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RANYA KHALIFA: "Democracy Digest"...


"political fear" syndrome...

Posted on April 16, 2011 at 4:03 AM

Yes! The Revolution has succeeded in toppling and imprisoning Hosni Mubarak and his regime in a span of two and a half months.  But, that does not mean that Egyptians wake up every morning surfing the web for political parties to join or for civil society NGO's and organizations to volunteer for.  Should this come as any surprise after 60 years of political apathy and the almost complete absence of a functional civil society?

Would it not be great if all Egyptians enrolled in a "Democracy 101" course where they learn about the fundamental principles of democracy and civil society?  I wish there was a "crash course" all of us could take that would bring us into the 21st century of world politics.  After decades of political paralysis, it would indeed be naive on our part to think that the vast majority of Egyptians would be galvanized into political participation.  After all, the state security apparatus did so much to destroy the very fabric of Egyptian interest in politics, not because Egyptians have a low IQ, but because we feared "participation" with all that it entails.

On a personal level, I actually am debating the merits of a specific political party, but a certain "fear" inside me keeps stalling my determination to actually go to the party headquarters and fill out the application.  A part of me senses a real and palpable "fear" that I may be tracked down, followed or hurt in some way or another.  I can't seem to shake that sensation off.  I keep telling myself that this is a new "era in Egyptian modern history" and that we all need to partake in the future structure of our country.  But, after years of having so many political detainees, torture and illegal phone tapping, my mind is still struggling with the new reality of "political freedom".

It could be that the political situation in Egypt is still very fluid and that the picture is murky (to say the least).  But, even so, this very situation may be the one that should compel us to act NOW, as opposed to postponing our political participation till later.  We all need to clear our conscience and to give Egypt our best shot.  Wouldn't it be more prudent to say that we gave it our all instead of maintaining a "wait and see" approach where things don't go our way?  We will only have ourselves to blame...

Categories: Towards a Functional Civil Society...

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