The Egyptian army showed its true nature to the whole world on July 27th, 2013; by massacring its own people. As a result of this killing spree of the Egyptian security forces, who ought to protect the people, 200 Muslims lost their lives, more than 5,000 people were injured and these numbers are likely to increase. Therefore it is crucial to show the real face of the military coup to everyone and to call this the military coup that it is, without any reservations. We are now witnessing the beginnings of an autocratic regime ruled by naked force, with no concern for democratic principles beyond glib words and lip service. We must be forthright, and not use couched phrases or obfuscations to describe what is going on in Egypt.
Egyptians survived an iron- fisted dictatorship under Hosni Mubarak who for nearly a half a century had the loyalty of the military regime. The Egyptians only dreamed of the day when Mubarak would fall, but never thought it would actually happen.
2011 let the revolution start, and supposedly the beginning of a new narrative. Mubarak is deposed and on trial, and it was supposed to be the end of the half century nightmare scenario. SCAF – the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, ruled the country for 18 months before a democratic election took place. They were jubilant, excited, and happily cheered as they voted for a new president.
The result: The Egyptian people had their first democratically elected President. President Mohammed Morsi.
The first year was not easy for President Morsi, his government, or for the people because the country was a wreck after a long period of dictatorship. Some of the reasons the anti-Morsi camp have blamed him for Egypt’s ongoing misery are the following:
- The President made promises to his people to be realized in the first hundred days and he could not deliver.
- Prices are very high for basic necessities, such as food and oil. These prices have increased by 150%
- Lack of fuel and long queues in front of petrol stations
- Devaluation of the currency
- Loss of reserves
- A sound economic plan or agenda
- Electrical power shortages
In addition to these reasons, the security situation in Egypt is very unstable. We have been hearing much about the military and its role, but it is helpful to understand the different major groups that are involved for sake of clarity of who is who. There are four main groups who are part of the anti-Morsi camp, as pointed out by Dr. Ashour; “To simplify, the camp is composed of four main players: the army, the police force, the felool (the term used for remnants of Mubarak’s status quo) and what we might call “non-Islamist revolutionary forces”. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/07/egypt-revolution-democracy-in-peril) These non-Islamic revolutionary forces are the New Tamarod or rebels.
The people who went into the streets in 2011 to demand the resignation of Mubarak decided to go into the streets once again to demand the resignation of President Morsi. This time they were trying to oust an elected President chosen by popular and legitimate voting . The planned June 30th protests were called for by the grassroots movement Tamarod and other opposition leaders, the very same groups that played a prominent role in the anti-Mubarak uprisings.
On July 3rd, 7:00 pm Cairo time, General Abdel Fattah al-Seesi declared the removal of the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi. It was a major blow to Egyptian democracy. Mohamed Badie, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, who was released after being arrested by the military, addressed a crowd of Morsi supporters on Friday and called them to “remain in the public squares of every governorate and every city until power is restored to him [Morsi] as the rightful ruler of Egypt.” (http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/06/19316011-elbaradeis-appointment-as-egypts-interim-prime-minister-put-on-hold?lite)
Just as quickly as democracy had appeared, it also disappeared in a country that had not known anything else other than brutal dictatorship. The leader Mohammad Morsi was removed, television channels such as Al Jazeera and other Islamic channels were shut down, and newspaper production was halted . Thus far, scores are dead and thousands injured.
What is being experienced in Egypt now is a military coup
Some government officials from the world insist that the incidents going on in Egypt is not a coup. However, let’s take a look at the definition of a coup and then discuss why the Egyptian people are experiencing a coup d’etat.
“Coup d’état, also called Coup, is the SUDDEN, VIOLENT overthrow of an existing government by a small group. The chief prerequisite for a coup is control of all or part of the ARMED FORCES, the POLICE, and other MILITARY elements. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
What the Egyptian people are experiencing is a military coup for the following reasons:
·The ousted President Morsi is under house arrest in a military facility
·Muslim Brotherhood members are being arrested en masse
·The current constitution has been suspended
·A curfew is in place in specific parts of the country
·Shut down of TV stations and newspapers in support of the ousted government.
·Several hundred people have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured in the last few weeks.
·Security forces opened fire directly on Morsi supporters including women and children praying in a mosque in North Sinai. 51 Civilians were killed and more than 400 were injured as a result. Of course, there were the events of July 27th, in which at least 200 were killed and thousands more injured in what can only be objectively described as a massacre.
In democracies, if presidents or rulers make mistakes, the heavy price they pay is at the ballot box. If a group participates in a coup and has no respect for the ballot box, then they will not have any respect for the history of their country for sure. A coup is the opposite of a democracy and can never be explained as part of a civil rule. It is unacceptable to annul the electoral results decided by the majority.
What is the solution under the current circumstance?
·All the arrested people should be released. Locking up people who have different opinions is completely against freedom of speech and democracy.
·The TV stations and news outlets should be reestablished. All the voices from different groups should be heard and people should be free to decide what they would like to hear..
·All violence must be stopped. Killing innocent people will feed the cycle of violence and terror. This may quickly turn into a civil war just like
·A coalition government can be formed. Members should be from all different groups of Egypt such secular groups, Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi’s and Coptic Christians. They will all speak out their demands and come to a common solution as long as they have a vote in the parliament.
·The new government should have an education system divorced from radicalism , and support the rights and security of women, give liberty to the people, publicly embrace the Coptic Christians and other minorities and live in peace them.
·Give importance to arts, music and aesthetics. They should publicly embrace the understanding of freedom and compassion as explained in the Koran. The politicians should embrace a loving, comforting and compassionate rhetoric. People should not feel any pressure from the government.
- Women should have equal rights without any exclusion. They should participate in the parliament and new government, and have a very elevated status within their communities. Their freedom to choose should include the right to dress. Qualified women should be leaders in the fields of politics and business.
The author, an interfaith activist, is Executive Director at Building Bridges on A9 TV in Istanbul, Turkey. She can be reached at email@example.com. Views expressed in the piece are her own