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July 10, 2013

Conflict in Egypt could lead to democracy and independence

by Sarah Trunk, Staff Writer
Last week was the 4th of July. A time for eating too many hot dogs, spending time with friends and family and, most importantly, celebrating our country's independence. But what about countries who are still fighting for freedom?

One such country is Egypt. Last Wednesday, Egypt's military forcibly removed their president, Mohammed Morsi, from power, replacing him with chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Andly Mansour. The military also suspended the constitution and decided to hold a new election. Although this coup was hardly peaceful democracy in action and will likely lead to huge amounts of conflict, if executed correctly, it might be just what Egypt needs to become a stronger and more representative country.

Removing President Morsi from power was definitely a step forward because he didn't represent the views of all of the people. He just barely managed to get elected after the Arab Spring in 2011. This was because the revolution in Egypt failed to back one specific candidate, leaving the choice between Morsi and a member of the former ruler's regime. Since then, he has made several divisive, unpopular decisions, such as making himself essentially immune to the Constitution and judicial review in November and breaking many of his campaign promises. Some of his cabinet members have resigned in objection and there were widespread demonstrations and protests calling for the end of Morsi's reign before he was ousted last week.

Egypt has a lot to do if they want their plans to be a success. Mansour has declared that new elections will take place no later than February 2014. He has also set up a "road map" that outlines first a revision of the constitution, a parliamentary election and then a presidential election, as Steven Cook said in PBS NewsHour . Hopefully this will lead to compromise and peace, and not a civil war.

But, as with any large revolution, the upheaval isn't over yet. There is plenty of fighting and turmoil that has only gotten worse. The people of Egypt are still disagreeing and protesting and trying to come to an agreement about what to do now. The Muslim Brotherhood, of which Mohammed Morsi was a prominent member, refuses to accept Mansour as president. This has led to even more protests and means that they won't recognize Mansour's plans or his cabinet appointees.

So much so, in fact, that the interim president's choices for prime minister and vice president might not be finalized due to lack of popular support, according to BBC . After several protesters were killed during a sit-in on monday, Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are also protesting the eradication of Islamist Morsi and the control of the military forces.

The Egyptian military has also shut down media outlets that support President Morsi, according to the Index on Censorship. This is somewhat hypocritical, considering that President Morsi was infamous for stifling many journalists and media outlets himself for being anti-government. In addition, it's drawing a lot of negative attention from other countries. Index on Censorship CEO Kirsty Hughes condemned the army's censorship, saying that if their commitment was real, they would need to let all media have a voice.

Another problem that Egypt is facing is how other countries will receive this rebellion. American aid to Egypt is contingent on whether President Obama deems this a coup. Much of the United States' foreign aid goes to the Egyptian military, and it has not yet been suspended. This could be beneficial, because it might help Egypt have enough resources to successfully effect change.

All countries have times of war and strife before they finally settle on a solid plan for their government, including the United States. Although both sides of the revolution have their faults, removing President Morsi and implementing a better, solid plan is what Egypt needs to become a more peaceful, democratic nation, if only its people can work together for the benefit of everyone.



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