We spoke to a Doha-based Egyptian-American academic, who shed some light on the political discourse that led to a violent military coup in 2012.
At one point in 2012, Egyptian people celebrated their first democratically elected president, Mohammad Morsi. But soon after a brief democratic interlude, Morsi’s governance faced campaigns like Tamarod calling for early elections. Tamarod's supporters preferred a military rule over an elected government led by a practising Muslim.
Prof. Mohamad Elmasry, who teaches Media and Cultural Studies programs at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, offered his insight into what shaped the military coup that toppled Morsi' s government.
TRT WORLD: In your opinion, who is to blame?
There's a lot of blame to go around. The Islamists, including the Brotherhood, committed a number of critical missteps. Egypt's deep state was, from the start, in counter-revolution mode. Meanwhile, and importantly, Egypt's liberal groups and parties are also to blame for Egypt's descent into authoritarianism, but to varying degrees. Some liberals claimed to have been duped by the military and Tamorrod, and have since denounced post-coup repression. Others, though, have supported the regime's mass killings, mass arrests, and broader eliminationism. Some liberal groups continue to insist that forcing the Muslim Brotherhood out of office was necessary, with some even asserting, rather farcically, that Egypt is better off today than it was under Morsi.
It is said that the “deep state” conspired to bring him down. But do you think this would be possible without the help of other political parties? Or civil society organisations? What is the role of the liberals?
ME: Egypt's so-called liberals played a pivotal role in Egypt's 2013 military coup, as well as the post-coup repression and violence.
It is well known that from the beginning Egypt's deep state was conspiring to derail the revolution. Their efforts intensified following the Muslim Brotherhood's initial electoral victories.
What doesn't get enough attention, however, is the deleterious, anti-democratic role played by Egypt's so-called liberal parties and politicians. Immediately following Morsi's election in the summer of 2012, liberal groups began working on the way to force "early presidential elections," which was code for some sort of military intervention. Op-eds and television shows described Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood as foreign occupiers and claimed the country was heading for disaster and chaos. Calls for direct military intervention picked up steam following Morsi's controversial November 2012 constitutional decree. Even though the decree was temporary, and was arguably needed to prevent further erosion of the democratic process, many of Egypt's liberals used it as a chance to rid the country of Morsi and the Brotherhood once and for all.
And we’ve seen many different parties that were constantly critical of his rule; like the April 6 Youth Movement or the famous comedian Bassem Youssef or the Nobel peace laureate and former head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei. What happened to these figures now? For instance ElBaradei was a key political player in Egypt’s post-Morsi era, he supported the coup and he even lobbied in Washington. ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabahi created an alliance and called people out to protest against Morsi. Do you agree that these power alliances dissolved and these key players dispersed but what they’ve brought upon Egypt is still there – Egyptian people paying the price of all their work for democracy gone in vain?
ME: Some of this might appear surprising to those on the outside looking in. But analysts and scholars have written extensively on the anti-democratic nature of large swaths of Egypt's so-called liberals, including the majority of the formal liberal political parties that participated in electoral politics in the two years that followed the 2011 democratic uprising.
They signed off on the anti-democratic Tamarrod movement and actively conspired with the Egyptian military and foreign powers to manufacture and instigate a coup. Many of those who helped bring the military to power have now conveniently disappeared.
NOTE: The article came from TRT World’s Eyes on Discrimination (EOD) Centre, which monitors and reports on offences, hate crimes and discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin and religion, or other related social categories. We promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.