What's Happening in Egypt, the Action Movie Explainer: "Raiders of the Lost Mubarak"

raiders.jpg After she realized many people couldn't wrap their heads around what was going on in Egypt, Furrygirl decided to turn to Hollywood staples and made this Raiders of the Lost Ark mashup version which explains things pretty clearly.

Full graphic follows, below...



  1. Ah, yes. The U.S.A.’s diabolical “interests”. What could they possibly be? Well, when Egypt was a Soviet client state, they started two genocidal wars in seven years, the second of which very nearly went nuclear when they backed Israel into a corner. Nixon reluctantly provided conventional support to prevent that, then we started buying off the Egyptians with cash money. Us and our malevolent desire for peace and stability. Which Egypt has had for a good three decades now.

    Most of the protesters were born since 1973 and are only alive because their parents weren’t vaporized in nuclear fire, either in that war, or in any of the wars that didn’t happen because we were bribing them not to fight with our tax dollars.

    You’re welcome.

    1. “Most of the protesters were born since 1973 and are only alive because their parents weren’t vaporized in nuclear fire, either in that war, or in any of the wars that didn’t happen because we were bribing them not to fight with our tax dollars.”

      This justification doesn’t seem all too sound to me. Surely this is the same as arguing that without various nations’ support in various conflicts (going with the theme of skirting Godwin’s Law) I would not be alive and therefore have no right to be ungrateful towards any nation that was previously involved, regardless of what the current government is doing.

    2. @Ernunnos

      The US as has its hand in creating

      – Banana Republics – countries forced into economic slavery for the benefit of US corporations.

      – Stay behind groups, which went on to create false flag terror groups across Europe in the 70s.

      – in the UK a cosy intel gathering arrangement whereby US spooks spy on the UK, UK spooks spy on the US to get round local laws banning population surveilance.

      So, yes, most non American don’t exactly trust US foreign policy.

      1. As opposed to what?

        Go ahead. Tell me about the garden of eden that existed before that serpent America entered. Tell me all about how sophisticated Europe managed its affairs. Tell me about the shores of Tripoli. Tell me about the Asian co-prosperity sphere. Tell me about the great leap forward. Tell me about what happens to Cambodians who wear glasses.

        Y’all need an adult up in here. Do you think we asked for this job? Do you think it’s fun? Getting all of the blame and none of the credit? Ok, fine. We’ll take that. That’s our bad. It’s our fault. We’re to blame. And y’know what? Next time you come calling, in Bosnia, or Kuwait, or Rwanda, or Haiti, or some typhoon somewhere, we’ll just say, “Fuck you.” Fuck you in your ungrateful ass. Oh wait, we did that in Rwanda. Rivers choked in severed limbs, motherfuckers. That’s what happens when we leave you and your self-righteous international “community” to your own devices.

        Lick it up, baby. Lick. It. Up.

        1. (Point taken, Antinous, but some stuff can’t just slide)

          “Tell me about what happens to Cambodians who wear glasses.”
          Ok. They were massacred, along with millions of others, by the Khmer Rouge, who came to power after US air strikes shattered the country and claimed about half a million lives. The Khmer Rouge were driven from power by Vietnam, not the USA, and the Vietnamese suffered terribly for it, as the US and UK organised heavy sanctions against them as punishment.
          “Rivers choked in severed limbs, motherfuckers” also describes Indonesia in 1965, after Suharto’s supporters massacred hundereds of thousands of leftists – an event that Time described as “The best news for the West to come out of Asia in years”.
          As for Haiti – a billion in aid was promised, but the Republicans in congress won’t hand it over. The Duvaliers, however, were allowed to run the country as their private torture chamber for decades, because they were killing communists.
          That’s called imperialism, not “being an adult”. It can be difficult for a superpower to pursue legitimate foreign objectives without giving into the temptation to act as imperialists, but I don’t think that there are many people in Washington who even try to stay on the right side of that line.

        2. you mad today, huh?

          I thought you had a good point with your first comment; and there is more than a grain of truth in what you say here. . .

          but, oh my, you bout to rile em up son.

          Yeah, that Cambodia thing: tragic as fuck. But talk about destabilizing the region, sheesh: that was our bad. Really.

          WWII: no question. The whole freaking free world owes us a SOLID for our actions. But since then. . .uh, well. . .

          Korea was half good! (so to speak). I’ve been to Seoul, it’s great. The people are nice. Very happy the whole peninsula isn’t Kims private fiefdom. So +1 us I suppose. . .

          But Nam? Our current conflicts? We treat the rest of the world like a jar full of bugs and SHAKESHAKESHAKE to see what happens.

          Sometimes we ‘try to help’ but mostly, lets face it: our foreign policy is based on our own national self interests. Period.

          So yeah, limbs in the streets. That’s how we do.

          We think we must ‘police the world’, but I have a feeling much of the world would prefer if we hopped back in our squad car and headed on down to the doughnut shoppe.

          1. re: “We think we must ‘police the world’,”

            I think it’s more “Police our interests.” – which is why we are/have supported governments who are less than sterling. The reason we leave Egypt alone is because they are friendly towards us (we don’t have to worry about them sending explosive laden patrol boats at us), and they are, er were, stable.

            This is also why we left Iraq alone for all those years – even supporting them when they were fighting the Russians via proxy.

            And this is why we leave Somalia alone – we have no real interest in that hell hole.

            This makes us sound like assholes – but what is the alternative? We need oil. That is a fact. It would be great if everything ran on farts and rainbows (and maybe it will someday), but right now we need oil. We need it in a consistent fashion. Its just our luck the bulk of it comes from what is arguably one of the most unstable areas in the world.

            So we only have 3 options:

            1) Take the area by force, occupy, and control the oil supply. Colonialism 2000.

