Friday, July 5, 2013

Popularly Legitimate Coup: An Egyptian Invention

Whenever the Brotherhood wanted to prove that Egypt under their authority was going in the right direction, they pointed to Inar – a tablet made by Benha Electronics. They dubbed it as the first tablet to be made in Egypt. Inar was an important component of the Brotherhood’s achievements list to the extent that former President Morsi talked about it in his historical Qaddafi-style 2 hours and 30 minutes speech (he referred to Inar as the “first Egyptian iPad”! Me hope Apple did not hear that).

Well, putting aside the fact that plans for Inar started in 2007 (i.e during Mubarak’s reign), the tablet is made from locally assembled electronic components that are mostly coming from abroad. In other words, Inar is not an Egyptian invention. The tablet itself is not an Egyptian invention. We stopped inventing stuff, until  Sunday June 30th 2013. On that day we invented the PLC: Popularly Legitimate Coup.*

Yes, it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck. Yes it is a coup. However, it is a “coup but”. It is a coup supported by the largest gathering of Egyptians in human history. I am an Egyptian, I have been living here for all my life and I’ve never seen before what I saw this week. I have been involved in almost every major demonstration since the 2011 revolution, what I saw this week is staggering. The numbers, especially on June 30th, far exceeded the numbers of who participated in the January revolution to oust Mubarak. People from all walks of Egyptian life thronged squares and streets even if no demonstrations were called for (take a look at this video shot by army helicopters on June30). If you call this a coup without adding the “but” then you’re not seeing the full picture at all. After seeing the magnitude of the demonstrations and their geographical reach, I can comfortably conclude that June 30 and the days that followed reflected what the majority of Egyptians wanted.

I wrote before on why Egyptians revolted against their elected regime. I just want to add that it was the Brotherhood who brought us to this stage. It was their political greed and mismanagement of the country that forced millions to the streets to demand General Al-Sisi to topple President Morsi. Washington and Europe had a role in June 30 as well. Aside from the few public statements here and there, both stayed silent in front of the Brotherhood’s abuses and seizure of absolute power. Last April I was in D.C trying to convince US policymakers and officials to exert more pressure and use the leverage that the US has in Egypt to force the Brotherhood to reform politically. With every meeting I had in Washington I became convinced that the Obama Administration chose to be just a spectator.

It is understandable why many in the West cannot  understand the legitimacy behind PLC. In the West, facets of democracy such as an inclusive constitution, human rights, inclusive politics, bills of rights and rule of law are taken for granted. Elections is the only facet they practice every 4 or 5 years. In Egypt, we just had one facet of democracy, elections, and the Brotherhood deprived us from all the other facets that Westerners take for granted. President Obama was right when he told Morsi in their final telephone conversation that “democracy is more than elections”. Unfortunately, the advise was too late. Toppling elected regime happened before, especially in Argentina, Egyptians this time sought the help of the only state institution they trust: the army.

PLC is a product of the recent sociopolitical circumstances in Egypt. It is purely an Egyptian invention and it seems they are happy with it. They see it as a way to remedy the mistake they have done one year ago. It is the same mistake the Germans and Italians did before World War Two. We’re not better than the Germans and the Italians.

*The term Popularly Legitimate Coup was coined by H.A. Hellyer

  Posted by BP at 11:03 am Comments (7)

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