The Happy Arab News Service

Thursday, February 3, 2011

America's stooge against America's puppet

Those who are surprised by a sudden twist in Egyptian's revolution's saga should consider the following points.

First of all, contrary to how it may look on TV, the number of anti Mubarak demonstrators has never been really over the top. This became particularly clear during the one million march when the protesters seemed unstoppable as police disappeared and the army promised not to interfere. Everybody could make it to the square on that day, it was safe. The number of protesters, however, was estimated at a quarter of a million. This is a lot, but it's not a million and is nothing staggering by Egyptian standards. In the past Cairo knew public attendances measured in millions and that was long before the population of the city and its surroundings started reaching to 20 million. So it's not entirely clear what the majority of Egyptians think about all this.

Two, throughout this turmoil I don't remember coming upon even one article in which interviewed Egyptians had anything good to say about ElBaradei. The impression is that ElBaradei is widely resented across Egypt as an outsider and elitist. The opposition groups might have good reasons to converge on ElBaradei as a consensual leader, but from the moment the opposition started pushing for an alternative government led by ElBaradei, many ordinary Egyptians were bound to be upset.

Three, Egyptians can be pathologically nationalist. It's a combination of wounded pride and national inferiority complex that occasionally borders on sheer insanity. The rant below is nothing out of ordinary for Egyptians. Egyptians can hallucinate about foreigners patronizing and belittling them in the most impossible situations. It's not obvious that all Egyptians should be excited by the prospect of having their president humiliated under the US pressure by expelling him to Saudi Arabia and replaced by what many Egyptians perceive as the Western sponsored ElBaradei, even if only in the temporary capacity of the head of transitional government.

“The people are so nice”: Yes they are, it’s your ignorant self that assumed they are all terrorists and fanatics. What did you think? Glad you went to Egypt and found the Egyptians nice. After all, they do have a cosmopolitan civilization of over 5,000 years, yet you reduced them to “rag heads” , “jihadists”, “ali babas”, “terrorists”, the list is endless. Imagine saying this about African Americans? Asians? Nope. Just don’t fucking say it. It’s patronizing.

Source: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt

As a matter of fact, Mubarak is not another Ben Ali. Mubarak is a military man who fought in wars against Israel. While many Egyptians may revile his rule, they may have a certain respect for the old man. The protesters, disorganized and lacking a clear plan, may have been pushing their demands too far by denying to Mubarak a graceful exit. Combined with the US pressure and ElBaradei, this could alienate many Egyptians from the protesters. Of course, at the beginning of the mess many Egyptians were accusing America of hypocrisy. However, people are not rational beings. Once the US started supporting ElBaradei and pressing Mubarak out, other Egyptians could find this... well, too patronizing.

Finally, there can be no denying that revolutions are damaging to the economy. This revolution was accompanied by massive looting and destruction of property. At some point police seem to have disintegrated for a while. Thousands of convicted criminals escaped. Tourism, one of the pillars of Egyptian economy, collapsed as foreigners rushed to flee Egypt. It's not sure that the camel riders from the pyramids, who attacked the protesters today, were paid by the security service to do this. They may well have a reasonable issue with the protesters. After all, tourism is what they make their living off.


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Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 2:08 PM