“Et Tu, Brute?”
This is the most famous line of Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar”, uttered by the venerable dictator Julius Caesar upon being betrayed by his loyalist Marcus Brutus. We often perceive it as Brutus' betrayal than his sacrifice, all credits to the tone of the scene. After all, the innocent Caesar was assassinated by the ambitious senators, republicans, or say, evil patricians. The title of the play seems in itself a tragedy since the patriotism of noble and honourable Brutus was overshadowed by a simple crowd manipulation technique of Antony. Brutus was in a state of Dilemma between his friend and his country. Despite the great accounts validating the greatness of Caesar, Brutus felt that Caesar’s administration was leading to the downfall of Rome. His internal conflicts about Caesar were poisoned by Cassius that led him to believe Caesar was tyrannous. This led him to sacrifice his honour and aid in the conspiracy against Caesar’s regime. This conspiracy could be said to be a coup against the tyrant Dictator.
Throughout history, we find several scenarios where an established government is overthrown by another entity or organization while resorting to violence. As aforementioned, the attempt to overthrow the Dictator after treacherously assassinating him is an illustration of a coup, which later failed in the story. All thanks to Mark Antony. To put it bluntly, the Coup d’etat is simply a transfer of power expedited by violence. It seems that the functionality of an institution might get tethered by such alteration, but the overall working structure doesn’t seem to be as much influenced. Nevertheless, such a circumstance depends on the purpose of the leader of this illegal institution. This entity that is in an unconstitutional possession of the country might be a political faction, a dictator, or the military. The process is deemed illegitimate in terms that it is not the authorized governmental process for the transfer of power. People of the country usually do not embrace this newly formed body. Although it is observable in the example discussed, it seems that manipulating plebs is not that hard. In all, this action aids the realization of so dreamt political ambitions of a body without a thought to the overall well-being of the citizens.
Often, coups get misrepresented as rebellions. In several countries, coups stemmed as the aftermath of any citizenry protests against the Government. The protests resulted in the weakening of the Government. Consequently, its control over the country and its institutions are brought on hold. This created an opportunity for that faction to gain control over the country through aggression. This crack through the wall can have many reasons other than massive protests like political instability, economic decline, or threats to internal security. Although, this worsens the situation of people since it wasn’t an act of patriotism but selfish desires. For a brief time, the proletariats consider it as their victory. They are deluded to feel that the revolt against tyranny was successful, but soon this bliss starts to decay into sufferings. The leaders force their ideologies on the country, and campaigning for a better global image is initiated. The Government forfeits their answerability and accountability over their decisions and a steep rise in corruption and crime is espied.
The Country’s political stability is in turmoil, crippling the country on fronts like the economy and internal security. The allies of the former Government criticize the coup as per their conveniences. It becomes a subject of Global political discussions and is placed under the scrutiny of the UN and other agencies. The fate of their citizens is challenged and crucial elements like poverty and unemployment seem to upsurge adversely affecting the lifestyle. Further discontent in the public increases the crime rate and hence chances of insurgencies. It is like hell on Earth. The country fells in the trap of a vicious cycle of political dissent and instability.
We have ample of instances showing that coups have been a powerful weapon used to establish a Governing body forcibly. In 49 BC, Julius Caesar proclaimed himself as Dictator, who was later dethroned in 45 BC on Ides of March by the members of the Roman Senate. In 1327 AD, Isabelle of France (the Cersei Lannister of England) deposed her husband Edward II, the Lord of Caernarfon and King of England, instated Roger Mortimer, her lover as de facto ruler, and became regent for her son Edward III, who later assumed the royal power and had her arrested for three years and executed Mortimer. In Coup du 18 Brumaire, Napoleon convinced the Directory of French Republic to resign and replaced it with French Consulate, and subsequently, his coronation as French Emperor took place in 1804 in Notre Dame after he introduced Dictator by Plebiscite in the Constitution written by him. In 1918, Alexander Kolchak overthrew the Provisional All-Russian Government and took control of the newly formed Russian State establishing a military dictatorship. Not forgetting the Military coup in Pakistan led by Haq after declaring the Martial law and hanging Zulfiqar Bhutto.
In 1945, the United Nations vouched for World peace, yet it could not stop the coups and its ill-effects to penetrate the white blanket of harmony. More than 400 coups were attempted after the UN’s foundation. The majority of Coups were attempted in poor and unstable regions of Africa and South America while the least was in Europe. Although coups are justified for the sake of establishing democracy, it doesn’t accomplish the motive giving immense power to the new leader. UN has failed to resolve the disputes over the lack of resources and funding.
In the present timeline, 12 leaders assumed power by Military assisted coups while several other attempts of coups were failed. Mbasogo in Equatorial Guinea to Rahmon in Tajikistan, authoritarian regime has been continued despite there are several differences in their political structure and the maintenance of liberty and peace. The extremism the Houthi movement which caused religious militancy and further leading to a coup in Yemen has led to a major humanitarian crisis endangering millions of lives.
The latest sprog in the list of coups is the Coup d’état of Mali. On 18th August 2020, President Keita along with other officials was seized by rebel troops who staged a mutiny at a base near Bamako, the capital of Mali, after which Keita was forced to resign. The country was struggling through corruption, electoral probity, and a jihadist insurgency which resulted in massive protests across the capital. Taking advantage of the protests, a military faction took the charge and performed the deed. Avoiding any bloodshed, which are other words for saving their heads; Keita resigned and dissolved the assembly. This is the most general exhibit of Military coup.
Globalization and economic competitiveness have encouraged countries to focus on the development of infrastructure and aiming for a better lifestyle. We have encountered technological advancements and a true futuristic world. That world is limited to certain individuals, and yet the majority of the population dreams of acquiring even a percentage of that life. There are several inhibiting elements to the equation of the privileged and deprived which shifts the equilibrium to one side. Those elements have haunted us since ancient times, corrupting the soul of the human being. Despite being familiar to them, we are unsuccessful to prevent them from consuming our humanity. The despicable ambitions of men have conjured them to gain immense power by any means, catalysing their inner darkness to burst out devouring every individual. The key to that power has always been in the hands of the leaders who were backed by population or who were sitting in the offices of the leaders. Humans have devised devilish plans and performed every possible heinous deed to gain control over those offices, and have created the major catastrophes. The majority of the problems could be solved if the greater good of innocents is kept in mind while negotiating rather than their hollow pride, and lust for power. The cruel world has been unjust to those who are weak and it shall remain same, the loathsome creatures shall not repent their crimes and the life might be unceasingly cruel to the weak, but the windows of opportunity giving us hope for a better future shall always keep us aimed to our destiny. A day will come where evils like coups rooted from the political desires could be eradicated from the world and every individual has a taste of the blithesome lifestyle.