Egypt and Problem Solving

Some thoughts on the Egyptian crisis.

1.  It is an Egyptian problem.  They should solve the problem themselves.

2.  It would be really sad for the military to be the solution to the problem.

3.  These 2 things noted, one would like contemplate the problem from a first principles point of view of political science and conflict resolution.

4. Protests caused the former government to fall one year ago, and a new government was elected by the people.

5.  These same people are now protesting en masse their elected government.

6.  It seems to me the relevant political science questions are:

a) What means are appropriate to express dissatisfaction with current government?

b) Would a constitutional amendment not be the appropriate first step toward clarifying this question and outlining procedure, rather than simply dismissing the government over mass protest under threat of violence from both sides?

Recent History:  the former President Mubarak responds to protests in February, 2011 by stepping down from government, and handing authority over to the military.  One month later, constitutional reforms are implemented by the Egyptians.  Two months later, Mubarak and his sons are arrested on charges of corruption.  They are tried, and Mubarak is sentenced to life in prison for the death of protestors.  He currently sits in prison on an appeal.  His sons were ordered to be released last month from provisional detention, but remain detained on other charges.  Mubarak’s next hearing is scheduled for the end of this week.

The new President Morsi topped the first round of the first democratic elections ever in Egypt with a low 43% turnout.  The military then announced the end of a state of emergency declared since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981.  In a second round of elections one month later in June, 2012 with an almost 52% voter turnout, Morsi narrowly wins (52 to 48%) against Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under ex-President Hosni Mubarak.

Some Exercises (after 1 hour of manual labor, 1 hour of domestic work, dog vetting and a 1 mile bike ride with the dogs):

According to Clark (Elements of Abstract Algebra p. ix) The word algebra comes from an Arabic word meaning “reduction” or “restoration” first appearing in a book around 825 AD by Muhammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.



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