The Maroon

Column: I believe the overthrow of Morsi was not a coup

JESSICA+DEBOLD
JESSICA DEBOLD

JESSICA DEBOLD

The Maroon

The Maroon

JESSICA DEBOLD

JESSICA DEBOLD

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When I arrived in Cairo, there were people gathered in the streets with signs calling for a peaceful protest to take place on June 30. I watched the progression of the grassroots campaign, “Tamarod” or “Rebel” in Arabic. At this time before the overthrow of President Muhammad Morsi, news outlets were focused on the demands and the failures of his policies post-2011 revolution. On the night of July 3, I heard fireworks and cheering as the military announced Morsi was arrested. After much worrying and praying, I celebrated the ousting of a dictator with Egyptian University students. Within minutes of the first announcement, CNN, BBC and Aljazeera named the ousting a military coup.

From my point of view, the demands of the people have been met and a dictator was removed from power. International journalists and scholars immediately discredited the efforts of these people and my friends. Millions of people flooded to the streets in Cairo and around the world to protest against the “elected” president. In the eyes of fed-up Egyptians, this was not a military coup. This was the voice of the people demanding for a fair and just leader and the military was acting on behalf of this demand. The truth is that there has never been democracy established in Egypt. The so-called democracy that has been “victim to a military coup” was nothing but some fantasy that Western culture propagated.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been an unpopular political party in Egypt since the assassination of the much-loved President Anwar Sadat in 1981. The Muslim Brotherhood was never involved in the 2011 revolution until the overthrowing of their enemy, President Hosni Mubarak, became a real possibility. When the building of Mubarak’s political party was set aflame, the Brotherhood swooped in quickly and strategically. Brotherhood members supplied injured protesters with bread and aid, and so they received the trust of the vulnerable and angry citizens. Following a two-week long blood bath between police and protestors and conspiracies surrounding the Port Said massacre, the Egyptian public did not want a member of the old regime back in power. When elections came around, the people had the choice between Morsi and a member of Mubarak’s regime. After seeing their friends suffer and die in the revolution, no one wanted anything to do with Mubarak. Consequently, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood gained political power.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been a known violent terrorist organization for over 50 years, and they had been using Morsi as a puppet for their conservative political agendas. Since the election of Morsi, the government was publicly corrupt and shamed the people who died for the freedom of Egypt. For example, electricity was poorly regulated and would go out for millions of people on a daily basis. The police were no where to be found on the streets throughout Morsi’s presidency, which left the people lawless and the roads violent. Under Morsi’s rule there were frequent gas shortages, intense sexual harassment and no demands of the revolution were met. The youth and women were especially neglected despite all of their sacrifices in 2011. Due to the radical conservative views of The Muslim Brotherhood, the Cairo ballet and opera house were cut from federal funding and nearly outlawed. Imagine if President Obama decided to outlaw the art scene in New Orleans because it was against his religious beliefs.

If you call the overthrow a military coup, then you discredit the nation’s efforts to discontinue terrorism, gender violence, sexual harassment and tyranny disguised as a democratic system. Why are all of these news organizations reporting this as a military coup when the president interim is unaffiliated with the military? The people started this “coup” and military is helping the people. The army announced that there would be early elections and a new constitution drafted. Western news media portrays a disturbing bias in favor of The Muslim Brotherhood. Headlines and stories frequently portrayed the military as acting in self-interest. The protestors’ efforts – a majority of Egyptians – were put on the back burner. Morsi’s overthrow made it clear that the people have hopes for a better Egypt, and they will not settle for an oppressive leader. The Muslim Brotherhood had the opportunity to lead, but instead they just indulged in power and neglected the people.

I believe during these times of instability, revolt and demands for reform, we need to ask ourselves: what is a true democracy? The reality is that democracy today is a rigged system defended mercilessly for and on behalf of the rich and the powerful. Democracy is not meant to hold the corrupt in power. Democracy is meant to defend the vote of the people and not votes that were bought with lies and bribes. In my opinion, true democracy died a long time ago for the U.S., considering our dishonest politicians and crony capitalistic system.

It is evident to me that the average citizen and even university student in America is not aware that our government is actively contributing to civil unrest and war in the Middle East. Our citizens pride themselves in having a stable government and civil liberties, but we don’t seem to support honest democracy within Arab nations. Instead, we would rather close our borders and violate their rights in our airports. We categorize Arabs as violent terrorists, but the truth is that American armed forces have murdered more innocent people on foreign soil each year than Obama will ever publicly admit.

As educated adults with infinite resources at our fingertips, we need to support humanity’s fight for freedom across the world by staying engaged with the international and domestic policies of our government.

Turn off CNN, Fox and MSNBC. Most mainstream news media is owned by the same five very rich and powerful people. Don’t let these people become simple statistics you see and then forget. What the Egyptians are going through is horrifying, and we should be very angry at the way the news is treating the situation. I want the world to support efforts towards progress and true democracy in Egypt – and Syria and Iraq, etc. Stay engaged and don’t forget that people dying in these countries are real people with families, secrets, dreams, friends, pain and love.

Jessica DeBold can be reached at [email protected]

In My Opinion is a regular column open to all Loyola students. Those interested can contact [email protected] 

Egyptians congregate to protest against elected president Muhammad Morsi in Tahrir Square. Since the arrest of Morsi on July 3, Western media has called the overthrow a military coup d’etat. (JESSICA DEBOLD/The Maroon)

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