Of pharaohs and mummies

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February 7th, 2011 Nayanima Basu

“I have killed the pharaoh”, shouted 27-year old Khalid Islambouli after shooting the then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat 37 times in October 1981, shocking the entire world and shaking the Arab Muslim world for the first time. Today similar angst and pent-up mood can be seen in the beautiful streets of Cairo, where millions have become hungry for democracy. But the most important question at this moment is: Will there really be democracy in Egypt if and when President Hosni Mubarak steps down?

It is not easy to answer this question through any kind of analysis and parenthesis. The so-called ‘orderly transition’ is bound to get translated into huge paradigm shifts changing the axis of geopolitics completely. According to some, this could well be yet another attempt towards strengthening of ‘Islamisation’ and is about religion while some truly believe that this massive upheaval by the common Egyptian people who took to the streets for more than two weeks now demanding for a democratic set-up in their country.

The irony is, even though Egyptian society is deeply divided between rich and poor, the protest was started by Gucci-clad women that later got swelled with the participation of common man.

The protests were led by young Egyptian boys and girls, who want to desperately see a change in their lifetime for a better future, have finally come out of the Sphinx-like silence. And leading this young brigade was an elderly ElBaradei whose claim to instant fame was finding the WMDs or Weapons of Mass Destruction in Saddam’s Iraq, which is now the world’s most favourite battlefield besides, Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the WMDs could never be unearthed even though Saddam was most ruthlessly executed. Nevertheless, ElBaradei, who was then the director general of International Atomic Energy Agency, was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Not to mention, he has spent a large portion of his life outside Egypt.

So how exactly will tomorrow’s Egypt shape-up? Mubarak has clearly stated to Christiane Amanpour of ABC News, who was the only reporter to interview him during this turmoil that he would not flee as that is not his style and he would die on Egyptian soil. Just a little reminder here Egypt’s soil had been much fertile to give birth to some of the most dreadful names of the world such as Ayman al-Zawahiri – the leader of Al-Qaeda and Mohamed Atta, one the main masterminds behind the September 11, 2001 attack of the World Trade Centre.

Is the coming in of Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian mainstream politics a good sign after a prolonged ban? Did Egyptians really want this? Well, Mubarak’s resignation is also not the only solution. Egypt needs to adopt a proper constitution that would define all roles clearly with a proper mechanism. A constitution that should be adopted quickly. And quickly because neither the Egyptians nor the world can afford to let forces of religious fundamentalism creep in.  Remember, Israel is watching…

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3 Responses to “Of pharaohs and mummies”

  1. Priyam Says:

    It a nice informative writeup and yes, not only Israel is watching I believe rest of the world too… Well written..

  2. Ed Kashi Says:

    Dear Nayanima,

    This is an excellent posting. I’m not sure Sadat’s killing was the first time the Arab world was shaken. Unfortunately it’s a region that has been rocked many times before, but that’s a minor point. I love the way you end it too!

    Keep me posted. Heady days….:) Ed
    Ed Kashi, Photographer VII & National Geographic Magazine

  3. Shome Says:

    This writeup is something what I read in The Economist magazine - crisp, short & makes one understand the history, economy, strategy plus humanity of all problems leading to such tactical shift in the world policies.Want to see more of this kind of writeups & viewpoints. A very well written piece on Egypt…


All the content posted under the 'Comments' category are made by the readers of Business Standard, unless specified otherwise. Business Standard is not responsible for the opinions of the readers and the content posted by the readers are not representative of the views and opinions of Business Standard.

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