Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Egypt: Forget Denial, The Totalitarians Won, Get Used to It

By Barry Rubin

“Why such inaction in the Senate?
Why do the Senators sit and pass no laws?
“Because the barbarians are to arrive today.
What laws can the Senators pass any more?
When the barbarians come they will make the laws….
Why don't the worthy orators come as always
to make their speeches, to have their say?
"Because the barbarians are to arrive today;
and they get bored with eloquence and orations.” - -Constantine P. Cavafy, "Waiting for the Barbarians."   (1904)

Who better to sum up the situation than Cavafy, the great Greek poet of Egypt who wrote of the Christian decline there.

"The Big Pharoah" is one of Egypt’s liberal bloggers, precisely the kind of young hip Facebook kid that the Western reporters love, the kind of person they've been listening to. Like  many of his peers, he’s been upbeat since February. First, he said, the Brotherhood wasn’t really a threat; next, he said, it was possible to live with it in power.

Now, he jokes that he and his friends will set up a republic of Heliopolis, named after the rich district where he lives, the only area of Cairo that elected a liberal by a landslide. He notes that one of the Salafists elected in Alexandria openly announced that democracy was forbidden. So much for running in elections proving that one favors democracy.

Big Pharoah's cute idea is that they will shut off Heliopolis from the rest of Egypt and make it a separate country. But that won’t happen. He’s gone from denial to bargaining. The West is still in denial.

The comments on his site accept the joke and laugh about it. Ha, ha, ha.

But the Brotherhood will laugh last.

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