Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Egyptian constitutional drafting panel becoming thinner and thinner

So many interesting things were set in motion by Arab Spring in this ancient country. Sleeping for a long time, Egyptians suddenly woke up and pulled down their government. Military took over the administration. Then another cat and mouse game started for conducting election.

Finally election was also over and Egypt started to think about drafting a new constitution. This constitution is an interesting entity, some countries stick to their old constitutions while some others switch to new one even before the ink dries from the older ones.

After elections – won by Islamic factions, 100 member council (Constituent Assembly of Egypt) formed to draft the new constitution. So far good, but the problem with the council was women - who eagerly participated in revolution and later forced to undergo virginity tests, minorities like Bedouins from Sinai or Nubians from Sudan border were underrepresented. There were only 6 women and apparently no one from Bedouins or Nubians. Liberals too were in severe short supply. Coptic Christians – Christians forms around 10% of Egyptian population too felt that – too felt that they can’t do nothing much in the constitutional body dominated by Islamic conservatives. Finally they also pulled out making the total number of people pulling out to 25.

Now if the minority is under-represented or not represented at all, what will happen to their interests? Of course, if Muslim Brotherhood worked hard they can create a wonderful constitution. But if others doesn't have a stake in it, if they don't feel it as their own then how far they will accept it? One of my favourite Mark Twain quote is “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” It’s the time for Brotherhood and other Islamic conservatives who hold the majority to bring all others – women, liberals, Bedouins, Nubians, Coptics etc – to the table and start drafting the constitution. Power comes with responsibility.


Photo courtesy: Wikipedia - later edited to suit this article.

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