BY MATT SHI
JULY 3, 2013 – Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has been ousted by what can only be called a military coup, albeit one enjoying tremendous popular support, as millions poured into the streets demanding a new government.
Five p.m. on July 2 marked the deadline set by the army for Morsi to resolve Egypt’s precarious political situation. By that time, however, the opposing parties were already unspeaking. A promised statement from the army was not delivered, and nobody knew what was going on except through an overabundance of rumors.
Despite the army’s statements, the Muslim Brotherhood reacted as to a coup. At that time, the president was supposedly inside the clubhouse of the Republican Guard. Though this is unconfirmed, it suggests that he was already effectively under house arrest. The airport received orders prohibiting senior leaders of the Brotherhood, including Mori, to leave the country.
Essam el-Haddad, one of the president’s closest aides, wrote a letter to the nation. The passionately bitter statement resonated to many as a man’s final words.
“These may be the last lines I get to post on this page,” he said. “For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: military coup.”
He continued, questioning the place of democracy in the Muslim world. If someone who wins a fair election is removed from office, he asked, what was the point? “Democracy is not for Muslims,” he concluded.
At midnight Morsi addressed the nation. He emphasized repeatedly that he was Egypt’s first elected leader. His 45-minute speech was reminiscent in form of ex-President Hosni Mubarak’s speech when in a similar situation, though Morsi did not mirror Mubarak’s condescending expression.
Despite his “legitimacy” as president—a word he used with extreme abundance in his speech—his time in office was marked by his seemingly directionless leadership. On many occasions he had no clear answer for his critics and no concrete solution for the country’s crisis. In fact, he seemed to question whether a solution was required. The millions of people who took to the streets seemed to think otherwise, but even these masses could not obstruct his personal vision for Egypt.
It was too late when, on the morning of July 2, he made offers to Gen Sisi including a new constitution, election, and a more unified government. The army was already in communication with the opposition. No solution was acceptable other than Morsi’s removal—Gen Sisi rejected the offers.
Sisi released a statement titled “The Final Hours,” in which he said that it would be more honorable to die protecting the Egyptian people than to have the people threatened or terrorized.