Egypt: Revolution will not be televised

This post is going to be a major link dump. Please visit all the links I post here by visiting the sites to get the fuller picture. After the first week of euphoria wherein the western press was at pains whether to describe what happened in Egypt as coup or not, information and news is finally coming out of Egypt that how it was a long planned coup executed through naive and glassy eyed young educated revolutionaries of Tamarrod who failed to see that Egypt had become a #CoupCoupLand.

I did mention some theories in my earlier post ( Egypt Coup : Engineered by military and supported by elite and West) that how the coup seems to be engineered. Whereas the previous post focused more on definition of coup and theories, this one will comprise of evidences.

Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi

Working behind the scenes, members of the old establishment, some of them close to Mr. Mubarak and the country’s top generals, also helped finance, advise and organize those determined to topple the Islamist leadership, including Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire and an outspoken foe of the Brotherhood; Tahani el-Gebali, a former judge on the Supreme Constitutional Court who is close to the ruling generals; and Shawki al-Sayed, a legal adviser to Ahmed Shafik, Mr. Mubarak’s last prime minister, who lost the presidential race to Mr. Morsi.But it is the police returning to the streets that offers the most blatant sign that the institutions once loyal to Mr. Mubarak held back while Mr. Morsi was in power. Throughout his one-year tenure, Mr. Morsi struggled to appease the police, even alienating his own supporters rather than trying to overhaul the Interior Ministry. But as crime increased and traffic clogged roads — undermining not only the quality of life, but the economy — the police refused to deploy fully.

Until now.

Mr. Sawiris, one of Egypt’s richest men and a titan of the old establishment, said Wednesday that he had supported an upstart group called “tamarrod,” Arabic for “rebellion,” that led a petition drive seeking Mr. Morsi’s ouster. He donated use of the nationwide offices and infrastructure of the political party he built, the Free Egyptians. He provided publicity through a popular television network he founded and his major interest in Egypt’s largest private newspaper. He even commissioned the production of a popular music video that played heavily on the network. “Tamarrod did not even know it was me!” he said. “I am not ashamed of it.”

Ms. Gebali, the former judge, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that she and other legal experts helped tamarrod create its strategy to appeal directly to the military to oust Mr. Morsi and pass the interim presidency to the chief of the constitutional court.

Ahmed Nabawi, a gas station manager, said he had heard several reasons for the gas crisis: technical glitches at a storage facility, a shipment of low-quality gas from abroad and unnecessary stockpiling by the public. Still, he was amazed at how quickly the crisis disappeared.“We went to sleep one night, woke up the next day, and the crisis was gone,” he said, casually sipping tea in his office with his colleagues.

Regardless of the reasons behind the crisis, he said, Mr. Morsi’s rule had not helped.

“No one wanted to cooperate with his people because they didn’t accept him,” he said. “Now that he is gone, they are working like they’re supposed to.

You might be naive in considering that NYTimes is the only one reporting it. Subsequently, Wall Street Journal also fired up its journalists and produced this:

In Egypt, the ‘Deep State’ Rises Again

In the months before the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s top generals met regularly with opposition leaders, often at the Navy Officers’ Club nestled on the Nile.

The message: If the opposition could put enough protesters in the streets, the military would step in—and forcibly remove the president.

“It was a simple question the opposition put to the military,” said Ahmed Samih, who is close to several opposition attendees. “Will you be with us again?” The military said it would. Others familiar with the meetings described them similarly.

By June 30, millions of Egyptians took to the streets, calling for Mr. Morsi to go. Three days later, the military unseated him.

..As agitation against the Muslim Brotherhood grew, the Brotherhood formally asked the Minister of Interior for protection of their offices nationwide. Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim, Minister of Interior, publicly declined.Gen. Ibrahim faced pressure from powerful figures in the former Mubarak camp. On June 24, Ahmed Shafiq—the last prime minister appointed by Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Morsi’s closest rival for president—said in a television interview that he warned the general to not show support for the Brotherhood.

“I told him…the coming days will not be on your side if you do, and these days will be very soon,” Mr. Shafiq said on TV. “They will see black days,” he said, referring to the Brotherhood.

Days later, Mr. Shafiq’s warning materialized. Armed young men began ransacking Muslim Brotherhood offices nationwide.
..

However, this is only reported in few international outlets and then restricted only to newspapers. The television channels didn’t air any such report. Moreover, the local Egyptian media is so skewed towards pro-coup crowd that any thing referring to it as a coup have been blacked out by revolutionaries themselves.

These are the two screenshots of live sit in being staged yesterday in Rabea Adwaya. Neither international media nor the liberal and educated tweeps considered it worth tweeting about it. Because the channels they are plugged into are ignoring it. This is around 2am in the morning.

