Like many a dictator, Hosni Mubarak had an obsession with being remembered in the annals of history, and during his staid and miserable reign he tried ever so diligently to latch onto something that would stand the vaunted test of time.
Abdel-Nasser had the 1952 coup, Arab nationalism and the nationalization of the Suez Canal; Sadat had the 1973 war and the subsequent peace process, along with the Nobel prize. Hosni struggled to find something on the same level. Even his self-titled moniker Batal el Harb wal Salam (Hero of War and Peace) came off the coattails of his predecessor.
So what did Hosni have during his tenure as President? There was no war against Egypt, no national crisis through which his leadership would shine; all he had to boast about were conferences and infrastructure projects (his reign was often jokingly referred to as the age of tunnels and bridges).
I remember a bizarre advertisement during one of his farcical reelection campaigns which compared the number of phone lines in Egypt when he assumed power in 1981 to the then current number, along with other comparisons which I have thankfully forgotten (possibly something like number of sewage pipes). As if these things wouldn’t have happened if not for his direct supervision and vigilance; as they seemingly were not just a natural result of the advancement of time and would have happened anyway.
It always cracked me up, the impression that was promoted that these things only seemed to happen because of Hosni’s endeavors, like he personally got down in the trenches and soldered cables together. Indeed, it seemed the sun rose each day thanks to his fortitude and benevolence, an idea that the folks at Al Ahram would not have batted an eyelid over publishing on their front page. Read more…
A post about a post. Susu of the Inanities blog has written a great post about the perceptions of those she terms “halfie” Egyptians ie. one Egyptian parent and the other non-Egyptian. She also throws dual-national Egyptians in the mix, what with the rules recently set out by the Constitutional Declaration which stipulates rather forcefully that a metaphorical restraining order has been mandatorily set against both types if they were to ever contemplate a career in politics. Of course, the implications go beyond that. The post is rather comprehensive so I’ll just add two things:
1- Halfies and dual-national Egyptians were out in force during the revolution. They were not the reason for its success, but the vast majority of them were staunch supporters and did do some good, twiddling their thumbs for tweeting purposes etc. Though I know of a few who got stuck in with the best of them and have the scars to prove it.
2- The stench of disloyalty now permeates around halfies and dual nationals by law. The law now insinuates that they are not to be trusted. All of them. That is obviously absurd and I don’t even need to get into why it is, the love many of them have for Egypt often borders on the obsessive (over-compensating perhaps).
And as Susu pointed out, being a pure-blood is no indication of loyalty. You are a traitor when you harm this country and its people, ergo traitors ruled this country for the past three decades, if not more.
A third thing I’ve just decided to add: This skewed perception of what is foreign doesn’t square with the compulsion to claim anyone who’s made it in “foreign lands” as our own with even the most tenuous of links. I do that too. This is better explained here.
And a fourth: No one is permitted to cast aspersions on whether I’m a real Egyptian or not. Nor on Susu or anyone else for any reason. It becomes dehumanizing, and makes it easier to perpetrate acts of violence against, the modus operandi of the anti-foreigner brigade the world over. There are a lot of Egyptians and they all look and speak differently. Egypt isn’t as homogenous as many think it is.
Even if you harm this country you’re still Egyptian, however you’re also a pile of dung.
Read the Inanities post here.
Disclaimer: I am a dual-national Egyptian, or in State TV parlance a treacherous and filthy agent who hates Egypt and wants to destroy it from within for the benefit of Israel/Hamas/Hezbollah/Iran/Qatar/Snoop Dogg who are all working together with the sole aim of bringing this great country down. So yes it’s personal.