CAIRO, July 30, 2013 — While many in the West are calling the recent removal of President Mohammed Morsi a coup, Egyptians brand it a revolution and draw parallels between this military intervention and the 1952 revolution.
On July 23rd 2013, Egypt celebrated the 61 anniversary of the 1952 Gamal Abdel Nasser Revolution. At that time, officers toppled the monarchy in Egypt and dissolved the multiparty parliament. Western observers often call the event a “coup,” while Egyptians and the rest of the Arab world consider it a revolution.
Egyptians are now comparing the intervention by Minister of Defense El Sissi on June 30, 2013 to that 1952 revolution. Both El Sissi and Nasser are charismatic military leaders who relied on the support of Egypt’s people in removing the government.
Egyptians note that El Sissi is following Nasser’s footsteps. His call for Egyptians to take to the streets to give the military and the police a “mandate” to confront violence and terrorism echoes actions by Nasser to mobilize the people to support him.
Egyptians say El Sissi simply used military strength to enforce the will of the people. Many Egyptians wanted to oust Morsi because of his inefficient administration and favor putting the military in control of security.
Egyptians are showing strong support for El Sissi and comparing him to Nasser, considered a hero in much of the Arab world. Posters in Tahrir Square show images of El Sissi and Nasser with statements of support.
It is likely not a coincidence that El Sissi’s call for mass rallies in support of the military came one day after the Nasser anniversary of 1952. Several Nasserists visited the tomb of Nasser before organizing marches to Tahrir square. In another parallel, the clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi at the Cairo University are reminiscent ofo the 1954 clashes with the Brotherhood by Nasser’s supports which ended with Nasser banning the Brotherhood.
Egyptians are worried most about security. In the opinion of the average Egyptian, democratic rule and freedom can wait, but security is critical. Egyptians believe a military leader is the best alternative to restore security to the country.
Despite calls for national reconciliation, demonstrations continue, making reconciliation difficult if not impossible. Many Egyptians are now calling on the government to again ban call the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization while Islamists are demanding that the military reinstate Morsi. Currently, there is little room for negotiation.
The critical situation demands a military leader capable and able of taking severe decisions. Only the future will determine whether El Sissi is the reincarnation of Nasser.
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