Walk like an Egyptian

Published: Mon, 03/07/2011 - 09:02 Updated: Mon, 03/07/2011 - 09:03

The world suddenly changed about a month ago. It all started in a small country with a name like a classic deli sandwich. Tuna something - ah, Tunisia. Its citizens got rid of a dictator practically overnight - and now nobody will ever forget the country's name, even if they have no clue where to look for it in an atlas. Tunisia will go down in history as the trigger for a new and (I sincerely hope) improved Middle East. 

History books, too, are going to have to stop referring to Egypt as Ancient Egypt. Inspired by the success of the Tunisian revolt, the country's youth have proved to be a more stimulating conversation piece than the mouldy old Mummies. Their passionate desire for true democracy has shocked and excited the world out of its complacence - and my god, don't we all admire them for it! Heck, they've even made a flaky 1980s pop song by The Bangles sound deep and inspirational: 'Walk like an Egyptian'. And mubarak ho, Mubarak was kicked out! 

Of course, the situation is still shaky. The military is in charge till elections in September - I find that scary and I wouldn't be cheerfully humming Come September and naively saying things like, "The sun is shining, birdies are singing, all's right with the world." Face it, the military chaps have been in power way too long to want to give it all up that easily. And then there's that Muslim Brotherhood bogey to contend with, too. If I were an Egyptian, I'd keep my fingers tightly crossed.

The tremors of Egypt's Facebook-to-Tahrir-Square revolution have been felt not just in the Middle East but all around the world. Except China, of course. The second the autocratic Chinese government heard about an impending revolt for democracy, they immediately blocked all references to Egypt in the media - internet included, but of course. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't hire anyone who has majored in current affairs in China. Seriously. 

Meanwhile, my heart bleeds for US President Barack Obama. He may have made Martin Luther King's dream of American citizens being judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character come true, but it's about time he made his own global visions come alive as well. America's days of glory are fading fast and the changes in Egypt have rattled it further. Agreed that the poor chap is paying for all the stupid mistakes of his arrogant predecessors - but it's about time he delivered corrective action instead of pretty speeches. I fervently hope that he seizes an opportunity to earn the Nobel Peace Prize he received in 2009. That, at least, will reassure him that he did his best - equally important, the world will stop smirking about it. 

For starters, Obama could stop murmurs about his government contemplating seizing control over the internet - that's very disheartening and, frankly, the entire world will revolt if such a thing happens. He could also stop his people from persecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange - the entire world may not revolt if he doesn't stop the persecution, but I certainly will! And then there's that mess called Pakistan as well, sigh. A committed clean-up in the planet's biggest terrorist factory will go a long way towards securing world peace. If he does a really good job, we may be able to carry cosmetics and nail files in our in-flight baggage again - no wonder beauty pageant contestants talk about world peace with so much warmth and sincerity.  

The way it looks to me, the next Nobel Peace Prize will probably go to institutions, instead of individuals.  Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are strong contenders - as the world has just discovered, they are ideal places for like-minded people to assemble and start a revolution. 

Now I'm wondering if and when India will ever do an Egypt. After all, most of our democratically elected politicians are revolting. Consider this: there are rumours that deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is possibly the richest man in the world. After all the scams that have recently come to light in India across all political parties (a gentle reminder to the BJP that I haven't forgotten Karnataka Chief Minister Yeddyurappa - nor will I ever forget the scams that took place during the NDA regime), I'm beginning to wonder if the richest and most corrupt person in the world lives in our country instead. If it carries on like this, someday Indians will be incensed enough to walk like Egyptians.

This story is from print issue of HardNews