This was one of the two channels that was reporting it. It was total media silence on other channels. So that it may not be considered a fake photo, here is a picture from the other channel

This is how the game is being played. By shutting down pro-democracy outlets and providing no coverage to them, they want to give the impression that Morsi has lost his legitimacy to rule. Nothing could be farther from truth.

Fashioning a Coup

The massive protests of June 30 came in conjunction with a much larger scheme that began very soon after Morsi took office. This long term project by entrenched state elites seeks more than simply ejecting the Muslim Brothers from power, although that’s a highly prized outcome.

Media covered the political conflict in alarmist tones, and was a conduit for deep state messages. A major daily “leaked” a supposedly top-secret intelligence document reporting widespread discontent at worsening economic conditions “that threatens national security.” The language of “endangering national security” is a recurrent trope in all of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s speeches this year, including his 48-hour ultimatum of July 1. The October report warned that “citizens are eager for political participation, but fear single-party dominance of the political process.” Read: the Ikhwan are taking over.

Another surreal scene was the military’s use of the June 30 protests to put on a grotesque display of military prowess. Fighter jets flew above Tahrir Square, not to intimidate the massed citizens into going home as in 2011 but to package their mobilization as an assent to military rule. The planes streaked colors of the Egyptian flag in the sky and drew giant high schoolish hearts (never underestimate the mawkishness of military PR). Helicopters dropped flags on the masses, lending a martial visual uniformity to an essentially diverse populace. Posters of General El-Sisi were held aloft. Police officers in their summer whites gleefully engaged in protest, some theatrically revealing Tamarrod T-shirts beneath their uniforms.

Aerial footage (only of the anti-Morsi crowds, of course) was sent to anti-Morsi television channels, which broadcast it to the tunes of triumphal cinematic music. Naturally, the protests of those icky other people didn’t exist. A military plane was put at the disposal of a film director who’s a fixture of the anti-Morsi cultural elite, presumably to make a movie about “Egypt’s second revolution,” as State TV swiftly christened the June 30 protests. The equally massive June 25 2012 protests against military rule are conveniently dropped from this emerging canonization.

The revolutionary invention of the Tahrir Square protest as an authentic political performance was recast as state-sanctioned spectacle.

The next act of the pageant was to control the message. Officials enlisted media personalities to banish the term “coup” and hound anyone who used it. A few hours before General El-Sisi’s declaration of the coup on July 3, Egyptian media luminaries were contacting foreign media outlets to insist that they not call his imminent announcement a coup. Military spokesmen and anti-Morsi activists repeatedly and defensively asserted that “15 million protesters” and “30 million protesters” had come out on June 30, not citing the source of their numbers. A former police chief called the numbers “unprecedented in Egyptian history.” A giant message saying “It is not a coup” was reflected with green laser on the front of the Mugamma building in Tahrir on July 5.

It was quite the bizarre display of hysterical chauvinism. Government officials and establishment elites huffily insisted that the whole world acquiesce in their construction of reality. Foreign ministry officials rounded up ambassadors fromthe Americas to “explain” to them that it’s not a coup. Unnamed government officials were tasked with intensifying contact with US Congressmen in Washington for the same purpose. The Ministry of Defense in Cairo invited foreign journalists for more slideshows of the June 30 protests. And now youth activists are being sent on an official mission to London and Washington to “clarify for Western nations and the whole world that the June 30 revolution is an extension of the January 25, 2011 revolution.”

Rarely has a tenacious establishment been so keen to proclaim its own alleged overthrow. What that establishment wants, of course, is to turn the practice of the Egyptian revolution into a folkloric carnival of people filling Tahrir Square to wave flags and chant “Egypt! Egypt!”

Egyptian army clearly showing what its intentions are

Video: Egyptian army helicopter drops flags over anti-government protests


In one of the more surprising and symbolically powerful moments during Egypt’s mass protests on Sunday against President Mohamed Morsi, military helicopters circling overhead dropped Egyptian national flags on the crowds gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. A video of the moment, embedded above, shows the TV journalist reporting from Tahrir visibly surprised.

However, when it comes to pro-democracy pro-Morsi protestors, this is what they drop on them

But this is not all. The whole narrative of 22 million signatures of Tamarod and 30 million protestors filling out Tahrir Square is wrong. However, it is repeated so many times in local media by the coup supporters that it has become part of the lore.

Mathematics and Egyptians Don’t Mix: June 30 Protests Figures

After being irritated for over two years now by how Egyptians throw numbers around without meaning I have finally decided to prove that the daily numerical allegations in Egypt are usually false. What motivated me to do so is hearing the funniest figures ever, the 17 to 33 million protesters with regards to the events that unfolded on the 30th of June.
.
.

