Jumping the Gun on Egypt
By Michael Kleen
For the 79 million people living in Egypt, the protest movement that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in early February was an earth-shattering event, and the enthusiasm of the crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square was echoed by many here in the United States. Now that the dust has settled on the “Egyptian Revolution of 2011,” however, enthusiasm has been tempered by questions about whether the status quo was really overthrown. At best, those who expected democracy to break out in Egypt were a bit premature. At worst, they enabled the continuance of the regime of oppression because they put their faith in the military establishment to achieve their goals.
Let’s get one thing clear: What happened in Egypt was not strictly a revolution; it is more accurately described as a coup d’état. A coup d’état, according to most textbook definitions, is “the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body, either civil or military,” while a revolution is “a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.”
There was a fundamental change in Egypt, but that change resulted in the installation of a military junta and the suspension of the constitution and parliament. Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, a former supporter of the deposed Egyptian president, was installed as head of state. This was a textbook coup d’état, whether it was supported by the masses or not.
Posted on August 4, 2011, in Columns and tagged Arab Spring, coup d'état, Egypt, Egyptian Protests, Egyptian Revolution of 2011, Hosni Mubarak, military junta, Revolution, Tahrir Square. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.