When a Mob Sacked Democracy

Jul 4th, 2013 | By | Category: Latest, World

Egypt-Morsi“Truth never damages a cause that is just” ~ Ghandhi

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” ~ Martin Luthor King

Today is a throbbing day for democracy, rule of law, legitimacy, truth, factuality, principle and any other word that fits into the same category. An elected head of the state, with a victory margin of a million votes, was overthrown by an army chief who said blatantly and shamelessly ‘this is not a coup‘.  Shadi Hamid, a renowned analyst on Egypt and the director of research at the Brookings Institute, Doha, was almost spontaneous when he replied ‘If this is not a coup, the word “military coup” no longer have any meaning‘.

Robert Fisk writes:

For the first time in the history of the world, a coup is not a coup. The army take over, depose and imprison the democratically elected president, suspend the constitution, arrest the usual suspects, close down television stations and mass their armour in the streets of the capital.  But the word ‘coup’ does not – and cannot – cross the lips of the Blessed Barack Obama.

The inclinations and operations of Supreme Council of Armed Forces of Egypt better known as SCAF have been dubious at best from early on. Not that it is any excuse but this is a problem ingrained to all countries with powerful militaries and shallow and weak democractic institutions. The Egyptian military is no exception. In Post- Mubarak Egypt of early 2011, when SCAF was all in all of Egypt and protests broke out against it, the military police killed 14 unarmed protestors and attacked journalists in the famous Tehrir square. How can one forget the poor Egyptian woman in the clip who being seized by her hair was dragged unto the street with her abaya torn apart. Mona Eltawy, one of the secular voices, who was a strong part of protest movements in 2011 was attacked, sexually assaulted and recovered only with her arm broken by the same military police. These are a few examples of the legacy of policies kept for half a century of oppression directed towards political opponents. And trapped at the center of it was Muslim Brotherhood for last few decades.

One has to look back a few decades of the near past, if the real face of SCAF, the dictatorship, is to be unveiled. Concentration camps, extrajudicial killings, military trials, as well as some of the worst torture techniques known to man is the essence of the methods deployed on brotherhood workers and leaders. There is no reason to believe that the present day SCAF is any different. As a matter of fact, mumbling started on twitter the moment SCAF started movement last night regarding retribution and violence against Islamists. The ban on leaving the country put on twenty Muslim brotherhood leaders including Morsi is another indicator shedding some light on the gravity of the situation. [It should be remembered that the ban is applied despite there being no cases of fraud, attack or any such incidents from citizens of Egypt against those twenty leaders. Not once was the use of excessive force utilized by presidency against protests against him. Compare that with Mubarak times or Suleiman times in 2011 and the difference is un-concealable.]

There is no doubt in any serious analyst’s mind that the protests in Tehrir today are the direct result of prevailing dire economical scenario, petrol and electricity shortages in particular yet the anarchy is ironically preposterous. Tamarod (rebels) the group that coined the June 30th protest idea was formed just a few months ago. The one unequivocal demand they put forward unshakingly, was that the President of the majority of Egyptians, who they voted for themselves just an year ago, should resign. The reason: because he was unable to fulfill the promises of a prosperous economy, a reformed justice system and security of the country in 365 days, only 20% of the time he was given to serve.  Absurd, stupid, foolish and what not! Even for a newly democractic-leaning country like Pakistan once you think about. But this is how it works in an naïve and unmellowed system with volcanic political scenario and opportunistic opposition leaders who don’t even care about the precedence they are going to set, for not only the next government but the Egyptian generations to come. Tamarod leaders were as stupid as to say that army response actually crowns their movement

The crowd on Tehrir has been out of control. While there were few grave incidents of assaults on women when Religious and Secular Forces were protesting together against Mubarak, this time it was exceptionally high, alarming for the whole society . Guardian reported that over 90 women were raped  and sexually abused in Tehrir Square in a mere four day period. There are more than a few evidences suggesting anarchical mindsets and behaviors of protestors despite Tamarod’s repeated rejection of the presidency’s statements that put blames of such attacks on uncontrollable crowd. There were unconfirmed horrifying pictures and reports of MB youth being attacked and mauled by crowd. Another report described a brotherhood youth being burnt alive by protestors. The attacks on peaceful rallies of Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo University, the attacks and torching of the offices of brotherhood in Alexandria, Cairo, and a number of other cities summarizes the nature of the movement very clearly. The attack and shots fired on Cairo-University’s Pro-morsi protestors, who had the same right to protest as the Tehrir’s Anti-Morsi protestors,was an example of blatant savagery and ruthlessness of the crowd. 14 Morsi supporters died on spot, another 4 in hospital later while police watched. Putting aside the anarchy, the sheer use of violence, and the ridiculous demands, the hallmark of the Tamarod movement can be visually evident in the way they welcomed toppling of a legitimate democracy by an illegitimate force, the SCAF. Shadi Hamid put it forwards accurately:

Obviously, Morsi did make mistakes as was expected of him being the first democratically elected leader of the country. The presidential decree, the tax on IMF’s behest, the Attorney General  decision were the most highlighted of the bad decisions. The huge turnout against him would never have been possible, had the matters been smoothly run and the whole scenario would have been different. The most significant finding, however, that an analyst can easily draw from this crisis is the hypocrisy of the secularists. The same Egyptian secularists (to clarify: though these secularists like to consider themselves liberal we cannot fathom any reason to bestow them with this title. They are intolerant, prejudiced, closed-minded in practice, exactly what constitutes a non-liberal fascist) ran head over heels for protests against a presidential decree that gave Morsi almost absolute powers, which he needed to bypass a controversial court decision concerning political system. Similarly they condemned and were furious when the attorney general charged the famous satirist with contempt against president when he mocked the president during Morsi’s Pakistan visit and later when he mocked a salafist religious figure for his beard. The freedom of press can never be compromised, they said. Ironically, both of these two freedoms were snubbed last night with a lot more by SCAF. Aljazeera Mubashir crew was arrested for ‘undirected reporting’. Brotherhood’s Channel Misr 25 was forced shut with its crew arrested. Last nail in coffin: The interim president has decree powers. The protesting secularists cheerfully accepted both without a single word. Hypocrisy at its peak!