            2) Take a hands-off approach and be at the mercy of the whims of OPEC and risk 70’s like oil shortages or $5 gal prices because of an inconsistent supply for one reason or another.

            3) Make deals with the devil if he is willing to work with us.

            The world is not black and white.

          2. By your moral code, I could just shoot you and siphon the gas out of your tank or conspire with the cops to frame you so that I could steal your resources. Classy.

          3. 1) it isn’t a moral code.

            2) It is the way the world works. It doesn’t make it ‘right’. It just ‘is’.

            Feel free to suggest other viable alternatives.

          4. re: “Don’t be evil.”

            Would the suffering of Americans, especially the poor, be evil when gas doubles in price?

            When the price of goods increase due to added cost of transportation?

            The civil unrest and violence caused by gas rationing and long lines?

            The jobs lost as the economy goes to shit?

            The electricity rationing for oil fueled power plants?

            The people freezing to death in the East where fuel oil is commonly used to heat homes?

            I am sure one can think of a lot of other repercussions.

            Also, on the flip side, what right do we have to say who does or doesn’t run another countries gov.? We get criticized for the failed gov. we set up in Vietnam, as well as removing Saddam from power. Karzi in Afghanistan is criticized as well. Yet if we leave a gov. that we deal with alone, we are the bad guy for dealing with an oppressor.

            Remember too Iraq, Iran, Cuba – many others have their current gov. after a ‘revolution’ over a gov. which was deemed even worse at the time. Saudi Arabia and others are Monarchies, including the relatively progressive Qatar and Kuwait. Some have Sharia law or a form of it in place. China is just now creeping out from under the boot of Totalitarianism.

            Do we cut off all ties from people with out a western styled form of government? One of the reasons we have problems with the Middle East is we assume everyone thinks like we do and don’t take into account the cultural differences.

            So yeah. The world is a complicated place. America is probably more considerate of other nations than it has been during any other time in history. “Evil” is a relative term, and often times one must go with the ‘lesser of two evils’.

          5. I’d call it stealing other people’s stuff. Eventually, you have to eat your own pie.

          6. re: “I’d call it stealing other people’s stuff.”
            What are we stealing? The oil? The oil is well paid for – or did I get lost.

            re: “Yup, either topple a dictatorship or give it weapons, those are the only two possible choices. What are we supposed to do?”

            I didn’t say that. Our history with Egypt is long, and them rebuking the Russians, keeping the Suez open, and leaving Israel alone comes at a cost.

            re: “Instead of looking for more gas,why not use less gas (or energy), by changing small things in our lifestyle : from carpooling, to asking your government for better tap water, there is a lot you can do.”

            It would behoove us to conserve more, drill domestically, and pursue other sources of energy. But carpooling isn’t going free us. Read up on the 70s oil crisis and see how quickly things got bad with forced rationing and the like.

          7. “What are we stealing? The oil? The oil is well paid for – or did I get lost.”

            From a UK comedy show, though factual

          8. “We get criticized for the failed gov. we set up in Vietnam, as well as removing Saddam from power. Karzi in Afghanistan is criticized as well. Yet if we leave a gov. that we deal with alone, we are the bad guy for dealing with an oppressor.”

            Yup, either topple a dictatorship or give it weapons, those are the only two possible choices. What are we supposed to do?

          9. As long as the USA doesn’t insert itself into the situation, there are very very many things and occurrences that have nothing but nothing whatsoever to do with the USA.

            But with that State’s Intelligence Agencies’ truly hubristic goal of “Total Information Awareness”, they do want to know all about it anyway.

            They don’t want OTHER people to know about whatever it is, if anything, that they decide to do, of course…or even that they are making any decisions as to act, or not, at all.

            They don’t want you to know what they are doing, or even thinking about. But they want you to be transparent to them.

            For “security”, of course – but whose? Against what?

          10. Nobody seems to have said it so i’d like to get that point out :

            You dont need gas.
            What needs gas is your car, the electric plants, all the plastic you use, the meat you eat, pretty much everything in our lifestyle.

            Instead of looking for more gas,why not use less gas (or energy), by changing small things in our lifestyle : from carpooling, to asking your government for better tap water, there is a lot you can do.
            It’s harder than waging a war but i think you can do it.

          11. I’m glad we never got rid of slavery in America. It could have caused temporary economic hardship for our southern citizens.

          12. Don’t be absurd. You can’t compare the two. It is annoying when people put up these over the top examples of strawmen that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

            Slavery wasn’t as broad reaching as oil. Slavery was mostly for agriculture and were owned by the rich. There were plenty of industries not effected at all by it. Indeed ending it fueled the growth of mechanical harvesting, as well as providing an influx of workers in the North. The damage from the war was more detrimental than the lost of slaves.

            Oil, on the other hand, is involved in just about every industry in one way or another. I don’t think one can compare dealing with the middle east with slavery.

            Furthermore *WE* got rid of slavery – and it was not because Britain or France made us or refused to do business with us. We got rid of them because of succession, the war, and Lincoln. (Who would have kept slavery if it would keep the Union together, it may well have been 50 years more before it was abolished. Or not http://www.csathemovie.com/)

          13. It is annoying when people put up these over the top examples of strawmen that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

            Odd. I find it less boring and more informative than your vapid and reprehensible arguments about why it’s okay to plunder the world to maintain your lifestyle.

          14. *My* lifestyle? Try our.

            Furthermore, I never said it’s ok to “it’s okay to plunder the world.”

            When it comes to oil in the middle-east, we aren’t plundering it, we are buying it from the ‘owners’.

