Interesting to be on the outside looking back into Egypt at the moment. BBC is still airing that great Egypt tourism adâ€”the one with the scantily clad babes emerging from the pristine sea and the romantic (I suspect CGI) shots of Cairo, while at the same time the news is of another rigged referendum and more of the usual quasi-anonymous violence. A bit depressing to hear that the demonstrations of discontent have been relatively minor. Looks like the vast majority are going to lay back and take it. Supine, apathetic, depoliticized and broke, they still deserve better than the steadily darkening political horizon promises to bring them. Gamal Mubarakâ€™s smug little press conferences and earnest evocations of "reform" and "progress" may have the same reality value as ever (about as much as that tourism ad) but are somehow harder to laugh off when youâ€™re in a country where the words have coinage. Yesterday I went for a haircut and the hairdresser asked me if Egypt is dangerous. I gave her my standard answer: the only people you have to be afraid of in Egypt are the police. I thought for a moment of trying a new answer. Something about that shifty grasping little shit with his wheedling lickspittle sycophancy to Big Dick Cheney, his bullyâ€™s sense of when to put the boot in, his receding hairline and blonde beard, his pilotâ€™s license and his polyester clad demo-breakers. But that would have take taken longer thanÂ the haircut.
The Arabist is published and edited by Issandr El Amrani, a writer and analyst based in Cairo, with contributions by friends.
The Arabist is a labor of love. We don't make much from ads, so please contribute to keep us going.