The problem with calling the shift of power in Egypt a “Military Coup”

Before I get started, this all goes to show how influential news sources are on the mindset of viewers, regardless of background knowledge and prior perspectives.

I’m a Queer woman and therefore find Rachel Maddow a huge inspiration*. I dig her witty delivery of news and find her bluntness attractive on a level above appearance. Not to mention, she’s calls bullshit like no other. I find myself mentally fist pumping when she screams out the stupidity that is the U.S. grand ol’ party (but that’s for a different post). However, today her report on the situation in Egypt left me critical. I did some live tweeting that went as follows: (find this all on

@MadeInNablus: I got really emotional and teary when America condemned the violence in Egypt today. Your words mean so much xoxo”

Can you really isolate the killing of journalists from the overall massacre of civilians in protest? #egypt

@maddow, love you. But really, define “Islamist” in a way that does not foster #islamaphobia.

No to the milit coup, No to Morsi #egypt

One tip for the @maddow show, when reporting on #Egypt spend more time showing what actual civilians on the street are saying!

I stand by all that I said aside from my “no to the milit coup” statement… which I will get to in a minute. As @MadeInNablus brilliantly stated with cunty sarcasm, somehow the condemnation of violence by U.S. political figures doesn’t somehow make “Americans” on the “good side” with no blood on our hands. Maddow’s question for journalist Richard Engel (who is the NBC correspondent reporting on Egypt’s recent events) asking if journalists were being “targeted” by the violence of the Muslim Brotherhood was not thought out. Um… did we not just see censored footage of CIVILIANS being shot at, killed and wounded? The term Islamist was tossed around as if it has an objective, tangible definition. This is detrimental for viewers’ beliefs on the faith of Islam and Muslim(ah) followers. And I cannot stand (as an amateur Anthropologist and citizen of the world) the voice of outside correspondents overshadowing those living through these experiences. In this case, Egyptian civilians who are on the streets protesting, who must worry about the safety of loved ones in a way unimaginable to many, and must live with the repercussions of these events.

While I remained critical – an action I was thankfully taught with my education – I found a way to adopt the terminology of Maddow as MSNBC with no questions asked. “Yeah, yeah, military coup. Yeah. Bad stuff,” was my over-simplified thought process. So over dinner tonight I asked my Dad (who was born, raised and recently lived in Egypt) what he thought about how difficult it was to be opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood without siding with the ills of the recent military coup in Egypt.

He did not give me his opinion of the “military coup,” but schooled me in how off that term was when imagining the political system, structure and desires of the 30 million civilians who stood against former President Morsi. He gave me a basic description of the constitution of Egypt and explained his opinion that the military was acting to serve the people during the shift in power and the temporary presidency of President Mansour. I won’t provide my description of this as I am immature in my knowledge base. However, I encourage you to do your own comprehensive research to get a more holistic understanding.

This issue extends beyond the western reporting of events in Egypt, the Middle East, and internationally. I could rant and rave about the ethnocentric nature of western media and the way news is presented as the all-knowing “truth.” I can also point out the fundamental problem of Islamaphobia even in left-wing, “liberal” dialogues. Beyond that, my issue today begs for consumers of media of all forms remain critical – always ask questions – never accept subjectivity disguised as objectivity.


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