Mohamed Morsi Deposed: Coup vs. Revolution, Which Narrative to Prevail?

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if it was a revolution or a coup d’état! Accordingly, the questions to ask should also be: does this ‘small group’ belong to the regime itself? To what extent would it stick to the people’s demands?

In my view, due to the fact that one can neither see a ‘fundamental change in Egypt’s socio-political institutions’ nor examine sufficient indicators that Egypt is on the track towards such a change, everyone should refrain from using the term ‘revolution’ whether while describing the first wave in January 2011, the second wave against SCAF, or the third wave that lasted from November 2012 until July 2013. I can understand the logic behind arguments that both popular movements ended in coups, but what I find really inapprehensible are those arguments, made by those who celebrated the ‘revolution’ on 11 February 2011, that what happened on July 3 is a military coup d’état!

It is very unfortunate that several rights activists, commentators, politicians and journalists did not even take any account of the unprecedented protests against Mohamed Morsi. From their ivory towers, many decided to strip the people’s massive movement from all legitimacy by describing their sacrifices as a military coup, turning deaf ears to the people’s begging for a military intervention in their fear that their country is on verge of civil war following  Mohamed Morsi’s July 2 speech in which he gave no account to the millions protesting against him, clearly declaring that he would fight and die in defense of his ‘legitimacy’.

While tens of millions had already taken to the streets, I cannot see any other scenario for the masses to topple a ‘relatively small but highly organised’ group – the Brotherhood – without seeking the intervention of another ‘relatively small but highly organised’ group, especially when we take into account what is believed among many Egyptians to be an unpleasant history of the Brotherhood and itsallies, as well as the hate speech implied in some of their art workspeeches andacts!

The MB members/supporters’ rhetoric is quite sectarian against Egypt’s Christians – several Christian families and villages were threatened and attacked by MB members/supporters in the last days. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rightsreported several pro-Mohamed Morsi marches chanting sectarian slogans before churches and Christian villages in Upper-Egypt, and attacking several churches. The report also mentioned the killing of six Christians and leaving five others wounded in these events, as well as terrorising thousands of them by distributing threat leaflets. This is, I believe, what foreign media and academia failed to understand about the Egyptian case – the ‘people’ factor. The ‘people’ who experienced what a ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ government is, and expressed their refusal in unprecedented protests, which represent a substantial reason for everyone to refrain from comparing Egypt 2013 to Algeria 1991.

Moreover, several western media outlets that claim to be impartial and independent, i.e. the New York Times, started adopting conspiracy theories that there is a ‘campaign to undermine Mohamed Morsi’, through pushing people to protest against him, to justify turning a black eye to the tens of millions that demanded the removal of Mohamed Morsi, and went on with publishing these theories and analyses as ‘news stories’. There might be speculations that there was a conspiracy against Mohamed Morsi to push Egyptians to protest against him, as well as rebuttals thereto; however, this may not lead to overpassing the fact that tens of millions of Egyptians took to the streets and signed rebel petitions against the president, then demanded a military intervention when all the indicators pointed to an impending civil war. Indeed, no one pays attention to the Mubarak, Bashar or Ghaddafi supporters when they argue that there was a conspiracy against their leaders, due to one fact; the populace demanded their leaders to step down after all!

It is clear that the extra-constitutional change of governments that took place in Egypt on July 3 was not ‘sudden’, and was initiated by the people, but ended in an intervention by a ‘small and highly organised group’. Accordingly, it does compromise some characters of both definitions. I believe that these givens do not enable us to describe, what I would call, the November 2012 / July 2013 Popular Uprising as a revolution or a coup due to the importance of the ‘effects of the movement’ dimension, which is still unclear. For instance, the 1974 Coup d’état in Portugal is known as the ‘Carnation Revolution’ due to its revolutionary effects, though it was initiated by military officers not the people, unlike Egypt’s June 30 popular uprising.

Accordingly, it is very important to determine our perspective before we judge; are we describing the ‘event’ itself (from a very narrow angle), or the whole process (from a broad angle)? If we are describing the events that took place in January/February 2011 and June/July 2013, then they both were popular revolutions that ended in military coups, due to the fact that no change can take place in Egypt without any role played by its main player; the military. On the other hand, if we are qualifying the matter from a broader perspective, we would find that it is too early to judge the intentions of the interim government, while the effects of the January 25 Uprising were a military junta that belongs to the regime itself in power, with super majority of cabinet members who either served in Mubarak’s regime or belong to the Military. Additionally, while this military junta allowed for a ‘democratic’ transition on the condition of preserving some privileges by the new civil government, the MB government’s economic and legislative policy did not differ from the former regime’s policy (in mid-May, I addressed this matter in detail in an article published on Jadaliyya).

In conclusion, it is not journalistic articles that would make what happened in Egypt a revolution or a coup. I am only concerned about the effects of overlooking the masses that protested against the regime and demanded that the army intervene, and stripping the current government of all the legitimacy it deserves, which may inflict undesirable results on Egypt’s future if it was established in the conscience of a sect of the society – the Islamists – that they are not welcomed in the democratic process. Aside from that, between carrying out a successful transitional period that would pave the way for the January 25 uprising goals, and repeating the SCAF/MB practices, hence introduce no change and leave the military in its ultra-unique position in Egyptian politics; the call is for the interim government, and the superficial international media platforms would only follow the narrative that would impose itself.


This content is from :Aswat Masriya

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