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In Egypt, Coup and Revolution Are Not Mutually Contradictory Terms

July 25, 2013

Was the gathering of millions in Egypt on June 30 the continuation of a revolution or the occasion for a coup d’état? The answer is “both,” but the question is not the right one to ask.

That’s the brief, pointed opening to an intelligent essay contemplating the events (so far) of “Egypt in Year Three” by the editors of the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP).

The authors go on to say:

All of the major political forces in Egypt seem to be playing a winner-takes-all game where the prize is total control of the state. The rhetorical indicator is the ubiquitous offer to shed one’s own blood; everyone is primed to be a martyr to the cause, whether the purge of Muslim Brothers from government or Mursi’s reinstatement. Almost no one appears ready to face the messy and time-consuming task of power sharing. In this scenario, typical and absolutely logical in societies that have been heavily repressed, the true victor tends to be the entrenched power broker, here the military and its fat-cat friends.

They conclude:

The downfall of Husni Mubarak is best described as half-revolution, half-coup; in Mursi’s case, the proportions may differ. The generals might like to write the revolution’s obituary, but it is too soon, and ultimately the pen is not in their fingers.

You can read the entire essay here.

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