Adding up the presence at Tahrir Square and Ittihadiya we will get a total of (378,124 + 286,602) 664,726 protesters and for the purpose of extreme generosity in figures, I will round them up to 700,000 to make up even more for circulation in both areas.

Now in a simple Algebraic manner, knowing that Cairo includes over 25% of the Egyptian population, a quick extrapolation will show that Egypt as a whole wouldn’t have had more than 2.8 million protesters on the streets during the June 30 event, if not even less than these 2.8 million due to my generosity in rounding up figures like crazy.

0.25X = 700,000 protesters where X is the total number of protesters.
X = 700,000/0.25 = 2,800,000 protesters in Egypt as a whole.

My point is this annuls the claimed legitimacy of the Tamarod (Rebel) movement, takes away their right to speak on behalf of the entirety of the Egyptian population. It also raises a big question mark around the number of the signatures they claim to have obtained.

More importantly these calculations raise a claim as to how a democratically elected president was removed from office due to protests by what does not even represent 5% of the entire Egyptian population and barely represents 5% of the portion of said population that has a right to vote in Egypt.

This just tells you that how much of the narrative is manufactured or fabricated. I had a discussion with the author on twitter for a similar numbers for pro-democracy crowd:

Here are the author says that since its a Friday, a weekly holiday, it is easier to collect such large numbers. To which I say,

What is being lost here is that crowd is large, reaching the numbers reached on June 30 yet there is absolutely no mention of this anywhere like the coverage June 30 protests received or even the many times small Taksim protests received.

Egypt’s Fake Mass ‘Rebellion’?

Since Egypt’s military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi last week, the job of trying to coax the Egyptian military to restore order and democracy in ways that satisfy Washington’s standards has largely fallen to newly minted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

But Hagel has little leverage to work with, and the Journal adds that before the coup last week the Pentagon specifically urged Egypt’s generals to avoid a takeover:

But the current crisis has exposed the limits of the military relationship. The army overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected president despite US objections, which were conveyed privately by Mr. Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US officials said.

Hagel’s efforts won’t be made easier if Hagel’s Pentagon goes ahead and delivers fighter jets to Egypt, as seems likely:

The US is moving ahead with plans to deliver four F-16s to Egypt despite the ongoing debate about the military’s overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi and whether it legally constitutes a coup that could shut off aid to the country.

Defense officials say senior administration leaders discussed the delivery and decided to let it continue.

But the generals are flush, since Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE have agreed to give or loan Egypt $12 billion. According to Bloomberg:

Kuwait will deposit $2 billion with the Egyptian central bank, give a $1 billion grant and offer $1 billion worth of oil and oil products, state-run Kuna said in a text message today. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. pledged $5 billion and $3 billion respectively yesterday.

The money from the Gulf Arab kleptocracies means that Egypt doesn’t have to worry if the United States cuts off aid.

The question is why the military, bureaucracy and others came together to stage this coup and what it means for future of Egypt. The author of fashioning a coup piece above said it best and I can only paste it below in bold to highlight how succinctly it captures its essence

With their July 3 coup, Egypt’s new military overlords and their staunch American backers are playing an age-old game, the game of turning the public against the ineluctable bickering, inefficiency, gridlock, and intense conflict that is part and parcel of a free political life, so that a disillusioned, fatigued people will pine for the stability and order that the military then swoops in to provide.

The acute but generative political conflict during Morsi’s blink-of-an-eye presidency was constantly amplified and then pathologized by the jealous custodians of the Egyptian state, with their repeated invocations of civil war and mass chaos to frighten people away from the vagaries of self-rule.

Like clockwork every few months, state agents facilitated the conditions for collective violence, dispatching provocateurs to demonstrations, removing police from the streets, standing back as communal violence broke out, resisting civilian oversight, and then ominously forecasting an impending breakdown of social order. The message is clear: left to your own devices, you will kill each other.

The ethos of collective self-confidence, cross-class cooperation, religious co-existence, and creative problem-solving on such magnificent display in the January 25 uprising spells the beginning of the end for the ruling military and civilian bureaucracy. So it had to be replaced with a manufactured mood of resignation and “realism,” the false realism that says: accept tutelage or face chaos.

As the recently self-designated “eminence grise” Mohamed ElBaradie summed it up, “Without Morsi’s removal from office, we would have been headed toward a fascist state, or there would have been a civil war.”

And that is the essence of the anti-political doctrine that worships order, fears political struggle, mistrusts popular striving, and kowtows to force majeure.

Further Reading

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