It’s Not A Coup!

Obama Administration Officials: No Coup In Egypt 


The Obama administration told lawmakers that it won’t declare Egypt’s government overthrow a coup… Click here to watch the Video. (Also a conversation on the implication of Egypt’s coup) .


by Debbie Menon


It is language.

You can say anything you like. Call it what you like and, yes, the ignorant and ill-informed will believe you if you say it forcefully and frequently enough, especially while standing in front of an altar, a flag or some such token of symbol of Truth, and Sincerity.


We have had many  re-definitions; Richard Nixon on what constitutes a “crook,” and a criminal “conspiracy”.

Bill Clinton redefining “sexual” activity, and Tito Gonzalez and George Bush on defining “torture.”

Common sense, if such exists, should be able to help us discern the difference between a slug and a sunflower; advance and retreat, reduction and increase, crooks, liars and sages, sex and a handshake!

GEORGE Bush, Tito Gonzales, David Levin, Keith Olbermann, many others have had their chance to speak, and their words to say on waterboarding and “ torture; “we do not,” “…we do, but it is legal.” “It is not,” “It is…” etc.

If you’ve ever been dunked under water and held there by someone who you know does not like you and who doesn’t give a jot for your life or survival (I have not been), I would expect we would be able to discern the difference between a playful dunking in the swimming pool and an attempted drowning while tied to the end of a board.

If you call something which is not good by a different name, it may not become exactly good, but then, it is no longer “not good.”

Torture becomes legal, “creative interrogation”; kidnapping becomes “rendition.” C’mon! My common sense tells me better.

Words, and the reassignment of definitions to words. An overhaul of the English language to suit the expedient of the day, that’s all!

Keep them as ignorant and as uninformed as you can for as long as you can. And you can torture them with your own tortuous terms which can be made to sound as if they mean anything you want them to say. But it will hardly turn being slowly drowned on the end of a board into a swim meet, or diving event.

It would appear that “common sense” is not so common anymore. In fact, it’s becoming a rare, very rare, commodity throughout the world—particularly in North America.

An adjunct to Truth and Beauty, it is of no use in the politics of today’s world.

I expect a spade is a spade, but then, I would not be surprised if someone suddenly told me that a spade is a derogative racist term invented by us Muslim apologists to denigrate one of a different race, and was a racist remark, like Apartheid or Holocaust!

Don’t people read dictionaries anymore?

I remember when I was 10, sitting in my mother’s big “easy” chair by the window, reading from her big, thick red Webster’s. I never got all the way through it, it had no plot or storyline at all and  was boring for the most part, but I enjoyed reading about words and what they meant.

I guess words don’t mean those things anymore. Maybe, in this world where individualism is so important, we can write our own definitions, and if someone doesn’t like them, then we can holocaust, apartheid, genocide, or just kill them all, ship them out or ban them from a web.

Or, we can brand them an anti-Semite and destroy their intellectual credentials and no one will ever listen to anything they ever say again.

The post below was written by  - who has written 62 posts on
Barb Weir is the pseudonym of a writer and social justice advocate in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Egyptian takeover not a “coup”; ketchup still a vegetable

If the military takeover in Egypt is a coup d’état, U.S. law requires the suspension of $1.5 billion in aid per year, second only to the more than $3 billion annual gift to Israel. If ketchup is not a vegetable, U.S. school meals may be violating nutritional guidelines.

In order to answer these questions, I consulted Professor I. Ben Lyon, chief lexicontortionist in the office of White House Press Secretary Jake Arney. Here is a transcript of our conversation:

Barb Weir: Professor Lyon, I’ve never heard of a lexicontortionist. What exactly do you do?

Lyon: I invent new definitions for old words. For example, I shrunk the definition of torture to almost nothing during the Bush administration. I also changed ketchup from a condiment to a vegetable. Or take the phrase “legitimate government”. It used to mean one that is elected through free and fair elections.

Barb Weir: What’s wrong with that?

Lyon: Unfortunately, a communist regime was elected in Chile through free and fair elections, as was the Hamas Islamic party in the last Palestinian elections. We therefore changed the definition of legitimate government to “one that is elected through free and fair elections and is acceptable to the U.S. and Israel”.

Barb Weir: What about coup d’état? I understand it has gone through some changes.

Lyon: Yes, it used to mean the overthrow of a government. However, the U.S. passed a law denying support to a regime that comes to power through a coup d’état. At that point it was taken to mean overthrow of a legitimate government, i.e. acceptable to the U.S. and Israel. That worked fine until Egypt.

Barb Weir: What do you mean?

Lyon: The Muslim Brotherhood not only came to power in Egypt through free and fair elections, but it agreed to be co-opted by the U.S. and Israel. They agreed to uphold all the agreements of the Mubarak government, maintain a friendly business climate for foreign corporations, keep good relations with Israel and even repress Palestinians.

Barb Weir: So what’s the problem?

Lyon: It’s Muslim, Barb. It encouraged and inspired Islamic movements in other places. Vilifying Muslims is a big part of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy, so they had to go. Unfortunately, that constituted a coup d’état even by U.S. standards, which meant suspending aid to a military government that the U.S. had encouraged and helped to seize power. That’s where I come in.

Barb Weir: What was your solution?

Lyon: I suggested changing coup d’état to cou d’état. The first is French for “overthrow of state” while the second means “neck of state”. If you look at a map, you’ll see that, unlike Thailand, Egypt has no neck, so there would be no requirement to suspend aid.

Barb Weir: Brilliant!

Lyon: I’m glad you think so. They actually opted to make no determination at all, and to avoid having to stop aid that way. Basically, they said, “We know it looks like a coup, but it isn’t if we don’t say so, and we’ve decided not to say so.” I don’t mind. At least ketchup is still a vegetable.


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Posted by on Aug 3 2013, With 0 Reads, Filed under Americas, Asia, Bahrain, China, Editors' Picks, Egypt, Europe, Global, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Oceana, Oman, Palestine, United Kingdom, Yemen. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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2 Comments for “It’s Not A Coup!”

  1. Ketchup, yeah, that’s what an Arab oozes when shot by an Israeli.

  2. Just a couple of days ago, even someone on NPR pointed out Obama’s non-coup position is the ultimate in hypocrisy. A big problem is that accountability no longer matters to those who hold power- Obama or whoever else claims that the administration lawyers say its legal. What else do you call it but blatant authoritarianism? It is the essence of “might makes right”.

    The NSA spy scandal is another example, and there we are lucky enough to see partisanship rendered irrelevant. There are authoritarians on one side, and there are constitutionalists on the other. So we go back to the very situation which gave us the founding fathers in the first place. The big problem there revolves around the few people who understand history and precedents, and those who don’t or refuse to. And the US has had a historic loathing of the past.

    On the other hand, many unread people still have an intuitive sense that we are being screwed by those on high. The solution is to never refuse your views to those questing folk who are anxious to learn something when they find you hold some unorthodox viewpoints.

    It happened to me just today on the subject of Sept 11. I gave no definitive answers, only perspectives on the incontrovertible holes in the official story.

Comments are closed


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