            Nor did I say it is ‘right’ or ‘moral’ to deal with X regime – just that is the REALITY of it. Reality often differs from our ideals. Completely ignoring and cutting ties with Egypt has never been a viable option. We have to deal with them.

            re: “That’s something you’re proud of? Which of those three is equivalent to “because it’s wrong to enslave people”?”

            What is there for *ME* to be proud or ashamed of? I wasn’t there. Hell, other than my Indian blood, all of my ancestors were still in Europe at the time.

            But the REALITY of it is that slavery ended when it did because of the political events that unfolded. It didn’t end because it was wrong. It IS wrong – and that was a reason to abolish it – but it wasn’t the main/only reason it ended when it did. Like I said, if it would have kept the Union together, Lincoln wouldn’t have made the Emancipation Proclamation (which didn’t even free all of the slaves).

            re: “In summary, you think that it’s okay to support crimes against humanity”

            I am saying that it is IMPOSSIBLE to function in this world today with out having to deal with less than desirable countries because of their location and/or resources. It’s like having dinner with your in-laws.

            Never mind that we could take 100 people and find 100 different opinions on which countries would or would not be acceptable to deal with. Even taking oil out of the picture – if we had some magic fountain in Montana that gushed unlimited quantities of oil – there are other countries with less than sterling records that we have to deal with every day *cough*China*cough*.

            This doesn’t make it ‘right’ or ‘ok’. It is just the way it is. We didn’t start the fire and all.

          15. Well, here’s a way to not deal with dictators! First, you find the dictators. Then, you don’t buy the shit that they’ve stolen. In the event that you have to, you certainly don’t prop up their despotic regimes for a slight discount. While doing all of this, you apply international pressure and finance towards getting rid of them.

            Or, alternatively, you can whine about how tough life would be without dictators.

          16. re: “Or, alternatively, you can whine about how tough life would be without dictators.”

            Yeah – I’m not doing that.

          17. We got rid of them because of succession, the war, and Lincoln.

            That’s something you’re proud of? Which of those three is equivalent to “because it’s wrong to enslave people”?

          18. So, if I may sum up your essential argument throughout this thread:

            We, in America/The West, have used cheap oil as the basis of our society during the 20th and 21st centuries. This oil is primarily cheap because of oppression. To maintain our way of life (our way of life, not our quality of life), we should “Make deals with the devil if he is willing to work with us. Up to and including the oppression and torture of innocent people.

            In summary, you think that it’s okay to support crimes against humanity if it means that we never have to wait for a single drop of oil, and get it slightly cheaper.

            Am I right?

        3. Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom! You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like “honor”, “code”, “loyalty”. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline! I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said “Thank you,” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!

          This was not meant to be an inspirational speech.

        4. Oh please, spare us the “adult US” rhetoric. Actually, the US does not bad and it’s not the great devil too me, but really, you’ve been on that continent for some 250 years, subjugated the indiginous population and managed to pick fights with and steal from your your two smaller neighbors. Not to mentioning the various “liberations” of small island nations.

          Excuse the rest of the world’s nations for not being able to conveniently pick a location with vastly weaker neighbors. We’ll keep that in mind next time we found our nations.

    3. If only the Egyptian people would have the common decency to be grateful that we’ve been paying a dictator to oppress and torture them for three decades.

    4. Wait, what? Egypt was a Soviet client state? When did that happen? Last time I checked they were founders of the Non Aligned Movement during the cold war… And hey look, Mubarak happens to be the secretary general of it at the moment!

  2. The only thing more annoying than some jerk from outside the US that assumes that everyone in the US is a fat, uneducated, middle-class slob who couldn’t find Egypt on a map if their life depended on it …is an uppity American, in particular a self-proclaimed Seattle hippie who assumes that the rest of the US is a bunch of fat, uneducated, middle-class slobs.

    Some of us not only read, hear or watch the news from the BBC but also via The Daily Telegraph, Deutsche Welle, Spiegel Online, Radio Netherlands, Politken.DK not to mention a decent US source like the New York Times. Not only do some of us know where Egypt is, some of us know where Cairo is physically located.

    To put it another way, YES, we already knew that the people in Egypt have a lot of legitimate reasons to be out protesting. YES, we have heard that at least some of the looting might have been started by plainclothes police or security forces. YES, we know that regular Egyptians are stopping their fellow citizens from looting, often going so far as to stand guard at museums and over reclaimed, looted propert. YES, we know that the Egyptian military forces get a lot of money from the US but, YES, we also know that the Egyptian Army has been acting pretty kindly towards the protesters and that the protesters have been acting pretty kindly to the Army. YES, we know that they may end up with a fundamentalist theocracy but if that’s what they want – and they want it pretty damn bad – then I guess that’s what they’ll get.

    Yeah… I’m irritated but not every goddamned American watches Fox News or CNN or reads USA Today.

    1. I kind of have to agree that the AMERICANS ARE MORONS subtext is kind of misplaced. Is this supposed to be a satire, making the point that moments of historical importance must reduced to cartoons before idiot Americans will follow them or understand? Because it’s kind of being sold that way, but also trying to have it both ways, but also purporting to be actually educational.

      Hollywood movies are popular around the world — the idea that Americans “all understand!” Hollywood movies seems to be a slam against the intellectual depth of us stateside hillbillies, but we’re not unique in consuming Hollywood films, we’re unique in making them. There’s a difference there.

      Plus, I agree with the point made elsewhere that American Media are all portraying the protestors as dangerous and radical Islamists is a red herring. That doesn’t appear to be true, much as would fit the narrative.

    2. Then explain why the majority of the people I talk to who were born in the US all immediately start going on about how the Islamic extremists are going to take over Egypt? Cause you know those people are all the same and can’t be trusted to control things.

