It seems as if every Muslim leader, when confronted with popular upheaval is prone to crack the whip instead of seeking compromise. Even Turkey’s democratic leader Erdogan has refused to budge on his plan to bulldoze Taksim park. Maliki hasn’t listened to the peaceful protests of Sunnis in Iraq, but gone after them with guns instead. Assad wouldn’t talk to the peaceful protesters in Damascus and earned himself a civil war and a destroyed country. Mubarak wouldn’t talk to the protesters either, nor would the leaders of Tunisia and Libya. Their countries are all in various stages of coming apart. Is this reaction the traditional one of the Muslim leader at any level, including fathers? Or is this something that just affects the dictators? Why do Muslim leaders all seem to become authoritarian while proclaiming democracy? Is there something about the way they raise their sons that gives them a dictatorial bent? Would leaders who are women be the same? Is the seduction of power so great even when there are riots in the streets?
Morsi in Egypt has followed the same pattern. Escalating without talking, and the results have been ugly.
(Note added in July: Morsi’s inability to govern in a way that made the lives of people better, his inability to get the military or the bureaucracy on his side doomed his rule. An election does not establish democracy. Others now have the awesome job of avoiding mob rule and the disintegradion of Egypt.)
Who’s to say the same won’t happen here? How would Republicans react to huge demonstrations in the street? Law & Order crackdown? No concessions? Our government has already inched in this direction under Obama. Washington doesn’t seem to be listening to the real concerns of people about jobs and health care, inequality and fairness, black and white issues and food security. It wouldn’t take much of a push for conservatives to justify martial law and the imposition of authoritarianism. We’ve already given away so much in search of that non-existent “safety”.