–An Egyptian court sentences 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death. The court commutes earlier death sentences of nearly 500 to life in prison.
–Egypt outlaws the April 6 movement, a youthful revolutionary group that helped lead the popular uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Of course this is scandalous from a Western perspective. It’s anti-democratic and draconian. Declaring Egypt’s dominant Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization is a huge, inaccurate overreach. It’s the work of a government that rules with military outlook and practice–“my way or else.”
But before we vent our outrage and call for sanctions and punishment, let’s understand a couple of things. First, the death sentences are not likely to be carried out. Second, and more important–this is a direct result of more than two years of revolutionary turmoil that did not improve the lot of the average Egyptian at all. The people, by and large, have had enough revolution, and they long for the law and order of a military-style government, excesses and all. As you can read in Broken Spring, democracy is a foreign object in Egypt. The people never had it, so they don’t miss it.
I’m not saying that what the Egyptian courts and government have just done is good or right. I’m suggesting that before we shake our finger and punish, we ought to ask ourselves if that’s the best way to relate to today’s Egypt. A longer-term program of aid, education and leading by example would be far better.