Saturday, April 29, 2006

Two interesting articles on the Emergency law and the Coptic Question

I would like to highly recomend Maria Golias op-ed article about the Emergency law in yeterday´s Daily Star, and Issandr Amranis new article in MERIP on the¨Coptic question¨

The emergency law in place since the founding father Mena came to power, at least that´s the feeling you have about it.

Actually a majority of Egyptians has never experienced anything else, apart from the May 1980-Oct 1981 grace period, that is to say the period which started with a referendum eight days after President Sadat assuming the Prime Ministership from Mustafa Khalil ,as well as President. The referendum included the changing of Article 2 of the constitution, making the Sha´ria the principal source of legislation, but the important thing was that the Egyptian people voted in favour of him being President for life.(yes there was a stipulation of a President only being allowed to sit for two periods). The referenda was his special way of showing that he had the support, legitimacy and love of his people, as the ¨father of the Egyptan nation¨. He used it frequently during his 11 years in office, and always won the people´s blessing no matter what question he wanted to ask the people, and always with a 90-98% approval.

It´s interesting to note that the 17 months living without the emergency law, was a time when almost every single important domestic issue was aggrevated,the economy, the conflict between the islamists, militant as well moderate and the state, the secular parties and the state, secterian tension as well as the single most impotant question of foreign policy, Palestine. This all spiraled towards Zawia al Hamra in June and the autumn of fury , with the arrests of the 1536 people of every shade of politics, religion and what have you, and finally the 6th of October.

The emergency law in it´s current form was promulgated on the eve of the disastrous al Naqsa in June 1967, but the law is from 1958, and prior to that there was other forms of martial law, altough not as ¨One size fits all¨ as the current one.

My point with talking about the period without the emergency law , is that altough that is a good step, but with a government that is reluctant to democratize, notorious for changing every law to the worse, and stalling everything as long as possible,we could still face a similar experience. But, we will probably have to stick with the old familiar way´s for at least two years more, anyhow, now that the President seems to renegade on his election promise.

Go read Issandr as well, i will probably try to comment a bit on his piece later on, but now i´m running late!

2 Comments:

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