Sunday, January 30, 2011

Memo To An Egyptian Mummy

This is my fantasy, which is what would happen in a rational, commonsensical world.
Someone (preferably Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, and the rest of the international community) would whisper in Mubarak's ear:
"Dude, do you want to be remembered as the hero who liberated Egypt (from yourself, but never mind)? Or do you want to be remembered as a stubborn, dictatorial, murderous kleptocrat? You've been in power for 30 years, it's about time you step down. You want to be remembered as the father of Egyptian democracy! So instead of hunkering down, turning the police and the army against their own and taking away the people's internet (for better or for worse, the single greatest spreader of human freedom ever), why not step down and put Mr. ElBaradei in your place?
What could be cooler than Egypt having a Nobel Prize winner as a leader? Everybody seems to like him! ElBaradei would have the support of the international community and could stabilize the country while it gets ready to transition to a vote in which Egyptians would choose who they want to rule them. We are all hoping that instead of choosing a stone age theocracy, they would choose to bring Egypt into the 21st century, which is what they seem to want. Both of you would ask the army to protect the citizenry instead of seizing power, and allow for a democratic transition, even if this country has never really seen one. Egypt used to have a king, who was a corrupt scoundrel, then General Nasser ousted the king, nationalized the Suez Canal, and started a chain of tyrannical rulers, including yourself. You have kept Egypt, if relatively peaceful, with the help of gazillions of our economic aid (where has all that money gone, by the way?) and a repressive iron hand, mired in social, cultural and economic stagnation. And now you were thinking of imposing one of your sons to continue to rule, as if you people were a monarchy? No way Jose. You are not wanted any more. Don't paint yourself into a corner and make our lives a foreign policy living hell in the process. We have too many messes in our hands already. Be a good sport. Scoot over, Hosni. 
By the same token, someone would be whispering in the US Administration's ear: for the love of God, do not fuck this one up.
One can dream.

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