Morsi overthrown (or, Machines of State)

As I write this, I'm listening to the BBC as they speak with reporters on the ground in Egypt.

Egypt's first democratically elected President, Mohammad Morsi, was overthrown by the Egyptian military yesterday. He hadn't stepped down before their deadline, stating that he would give up his life rather than detract from the dignity of his office. He did not want the nation's first democratically elected Presidency to essentially go down in flames. And, as a dispassionate and distant observer of the human condition, neither did I.

On the other hand, millions upon millions of the Egyptian citizenry wanted Morsi out, and the generals are only doing the People's will. Morsi has been ousted and has been taken into custody, the Muslim Brotherhood has been purged from the government, and the military has evidently suspended Egypt's newly minted Constitution as well.

While this appears on its face to be a serious setback for Egyptian democracy, consider the possibility that the people felt that their first President and Constitution were not the right ones. Not good enough. Why should they settle for, and let become entrenched and ossified, another inadequate machine of state?

An Egyptian interviewed by the BBC said, "Millions of people. From Alexandria to Aswan ... the people couldn't wait, and they can't wait, any longer" for the next election, three years away. "It is not a protest, it is a revolution."

Morsi supporters refuse to recognize that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have been overthrown. The BBC reporters ask all of them, can't you see that it's over for Morsi? The majority wanted him out, he has been a failure on the economy, etc. No, they say, he didn't have time to succeed, and we are the majority anyway. But "we will remain peaceful."


  1. I agree mostly with what you write, however the truth is that whilst many millions did wish him out, other millions supported him strongly - quite who is in "the majority" is unfortunately not particularly clear. It is a conundrum - he was elected in what is generally accepted to have been a pretty 'clean' and democratic electoral process, however retrograde some foreigners viewed the way Egypt seemed to be moving under Morsi. Let us hope that the country can indeed remain peaceful and not descend into civil war and that the army will soon be able to step away from direct control of the state apparatus by handing over to another democratically elected administration and hopefully the Egyptian people will choose Leaders the next time round who they can trust over a slightly longer period to act in the interests of the vast majority of them - that will undoubtedly require tolerance and compromise on both sides; "purging" one side from Government because it does not suit the other is not a long-term solution, unless they want to return to the massive repression of the Mubarrak era when the Moslem Brotherhood was a banned organisation. Egypt is not Turkey, which has its own problems, but its secular democratic tradition is somewhat better embedded - let's hope Egypt can negotiate its way relatively peacefully through the troubling years ahead.

  2. There's a good and insightful article in the 'Telegraph' by Spectator editor Fraser Nelson that is well worth reading: