Let’s toast for MubarakApril 1, 2010
In a crazy after party in a bar on the roof of Odeon hotel in Cairo the discussions started getting political as usual, when suddenly a bourgeois boy who was with us said proudly “We should thank our honourable president Hosni Mubarak because it is thanks to him that we are free in this country and that we can still party, club and drink alcohol with our friends” and he lifted the bottle of his flavoured Vodka and proposed a toast to Mubarak. Indeed, Egyptian youth from rich classes are the biggest defenders of the Pharaonic system of Mubarak. You will hear them say the same sentence “we have lots of external enemies and it is thanks to Mubarak that we are living in peace and stability”, as it is what they grown up hearing from their parents who are the first beneficiaries of the regime.
The day before I was with my friend at a small hairdresser downtown, where the old coiffeur was more concentrated on the little suspended television than on the brushing of my friend. On the TV there was a famous presenter called Amr Adib who was shouting “is it possible that in 80 million Egyptians there is no one to be the model for the future generations for young Egyptians? Is it possible that we have no one to rule Egypt except from a 80 years old man or a man coming from abroad?”. The old coiffeur then turned to me and said while laughing “Mubarak is the 4th pyramid; our children were born and grown up having him as a president. It will be difficult to imagine having someone else”. At that moment I recalled what one of my Egyptian friends was telling me about how Egyptians suffer from what he calls the complex of the Pharaoh, as they venerate their dictators and subconsciously love to be enslaved by mighty rulers, which is a complex developed from the pharaonic era where the leaders where considered immortal Gods.
In the place where young intellectuals and false intellectuals meet in Alexandria called Attujariya, it has been many months now that the main subject of discussion is the 2011 Elections. Many activists from the civil society are supporter of the nuclear expert Al Barad3i as a president of a transition period until a better candidate arises. Others, will argue while smoking their M3assel chicha, that the political elites in Egypt are unable to regenerate, therefore Jamal Mubarak the son of the President is not a bad choice at least he has the support of the economical elites of the country. A third category will start repeating that Egypt bomb which will explode soon because the future is uncertain and the political scene empty. If you are assisting to this kind of discussions the wisest thing to do is to remain silent and listen, since the Egyptians would insult King Faruk, Nasser, Sadat, Mubarat … but will never allow anyone to insult them. Another interesting fact is that if you are from an Arab country they will tend to say “we are all in the same boat” or “all our leaders are the same” as a way to reduce their pain, even if the average Egyptian have never visited another Arab country other than Saudia Arabia and have no insight about the political dynamics in these countries aside from what they hear in Al Arabiya or Al Jazeera, which mainly shows conflicts.
One thing is sure; the Egyptian Nationalism is a huge capital which just needs to be oriented the right way. Egypt is not a peace country as the history shows. It was constantly invading or being evaded by other powers which helped forging the Egyptian Nationalistic feelings in order to face external threats. Since Camp David, the country is leaving a period of prudent peace which is maybe bad for a war country like Egypt. If my theory is right, the Egyptians should start a real war very fast! With the economical crisis in Greece, it is most probable that the Greeks will start considering invading economically Egypt again, maybe it will help shaking the Egyptian identity for a while. Similar identity awakenings happened during the last years and showed that Egypt is still a Nation. The first one was during the Gaza war when the Egyptian soldier was shot, and the most interesting one was during the World Cup qualifications, when the Egyptians considered the football field as a national territory to be liberated from the Algerian invader, especially that the Egyptian map looks somehow like the rectangle of a football field.
Some of my journalist friends think that Egypt was always ruled by aliens, as the leaders were mainly foreigners (Greeks, Persians, Turks, Albanians, Hijazis …) or by locals who were transformed to Gods to become worth ruling the land of the great Nile. Nasser and Sadat of course gave back the rule to the normal Egyptians which explain why they died both in strange circumstances before giving the rules to an aviator from the countryside of Munufiya who was crowned president since 1981. After the era of Gods, the era of foreigners and the era of peasants I personally think that Egypt needs a future president who is Egyptian in his soul and identity but who comes from abroad with a new vision and education, somehow like a half blood prince, and this time it would be better if it is a cosmonaut not an aviator to speed up the changes in this great country. Meanwhile, let’s all just toast for the future of Egypt!