      The reason why people say things like that about Americans is because it is reflected in our foreign policy, our news, our movies, our books, etc. Hell, look at the maniacs in AZ who even after a mass murder passed laws making it even easier to get guns. That is like giving 747 pilot’s licenses out to everyone aftr 9/11.

    3. So you’re saying U.S. foreign policy, like most human endeavors, is neither completely good nor completely evil? Whoddathunkit?!?

  3. Re: Godwin’s Law. I knew this would come up.

    I purposefully did everything I could to avoid it and did keep it in mind when making this infographic. But, when it’s a movie about fighting the Nazis for the Ark, it’s impossible to not use screen shots that contain a Nazi character. If I wanted to be a silly reductionist, there were plenty of chances for me to just full-frame images of swastikas. Also, I couldn’t think of any other movies that involve Egypt that would be as widely a part of American pop culture.

    1. Nicely done, and more informative than most mainstream coverage on these events. Given that protesters are being shot at while the US Vice President publicly questions their legitimacy… there clearly are Americans who see Egyptians as monkeys that can’t be trusted.

  4. Granted I don’t watch Fox News, so maybe I’m missing out, but so far my experience on this story through random American news sources has all been pro-Egyptian citizens.

  5. Not everything needs to be (and many things should not) be viewed through a lens of pop culture. I’m pretty blown away by the superficial and shallow consumption of what is happening over there. This is not a meme.

    1. Better shallow understanding than none. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who have no clue as to what is going on over there.

      “Honor” in education only leads to the Ivory Tower complex, and we have enough of a problem with that already.

      1. If not living in an Ivory Tower requires over-simplified readings of complex geo-political situations starring Han Solo, I’ll take the former, or just link them to Al Jazeera’s sober, informed, nuanced, as well as digestible coverage.

      2. I have to disagree. Sometimes a little knowledge is worse than none. Someone who doesn’t know anything about what’s going on over there could read this and think they understand: U.S. = evil Mubarak pawn. But it’s just not that simple. The U.S. has always been working to balance the desire for democracy in the middle east with the need for stability in an area that’s a powderkeg: Egypt invading Israel, Iranian revolution, Iraq invading Kuwait, chemical weapons used against the Kurds, the game of who has WMD, etc. etc. etc. All this within living memory. The U.S. has pushed for democracy in the area, while still working with the Mubarak regime, because our diplomacy has to operate in the real world. And the U.S. has cause the regime to exhibit more restraint against protests that it would otherwise.

        Bottom line: I agree with those who are irritated at the childish good vs. evil action movie infographic. While there are many adults who want to believe the world is black and white, it’s spectacularly unhelpful. People need to recognize all the shades of gray.

    2. To say ‘this is not meme’ is itself a meme. Claiming that an idea is too politically sensitive to be called a meme is like claiming that a certain skin colour is too politically sensitive to be called a gene. All it shows is that you don’t understand memes/genes.

      1. It’s really intriguing how you apply the lens of biology to what is clearly an internet reformation of an idea.

        In related news, the World Wide Web is actually made out of computers, not spider silk.

        1. I don’t apply the lens of biology — memetics is an application of the lens of biology to genetics. It’s built into the concept. In fact, it’s the whole point of it.

  6. I understand that the US has and continues to negatively impact some regions of the world, but you cannot blame everything on us.

  7. You could have went with The Mummy… but I don’t think your message would have come across as well. I wanted to know what was happening because I was feeling like one of those fat dumb americans who found himself asking, “What’s with all the news on egypt?” This cleared everything up and my heart goes out to the people fighting to make their country free for themselves. I remember another country that, when under a tyranical rule, threw off their shackles and formed a new country. Why we, as Americans, can’t support a free Egypt by Egyptians, is beyond me. But I’ll say it loud and proud when ever I hear there’s a revolution against a tyrant.

    Viva La Revolucion!

    Good Luck Egypt!

  8. So wait:

    1. * The U.S. is still funding Egypt
    2. * Egyptians are having a successful revolt

    So how is U.S. funding preventing a revolution? Not at all it seems.

    It just took 30 years for Egyptians to get fed up with Mubarak’s rule and decide they could do something about it. Aided by the proliferation of new communication technology and the recent examples in Tunisia and elsewhere.

  9. What American Media has been portraying the Egyptian people as radial Islamist monkeys? 100% of the coverage I’ve watched (And that includes a bit of network TV) has, from the beginning, portrayed the Egyptian people as brave, restrained, passionate and respectful people, and Mubarak as a sketchy dictator.

  10. Man you all got some tight sphincter muscles; definitely not the target market. I thought this was funny and informative. I only hope that Egypt gets the girl and not the mind bending drug that makes them all slaves.

  11. The keywords on CNN (often given by “experts” who had/have no clue about the going-on-uprising in the arab world) are: “looting…violence…unstable…islamist…terror…downspiral”.
    Switch to Al Jazeera http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/ , where some REAL Egyptians are commenting or – amazingly – Twitter (#jan25)& Youtube, its more like: “freedom…unity…solidarity…equality…democracy…hope”.

  12. I thought this was about Egypt’s revolution? Seems less about Egypt and more about implicating another country for perceived wrongdoing…

    1. “I thought this was about Egypt’s revolution? Seems less about Egypt and more about implicating another country for perceived wrongdoing…”

      Presumably this graphic is intended for US citizens who have little background on the recent history of Egypt, and little background on our govt’s recent (last few decades) interactions with Egypt. Talking about the US should definitely be on the table. Otherwise uninformed Americans will have the same kind of reactions as they do to Iran, like, Gosh, why did they kidnap Americans in 1979? It’s not like we were supporting the dictator who tortured them for decades. Oh yeah, that’s why. Wish someone had told us that, even if it came in the form of a playful pulp movie infographic.

