The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

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: