What if you wake up one day, and your country stopped making sense?
posted by: Wael El-Sahhar
That is how Egypt feels to me. History and personal experiences are full of stories of people who grew estranged from their countries, felt they didn’t belong, or had a traumatizing experience that left them bitter. This is not one of these stories. It is not heartfelt or sincere either. So, put the tissues down.
This is pure, old sarcasm; the cloak of feelings, and the enabler of truth, since time immemorial. Also, sarcasm is another newly estranged Egyptian.
See, in times of national crises, and drummed up wars, jokes are an affront, and mockery is not tolerated. “We are at war now” cries every tante in the land with a newly acquired stiff upper lip. The subtext being “take your wisecracks, and fuck off! I have propaganda to lick off Ibrahim Eissa’s suspenders every night”
But, I digress.
“So, how does your country not make any sense, good sir?” you ask me. Well, let me count the ways:
The country is being run by an army of harmonic 17 years old Facebook pages admins. Honest. Need a proof? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends daily whining missives, err… diplomatic statements to governments around the world complaining that they are calling the Glorious June 30th Revolution a “military coup.” The statements invariably wonder “how can an action backed by 33 million protesters – the largest in history – be called a coup”. Good points they make there. However, you might wonder “how did they know the 33 million number?”, in which case I’ll answer you “Google Earth said so”, to which you can – understandably – respond “I didn’t know Google Earth can do that”, to which I’ll respond “well, if you don’t believe me, check Facebook”. We might keep going back and forth on this until you come to the – you have to admit – hilarious conclusion that the legitimacy of the current regime governing Egypt is completely based on a Facebook post by a pajama-clad, balls-scratching, kid.
After dismissing the results of the past 5 elections and referendums, the army is cracking down on Islamists for – among other things – undermining democracy. You don't seem to believe me, but that’s the official line: Islamists should chill the “f” up, and wait for the next election to try to implement their programs. You might wonder “why would they trust the process now?”, well, I have the same question, but the government’s answer is air-tight “they need to trust us”. To bolster that trust, the army and police managed to kill 1,000 Islamist protestors for the possession of 7 guns. I am not making these things up.
The average Egyptian believes that he took down the world’s only superpower after 6 hours of protesting. Ok, this one needs some explaining, but it goes something like this: The US supported the Muslim Brotherhood because the latter promised it a good price on a spacious piece of land in Sinai (“to do what?” you ask – you don’t sound like you are getting how this works, do you?). Back to the “logical” chain: US supported the MB to get the land in Sinai, but since we took down the MB, that doesn’t just mean that the US plans in Egypt, or the Middle East failed – no, no, no. That means we screwed them. We screwed them so bad that the truth about Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood-member brother is coming out, that Obama is being impeached by congress for wasting the money to buy Sinai, and that the Supreme Court had already issued a verdict removing him from office. All of these credible pieces of news found their ways to the pages of mainstream Egyptian newspapers, and a particular one is strongly endorsed by a former member of the Egyptian Supreme Court
Speaking of media, the editor in chief of Egypt’s most popular newspaper printed an article with translations of the word “animal” in 36 languages, to respond to some insult Turkey’s prime minister threw at somebody in Egypt
Over the past few months, the police had arrested a pigeon and a duck for national security related charges. They also suspected a shark a few years back, but they couldn’t pin it down. (No need to elaborate on that one really)
One of the most popular Facebook personas is a guy who claims nuclear weapons are a hoax, multinationals are sending encoded, revolution-inciting messages in their ads, and that Mubarak planned every action of the past 2 ½ years during a week in early 2011. He is also the president of the respectable Egyptian Association for Equity Technical Analysts.
In his Nobel lecture, Gabriel Garcia Marquez tried to demonstrate how he came from a part of the world where magical realism comes naturally by relaying the story of “General Antonio López de Santana, three times dictator of Mexico, [who] held a magnificent funeral for the right leg he had lost in the so-called Pastry War”. Well, dear sir, we had a gunman climb a Cairo downtown tower to start shooting at people for a cause that was only revealed by the writing on his t-shirt after they arrested him: “We are screwing with logic!”. Your move. Amateur!