Monday, June 4, 2012



I haven’t been writing much in the Pontificator of late; most of my written cogitating has been conducted at my financial blog, Mighty Insights at Rant Finance

But I have not abandoned the Pontificator by any means; it will continue to be the home of my political and eclectic posts for the foreseeable future.

I have written extensively on the situation in Egypt in the past. My 1/15/12 post, DON’T BOTHER TO WAKE ME WHEN THE REVOLUTION’S OVER included a comprehensive list of all my past writings on the travails in Egypt and its neighbor to the west. The mixed verdict in former President Hosni Mubarak’s trail has given me a reason to revisit this topic which one suspects will be far more consequential in world politics than many suspect at this juncture.

In the wake of Mr. Mubarak’s and his former Interior Minister, Habib al Adli’s receiving (in Mr. Mubarak’s case, probably short) life sentences but Mr. Mubarak’s and his sons’ being acquitted on corruption charges, the demonstrators once again took to the now world famous Tahrir Square to demand whatever it is they are currently demanding. This reaction was predictable; screaming and yelling to little consequence and disrupting the lives of people who actually have something to do beats working for a living, but I digress. What was interesting about these demonstrations was the reaction to them of the two candidates in the presidential run-off to be held later this week.

The Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Morsi, joined the demonstrators in Tahrir Square, apparently in an attempt to soften his image, show solidarity with the demonstrators, and win the support of the secularist “young people” who feel that they have no candidate in the run-off.

Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force general and Mr. Mubarak’s last prime minister, stayed away from the demonstrations, choosing, as the Wall Street Journal put it, to make “common cause with the majority of Egyptians who chose not to descend to the streets on Saturday night.”

If the Western media, who, depending on their age, cut their journalistic teeth either cheering on the yahoos who were burning down the campuses their parents paid for or singing “We Are the World,” could vote, Mr. Morsi’s posturing would be smart and incisive politics. Indeed, if it Mr. Morsi were not the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, one could see the CNN crowd deifying him as some sort of hero of the people’s movement or some such drivel.

Unfortunately for Mr. Morsi, however, the estimables at CBS News and MSNBC can’t vote in Egypt and Egypt is like any other country in the sense that the people who get out of bed in the morning to head for someplace other than the latest site at which people feel free to rant and rave for nebulous causes, those who really make a country work, can tolerate only so much nonsense from those who have nothing better to do than to tell everybody else how to live their lives. The people who really matter, what an ultimately disgraced but once very successful American politician coined, very correctly, the “silent majority,” do not share the pie-in-the-sky platitudes that so inspire those who have nothing else to do. The average Egyptian wants an end to this nonsense. He wants order. She wants to make a living. This is especially critical in a country that does not enjoy the prosperity we take for granted, in which making it to work on a given day may make the difference between eating and not eating.

I’m no expert in Egyptian politics and don’t like making political, or most any, predictions in any case. But it looks like Mr. Shafiq, as appalling as he might be to the children of privilege in both Egypt and the West, seems to have the ear of the Egyptians who matter.

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