  13. There’s a time for cuteness, and I’m not really sure this is it. I’m about 101% sure that this was made in good faith, but seriously. The last time I looked, the confirmed death toll was damn close to 200 people. I don’t think that it would be appropriate to use this format to explain a natural disaster, and I don’t think it is now either.

    If I may, I suggest next time you consider some kind of video infographic with voiceovers.

    During an event like this, we shouldn’t be trying to inform people about it by comparing it to pop culture. We should be trying to inform people by comparing it to their own lives. To real culture.

  14. Gosh, it all makes you wish the Islamists hadn’t offed Sadat. . . .

    I’m all for democracty and self-determination, and more power to them if they can get it.

    I’d just like to be really, really sure that we won’t be gaining another Islamic theocracy instead.

    Which is, come to think of it, probably an accurate explanation of the way Obama and Biden are currently seeing it.

    If that makes the US evil, well, see you in hell.

    1. Careful: any action to forestall the possibility of an Islamic state, and to thereby prevent the fulfillment of your fears, may instead prove to be the catalyst for its arising, and may instead serve to bring about the very result which you fear.

      PS: May I suggest that the USA not admit Mr. Mubarek to its territory, if and when he hits the road?

      The USA did the honourable thing by the Shah by letting him come to NYC for treatment; but IIRC, letting the Shah into the USA was in fact the trigger for the Iranians student radicals seizing the US Embassy.

    2. In fact, you’re just peddling Mr. Mubarek’s tired old fear-mongering “my-way-or-the Muslim-Brotherhood-will-eat-your-kids” line of BS, aren’t you?

      Do you propose sending US troops to support Mr Mubarek in his quest for “stability”? I doubt that.

      Does the US purport to have a veto over the forms which Governments may take in the Middle East? Of course not!

      The Egyptians themselves apparently don’t feel the Brotherhood are a great threat: certainly not enough to justify keeping Mubarek et al in power.

      But you seem to know Egypt better than they do.

    3. Being worried about the rise of a theocracy isn’t evil. A theocracy would just be trading one authoritarian regime for another authoritarian regime.

      However there was definitely a time when the US would have been displeased if a non-authoritarian anti-American government was democratically elected, even taking steps to make that government go away. I would like to think the US government is past that sort of thing, though I’m sure there are some who would call this wishful thinking. Hopefully those people will be proven wrong.

      The problem many people seem to have is a disconnect between the values our government appears to hold and the “realpolitik” we engage in do get things done. We say we are for democracy and against violent, anti-democratic dictatorships. But if one of those dictatorships is pro-American in its policy we have no problem doing business with them, we have no problem sending them vast amounts of financial military aid. And, certainly in this specific case, we never really qualified that aid or support or close diplomatic ties with calls for democratic elections or humanitarian reforms or the like.

      Many would say this is just the cost of getting things done. That an oppressive dictatorship is better than an all out war. That however many dead or tortured dissidents and political opponents is preferable to the millions dead you would get in an all out war. They might be right.

      But it’s hard to maintain that sense of moral high ground when we know things like this are going on. It’s hard to reconcile these two seemingly contradictory threads in the tapestry of Americans think of themselves and how it perceived by others.

      And it gets harder and harder to believe that we had to lend this seemingly vital financial support to something so oppressive and anti-democratic to prevent an all out war as time goes on. Was this kind of relationship still so important to us in the mid to late nineties? Would it have led to all out war if we had started asking for some kind of humanitarian concessions five years ago?

      Or did our government’s blindness to his kind of possible reform, or possibly simple disinterest in it, lead us to a situation where we have a greater chance of an anti-American islamo-fascist state forming in Egypt than at any point since, I don’t know I’m just guessing on the date, the early eighties? Certainly the best chance of it in a while.

      If they had cared more for the “peace and security” of the actually Egyptians, in helping them live lives free of such staggering amounts of corruption, the constant threat of extra-legal torture and death, if they had even made some attempts to win them legitimate democratic elections, even if it was just a lot of lip service like we do with china, they would be in a much happier place about this outcome. I don’t think there would be the same fear that the new government will turn against us, this oft repeated fear that their resentment will blind them to what they have won and side with an all new all different Generalissimo. And they would also be in a much more morally defensible position.

      care, the Demon Squid God

      1. “….we have a greater chance of an anti-American islamo-fascist state forming in Egypt than at any point since, I don’t know I’m just guessing on the date, the early eighties? Certainly the best chance of it in a while.”

        I don’t think so…this Wikipedia potted history of the past century or so of Egyptian history


        reveals that there has been NO chance of an “islamo-fascist” state in Egypt at all for the past hundred years; and also demonstrates no evidence of any widespread Egyptian preference for strict religious rule, in contrast to the feelings Egyptians have for their national institutions like the Army, or National Museum; and I’d think that like Turkey or Syria, Egypt, ( but unlike Saudi Arabia or Iran) is much more likely to choose a non-religious , albeit somewhat authoritarian or military, path of governance.

        Anwar Sadat was elected: why should the next President of Egypt not also be?

        Albeit that, like Turkey or Syria, the Egyptian military is apt to retain its privileged place in Egyptian society, or to hold a veto on power.

        I doubt that the Egyptian Army would be any more fond of yielding power to militant Islam, than the armies of Syria or Turkey have proved to be.

  15. I’m not mad at this; a lightweight take on a heavy subject: that’s OK. There have been scores of links on BB alone that take a more serious view; but levity makes some folks see red. Oh well.

    For the most part I agree: downtrodden citizens=good. corrupt leaders=bad.

    And I pray for a swift and bloodless (well, anymorebloodless) end to the troubles over there; but my feeling is the best outcome would be for the military to step in, oust the obvious villians, restore order and (hopefully) lead to some power-sharing/voting rights for all.

