Friday Prayers for Egypt: Ratifying the Transition

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In a few days Egypt will be asked to vote again. The cause is the referendum on a new constitution, but the importance is far deeper. Deeper even than a constitution, the basis of a nation’s governance? Yes, for it is not is not just a document being voted on, but the process which led to it. Six months ago the democratically elected Mohamed Morsi was deposed. At the time there were massive protests against him; will they now ratify with their vote?

Which means, in part, will they ratify with their feet in potentially long lines? Egyptians have voted five times already, and now they are starting over. Will they care?

Which means, in part, will they ratify with their heart in potentially dangerous circumstances? Anti-‘coup’ demonstrations have been on the increase, as has terrorist violence. Will there be sabotage?

Which means, in part, will they ratify with their head in a potentially still unclear roadmap? The constitution has merits to evaluate on its own, and it is yet undecided if presidential or parliamentary elections will follow next. Will it be worthy?

God, each Egyptian must answer individually, but guide the nation in the collective. Above all, protect the process from violence and manipulation, that this referendum might express the will of the people.

Give clarity, also, for how to interpret this will. Most opponents are boycotting, not rallying for ‘no’. So in the near-inevitable approval, what percentage is necessary to demonstrate mandate? What percentage of turnout?

But as long as there is boycott, God, there is no full consensus. Use this referendum to communicate to all players. If there is legal ratification but less than popular mandate, do what is necessary to have the winners draw back non-participants – all whose hands have not been stained in blood. May the constitution open the playing field, fairly and justly.

And if the people respond with enthusiasm, God, do what is necessary to have non-participants recognize their failures – all which came from their own actions as opposed to alleged manipulation. May the constitution force its reality upon all, fairly and justly.

Bless Egypt, God, with reconciliation – no matter the result. But in these days to come, help her to get to the result. Help her to maintain faith, to care. Help her to maintain vigilance, to prevent sabotage. And help her to maintain discernment, to evaluate the worth of what is before her.

God, if this referendum and constitution are part of your plan, make it clear to all in the process of ratification. Set Egypt right, and do so deeply, far deeper than any document can establish.


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