I’ve been feeling I needed to write something for days now, a purely selfish cathartic piece, an exorcism of confusion if you will, as I try to get my head around what’s going on in Egypt, this crazy messed up place we call home.
Writing this blog has a been a bit like riding a bike, I’ve got into the swing of it, I’ve peddled the Maadi expat persona and concerned myself with vitally important expat lady things, wine, manicures, bookclubs, drivers, maids, gin and more wine. I’ve had a blast, and a lot of fun doing it. But the stabilisers have come of now, and I’m shit scared.
Am I shit scared for Egypt? Straight answer NO, I think they will muddle through. It will work out rather in the way the electrician who turns up with a plastic bag of tools comprising a screwdriver and some tape will manage to fix your washing machine.
You know the leaking plastic pipe needs replaced, he knows it too, but it’s the Egyptian way to stick a bit of tape on it, patch it up, and pretend its fine. Easier to stick with the old one with a few adjustments than rip out the washing machine, flood the kitchen and spend the time and effort sourcing a replacement part.
That piece of taped up plastic pipe looks different now, it’s face to world is unrecognisable, it’s a different colour, it feels different but underneath we all know it’s just the same. Sisi is not Tantawi, is not Mubarak but……
The last time around, way back in 2011 the electrician/electorate thought they would have a go at changing the pipe. They had a go, they couldn’t find exactly what they were looking for so they compromised. Morsi wasn’t an exact fit, he didn’t meet the manufacturers criteria but they ploughed on even though it started leaking from day one.
After a year of struggling on and mopping up the damage the electorate threw their heads up and ripped him out. The “told you so brigade” are happy we’ve reverted to the old one, they’re insisting it’s a temporary measure until they can source the right part. I’m happy enough with that if it’s true, it’s just the manufacturers of these parts, the political parties, don’t seem to be producing anything that fits the specifications.
They could off course change the whole machine, start from scratch with a completely different model. They could write a whole new constitution bringing into state control all the army’s commercial interests and budget. How about the pasta factories, water bottling plants, refrigerator factories, construction companies etc etc become state property, the army stick to defending national security, you know like in the rest of the world?
That won’t happen, no chance, so we will muddle on through, maybe address women’s rights, NGOs, the filthy streets, tourism etc while the elephant in the room (military/MOI) nods its head and says carry on folks, great job.
I’m no fan of the brotherhood, they were a disaster for this country economically, socially, in fact in just about every way. Their true colours have been unveiled to the world with their hasty removal of their Al Queda flags from their protests once the international media descended. Quickly replaced with brand spanking new ones in English calling for democracy. But…and here it is people the thing that’s really scaring me is the fact that there are those that think dispersing sit ins will get rid of them.
Time to waken up Egypt, for the MB are the other elephant in the room. The brotherhood have been around for 80+ years, they ain’t going anywhere. No matter how distasteful it may seem now, they need to be engaged, they need to be included, they are part of this country whether you like it or not. Dialogue is the only way forward, and reform from the inside out, and top down. You can present your shiny new exterior to the world, but without reform, well lets say in the background you’ll be washing your dirty laundry with faulty parts.