When it was announced that the Muslim Brotherhood candidate had won the presidential race, many Egyptians were gripped by something akin to panic. Human rights activists and representatives of minority groups expressed fears that long-held, hard-fought liberties would soon be curtailed once again and voiced concerns that the state could interfere in the private lives of its citizens and move to restrict their political rights.
Many references were made to Afghanistan, Algeria and Sudan, to what happened when Islamists came to power in these countries and to how Pakistan has developed since being governed by an Islamic-military alliance. These fears were further stoked by many Egyptian media outlets, while television broadcasters and newspapers loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to offer reassurances.
I myself have never voted for the Muslim Brotherhood – neither in parliamentary nor presidential elections. Nor do I believe that it is in a position to construct the modern Egypt we all want: an Egypt where citizens enjoy equality; where no one suffers discrimination because of gender, ethnicity or religion; a land of freedom, democracy and social justice. Hundreds of people gave their lives during our revolution in pursuit of this goal.
Choosing the "lesser evil"
But I don't share the view of those who have expressed concern either. I don't believe that Egypt is heading for an almighty catastrophe because the Muslim Brotherhood has won the presidency. On the contrary! After all, millions of Egyptians only voted for Mursi to avert the threat of a return to the Mubarak system represented by his opponent Ahmad Shafiq. "I didn't vote for Mursi, I voted against Shafiq," as one of my friends put it.
But that's not the end of the story, rather it heralds the beginning of true democracy in Egypt. The Egyptians have roundly defeated all those who stood for the Mubarak regime, in both parliamentary and presidential elections. This finally puts Mubarak's men out of the game, after millions of Egyptians hounded their president out of office by means of a revolution.
By Ziad al-Alimi; Translated by Nina Coon
[Excerpt—See accompanying URL for full original text]