    And if Egypt tires of Americas’ patronage: so be it. But I hope they don’t. NOT because I love my nations’ Empire so much, but because of History. History my friends: forget, repeat.

    #3 has a point. Israel is the rabid wolf in the corner: Please Don’t Touch! Arguments about right vs. wrong, hegemony and history and hatreds aside; if Israel feels REALLY threatened: Game over man.

    Salaam and Shalom and Peace be upon thee: the other choice will cure nothing except overpopulation.

    Then again: you wanna omelette? Gotta break eggs.

    Power to the People and the Devil take the Hindmost!!!

  16. This is what 50 years of US foreign policy looks like when the chickens come home to roost.
    We prop up a dictator who is “friendly” to the USA (ie, does whatever the military or huge corporations want) and in exchange, we look the other way at their horrifying treatment of the people of said country.
    Now they are rising up (and rightly so) and this dictator could easily be replaced by some religious fanatic.
    It happened in Iran. And similar things have happened in Central and South America (just not the religious nut part). It’s long past the time for the US to stop acting like an Empire.

    1. Oh, I don’t know, I have trouble accepting that these old Egyptian Army and Air Force Officers, like Nasser, Sadat, and now Mubarek – are as much “creatures of the USA”, as other dictators in other places were.

      I mean, the Egyptian military always seemed adept at playing the USA and the USSR off each other.

      And the Egyptian military, as an organization, has always been popular with the Egyptian people, AFAIK.

      IMHO, this is not about America, although it will have an effect on America.

    2. . . . we look the other way at their horrifying treatment of the people of said country.

      This sort of idea is naive. So should the U.S. interfere in a country’s government to help the people there? That is applying an American model of “good” and “bad” upon others that easily leads down the path of self-justification, “our way of life is superior” is better for other countries. I guess America should invade other countries to help the people then, hummm?

      Secondly, America sure did not advocate or help harm Egyptians, Egyptians did that and blaming Americans for the evils in Egypt is a matter of perspective that is difficult to support unless one wishes to grasp at anything that they believe will support their assumptions.

      If you had criticized Joe Bidden, that might have merit, however painting the whole house red to match the barn is too far in one direction.

  17. I don’t think this revolution is “about” America, or its foreign policy, or Israel, or the peace treaty: it looks to be entirely about Egyptian domestic politics.

    But it will bring about a change, and my conservative side instinctively distrusts it. What else would you expect a constitutional monarchist to say?

    But OTOH, I also consider that peace, order, and good government are necessarily inseparable. In Egypt, it seems that a deficiency of the third has now led to a some loss of the second: but the first is yet secure – and with the recent announcement by the Egyptian Army, it appears that a civil war is not on the cards.

    I am optimistic that further or increased bloodshed seems not to be in the interest of any of the participants. If that should remain the case, then I really don’t see any insuperable problems to an eventual settlement – perhaps even a quick settlement – of the political issues at present agitating the Egyptians.

    At some level, this revolution is a demand from ordinary Egyptians that they be allowed to be more involved in their nation’s politics.

    That demand, at least, has been somewhat fulfilled by the events of the past few days.

    1. “peace, order, and good government “, aarrgh!. Second time today i’ve seen this. The proper phrase should be “peace, order and good governance.”

      I’d rather see an end to the dictatorship in Egypt than to quibble about grammar.

      A message to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, dictatorships almost never end peacefully. Revolutions are frequently paid with blood.

  18. Egypt will likely be an Islamic republic very soon. And Americans cannot do anything about it. Israelis cannot do anything about it. The people (according to a recent Pew poll) will very likely decide that they want to live in an Islamic Republic. It is their choice.

    The Americans will just have to accept it. The Israelis will have to decide whether to give back the land and ask forgiveness or be dealt with.

    The world has changed, and it’s about time.

  19. Many of the protestors are my friends and family. They want to:
    1)Get rid of Mubarak
    2)Get a government that reflects the will of the people

    They’re going to get Number 1. Number 2 depends on which people.

    The educated middle classes who began the protests think they will continue to have a secular state and will also have democracy. But they have little to no plan for how to get this to happen and few leaders.

    The enormous masses of the poor and uneducated think they will be getting an Islamic republic that will break ties with the US and Israel. And the Ihkwan are telling them that this is the time.

    The numbers and the organization suggest that the second group will get what they want.

    I’m proud of my people for their bravery, and sad for them because of the likely future.

    1. Anon #37: Until shown otherwise, I think that the Egyptian Armed Forces are on the side of the first group.
      And perhaps the ignorant Islamic-dictatorship-supporting-peasants to whom you allude are phantoms. Or have you been doing some opinion polling in the poorer sections of Egypt lately?

      Think that the Armed Forces are more organized than those “peasants”? Or do you place your bets on the illegal at the moment, has been for decades, Muslim Brotherhood to out-organize those Armed Forces all of a sudden?

  20. Personally, I’m a little peeved that the subject keeps being continually turned toward America. This isn’t our fight. It’s not even our business. The last five decades of US foreign policy seems to have finally taught us to stay the hell out of other people’s internal conflicts if we at all can. Choosing sides has only ever had bad results. So why does everyone suddenly want the US to start waving our dick around again the minute we’ve learned to put it away?

    1. With all the US dollars pouring into Egypt and Israel, it is our business, insofar as we bear some responsibility for what is done with that money- good or evil.

      It’s for damn sure the Egyptian people know where those APCs and tanks came from- so the US is in this, whether we like it or not.

      Question is, will we act on our proud principles, or wheel and deal to maintain the status quo?

