Friday, February 4, 2011

the Egypt crisis: A Matter of Social Contract?

 pictures of conflict in Cairo

The conflict in Egypt as well as Tunisia and states in the middle east in recent weeks represents a sign that a region synonymous with corrupt and unaccountable leaders may now enter a era where their leaders and the power they wield are held to account. This process taking place in the middle can be explained by looking at the social and political unrest in these states as a violent confrontation over the state of the social contract between those in power and those subject to it.The street-level violence taking place in Cairo between pro-democracy and pro-Mubarak supporters is not only a return to the state of nature where anarchy becomes a social norm, but necessary process of disagreement over the fate of the social contract as pro-democratic forces wish to have political freedoms practiced in the west and pro-Mubarak forces,some agreeing with pro democratic protesters of the need for Mubarak to end his 30 year reign but worry about the pace of his departure and those who outright support the regime and wish for it to continue. This Disagreement will lead to a resolution but maybe not to the liking of both parties as disagreement over the social contract regarding power and it's subject in the recent history of the middle east and beyond have proved that the resolution of the dispute of the social contract can can be worse than cause of the initial unrest. for example, the dictatorial rule of the shah drew a broad based movement determined to drive him out of power and renegotiate the terms of the social contract only to end up subject to theocratic rule decidedly more tyrannical than the shah's regime. the same instance can be found in the french revolution where the vacuum of absolute power that exists in the state of nature can produce unforeseen and unwanted outcomes for all involved. However the conflict though a complex and potentially dangerous situation for many parties inside and outside the state of Egypt is necessary as the rule of Mubarak, stable for three decades, was bound to crumble as it was not subject to popular will and therefore bound for a confrontation with those forces who desire a renewal or total
re-articulation of the social contract              

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