The resignation of Hosni Mubarak prompted widespread euphoria in Egypt's cities, where millions had massed on the streets for nearly three weeks to bring down Mubarak's three-decade-old regime. His departure is the product of an unprecedented display of courage and defiance by Egypt's people, but the hopes of many in the country still hinge on the actions of its military, which has assumed power and will preside over whatever transition that takes place.
Generals are used to delivering commands from top-down with the expectation of total obedience — unsurprisingly, they don't make the most natural democrats. Following the 1952 toppling of Egypt's British-backed monarchy by a group of young army officers, political authority in Cairo has always depended upon the military's backing. Never before has it sanctioned the development of a real democracy in the country.
But examples of coups elsewhere offer cause for optimism. In 1974, a coordinated revolt by disaffected officers in the Portuguese army against the country's repressive quasi-fascist government brought out tens of thousands into the streets. It was dubbed the Carnation Revolution as residents of Lisbon festooned the weapons of mutinous troops with flowers. Portugal's authoritarian regime collapsed, its overseas colonies — beset by violent insurgencies — were granted freedom, and elections led to a civilian-run center-left government. Democracy followed a year later in neighboring Spain, and has flourished in both countries since. Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, endured 16 years of iron-fisted military rule, but its top brass eventually relented, allowing for a new constitution in 1999 that ushered in a credible, durable democracy. While the country is still burdened by corruption and longstanding ethnic and religious tensions, the army looks to have receded into the background. ...
via A Brief History of Military Takeover - TIME.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
A Brief History of Military Takeover
The Egyptian military has taken over Egypt. I have a hard time thinking of a military take over as a good thing, but the Egyptian people have ousted a dictator and they have the Internet back. Time magazine online has an article with some interesting perspective: