July 07, 2013

Tahrir Square

Tahrir Square

Source: Shutterstock

In the initial phases this prediction was accurate. The Muslim Brotherhood won handily. The laws were changed to transform Egypt from a relatively pluralistic society to one of religious constraint. It seemed the nation was morphing into yet another, but more frightening, quasi-theocracy.

But no one anticipated how accustomed the average Egyptian had become to his personal liberties. This went unrecognized because a certain level of choice had become rote under Mubarak’s stabilizing force.

Many Egyptians and outsiders seemed to take moderate freedoms for granted until the moment they were taken away.

People love their freedom, which is simple to state but difficult to fully comprehend. Few probably ever think of oxygen’s chemical composition, yet just withhold it from us for a few moments too long. Things we think we would never do we become determined to do once someone tells us we no longer have the choice.

The ability to choose is a genie very few societies can put back in the bottle without bloodshed. This is a lesson for not only Morsi but many other dogmatic rulers. People everywhere who have experienced liberty immediately know when it is being threatened.


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