A Dirge For Egypt,By Ali M. Ali



Egypt crisisToday I am taking a flight not of fancy but of lament for Egypt. That country is in turmoil. For a traumatized Nigerian like me to say another country is in ‘turmoil’, it must be pretty grim.
‘Grim’ does not, by any stretch of the imagination, comes close to capturing the chaos in that troubled country. Before I penned my disjointed thoughts, a ‘civil war’ had rage in my being. Why take a flight of lament for another country when my own country is, literally, in ruins. It is like ‘‘fiddling while Rome burns’’. For most of my adult life, my country had tumbled from one crisis to another. Severally, ‘divine intervention’ at decisive moments had pulled the country back from the brink.
It is close to the eight wonder that the ‘geographical expression’ called Nigeria has not snapped under continuous, and I dare say, sustained assault by leaders and followers alike.
Since independence, our country has been held captive by an assortment of serial rapists and economic vampires masquerading as leaders. In Khaki or babbar riga, successive leaders have betrayed a healthy lethargy for her growth. Instead, they have demonstrated unusual rapacity in pillaging her resources and kleptomania.
Except for a few, most of those who presided the affairs of the country pre and postcolonial times were crooks. Our nation’s woes as Achebe so brilliantly captured it, is squarely that of leadership. It has now degenerated to followership. There exists, today in this country a crude race for primitive accumulation by leaders and followers at all levels.
So I figured skipping a week of discourse of our litany of woes wouldn’t do any harm. Egypt is currently on a roll. She is in turmoil. Anarchy has enveloped her.
What triggered the current bloodbath is rooted in the double speak of a hypocritical puppeteer that goes by the name United States of America. In a nutshell, the US along with nervous Arab Monarchies designed and executed the current orgy of violence in that country. The ouster of Mohammed Mursi, the first democratically elected leader of Egypt for more than three decades squarely rests on the shoulders of America and her lackeys in the Middle East. Unwittingly, Mursi might have aided his ouster by his own relative inexperience in navigating the mine saturated political field that is essentially Egyptian politics.
Mursi, I must say, came to the job of leading Egypt ill prepared and ill equipped. For one, he came to the job with a provincial disposition. He reminds me of Nigeria’s Jonathan. He sought to rule exclusively. Appointments were tilted heavily in favour of elements of Islamic brotherhood, his political party. I had a numbing feeling that our President might have influenced him.
The velvet revolution that forced the military to compel long time leader Hosni Mubarak to quit office in early 2012 was all encompassing. So was Mursi’s election. Egyptians of all persuasions ensured that the Islamic Brotherhood triumphed even by a slim margin and insisted that he was sworn in at a time the US was prevaricating. But on assuming power, he more or less turned his back on them.
It is instructive to note the demonstrations at Tahrir square beamed all over the world by a very involved global media did not really force Mubarak out of power but the intervention of the armed forces which has been very decisive and active in Egypt’s politics since 1952.
I recall that from the onset of the transition from the Mubarak years America’s double speak. Obama’s Vice, Biden for instance, spoke his master’s voice. He said Mubarak wasn’t a ‘dictator’ which some interpreted as an endorsement to continue in office. This is not totally untrue. Egypt under Mubarak had been a dependable ally of the US. Her military enjoys a $1.3billion dollar in training and aid. Among the leading American Corporations feeding fat on Egypt’s military is Lockheed Martin. In 2010, it provided Egypt with 20 F-16s as well as night vision sensor systems for Apache helicopters. Another one is DRS Technologies. Also in 2010, it provided vehicles, surveillance hardware and other resources to Egypt. There is also Raytheon, the world’s largest guided missiles provider. It gave Egypt and Turkey 178 STINGER missiles, launch systems and 264 months of technical support for the Hawk missile system. Others are Boeing, US motor works, the Columbia Group among others.
I was not surprised that Obama is silent on the demand to cut aid to the armed forces.
Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State was more categorical and forthcoming. She was emphatic. Mubarak had to go. She said there was the need for “orderly transition of power” .That was the hint the Egyptian Military needed to ease Mubarak out.
The rise of Mursi to power was discomfiting to several Arab regimes especially the Monarchies. He was labeled “islamist”.I suspect very strongly that they, along with the US, the master puppeteer, cashed in on Mursi blunders and fueled the demonstration that ultimately led to his ouster by the military last month. Note after the military deposed Mursi in a coup, Obama has flatly refused to describe it as such.
Events worked out according to plans until pro Mursi elements and the Muslim brotherhood regrouped and insisted that their leader is returned to power.
Last Friday was designated ‘a day of rage’. A day set aside by supporters of Mursi to protest against the massacre that has become their lot since they demanded their leader’s return to power. Hundred of thousands of protesters have been killed. A state of emergency has since been declared. The streets are theatres of violent orgy.
The so-called “Arab Spring” may have turned into chilling winter. It had visited greater disorder to countries it had visited than any ‘liberation’. Libya is a perfect example. Under Ghaddafi’s iron fisted rule, it had prospered competing with the west in matters of infrastructure and per capita. Libya is presently in ruins. An internecine war has rendered Syria prostrate. Its once formidable army almost decapitated by a rag tag army heavily supported by US and her man Friday UK.Saddam’s Iraq was the first to be so mauled in the wake of the new world ‘order’.
The travails of Egypt are a lesson to a meddlesome military and super power. It is also a lesson for provincial rulers.

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