Democracy: Egypt’s beautiful dream in the wrong hands

Updated 3:18 AM EST, Wed January 22, 2014

Story highlights

Egypt has been in turmoil since the ousting of Mohamed Morsy, following Hosni Mubarak's fall

Aalam Wassef argues democracy in the country remains a dream, in the wrong hands

The activist says the bonds between people broke, revealing an industry of hate and division

But he says it is up to the individual, and every decision they make, to create democracy

Editor’s Note: Aalam Wassef is a visual artist, musician and publisher, working in Cairo. Wassef is a fine arts graduate and his work spans disciplines from digital to live performance. From 2006 to 2011, Wassef’s works were anonymous as he engaged with Egyptian politics, describing, with humor, Mubarak’s Egypt. Wassef is the founder of www.peerevaluation.org and itsaudience.com and a contributing founder to www.interdisciplines.org. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Aalam Wassef.

(CNN) —  

Egypt’s Mohamed Morsy, the nation’s first democratically elected president, was forced out of office in 2013 by the nation’s military and arrested following widespread protests and petitions calling for his removal. Opponents said he was a tyrant trying to impose conservative values. Supporters called his removal a coup and a blow to the democratic movement that toppled former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011. As violent demonstrations continue to rock the country, CNN asked Egyptian artist Aalam Wassef how he saw the evolution of the democracy in Egypt.

Q: You have said democracy is not something you get, but that you aim at. Should democracy always be the goal and why can it not be achieved?

Aalam Wassef
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Aalam Wassef

A: In December 2013, at a time when Egypt was debating a constitution meant to fulfill the dreams of its revolution, one realized that having a good constitution isn’t an end in itself.

What would truly fulfill our dreams would be to guarantee that, indeed, each and every article of a valid constitution would be implemented and respected to the letter.

Without such guarantees and commitment of all instances involved in such a process, any constitution would be no more than ink on paper.

The same applies for democracy.

There is nothing wrong with democracy. We, humans, make it right or wrong and often concede to impoverished forms of democracy.

In Egypt, we let it be surrounded by corruption and serve the interests of those in power, and those of other nations that would gladly describe themselves as great democracies – at home.

This was and is the faith of Egypt’s democracy: A beautiful dream in the hands of the very wrong “implementers” – the army, the police, a disempowered political class, international allies that are either autocracies or democracies with double standards.

Q: When do you believe Egypt got closest to democracy and why was it unable to be sustained?

A: Egypt is close to democracy each time any of its citizens says no to anything the Bill of Human Rights would describe as an injustice.