You do not have to be a Muslim Brotherhood supporter, you do not have to believe in an orthodox interpretation of Islam, you do not even have to like Mohammed Morsi or agree with the actions of his deposed government, to be sickened by all that is happening in Egypt. In full view of a watching world.
BBC Arabic’s Khaled Ezzelarab personally counted “at least 50 bodies” after the “operation” in Cairo. The Egyptian security forces admit to 95 deaths. The Muslim Brotherhood says the toll runs tragically into the hundreds. The Egyptian ‘presidency’ has announced emergency rule.
The world is, for the most part, silent. The White House says it condemns the violence. Only the Turks seem bold enough accurately to describe Wednesday’s events as “a massacre”. But by and large, countries and their leaders seem incapable or unwilling to get involved. US Secretary of State John Kerry is, we hear, slipping into vacation mode (his boss is already at Martha’s Vineyard). UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been moved to voice sadness at the death in Cairo of Sky News cameraman Mick Deane.
A reporter for Gulf News, Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, has also died. As has the 17-year-old daughter of leading Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed el-Beltagy.
Can we all agree to call it a coup now?
As Egypt returns to its past, “governed” under emergency law from 1967 to 2012, except for an 18-month break in 1980/81, it’s worth reading this piece by well known British human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield and Tayab Ali. They plead that the world should not allow Egypt to “fall into a perpetual cycle of coup after coup like Pakistan.”
It’s prudent to note that Egypt’s military-appointed government named 25 provincial governors on Tuesday, 19 of whom are generals; 17 from the military and two from the police. Even those who did not agree with Mohammed Morsi would surely be alarmed at the prospect of a return to the authoritarianism of former President Hosni Mubarak.
As Mr Mansfield and Mr Ali point out in their Guardian op-ed, “the immediate aftermath of the July coup reminds us what Egypt is without its democracy and that cannot have been what the many who were angry at President Morsi’s government had in mind when they chose to (and were allowed to) vocalise their discontent in street protests.”
Surely all reasonable people will agree with this further assertion? “Whatever the stated justification, disenchantment with a democratically elected leader cannot legitimise the use of force and should never be used to remove a democratically elected government.”
So, can we call agree to call it a coup now?