Blog Excerpts

Upheaval in Egypt: Is It a "Coup"?

Since the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, U.S. government officials have been wrestling with a question of semantics: should Morsi's removal be called a coup? The answer to the question has serious foreign-policy implications, since U.S. law precludes sending non-humanitarian aid to a country that has experienced a military coup.

Our own Ben Zimmer addressed this delicate question in a video interview for Voice of America's Learning English program. The installment also featured comments from VOA listeners hailing from Egypt, Libya, and Macedonia.

For more background on the coup question, see:

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Comments from our users:

Wednesday July 10th 2013, 2:07 AM
Comment by: Chandru S. (Chaska, MN)
a rose by any other name is a rose! where is the doubt in this? it is a military coup so akin to the one which was perpetrated by the late general zial ul haq against sharif a few years ago. in our anxiety we use semantics to hide our real intention! dislike of a particular president cant be the reason for us to not classify a coup as a coup. it is inconvenient, no doubt. for that matter i am sure u.s.a. does not like the governments of over 100 countries! so in those places we will have to rewrite the english dictionary! in my view, when a democratically elected government is displaced by a military junta it is, definitely, a coup.
Wednesday July 10th 2013, 1:25 PM
Comment by: Mike (Florissant, MO)
I'd prefer a written article or interview. I'm not a fan of videos.
Saturday July 13th 2013, 12:44 AM
Comment by: OJR (PA)
Foreign politics is so's overwhelming and depressing.
Monday July 15th 2013, 2:45 AM
Comment by: Rev Jess
Definition: coup=no money support
other than a coup= continued $$ support.
Question: what necessitates the immediate need?
Tuesday November 19th 2013, 9:58 AM
Comment by: El (Los Angeles, CA)
In a word, I think perspective is important here. How can I have the nerve to even weigh in? Living in Los Angeles all my life it fees impossible to see this from an Egyptians perspective. I would bet some people living right in the heart of the chaos disagree with one another--is it a coup or a revolution. Of course to our government (masters of euphemisms) the definition is critical. Now that I realise there are billions of dollars in aid at stake for the Egyptians, I had better leave this to the experts. Maybe they can glean the real answers from the perspective of rational Egyptians. Politics is tough and exciting to try and understand. Thanks for the video. It led me to other articles which explained more of the issue. Yet I still do not feel qualified to judge from my perspective.

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