Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Black Bloc

Continuing the auspicious trend of revolutionary superheroes promising to save the day, the mysterious Black Bloc has swooped onto the means streets of Egypt.  Unfortunately, they have not quite yet figured how to outfit themselves.  A helpful tip on how to wear black socks can be found below:

And it's missing a "k"

Monday, January 28, 2013

NSF - Failing to Save the Nation

Egypt's "liberal" (John Locke would beg to differ with the identification) opposition movement is a failure. The National Salvation Front's grandiose name does nothing to hide its gross limitations. This is a group that, notwithstanding the epic shortcomings of the ruling Islamists and the widespread disillusion of Egyptians of all types, is unable to make itself matter. It cynically expresses horror after recklessly egging on mayhem on the streets. It finds political value in every passing tragedy, from Port Said to Cairo and back again. Its media outlets rejoice in disaster and loss, headlining each down day on the stock market (which, incidentally, increased by over 50% year-on-year in 2012) and tsk-tsking the inability of Egypt to find consensus in the face of their driven divisiveness. Its inept leaders are ever so brave in saying no, and utter cowards in ever saying yes to anything that does not fit into their zero sum political calculations.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bull Shit Justice

Egypt has outdone its pathetic self and found a new low. In a vain, politicized, chaotic and cowardly decision, the Egyptian "justice system" has concluded that twenty-one more fans must die. This is how justice is served for the seventy-two (or seventy-four...even the number of dead from the Masry-Ahly debacle is not known, but such minor details needn't interfere with getting on with things). The exigencies of chalking up a victory for the incompetent prosecution, throwing a bone to the dogs barking for accountability for the sixty years of the raping of the country, the legitimizing of conspiracy narratives, quieting the court-room mayhem and giving a sense of satisfaction to the self-identified revolutionary heroes of Tahrir, made throwing away twenty-one irrelevant lives from provincial Port Said an easy call.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What to do with Egypt?

Need more Happy Meals
There have been endless, mostly bad ideas from in and around the small-minded Obama Administration on how to deal with the chaos that is Egypt today. From fateful resignation, to enthusiastic support, to demands for aggressive confrontation, such approaches are at best insufficient, and are more likely to be counterproductive to the goal of a stable Egypt emerging from the foggy aftermath of January 25, 2011. A concise way forward is offered by the editors of Bloomberg (who somehow are more attuned to an effective foreign policy and the circumstances in Egypt than the phalanx of "experts" in Washington and Cairo). The call for active but measured U.S. engagement that can steer Egypt toward fuller integration with the modern world -- through such things as a free trade agreement and an IMF loan package -- is right for the United States and right for Egypt.  

Egypt’s Transition Needs Some Quiet U.S. Help

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Problem with Bassem Youssef

Bassem Youssef's El Bernameg is well-produced, witty and topical.  It is good in its own right, and especially good relative to the tired standards of feigned seriousness, pumped up shouting matches and bad drama for comparable shows on Egyptian and pan-Arab television. Bassem Youssef, however, has become too big for his own good.