News / Middle East

Did Morsi Ouster Save or Destroy Egypt’s Democracy?

Did Morsi Ouster, Army Takeover Save or Destroy Egypt’s Democracy?i
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.

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Comment Sorting
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.

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