"We're still a bit cross, you know"
Rather to my surprise, some commentators on this blog have been crying out for my analysis of the political unrest in Egypt; why I’m not too sure.
I have, however, an obsessive interest in international politics, a drinking problem and way too much time on my hands which makes me – I suppose – as qualified as anybody else outside Egypt to come up with a half-arsed explanation.
So here goes.
The current uprising has been sparked by the Egyptian people being feed up to the back teeth with a regime which is a) brutal, b) corrupt, c) incompetent and d) loved by none.
True, since 1955 the Egyptian people have been governed by regimes that were – at times – a mixture of all of the above but the difference seems to have been the recent uprising in Tunisia and the extensive coverage this received.
There’s been much blather about what a post-Mubarak government will look like, how representative it might be and the role of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood, despite being the oldest and best organised Islamic society in the country, would probably have around 20 per cent support in any free and fair elections. But what seems obvious from the mass scale of the uprising and the nature of the demands being made is that the bulk of the demonstrators want democracy – not an Islamic state.
The other thing some commentators are pointing to is the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which saw a largely secular uprising hijacked by theocrats. However Iran, with its substantial supplies of oil was always better placed to go it alone politically, unlike Egypt which is closer tied to the West, both through tourism and Western economic aid.
The usual suspects are also pointing to the role of the West in backing corrupt, authoritarian regimes, like Mubarak’s. That’s true but the region is not without corrupt, authoritarian regimes that have no backing from the West. The problem, I suspect, is that the countries ruled by the Ottoman Empire didn’t go through the historical process known as the Enlightenment which eventually lead to the creation of stable liberal democracies in the West.
I was quite prepared to view Laid with an open mind, but the constant publicity around it is pretty sick-making, so I think I’ll give it a miss.