fashioned as a choice between a policy driven by interests and one that upholds values.

On gender issues, there are yet several lingering social and cultural impediments, and many aspects that must be boldly faced. Nevertheless, Egyptian women have been politically active and have had the right to vote and to hold office for the better part of the last century.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Egyptian Example Shows Need for Homegrown Democratization in the Middle East
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.