The fact that the vast majority of Egyptians live in impoverished areas working insecure jobs and earning meager incomes that barely allow them to survive discredits, by default, the Egyptian state’s “stability argument”!
At the same time, the tiny portion of wealthy Egyptians who is supposed to be enjoying a stable, luxurious life, still has to deal with various unexpected challenges that make their lives vulnerable as well. The Egyptian state is attempting to advocate a state of ‘stability’ that – even before the outbreak of any revolutions – hasn’t existed for several decades.
The Egyptian government is doing its utmost to pacify and control Egyptian society; it employs seven million citizens in various government entities (when less than one-fifth of this number is truly needed) and expends over half of the national fiscal budget on government employee wages and food and energy subsidies.
While these efforts, and other government policies, are meant to create some degree of stability for Egyptian citizens, they come at the expense of any possible upgrading of the state’s deteriorating services (in the areas of health, education, infrastructure and many others).
Nevertheless, the vast majority of Egyptians year for stability. Maintaining that a dysfunctional state is substantially better than a collapsed one, they are happy to engage with the obsolete system of state institutions. Their belief that they are backed by the state prevents them from digesting the fact that, to provide better services to citizens, our state institutions are in dire need of immediate reform.
Egypt is in acute need of a society that is driven and guided by citizens of real merit, rather than by people whose achievements were realized through loyalty to, and affiliation with, the ruling regimeMohammed Nosseir
The ‘big brother’
The Egyptian state has been playing the role of “Big Brother”; a role much admired by many Egyptians – even when the big brother himself is ailing.
The state is trading the possibility of realizing any kind of genuine development against the false claim of stability. It wants Egyptians to value its overall dysfunctionality, along with its repressive policy, in return for something that does not really exist. It continues to re-appoint old-school, mentally-rusty executives at the head of most critical key state organizations; yet another indication of how the Egyptian state is living with outdated apparatuses that constitute clear barriers to any modernization for the sake of asserting the existence of stability.
Rather than build a productive society, the false claim of stability in Egypt has helped to establish a stagnated, laidback society that is totally dependent on state resources. Moreover, the exaggerated assertions concerning stability that are made by a number of untrustworthy citizens only serve to further weaken the state’s argument in favor of stability. The dilemma here is that the state, regrettably, does not realize that it itself is the cause behind our present challenges.
In truth, a dynamic society is definitely superior to a stable society. Egypt is in acute need of a society that is driven and guided by citizens of real merit, rather than by people whose achievements were realized through loyalty to, and affiliation with, the ruling regime.
We need a society where the entire population regularly contributes to the emergence of innovative ideas, not one that waits for the head of each organization to make single-handed decisions (often based on personal desires and usually lacking technical validation). Moving from one entrepreneurial citizen’s mindset to that of another is certainly more beneficial than enduring the same old school mentality for decades.
Stability, in my view, will happen once Egypt has established true democratic pillars that its citizens can rely on. It will happen when Egypt, a nation of 91 million inhabitants, no longer relies on a single person – the ruler – but is led instead by a large number of well-educated, politically mature and trustworthy citizens.
We will have stability when Egyptians are able to trust their authorities and institutions completely and when they can feel reasonably confident that, in case of difficulty, their legal rights will be ensured – without the need for ‘connections in high places’ or any other form of corruption.
Mohammed Nosseir is an Egyptian liberal politician who advocates for advancing liberalism, political participation, and economic freedom. Mohammed was member of the higher committee at the Democratic Front Party from 2007 to 2012, and then member of the political bureau of the Free Egyptian Party till mid 2013. Mohammed advocates for his work through providing the Egyptian government with a number of schemes to better reform its government institutes, as well as he is a regular contributor to various Egyptian newspapers. Mohammed also has extensive experience in the private sector, working with a number of international companies assisting them in expanding their businesses in the Middle East. Mohammed graduated from Faculty of Commerce, Ain Shams University, Cairo (1986); he participated at Aspen Seminar on Leadership, Values and Good Society (2011), Eisenhower Fellow, Multi-National Program (2009) and Stanford Fellow for Democracy, Development & Rule of Law (2008).