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incendiary_dan's avatar

Why do the Egyptian people seem to trust the military?

Asked by incendiary_dan (13368points) February 11th, 2011

Apparently Mubarak finally left office today, and left control of the Egyptian government in the hands of a military council. In most countries, having the government in military control would be a big red flag, but from all the coverage I’ve heard and read the people in Egypt trust the military. I thought the previous government was basically a military one anyway. Is there some relationship between the Egyptian people and the military I’m not aware of?

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12 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

The military, for the most part, supported the protestors They were ordered into the square, but let the protestors climb on their tanks and did not fire on the people. The rank and file of the army came from the people.

TexasDude's avatar

I was somewhat acquainted with a guy who was in close contact with a lot of Egyptian servicemen. Apparently, they stole everything. Their superiors wouldn’t let them have batteries for their radios, or extra boots, because it was exceedingly common for them to steal these items and resell them when they weren’t supervised.

Probably not relevant, and probably not a universal occurrence, but still an anecdote I just thought I’d throw out there.

flutherother's avatar

I trust them too and I think they deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

ETpro's avatar

Egypt has a very professional military. They work and train closely with the US military and have constant contact at the General Officer level. The Military overthrew a hated Muhammad Ali Dynasty, and replace monarchy with civilian rule. Ever since then, the Egyptian people have held their military in very high regard. Since the fall of the monarchy, military service has been the path to civilian leadership. Both the beloved Anwar El Sadat (assassinated by Islamic extremists in 1981), and Mubarak rose up through military ranks and distinguished themselves as soldiers before winning election as civilian leaders.

The Chief of Staff of the military has issued a statement saying he plans to turn over power immediately to a civilian board representing the various political factions, and let them oversee the revision of the constitution and organization of orderly and fair elections. Let’s hope that is what actually happens. So far, this has been a fabulous demonstration of the power of nonviolence. If it ushers in a government responsive to the will and needs of Egypt’s people, it will be a massive blow to al Qaeda’s ideology of violence, terrorism and intimidation as a method to bring about positive change. Al Qaeda’s way has never worked anywhere. Nonviolence has secured dignity and human rights in India, in the US Civil Rights movement, and many other instances.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@ETpro Not only is that drastically revisionist history, it’s still fresh enough that we have no excuse for forgetting that these protests have included violence, and the obvious threat of violence on either side is a clear motivator in ousting Mubarak. And let’s not proclaim victory; little has changed but the figurehead.

Thanks for the information on the role of the military in Egypt.

ETpro's avatar

@incendiary_dan The protests were not perfectly nonviolent. Some lunkheads tried to loot the museum of antiquities and damages several priceless displays. That is what brought the military into the streets to ensure against any repeats of that.

It isn’t clear whether Mubarak ordered it, or whether the goons that have profited from his corrupt rule took it on themselves, but they did wade into the crowd trying to provoke a massive fight. Thugs on horseback and on camels rode through the crowd using whips and cudgels to try to turn the tide of the protests. The notoriously brutal police moved in and began beating and arresting people and journalists. About 300 died. But the military moved to separate the Mubarak thugs and the previously peaceful protesters.

There were hundreds of thousands to millions of people involved each day and you had 300 deaths. That, in my book, is nonviolence at work. The people did not win this because they were more violent and threatening than Mubarak’s security forces, hired thugs, and corrupt police force. They won because they exercised incredible restraint.

I am sure that the Military did not want to see things degenerate into an open civil war. That is why they chose to intervene and separate the Mubarak loyalists from the protesters. But I don’t at all agree that those brief flashes of violence take away from the fact that nonviolence won this day. Call it what you like, but that is not revisionist history in my mind.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think you are misinterpreting the current events. The people want a different government and they are putting their hopes in the military solution.

mammal's avatar

The protest was overwhelmingly non violent. They burnt buildings, Gandhi burnt mountains of cotton. At the end of the day it was a peaceful sit in, global media pressure, strikes and deliberate disruption that turned the tide. But i think Sharm El Sheik should be ashamed of itself, the contribution from them was ZERO. That is a place that needs a kick up the backside, no wonder Mubarak has been rumoured to be currently residing there.

ETpro's avatar

@mammal I have a web friend that owns a small business in Sharm El Sheik. I got to know him when I built the ecommerce site for his store, which delivers tourist needs directly to hotels. I’ve know him for years now. I emailed him today about the announcement Waiting to hear what his position is.

mammal's avatar

@ETpro i can pretty much guess he wants to side with whosoever will ensure his continuing livelihood, that is perfectly understandable, but not always reasonable. The tourist industry is precious to Egypt and actually it has helped to bring about this transition, Egypt is used to Western contact which bodes well for the future.

ETpro's avatar

@mammal Excellent point.

mattbrowne's avatar

@YARNLADY – No, they are putting their hopes in a temporary military solution bridging the gap to having free elections within the next 6 months.

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