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Here's the handy Twitter guide for telling if your country just had a coup

Thais pose with soldiers who have seized control in what is definitely not a coup
Thais pose with soldiers who have seized control in what is definitely not a coup
Rufus Cox/Getty Images

Here are two things that happened this week that, according to the United States Department of State, do not count as coups. First, a rogue Libyan general declared the Libyan parliament to be illegitimate, seized control of much of Benghazi, and then sent loyal militias against the national parliament in Tripoli. Second, the Thai military declared martial law, took control of government and security institutions, and went on the national media, which it had also seized, to explain that its taking control of the government, despite bearing all the indications of a coup, was not actually a coup.

With all these official groups so eager to tell us that these obviously-coups are not in fact coups, some befuddled foreign affairs watchers took to Twitter to offer an informal, crowdsourced guide for how to tell to if your country is experiencing a coup. Started by Libyan activist Hend Amry in the mold of southern comedian Jeff Foxworthy's "you might be a redneck" jokes, the hashtag #YouMightBeExperiencingACoup is a laugh-through-the-tears checklist for judging whether your country's government has been deposed by an unelected force, since we can apparently no longer rely on either the State Department or the coup leaders to acknowledge this fact themselves.

The hashtag was also joined by a number of Egyptians; next week, General Abdel Fatah el-Sisi will stand for the presidential election, less than a year after he led a coup against Egypt's first-ever democratically elected government. Official government results already report he has won 94 percent of absentee ballots from Egyptians abroad. At the of Sisi's 2013 coup, many Egyptians who supported him repeatedly tweeted #NotACoup, thus proving that his coup didn't count as a coup. The US State Department similarly spent months insisting that Egypt's obviously-a-coup was not a coup.

What I'd really like to see is for the State Department to follow up #UnitedForUkraine, its much-mocked Twitter campaign to generate international support for its Ukraine policy, with a new hashtag campaign that channels its enthusiasm for insisting that various coups don't count as coups. Maybe they can get #UnitedForItsNotACoup trending.

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