Heroes, or a riff on recent Egypt news

So Mubarak had a gall bladder operation, or at least some sort of operation, and everything is fine and dandy —  well aside from an 81-year-old undergoing an operation is never quite routine. We'll spare you the indignation that he went abroad, to the Krauts of all people (second operation in Germany), to carry out a supposedly routine operation. It's not a disparaging attitude towards the fine local military hospitals, it's concern about whether he can trust his doctor not to have a sudden attack of patriotism.

The NYT had this amusing headline: Egyptian Leader’s Surgery in the News Is News Itself. But I don't think the announcement about the operation is so significant. More important are the signs of lassitude about the eternal president. I was quite amused by an invitation to a Facebook group called مبارك مات (Mubarak is Dead) which featured the fantastic following song:

(Get the song here.)

To me, this illustrates how tiresome this waiting — illustrated by some recent Egyptian films like Heliopolis — is becoming. Egypt is already in the post-Mubarak era, it's just waiting for the presidency to catch up. The euphoria over ElBaradei, frenzy every time some rumor of illness goes around, unwillingness to make a clean break with the rhetoric of traditional policies (but in fact carrying out new ones, as in Gaza, or the economy) are all symptomatic of this in-between-ness. To use that annoying word, Egypt needs closure.

Battle of the Bands: Hosni vs. The Doc

Ahead of his operation, Hosni got a little catty in answer to a question about ElBaradei:

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says Egypt does not consider his rival, the former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency as a national hero.

But Mubarak said Mohamed ElBaradei can challenge him for president, as long as he abides by the rules _ which make it difficult for a candidate to qualify.

The state-run Al-Gomhuria newspaper, in its early Friday edition, quoted Mubarak answering a question in Berlin about ElBaradei's hero status among some Egyptians. "Egypt does not need a national hero, because the whole people are heroes," Mubarak said.

Which makes me think, I have the anthems for both presidential campaigns next year (Arabist is an equal opportunity satirist).

For the NDP's "Give Boss Hozz a sixth term" campaign:

Or is Doc B the one for you? Because this song takes it to a new level of awesome:



Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.