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Analyzing Military Statements as Performance

December 28, 2011

General Emara at a press conference. Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm

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There is a superb account of the military council’s recent press conference, viewed as a performance, in Al-Masry Al-Youm.

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Entitled “The subtext of the military council’s video ‘evidence’” by Rime Naguib, the gist of the article is this:

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In the speech, the protesters were characterized as thugs, infiltrators or agents paid for by a mysterious force that seeks to destroy Egypt. The general’s warnings were framed as coming from an ordinary Egyptian citizen who is concerned for Egypt and the “prestigeof the state”rather than a member of the ruling military council.

The video shown by Emara was meant to support the SCAF’s narrative: to prove that it was the demonstrators who were on the offensive, trying to break into the parliament building and set aflame the Egyptian Scientific Institute, allegedly for no reason other than to wreck havoc and tarnish the image of the army, as dictated by the invisible hand.

But the article not only describes the content of the videos used by General Emara to make his points,it situates them within the context of the press conference, Gen. Emara’s introduction and commentary on them, and the reactions of the audience to them.

You can read the entire 2400-word account here.

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