… if you are trying to build something new from the scratch – like the people in Tunisia and in Egypt do. And in Lybia.
They have the chance to build a new democracy.
A democracy the people can believe in, a democracy which includes new fresh faces, new principles such as participation, transparency, reputation, equality, sharism … where people count, not necessarily money. Where many – not to say all – benefit from.
Why aren’t we patient and give them all the time they need to re-build their country?
Why don’t we support them to think in “new” ways?
And find something new for ourselves along these processes.
The protest in the so-called “Western” world clearly show that the kind of democracy we are facing needs an overhaul as well …
Why is there this urgency in new elections? In building a “new” government?
Belgium is without a government since 2010 and is still “running”.
Can these governments be “new” after thirty or more years of dictatorship?
In a dictatorship there is no such a thing as an opposition!
The opposition is usually send to jail.
Something “new” has to evolve!
We have to disenthrall ourselves to become able to think anew!
We are talking here about a very significant change in culture, in the mindsets of people.
And this can’t be achieved in a 7 month period.
But we are demanding it!
I don’t understand why.
Just think about when the Berlin Wall fell.
How long did it take to “unify” East and West under peaceful and wealthy conditions?
Some people would argue it’s still in progress. 22 years later!
And the way it was done wasn’t very democratic. Was it?
People weren’t ask.
It was done for them.
But participation wasn’t a real option back then.
This is different today.
So what can we do? How could such a process look like?
Take Egypt as an example.
- Analyze exactly what are/were the reasons people go/went out on the streets and protest?
- Take these problems seriously and tackle them!
- Go to the roots of the problems!
- Trust the people and enable them to come up with their own solutions!
- Let them build their own local infrastructure and support them by doing so!
- If they build it by themselves, they will support it!
- Let them fail! They will learn from their failures and do better in the future!
- Invest in enabling people and NOT in military tools and infrastructure to protect them!
- It means investing in education, investing in local, small businesses.
- It means build upon the diversity on what Egypt has to offer and NOT was the “Western” world needs.
- Existing “democracies” shouldn’t teach them what to do, but enable them to realize their own ideas!
- They should teach them about the mistakes they’ve made and learn together how to do it better!
- Form some kind of “transition committee” – based on transparency, participation and openness – which deals as contact for any kind of (foreign) aid
- Invite other countries to participate!
- And give them time!
I think Egypt can play more than other country in the Arab World a key role in this transition phase. Simply because of its tremendous history! It’s been a role model many times …
I highly recommend to read David Sims‘ book “Understanding Cairo – The Logic of a City out of Control”. He analyzes in detail how the “informal” structures are working and functioning and gives many examples in housing, road construction and basic infrasstructure, smal businesses.