News predicting a possible military intervention in Egypt did not sound realistic a couple of days ago. As world media reported the massive protests, without events turning into violence, the situation in Egypt had seemed tense but hopeful. President Morsi had declared he would not give in to protesters and would actually defend “democracy” against all pressure.
Like many leaders in the same part of the world, he confused democracy with the share of voter support behind him and defended his stand based on the legitimacy of his presence in the presidency. However faulty it is to assume, unfortunately many people behind him viewed the situation as just because he had received the greatest number of votes, and accordingly he was allowed to abuse all liberties for self-promotion. This was the general attitude that millions of people have been protesting in the streets recently.
However, the military had issued a warning two days ago stating that unless Morsi established common ground to negotiate more sharing of power, they would have to intervene. The word “intervention” is cynical in this case, as what has in fact happened turns out to be a military coup. As the world watched in a “worrisome” mood, Morsi was pushed out of his position, and then came the declarations, reactions etc.
While I believe that the civilian people of Egypt, having mobilized such an immense protest on the streets, are capable of taking care of their problems in a democratic manner, the military’s involvement in this situation complicates a lot of things. First of all, it must be pointed out that no army can bring or sustain democratic principles, as has always been obvious in the history of mankind. All “liberating” armies have proven to be the next oppressors. Secondly, what has happened in Egypt seems to be a case of the military taking the initiative from the people and speaking in their name after taking Morsi down. However important the military declarations may be, the underlying psychology of any army cannot be perceived from in front of the cameras, especially because their power does not stem from the legitimate support of the people (no matter how big a group might call for the resignation of a ruler).
There have been mixed reactions throughout the world to Morsi’s ouster. Some people cheered because an Islamist ruler was forced out of power. Others resented seeing an Islamist lose power. But what actually happened was that an elected leader was forced out by the hand of a military commander who does not have the legitimate support of the people. It is hard to understand how anyone, especially those who have been supporting the protests globally – in Gezi Park, in Brazil, in Greece over ERT, in Bulgaria over DANS – can now cheer for the military coup in Egypt. Was it not democracy they were seeking, after all? If so, democracy is – or better, should be – an umbrella stretching out above all, including one’s most hated rivals. Any authoritarian ruler deserves to be protested and harshly criticized, yet it all needs to take place in a civil manner, using all the tools of a democratic society, and never through violence, shows of force, and the shadow of rifles and tanks.
I would like to believe that Egyptian society will wake up to a new day and realize that toppling a pharaoh only to erect a new one is useless and not an improvement; hopefully Egyptians will realize that the widely celebrated military coup of today is not the solution to their deeply rooted problems and not promising for the future of their people, country, and region.
MORE STORIES by Gürkan Özturan @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com