Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. It looks like people in Egypt plan to deal with their new boss Mohammed Morsi the same way they dealt with his predecessor Hosni Mubarak a few years ago. They’re taking to the streets in mass numbers and Morsi has declared a state of emergency. Unfortunately, there has also been considerable violence, injuries and even a few deaths. There were last time, too. It’s clear why this is happening again. Mubarak was a despot and Morsi has started acting like one, too. The spark for these recent protests seems to be public hangings ordered for people who took part in a soccer riot. Mubarak was an autocrat closely tied to the west. Morsi is a theocrat closely tied to Islam. Mubarak’s friends and Morsi’s religion are simply window dressing. It seems like the Egyptian people get it. They didn’t rebel against Mubarak because of his ties to the west or lack of devotion to Islam, they rebelled because he acted like a dick for over three decades.
Their threshold for dictatorial seems to have diminished considerably. Morsi better shape up quick or it looks like he will be shipped out, too. Activists and progressives in the west could learn from Egyptian protesters. I’m not talking about violence, but rather maintaining focus on what we’re really fighting for and against. Too often we let a new leader that we helped bring to power get away with the same things we hated about their predecessor. Why? Because they bring up new issues that we also may support and deal with those, thus distracting us. They change the discourse.
In the US, it turns to social issues. Obama has no problem with two dudes marrying and neither do I. What really should be a no-brainer human rights issue gets clouded when the challenger starts talking like it’s the 50s and his associates make a bunch of really stupid and scary comments about rape. All of a sudden, people forget that Obama hired all the bankers who screwed up the economy instead of arresting them and really has a thing for predator drones. People vote for him because the other choice is just plain ridiculous. If I was American, I probably would have voted for him, unless I lived in a safe blue state, then I would have voted Roseanne. I’m not, I’m Canadian. In Canada, we’re still in our Mubarak stage. Harper is the clear enemy of anyone who is remotely progressive, we all know we need to fight him at every turn and get rid of him when his term is up (democratically, of course).
I only hope that those whoever virulently opposes Harper now won’t accept any Harper-esque tactics, ideas or policies from whomever takes his place (assuming someone does, of course). An all-out prick is so much easier to mobilize against than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In Quebec we recently overthrew our Mubarak, so to speak. The Maple Spring lead to the political demise of Jean Charest. The question now is whether Pauline Marois will go the Morsi route. Will she focus on her religion of Quebec sovereignty and la langue francaise while ignoring the rejection of austerity (tuition increase) and authoritarianism (Bill 78) that brought her to power? If she does, will people see through the distraction and take to the streets again? Only time will tell. Egypt has raised the bar. If the new boss is truly the same as the old boss where it counts, then the reaction of the people should be the same, too.