Thursday, January 16, 2014

‘Everything must change, for everything to stay the same’. Well, that’s how Egypt’s army sees it and, apparently, the hypocritical West. And as for that Hollande . . .

Well, the very good news is that the Egyptian army is has been winning the votes and the whitewash is well underway. Although only around 37pc of eligible Egyptians turned out to vote in the referendum on the constitution proposed by the army, it has, according to the army, won something like 90pc of votes cast and bolstered by such confidence in them, their main man, General Sisi, is on the brink of putting his name forward in the ballot when the country’s new president is voted in.

That the percentage agreeing is so high is no surprise: the opposition, who feel they were cheated when the army overthrew the president, demonstrated their objections by not taking part. So it’s best to take the ‘90pc support’ figure with several truckloads of salt, not that you would know it from the coverage in the Western media who merely seem pleased that folk like themselves can continue to drink their G&Ts (or whatever the Egyptian equivalent is) for the foreseeable future.

Well, as for Sisi probably agreeing to ‘let his name go forward’, undoubtedly for the good of the nation, isn’t that good of him. Such a selfless chap, who, hearing the call of his people, is prepared to take the reins of power. There is a great line in the novel The Leopard (though I haven’t read it and have only seen the film) which seems to me pertinent to what is happening in Egypt.

The novel takes place in a time of turmoil in Italy, with the old order of the landowning nobility is threatened by the rising fortunes of the mercantile class. One character (either the Sicilian prince at the centre of the novel who would like to hang onto old values or his hotheaded nephew who supports the revolutionaries, I’m afraid I can’t remember which) remarks (and I am obliged to paraphrase as I don’t have the original Italian and have so far come across three different English translations): ‘Everything must change for things to stay the same.’ It could well be out of Machiavelli’s The Prince. And like most of the principle outlined in The Prince it is horribly, horribly true.

Here is the timeline of recent political events in Egypt (nicked from those nice chaps at the BBC news website):

January 25, 2011: Anti-government protests begin. We democracy-loving liberal types here in the West can’t help but feel  ‘freedom will out’. You can’t keep people in chains for ever, don’t you know. Look, this chap Morsi was one of those Muslim types - no, don’t get me wrong, what I mean he wasn’t just mainstream, straight-down-the-line Muslim, like Ali in IT, I mean at the end of the day they’re just like you and I, but, you know, Morsi’ was, you know, an Islamist’, and well, you know . . . The U.S. of course is rather disconcerted as Mubarak and Egypt are rather useful allies in that neck of the woods. Israel is similarly disconcerted.

February 11, 2011: President Hosni Mubarak resigns. Well, we liberal types tell each other at the bar and in the gym ‘you know, it’s not really a surprise, is it, I mean…’

June 24, 2012: Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi wins presidential elections. As the chap’s an ‘Islamist’, although the Muslim Brotherhood are at pains to insist they have no truck with Al Qaeda.

December 6, 2012: President Morsi signs a controversial new constitution into law following a referendum. Note: he won the referendum. Or to put it into terms even the most benighted Western democrat should understand: a majority of voters supported his referendum. Three cheers for majority rule and democracy? Er, the West gave two cheers or possibly even just one. Well, they had to, didn’t they?

July 3, 2013: President Morsi is deposed after street protests. People power in action? Or something rather too close to being a coup. Outrage and condemnation from the West of the ousting of Morsi notable for being completely absent.

August 14, 2013: Hundreds of pro-Morsi supporters killed when troops clear sit-in protests. That’s ‘killed’ as in ‘now dead’ and, unlike you and I, ‘no longer alive’. It’s a fair to say they probably had husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, friends, hopes, plans, ambitions, mobile phones, posters on their walls and favourite soaps stars, and that in many respects they were rather like you and I.
November 4, 2013: Mohammed Morsi goes on trial. Outrage and condemnation from the West . . . see above. There was a little tut-tutting here and there, to be fair, but it really didn’t go any further than a little tut-tutting here and there, but at least there was a little tut-tutting.

