Egypt Independent

The fourth entitlement



The three entitlements of the roadmap that was adopted by the various national forces on 3 July 2013 were a new civil constitution to replace the one crafted by the Muslim Brotherhood in 2012, a presidential election and a parliamentary election. 

 
It was not just a roadmap. It was a reflection of the country's identity and the desire of its people to determine a path for the state. But its price was paid with the blood of the victims of the army, the police and innocent civilians. For the Muslim Brotherhood had decided either to rule or burn down the whole country. And so they burned churches, attacked state institutions and killed citizens. It was not a price paid in Egypt alone, but also abroad where Egypt’s image was brutally marred.
 
The confrontation ended with a defeated Brotherhood, and the first and second entitlements of the roadmap, namely the referendum on the constitution in January 2014 and the election of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in June 2014, were accomplished.
 
Despite difficulties, the economy began to recover, as many international institutions have testified, and the marred image of Egypt has changed. 
 
The number of opposers did not decrease, but the number of supporters increased, so did their logic with each step taken in the building of a civil state. 
 
In fact, building a civil state is the fourth entitlement. For revolutions produce change, not the kind that curses previous regimes and generations, but that brings more efficient, democratic and stable conditions.
 
The political philosopher Leo Strauss once said that the essence of politics is to change for the better, for if change would pull us backward, then maintaining the status quo would be better.
 
Perhaps this the problem of the January 2011 youth who thought that mere change of leadership would accomplish their revolutionary task, even if that change hands over the country to the most reactionary and sectarian group that is hostile to Christians, younger generations and women. Perhaps that is why they did nothing more other than chasing the remnants of the regime they had toppled, thinking the revolution would have no meaning or reason if they did not do so.
 
The meaning and the reason are in the fourth entitlement to build a state that achieves higher growth rates and distributes wealth better than before. For all the difficulties we currently face come from wrong policies that were adopted by previous regimes since 1952 and even during the three years that followed the revolution that did not know what kind of change it looked for.
 
Yet the harvest of the past six decades was not all in vain. We had reached a GDP of US$945 billion. It may not be much for a country with a population of 90 million, but it was enough for the revolutionaries to build on, especially that they have the advantage of the information technology that previous generations did not have, and that they are the sons of the more serious economic reform policies that were adopted in the last two decades.
 
We have to prepare for the fourth entitlement from now. In fact, it should be part of the third entitlement, which is the parliamentary election. For all the debates about that election are procedural. We never knew why certain parties formed coalitions and others withdrew from alliances. And what about the legislation needed for the Constitution? Are there different views on this that we can determine from now?
 
More important is for us to know how will we achieve economic, social and political reform. There is certainly a general vision in the president’s program. And the prime minister, who never sleeps, always talks about major projects. But should not the political parties adopt this with strategies and mechanisms? 
 
The election is believed to end up preyed by tribalism and political capital. This is an intrinsic part of our political fabric that could be overcome with the fourth entitlement. With it, much can be achieved, even before parliament is formed.
 
 
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm