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I can't believe this even needs saying, but across the spectrum of cable and print news there seems to be an increasing reluctance -- brought about by a perhaps well-intentioned, doubtlessly intense PR campaign -- to use the word "coup" in reference to today's (yesterday's, depending on where you are) events in Egypt. The word itself is becoming a hot potato.

A quick and decisive extra-legal seizure of governmental power by a relatively small but highly organized group of political or military leaders, typically by means of the unexpected arrest or assassination of the incumbent chief executive and his principal supporters within the government.
Overall, the Western media has been anti-Morsi, and so perhaps more willing to agree to the terms that their "side's" linguistic demands.
a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially : the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group.
However, this was a coup, under no definition is it NOT a coup. That a segment (as yet undetermined except in Cairo via protester counts) of the population is in favor of the coup does not make it a non-coup. Even if a majority favors a coup, it is still a coup. Morsi was properly elected, he later abused his power tremendously, but as the military came in and swept him aside without legal standing or's still a coup. Maybe it's a good coup!? It's still a coup.
The sudden overthrow of a government, differing from a revolution by being carried out by a small group of people who replace only the leading figures.
The people were in the street, yes. Many people! The overthrow of the government was not by the people. It was by the army. So, it's a coup.
Coup d'état (ˌkuːdeɪˈtɑː; plural: coups d'état), also known as a coup, a putsch, or an overthrow, is the sudden deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to depose the extant government and replace it with another body, civil or military. A coup d'état is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance.
A coup's outcome doesn't make it not a coup. A coup can end in any sort of government. Even some civilian guy only two days into his job can be made president, and it's still a coup!
a sudden and decisive action in politics, esp. one resulting in a change of government illegally or by force.
You may like the outcome. It's still a coup. You may regret the legal consequences if it's a coup. It's still a coup. Why is it a coup? It's the definition of a coup. If it's not a coup, a coup isn't a coup.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:18:49 PM PDT

  •  Yep, it appears to be a coup. (6+ / 0-)

    It's funny... I was wondering the same thing, why there seemed to be kid-gloves on every story approaching this.  I think we instinctively cringe whenever the military takes power from an elected head of state, even if you (neutral you, not anyone in particular) agree that it's a good change, and even if it appears to have widespread popular support.  I dunno.  I think people in the West are so used to getting the cliffs'notes version of events that there seems to be a lot of reluctance with dealing with the complexities involved.

    I'm one or two people removed from some activists involved, so I'll leave it there and say that I think people are optimistic and I hope this bodes well.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:40:11 PM PDT

    •  It's a gamble... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, wu ming

      ...I think it's a good gamble, I think (hope?) that the end result of today will be closer to the ideals initially embraced in the push to overthrow Mubarak. But the precedent is a poor one. I hope the new Constitution limits the power of the Army, so that if/when they choose to ignore it in the future the deposed president can say, "this is the exact text the Army is violating".

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:51:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  they hate this & is why they are struggling (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Addison, AgavePup

    they realize the "good guys" in their minds are not the Muslim Brotherhood.. so the people supporting the coup must be good guys..
    but coups by definition are against the "principles of democracy", given the legality of the vote..

    quite a pickle.. so they want to find another word/ way of describing a "legitimate overthrow by the military"..

    they want that badly.. a way of framing this as being good nevertheless..

    •  That's why I have a hard time calling this a coup. (0+ / 0-)

      Sure, the government was democratically elected.  But at one point there were 14-17 MILLION people demonstrating against the government.  Given that Egypt's population's something like 86-odd million, that's a fantastically huge portion of the population.  I'd say it's more like a revolution with the support of the military -- or perhaps a really, really nasty 'no confidence' vote.

  •  That's the problem in a lot of Arab countries (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's the secular assholes versus the religious assholes. I wish more countries would follow Tunisia's example and elect liberal Islamists.

  •  As an expat who has spent over 30 years (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mbayrob, nuketeacher, Praxical

    in the Arab World, one thing I have learned is this:  The only way anything works is  by consensus.  They may have to bust a few heads now and again to achieve one, but consensus rules.  It doesn't make any difference on what level, either, whether government, corporation, or family.  Consensus always wins the day.  The notion of "loyal opposition" doesn't exist; it's not even vaguely understood.  

    Take something as innocuous as an academic committee meeting in a university as an example.  There's a problem.  Suggestions are made.  Usually about a third will voice opinions, often mutually exclusive.  Discussion ensues, often a very spirited one,  and can go on and on for hours with no apparent opinion dominating  until ever so slowly one person's solution - 90% of the time the chairman's - will gain the upper hand, and the others begin to coalesce around it.  A "vote" will be taken and that decision, which always wins at least 90% of the committee's support despite clear underlying opposition,  will be implemented.

    Democracy, as it is interpreted in the west, quite simply doesn't work.  Unless and until a seismic shift takes place in the larger cultural psyche, it's not going to, either.  I'd like to be more sanguine; I cannot.  As much as I admire, respect, indeed, love these remarkable people among whom I have lived so long, they aren't going to turn into Jeffersonian democrats.

    -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

    by GulfExpat on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:00:16 PM PDT

  •  I have wondered the same thing as I said to the (0+ / 0-)

    radio "But that is the definition of a coup".

    That a segment (as yet undetermined except in Cairo via protester counts) of the population is in favor of the coup does not make it a non-coup. Even if a majority favors a coup, it is still a coup.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:16:07 PM PDT

  •  I don't know. (0+ / 0-)

    By the definition you cited, it's a seizure of power.  Technically, this meets the definition.  However, in the past, those who have seized power have always intended to keep that power for themselves, not to pass it back to the People, which is what the military seems to intend to do -- and which is what they did two years ago, IIRC.  

    I'd say it's more a revolutionary act, so long as the military follows through on their promise.  After all, when about 20% of the population of the country is demonstrating in the streets, and the military acts to carry out their wishes, it's hard to call that 'a small group'.  They're not 'replacing' it with another group, except temporarily.

    Really, it's far enough from the established use of the term that it really doesn't fit it -- again, so long as the military follows through.

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