[media-credit name="Jill Peters" align="alignnone" width="540"][/media-credit]The University of Wisconsin’s Center for Humanities hosted a panel Tuesday to evaluate the past two years of unrest in Egypt, debating whether the events should be deemed a “coup.”
The panel was comprised of three instructors: University of California at Santa Cruz assistant history professor Jennifer Derr; UW associate French professor Névine El Nossery; and A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and UW art history professor Amanda Rogers.
In a discussion of labels, Derr, Roger and El Nossery debated whether the events in Egypt should be considered a “revolution” or a “coup.”
Although Derr said regarding the summer uprising as a coup was an “American-held idea,” and not as widespread in Europe, El Nossery said the events was an example of a “people’s coup.” Rogers strayed away from the term “coup” altogether, calling the events a “processional revolution.”
Differentiating a coup from a revolution, El Nossery said a revolution is defined by peoples’ fulfillment, adding in Egypt’s case, the peoples’ basic needs were not met.
Despite this disagreement, all parties recognized the Egyptian military’s strong hold on the people.
“Over the years, the army has gradually penetrated into the people’s daily lives,” El Nossery said.
El Nossery said the people of Egypt are living under a strict military rule and explained how the relationship between the army and the people of Egypt is unique as a result of many years of “emotional interdependency” between the army and the civilians.
Derr agreed, acknowledging how the freedom of press has been cut significantly and how television rarely, if ever, dares to criticize the military.
“There was a wide range of political expression that flowered during 2011 which has begun to narrow significantly,” Derr said.
However, Rogers presented many photos that demonstrated how the military is coming under attack adding that the image of the eagle has come to be criticized due to its symbolization of the military rule.
Rogers also showed multiple images of graffiti in Cairo where either the eagle has been removed from the flag, or in one specific image, the eagle is painted on the ballot box behind barbed wire.
The panel also addressed Mohamed Morsi, the former president of Egypt who was removed after mass protests and is now facing a trial.
El Nossery outlined many of Morsi’s failures, citing fake ballots, his relationship with terrorist groups and his “conflict of loyalties between his sympathies with extremist Islamist groups and his obligations as President to preserve national security.”