Friday, August 23, 2013

Egypt’s Duck Problem

I love the American saying “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and it looks like a duck it’s got to be a duck” for those that don’t get it, perhaps a briefing on the duck test may help. The Egyptian Government and many Egyptians continue to be baffled as to why most of the world outside continues to view the dismissal of Mohamed Morsi from his role as the president of Egypt on July 3, 2013 as a military coup.

Morsi did not want to leave office, he was adamant on staying on as president of Egypt, against the will of the masses and his obvious loss of any mandate. The Egyptian Military gave Morsi a week’s notice and then another 48-hour last chance, but Morsi wouldn’t willingly step down, or call an early election, or a referendum on his remaining in office. Finally, Egypt top generals informed Morsi that he was no longer president and that he was to be taken by the military for safekeeping. It is very hard for any objective person to name the manner of deposing Morsi as anything other than a military coup.

The Egyptian Military and the virtually all Egyptian politicians argued that deposing Morsi should not be considered a coup, because the military only acted to prevent a civil war and that unprecedented numbers of Egyptians were rising against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. There was considerable debate over how many millions of Egyptians actually hit the streets on June 30, 2013 to call for the removal of Morsi from power. Estimates of the size of demonstrations ranged from six millions to over thirty million Egyptians on the streets demanding Morsi’s ouster. Many argued that the mass Cairo demonstration exceeded the previously largest known gathering of protest in human history, the demonstrations in Rome on February 15, 2003 against the Italian participation in the Iraq War.

To western liberal ears, the size of the demonstrations is largely immaterial, in a democracy, the masses get a chance to vote and turf out their leaders. Indeed those mass demonstrations in Rome failed to halt Italy’s participation in George W Bush’s Coalition of The Willing! So while Egyptians kept on saying, it is not a military coup and we have massive support to remove Morsi from power, devout democrats kept hearing military coup to remove an democratically elected president, anger and recriminations ensued. The western liberals accused the Egyptian liberals of being no democrats, sore losers, who are fundamentally ignorant of democracy. On the other hand, most Egyptians defaulted into conspiracy theories and played the jingoistic card to suggest alignment of interests between The West and the Muslim Brotherhood.

As a supporter of the June 30 protest and a participant in the Tamrrod campaign to impeach Morsi, I am baffled by this inability of the Egyptian Government and Egypt’s liberals to communicate their case more effectively. Yes, I do support the military coup that removed Morsi from power! And yes, I do call it a military coup! The removal of Morsi was ultimately a result of his own coup on legitimacy and assuming dictatorial powers to force an Islamist Constitution down the throat of the Egyptian people. The mass protests started against Morsi following his dictatorial and illegal assumption of judicial and legislative powers in November 2012, Morsi had many months to fulfill his promise of compromise and amending the constitution, but failed to do so, failed to commence any serious dialogue and was proceeding deeper down a path of gaining more control of various institutions of the state. Despairing of Morsi moving to return to legitimacy and reversing his own coup, we Egyptians had no choice but to stage our own coup to return the country to democracy. Did the military and various institutions of the state facilitate and aid the campaign against Morsi? Yes, but they only did so, after sensing the deep anger and hatred we, ordinary Egyptians, who had earlier looked at Morsi with hope, ultimately turned against him

There is serious risk that the militant struggle between Islamist forces and the state would help usher in a new military dictatorship and Egypt’s War on Terror would wind up being the excuse to suppress freedoms, in the name of security. The anti Morsi coalition that took to the streets on June 30, 2013 encompassed a broad spectrum of views, from those who long to the return to the Mubarak era, to true and genuine advocates of democracy, equality and justice. It helps to call things by their true names to minimize chances of entering an 1984 like era, and hence let’s start out by saying why we support our military coup. Let's all say, I know it's a only coup but I like it! 

August 23, 2013

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