    2. To be fair, that’s kind of normal for US TV coverage: they are always working the angle which their audience would be most interested in, that will keep the most people watching: when it comes to foreign political news stories, any such, the focus is: what does this mean for us, the American public?

      If there is no effect on the US, you can’t blame them for not covering it in any depth.

      This ought not to distract anybody though: this story from Egypt is not about the US.
      Sometimes things effect you which nevertheless are not about you.

  21. 50 million living in abject poverty; 1/4 of all children surviving on ‘food stamps’; 30 million un/under-employed for years with little or no safety net; largest prison population on Earth; largest wealth gap in history; 3 million home foreclosures per year, at least 1/4 of which are the result of fraud; a government that gives over 4 trillion of taxpayer (and future taxpayer) dollars to the Big Banks and Wall Street firms responsible for causing the Great Recession; the only country on the planet waging perpetual ‘war’ in at least 3 countries, which have already killed and maimed millions of innocents…

    That’s not Egypt – that’s exceptional America, bastion of ‘democracy.’ The big story isn’t why the Egyptians are revolting, its why the American people aren’t.

    1. Maybe “abject” ain’t so “objectionable”, objectively speaking…or do I mean subjectively?

    2. It’s sad, but also annoying that every single post about torture and violation of human rights somehow is reduced to petty discussions about USA USA USA. Can we please talk about Egypt? Can we agree that this is hideous and disgusting?

      From GuidoDavid in this thread. Can we possibly talk about something other than ourselves for a minute?

  22. The thing I find amusing about this whole thing is how few people are talking about the long-term effects if the revolution succeeds. It seems, as of right now, that a theocratic government will be established if things go the way they seem to be.

    Forget the USA. Forget the issues of torture and oppression. Even forget the questions of stability in the ME. All of which are valid.

    It still remains a fact that any theocracy has a tendency to oppress it’s people worse than any other form of government. Why isn’t anyone comparing this to Iran or early-Taliban controlled Afghanistan or even China where for years the personality cult of Mao became a defacto religion. All these are examples of “the people” making themselves heard, taking power based on their “will” and using that newfound power to oppress anyone whose opinions ran counter to their idealogy.

    1. Amon #47: your crystal ball is faulty.

      Are you suggesting that the USA intervene covertly or overtly?

      Do you recall how the Iranians acted when the US Government showed itself to be sympathetic to the Shah, by letting him into the USA after he was ousted?

      The Iranian Revolution was unlike any other seen in modern times, and itself followed no previous pattern of revolution: yet it is now become a template?

      And how is Israel not a “theocracy”?

      Bah. Keep your paws off Egypt.

  23. Blaming the US for its “failure” in Egypt in 2011 is about as
    reasonable as blaming US for “losing” China in 1949.

    Side note:
    If there’s any benevolent deity out there, please help Egypt get
    something better than what it seems to be aiming for: an
    Iran-like theocratic hellhole. I hope democratic
    institutions can take root before the Islamic Brotherhood
    snuffs out all oppostion. Because, as any Republican
    can tell you, once God’s on your side, there’s no stopping you.

  24. I liked the little movie thingy – but it is sort of condescending to say that we need pretty pictures to keep our interest. Moar boobs would have helped too.

    As for some of the other rumblings:
    Show me a perfect government, and I will show you a propagandist.

  25. I can’t believe nobody has pointed out the strategic significance of the Suez canal. Having a pawn in Egypt ensures we have a place to stand when “discussing” oil supplies.

  26. Right, quite an oversimplification of and a naive, idealistic look on a complex problem.There’s a fair chance that Egypt will be in a worse state without Mubarak. The revolution in Iran in 1979 was also supposed to be a people’s uprising against an oppressing regime, so they were able to take their country’s future in their own hands… but ended up turning into another totalitarian regime. Or what about the democratic elections in the Palestine territories? People voted in terrorist groups that are working hard to end democracy. This naive summary of what is supposedly happening seems to neglect the point that according to some polls 50% of Egypt’s population supports Sharia law, including the stoning of apostates… free democratic elections might spell doom for the 10% of Coptic Christians in the country and for the moderates who are already living in fear. Since when is violence against and oppression of subsets of the population acceptable if it is based on democratic votes?

    I’m not saying that Mubarak’s regime is any good, not at all, but that sometimes, change needs to take place gradually as to protect the minorities in a country. Maybe some of the commenters who are solely focussing on American Imperialism (something I do agree with, somewhat) should think about this, too.

    1. Anon 3%*: So you would let your fear determine that Mubarek be supported by the force of US arms? Firing at the crowds over the heads of the Egyptian Army which protects the people of Egypt??

  27. For something that explains the revolt in Egypt there sure is a lot of US bashing in it. Could do with more history of Egypt less US evil.

  28. @Ernunnos

    “Do you think we asked for this job?”

    Yes you did. That was what the race for the atom bomb was all about.

    “Getting all of the blame and none of the credit”

    What credit would you like?
    For the humanitarian work? You ever stop to wonder why the inhumane stuff like oppression, rendition, torture etc seems to obscure your good works? Seriously have a look around for figures on lives saved/bettered in say Haiti to lives lost/damaged in anyone of the countries that have had the rough side of US diplomacy, I’m not even talking Middle East or South America – check out 70’s terrorism in Europe and the right wing junta that used to run Greece.

    “That’s what happens when we leave you and your self-righteous international “community” to your own devices.”

    No that’s what you believe happens. The Hollywood myth whenever anything happens, that the world waits with baited breath to see what the US will do, is only that. A myth. The long and the short of it is no-one wants to be moved onto the US shitlist for it then to be subjected to “regime change”.

    Yes things were bad in the past, I’ll happily trot off as many atrocities as I can think off perpetrated by my country around the world, but I’ll also condemn them and the mentality that gave rise to them.

