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A Coup or not a Coup: that is not the question

By Isis S. Mikhail, MD, MPH, DrPH

15 Oct 2013 6:01 pm

On June 30, 2013 over 30 million Egyptians from all walks of life took to the streets determined to stay until the Ikhwan Muslimeen or Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Member Muhammad Mursi step down from the post of president

The demonstration was led by Tamarud (Rebel) youth. Tamarud, a grass roots movement that collected over 22 million signatures from ordinary Egyptians, exceeding the some 13 million votes Mr Mursi received one year earlier, and demanding that he step down to allow  for early elections. 
Why would the Egyptian people demonstrate in such masses on the first anniversary of the MB Mursi rule? 
Egyptians believe that Mursi left them no other option but to take to the streets to get him impeached. During the one year rule of Mursi, Egyptians found out that all his promises were untrue. Further he did not tackle any of the main priorities he promised to deal with in his first 100 days, a deadline he set for himself, nor after that deadline. Over time, it became evident that he was not President of all Egyptians, and appeared to be taking instructions from the MB leadership with a main goal of gaining total power by “Ikhwanising” or inserting MB members in all major positions of Egypt’s institutions. 
Further, the regime began a total disregard of the law. The law began to be misused in favour of the new MB regime including a series of lawsuits for “Insulting the President”, jailing the revolution youth, and disregarding illegal actions of harassment and terrorism by radical Islamists. Over time, the MB affiliations with terrorist groups became more evident to all Egyptians. 
Anyone who looks at the one year of MB or Mursi rule can easily conclude that it was anything but democratic. Mursi alienated and lost support of the military, judiciary, media, and most importantly the mainstream Egyptians, many of whom had voted for him. His only remaining ally was the MB, his “Ahl” (family) and “Ashira” (clan). Mursi began inciting a civil war and stuck to the one argument, that he is the “democratically elected” President. He repeated it some 70 times in his last speech; perhaps by repeating this statement often enough, he was reinforcing this fact that is questioned by many Egyptians. His election was tainted by many forms of fraud, buying of votes, and use of religious influence in politics. Some 1500 cases of alleged fraud complaints were not investigated by the MB Prosecutor General who was unconstitutionally hand-picked by Mr Mursi. Some of the serious election fraud cases include one alleging MB bribery of some workers in the “al-Ameeryia” government print-shop to print election cards pre-checked for Mursi; the second case is filed by a biostatistics team alleging uncovering about 9 million repeated names in the voting lists. The status of these cases remains unclear. Further, Mr Mursi and his MB fellows announced his winning the elections in the pre-dawn hours on the morning following the elections, while the vote count was still ongoing. The MB threatened that if Mursi did not win, the Egyptian people should expect violence and bloodshed. His opponent, Mr. Shafik also has a pending case disputing the results claiming that he was the winner yet accepted the change of result to spare bloodshed of the Egyptian people.
The Egyptian people opted for peace, although not satisfied with either one, decided to “suck a lemon” and accept to give Mursi a chance. Yet over and again Mursi failed them by alienating all but his MB fellows, particularly the MB Gaza branch Hamas. He allowed his followers to surround the Supreme Court and use threats of violence to prevent the Judges from entering the building to make a decision on legitimacy of the constitution committee. A similar situation took place in front of Media City to threaten the liberal media. 
When the failure reached the basic needs in life, and the President disregarded his promises and the repeated demands of the people, a grass-root movement “Tamarud” or Rebel lead by the revolution youth erupted. The simple form was asking for Mursi’s impeachment. Although the goal was to reach 15 million signatures, a number higher than the 13 million votes gained by Mursi, Tamarud spread very quickly and garnered over 20 million signatures. Shortly thereafter, on 30 June 2013 over 30 million Egyptians took to the streets demanding the ouster of Mursi and an early election. The Egyptian people were terrorised by MB terrorist threats and asked the Military to intervene for their protection. In response, the Military gave Mr. Mursi 48 hours to resolve the situation. Mr. Mursi did not respond positively and the Military had to interfere to prevent violence threats by MB radical Islamists. Further, the Police defied Mursi’s instructions to attack the peaceful demonstrators and took the side of the Egyptian people. The Military gathered representatives of the major Egyptian groups and parties, including the religious leadership. They all supported military intervention and agreed on a roadmap to include the transition of leadership to a civilian interim President, namely the new head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court Adly Mansour.
Aside from the MB and its supporters, the Egyptian people do not consider the Military intervention a coup but a response to the demands of the people after the second phase of the 25  January 2011 revolution to correct its path towards its original goals of “bread, freedom, and social justice”. The Egyptian people celebrated the responsiveness of the Military and considered al-Sisi a national hero. However, these celebrations were mostly ignored by the international media with a focus on the question of whether this was a coup or not a coup?
By definition, a coup is a “violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group” (Merriam-Webster) or a “sudden change of government that is illegal and often violent” (Oxford Dictionary). Since the situation in Egypt did not fit the definition of a coup, there seemed to be confusion about what really happened.
What really happened was simply that the Egyptian people asked their military to intercede to protect them from the radical terrorist threats of the MB Mursi supporters. But the MB supporters insisted on calling it a coup and appeared to be focusing on western media and asking the West, mainly the US, to assist in the return of Mursi to power. The Egyptian people considered the MB’s request of international interference an act of betrayal of Egyptian sovereignty and freedom of choice.
A coup or not a coup: is that really the question? If some choose to call it a Coup, then it certainly is a new type of Coup. You can call it the Egyptian People’s Coup; a Coup by the people against terrorism. The Egyptian people’ Coup unveiled a fascist MB regime that was wearing the mask of religion. It is the Egyptian people’s way of fighting terrorism without arms. It is the experience gleaned from 7000 years of culture and history. Egyptians are again writing history.
Watani International
15 October 2013


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