The role of United States was a replay of diplomacy it showed in 2011 as Mubarak was being ousted. While correctly showing concern for the assaults on women and the violence, President Obama correctly mentioned to his Egyptian counterpart that democracy is not only about voting. The 1.3 billion US aid for Egypt is based on a democracy based criteria. “We don’t make those decisions [on aid] just by counting the number of heads in a protest march, but we do make decisions based on whether or not a government is listening to the opposition, maintaining a free press, maintaining freedom of assembly, not using violence or intimidation, conducting fair and free elections,” Obama said on Tuesday amid SCAF’s ultimatum, subtly recognizing the fact that a free-press is still an entity in Egypt, and violence is still not used by state. It’ll be upto the US state officials and lawmakers how they interpret this recent turn of events which can be of huge consequence for Egypt. Labeling it a ‘coup’ would disqualify Egypt from this aid, an act that can be a huge blow to the paralyzed and sinking economy of the country. The political ambience of Washington DC put together with the history of US policies is however not suggestive of this. Ed Royce, a republican and the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is all but concerned on military take over. The grin of islamophobes would not be easily disguisable over this epic fiasco of one of the largest experiment on the political system of Islam. The aid is the reason the Egyptian spokesperson and SCAF leader are going at great lengths not to get these events labeled as coup. It is also partinent to mention here that Obama’s support and gratitude to Morsi for the major part he played in terminating the war on Gaza by Israel, the IMF loan approval last year has fuelled enough conspiracy theorists among Egyptians linking the organization of brotherhood to US. Secularists put forward this propaganda and used it to their gain very successfully in recent protest campaign.

Finally, Let us present the most ironic, interesting yet disturbing comparison that is able to show the gist of all the hassle that is SCAF Vs Brotherhood Vs Secularists. 300 arrest warrants have been issued against MB leaders, 100 of MB leaders are put on Exit Control List in addition, Speaker of the parliament Al-Katatni alongwith another 300 was arrested. Supreme leader of brotherhood is arrested. Article 174 of Penal Code “Incitement to overthrow government” is punishable offense under Egypt’s law, and will probably be used to register cases against MB leaders and workers. There have been dozens of protest movements against Morsi in previous year. Not once was any illegitimate arrests made, or such articles of penal code  used by Morsi. Yet the standpoint of International media & secularists is: Morsi is is the axis of Evil, and SCAF is our heroes.

There are lessons to learn for all the Islamic movements in the world in this monstrous experiment of Egypt. The take away is of a serious moral nature for the so-portrayed ‘liberals’ of the Muslim world. They should decide what they want more, their cause or the truth, as well as honesty, justice, legitimacy, authenticity, principle, and so on. For Islamists, Abdul Kader Haqqani of Algerian Islamic Movement summed it up rather short.

“(For Islamic groups) Political victory is more dangerous than defeat” 


Hassaan Choudry

About the author

Hassaan Choudhry is a medical doctor by profession and a debater by passion fervently interested in politics and history.

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  1. A brilliant article! Maa shaa Allah!
    Pathetic to see how an elected president has been removed by unjust people!

  2. Morsi did his best, what he could do. 7709 rallies or strikes were held during his one year. Still he performed well. Actually the revolution is reversed now. Mubarak’s servant judge is now president and Mubarak’s prosecutor is again the prosecutor.

  3. I can foresee a bloody civil war ahead 🙁

  4. morsi was stupid and wanted to attack syria. the armed forces carried out the coup to stop this failure of a president before he could carry out that insane policy of his. the people on the streets gave the army an excuse to remove morsi from power and they did.

    but i also have one question. the people wanted mubarak out and so they went to the streets. why is that morsi shouldn’t also step down when the same people once again go out to the streets to make him step down? b/c he was elected? the last time i checked the whole point of a democracy is for the people’s voice to be heard and just as when mubarak stepped down, their voice was heard again. so what’s the problem? b/c the army removed morsi who was elected? the egyptian people basically gave the army permission to do this so once again what is the problem? yes it’s a coup but at the same time, in a weird and ironic way, it’s a coup sanctioned by the people. this doesn’t set up a bed precedent b/c the point of a democracy is “people power”.

    morsi was also pretty authoritarian. no difference at all from mubarak except for that in who his loyal ones are. he still was taking loans from the IMF, on interest i might add (how ironic considering he is one of the “ikhwan”). no return to real money (gold, silver, commodities). no break from the zionists. etc, etc. so u see not at all different from mubarak; just another zionist stooge. the only thing i’m concerned with this coup is that once again the faces might have changed but the ones really pulling the strings (zionists) are still in control.

    i personally think muslim nation states should NOT be a permanent solution. muslims should work towards a unified khilafah and stop wasting time with nationalism.

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