Let’s recap. Egypt had a revolution in 2011 where the people kicked out a dictator (Hosni Mubarak) who had been ruling for about 30 years. The entire world was watching at the edge of their seats and cheering the Egyptians on. I myself attended several rallies/protests in front of the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, DC and the White House. I joined twitter during this revolution so I could get breaking news faster. I couldn’t have been happier when Mubarak finally stepped down.
But WHAT on earth was this?! Don’t get me wrong. I am not a fan of Morsi. He has made a lot of unfortunate and disappointing political decisions. Nothing he did was pretty. But kicking him out of office?
This was no revolution. The people have just ousted a democratically elected leader. No matter how you phrase it, Instagram it, Vine it, whatever, this was a military coup.
On top of that, the military has recently arrested several top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. There are Egyptians on twitter and elsewhere who are under the impression that the Brotherhood has been dissolved. No. They are nowhere near dissolved as a political party. But congratulations. You’ve managed to turn the group you hate a.k.a. the Muslim Brotherhood into martyrs. If you don’t like what they stand for, then don’t vote for them next time. That’s how a democratic system works. You try to vote out the people you don’t like, because that is how every person, from every city, from every district gets represented. It’s not a flawless solution, but it’s better than a military coup any day.
By the way, I am astonished by the blind support the people have for the Egyptian military all of a sudden. After numerous atrocities that the military themselves have committed, I am floored by this complete 180 degree turn in their reputation. Have we all forgotten what happened to the girl in the blue bra?
Moreover, what makes me incredibly frustrated is the fact that it started off so well. A grassroots protest movement called Tamarod (which means “rebel” in Arabic) claimed to have collected 22 million signatures in a petition. That was a good first step. The fact that the petition demanded for Morsi to step down was not so good, but a petition in general was a very good step. Instead of demanding him to step down, they should have demanded Morsi to work WITH the people. That petition gave them power and it provided proof that the people were unhappy with his policies and constitution so far. And now that power to the people is gone.
I am a huge fan of protesting, petitioning, and assembling the people to stand up for their rights and fight against injustice. Those are all rights that are even listed under the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. But after everything they fought for, all the rights they gained two years ago, Egypt’s newly formed democracy just lost its legitimacy on the global stage. Who’s to say there won’t be a “revolution” every time Egypt gets a new leader?
These are the kind of actions that lead to civil wars. I’m praying for you, Egypt.
For a more articulate version of what I just wrote, check out this article from The Economist.