    Two wrongs just make two wrongs. The past however still doesn’t justify the US preaching Democracy but subverting democracies – overtly in the ways I already mentioned – but even more insidiously by ignoring the laws of other democracies because they don’t fit with the US world view.

    “Lick it up, baby. Lick. It. Up.”

    Don’t understand what this has to do with adult discourse .

  29. Allah save me from the “adults” who think themselves hard-headed realists and support the bullet-headed jocks of the world or the po-faced armchair revolutionaries who can’t take a little humor.

    (The above could probably use a kidnapping scene to get in a mention of extraordinary rendition, but the point is pretty much made.)

    Having waited 5000 years (longer than even China has been around) to have a say in their own affairs, I’d say the Egyptians are realistic enough to see they have a pretty good shot now and they’re taking it (and some of the protest signs are pretty damn funny).

    The US has indeed dug itself a big hole in the Middle East, but Obama, unlike Mike Huckabee, appears smart enough to know it’s time to stop digging. Oddly enough, there seems to be a quickening drumbeat elsewhere of concern trollery right now about the Muslim Brotherhood. Folks, you really want this revolution to succeed. It’s a lot more “F*ck tha’ Police” than “Allahu Akbar!”

    Suppose Mubarak slams the lid. He’ll send in Mukhabarat afterward to cull anyone he thinks is a ringleader (or anyone wearing glasses). And when there’s another uprising–and one day there will be–there won’t be any moderates alive to keep it all from going up in smoke and fluttering green flags.

    Mubarak is that evil high priest in “Temple of Doom” who yanks the heart out of the people. It’s shoetime!

    1. I think I need saved from the internet commenters who speak derisively of people having an emotional reaction to suffering. Would you like to share some of your Hurricane Katrina jokes with us?

      1. I can point you to some jokes about Irish people eating their babies to get through the famine. Raiders of the Lost Mubarak, like A Modest Proposal, is aimed at the lazy or willfully ignorant, and apparently seems to have struck a number of realpolitikians here. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s pretty good.

        I’m sure the person who wrote this feels as strongly about this as you do. I know I do.

        And I believe there were a lot of Katrina jokes made, though none by me. The evil ones were aimed at the victims themselves. The best were aimed at the Bush clan, the Republican dominated government and the Beltway punditocracy, as even some “liberals” among that last group argued that New Orleans should be abandoned.

  30. I only hope for the sake of woman,gay and secular citizens there they are not getting rid of a dictator to put a theocratic dictator instead…. Iran anyone?

  31. @Stegendogs:

    Indonesia managed it, pretty much, and they’re the biggest Muslim nation on the planet.

  32. Anon #64:

    “peace, order, and good government “, aarrgh!. Second time today i’ve seen this. The proper phrase should be “peace, order and good governance.”

    No. You are mistaken.

    “In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the phrase “peace, order and good government” is an expression used in law to express the legitimate objects of legislative powers conferred by statute. The phrase appears in many Imperial Acts of Parliament and Letters Patent, most notably the constitutions of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia and, formerly, New Zealand and South Africa.”



    So: calm yourself.

  33. I’m loving the advocates of so-called realpolitik here.

    Remind me again how that’s working out for us? With how many American dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, the loss of our freedoms, and an economy in the shitter, and constant uncertainty about interests abroad that other countries don’t encounter to anywhere near the same degree.

    Yeah. Let’s be realistic.

  34. The Iranian Revolution was unlike any other seen in modern times, and itself followed no previous pattern of revolution: yet it is now become a template?

    It was? Why? It looks to me like a pretty classic revolution. Dictator oppresses people for a long time. Some specific issues arise (such as food shortages, bad economy, human rights abuses and high unemployment) that acts as a catalyst for unrest. Over the period of months, protests begin followed by a brutal crackdown that only incites the protesters.

    Eventually angry mobs raid police and military installations and distribute weapons to revolutionaries. The military divides upon itself and then steps aside and the dictator flees the country (or tries to). Then the opposition wars with itself and a single faction wins, imposing it’s totalitarian will in a fashion not unlike the deposed dictator.

    Sounds an awful lot like the Russian Revolution to me, just exchange Soviet for Islam.

    1. And just with the minor addition of instantaneous worldwide video and audio communication by nearly everyone involved.

  35. Here’s a thought: instead of prattling fecklessly over which images she chose or snarking each other (which I admit I am doing in this post), read the words accompanying the images. They succinctly introduce the problem, demonstrate sensible support, and call for accountability from the US government. Not all Americans are fat, ignorant and angry, but many of us are. Instead of foundering (and it is foundering, not floundering) with this side issue, read the words, ascertain the thoughts behind them, and respond with at least as much thought to them.

  36. I am a Brit, and I had no idea what the hell was going on. Our news just seems to jump into something without telling us the back story. So many thanks for this!

  37. This is obviously not a simple black and white good vs evil issue. Mubarak has helped the US in good ways by not attacking Israel and providing some peace and stability in that area, but he has also helped the US in evil ways by helping the US to torture people that the US wasn’t allowed to torture themselves.

    In the end though, his regime is not democratic, and the people of Egypt want more freedom and democracy. In my opinion that trumps everything else, but it’s understandable that the US, despite their official pro-democracy stance, isn’t happy with the potential loss of an ally, and having the stability of the past decades replaced with who knows what will happen.

    Still, the people of Egypt deserve to rule themselves. It’s not Egypt’s job to serve the US, it’s its job to represent its people. And the US, given its origin, should certainly be able to understand that. It’d be nice if the US cared a bit more about their ideology (which is pretty excellent) and a bit less about power politics (which sometimes seems necessary, but often turns out badly).

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