January 14/15, 2014: Referendum held on new constitution. This is the one proposed by the army and - now here’s a surprise - it contains a clause that military courts and try civilians. Oh, dear. Still, they will almost certainly just restrict themselves to trying all those rough types who - let’s be fair - are nothing but trouble anyway.

It hasn’t yet happened, but let me suggest how it will probably continue: General Sisi will resign his commission, stand for election as president, win handsomely and the country will settle into another two decades of stagnation, corruption, repression, friendly relations with the U.S. and Israel. As the man said: ‘Everything must change for things to stay the same.’ As for the poor saps who took part in the election and voted for Morsi to become their president - well, they shouldn’t have fallen for all that ‘majority rule’ and ‘democracy’ bullshit in the first place. I ask you!

. . .

To be frank, I don’t really give a flying fuck. Just as each man and woman gets the partner he or she deserves, so each country gets the government it deserves. And please don’t hate me for admitting I don’t give a flying fuck. Please, instead, appreciate my honest and candour in saying so. And if you are not Egyptian, have family in Egypt or live in Egypt, please be honest and admit to yourselves that neither do you give a flying fuck. I’ll fully understand if you don’t want your liberal friends to know that’s how you feel, and by all means keep it to yourselves, but at least be honest with yourself, even if you find it a little too difficult to be honest with others.

You might, of course, insist that you most certainly do give a flying fuck, rather as you insist you are most certaily outraged by the fact that America’s NSA has been collecting ‘metadata’ on you. But be honest: your outrage over the NSA and ‘them’ will lasts less than a minute while you and your equally outraged friends confirm to each other your liberal consciences before your joint attention skitters on elsewhere. And your concern for what is happening in Egypt (and, more seriously Syria) will also be something which, if you are honest - admittedly a big if given how all of us are so easily able to bullshit ourselves - is pretty damn intermittent.

There is, however, one thing about which I do give a flying fuck, which makes me so pissed off, I might well in a minute open another bottle of cheap Rioja to drown my anger: it is the hypocritical West. Or to make it a little clearer in case you don’t quite get my point: it is the fucking utterly hypocritical West.

The West which has, apparently, precious little to say about this particular coup and the overthrow of a president about whose election there was nothing murky at all is the same West that invaded Iraq for totally bullshit reasons and whose invasion lead to the deaths of several hundred thousands innocent Iraqis as well as several thousand of their own kind; the West which occupied Afghanistan for no reason at all clear to anyone at all and whose occupation led to the deaths of a great many Afghanis as well as many hundreds of their own kind; the West which feels it is utterly blameless when a great many men, women and, above all, children are killed as ‘collateral damage’ when they launch their drone attacks in Northern Pakistan and regards itself as utterly blameless because in ‘the fight on terror’ it sees itself as on the side of the angels. This is the West which, as one reason for invading Iraq insisted it wanted to ‘introduce democracy’ to the country. Well, here’s a thing: when Egypt’s ‘democratically’ elected Mohammed Morsi was kicked out by the army. There was a deathly, deathly silence. The West had absolutely fuck-all to say. Zilch.

There were a few apologists who pointed out that it was ‘the will of the people’, but to date they are unable to square that claim with the will of the majority who elected Morsi: what, two majorities? Well, that should give the metaphysicians amongst us something to waffle on about. So should anyone who comes across this blog reckon that I am a tad to cynical for the comfort of decent, hardworking people and wonder why: go back to the start of this piece and read it again.

. . .

A year or two ago I mentioned The Kinks in a blog entry and visits rocketed, although I don’t know why. So I shall do so again: The Kinks. And as I’m on that particular kick, I shall add several more terms that should most certainly bump up attendance (rather like the promise of ‘free booze’ does at political rallies): MILFs, porn, free sex, and - I’m out on a limb here - Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Now he’s a lovely chap: apparently, he’s so humble, he wipes his own arse despite all the wealth in St Peter’s. Does he care? Does he fuck.

. . .

Here’s a piece of advice you can all have for free, and which one Segolene Royal and her nemesis Valerie Rotweiler wish they had taken, and, I should imagine, a certain Juliet Gayet will also soon wish she had: never trust a man who dyes his hair.

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