News / Middle East

Did Morsi Ouster Save or Destroy Egypt’s Democracy?

Did Morsi Ouster, Army Takeover Save or Destroy Egypt’s Democracy?i
X
August 29, 2013 8:11 PM
While the West frets over the Egyptian military’s seizure of power and condemns the violent suppression of protesters, the response within Egypt is more ambiguous. Many of the nation's intellectuals see those actions not as an attack on democracy, but as the best chance to save it. In Cairo, VOA's Al Pessin sought out advocates on either side of the argument.
Al Pessin
While the West frets over the Egyptian military’s seizure of power and condemns the violent suppression of protesters, the response within Egypt is more ambiguous. Many of the nation's intellectuals see those actions not as an attack on democracy, but as the best chance to save it. Others are not so sure.

After several days of massive protests against the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, the military removed him on July 3 in what is widely seen as a coup d’etat. But not everyone in Egypt calls it that way.
 
“Here in Egypt we don't call it a coup,” said professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an award-winning Egyptian fighter for democracy and a supporter of the revolution two-and-a-half years ago against Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak imprisoned him three times.

"This is more commonly a term used by the Muslim Brothers and by Western media," said Ibrahim.
 
Rania al-Malky, a liberal Egyptian commentator and online newspaper publisher, sees it differently.
 
"First, I just want to call things by their names. This was a military coup," she insisted.
 
But that is a minority view among Egyptian intellectuals.

"The military did the only thing they could. It is the people who really went up in arms and it was the army that was trying to catch up with them - the unprecedented number of people who took onto the streets, 30 million," Ibrahim pointed out.
 
Again, al-Malky differed.

"There's this big illusion that 30 million people came out on June 30, and that's a huge, huge, huge illusion. It's a big, big lie. And it was orchestrated by the army," said she.
 
Al-Malky acknowledges there were several million anti-Morsi protesters, but she says they wanted early elections, not a military takeover.
 
So, was the military rescuing the country from a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government with an unpopular Islamist agenda? Or did the generals use the protesters to legitimize a power grab?
 
Both sides answer in stark terms.
 
"The one single demand was to combat terrorism.  And the Muslim Brothers were labeled as a source of the rising terrorism in the country," said Ibrahim.
 
"This is the biggest joke. You can't vilify what you don't like. You can't turn your political enemy into a terrorist so you can get rid of them," argued al-Malky.
 
But that’s exactly what the military and its supporters are doing - claiming “terrorism” to justify the takeover and the killing of hundreds of protesters.
 
Rania al-Malky draws some grim conclusions.
 
"If this is not a loss of moral compass, I just don't know what would be. Of course, the Arab Spring is over as far as Egypt is concerned. It's all going to be back to square one.  It's going to be the sham democracy, so-called democracy, we had under Mubarak." Said al-Malky.
 
Saad Eddin Ibrahim sees the danger but believes Egypt has a new protection against it.
 
"The whole country is mobilized now. And therefore no tyranny could hope to emerge or prevail in this country," he said.
 
That is the gamble Egypt has taken, with intelligent people insisting either that it is a sure thing or a losing proposition.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 31, 2013 1:30 PM
It's always women speaking for the Muslim Brotherhood, and it's always women bearing the brunt of islamist maladministration, confiscation of freedoms and subjugation. Muslim Brotherhood represented one thing in Egypt and everywhere: a setback, a return to the Stone Age barbarism, a clog in the wheel of progress. The ouster truly saved Egypt, the damage Morsi did to the country in his one year maladministration of the country is unquantifiable. No country can afford the enormity of setback the Muslim brotherhood wanted to unleash on Egypt except Somalia, Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and no organization would wish that on itself except al qaida, the taliban, boko haram and hezbollah, all of which want a return to the Stone Age and prehistoric barbarism of antiquity.

by: Mohamed Mohsen from: Egypt
August 30, 2013 6:50 AM
I wish you do a poll how much Ms Al Malky represent, as she represents a small minority that share her view. When you compare two ideas in the street I hope you do a fair one by stating polls that support each view, the reader will think there an equal weight for each view.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs