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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Rage Too Far

Angry Arab is outraged.   He is really, really pissed.  Mubarak has unleashed a mob of his supporters and hirelings on those protesting his continued presence at Egypt's helm, which has now lasted 30 years, after which you would think that an 83-old guy would be more than glad to rest his weary bones for as long as he has left.   His mob came into the square with some of them bizarrely mounted on camels, thereby making even more history for the demonstrators by their being the first of their undertaking ever to be attacked by thugs on camels.   That's what I call color!

For all that picturesqueness, as of this writing, five deaths and hundreds of injuries have resulted, but the anti-Mubarak protestors are still holding firm.  What they need is for all those farmers whose forerunners built the pyramids to come pouring into Cairo armed with pitchforks to drop some heavyweight intimidation on the Mubarak gangsters.  This is provided that there still are farmers in Egypt, what with the damned dummies having long ago damned up the Nile.

Still, Angry Arab is so enraged over these attacks on the protestors, which he seems to think are Netanyahu's and Obama's idea, that I believe he has really lost it.  This is not to say that his anger is misplaced, but instead that he has blatantly violated Gardner's 4th, 5th, or whatever Law, first stated in these pages and which holds that one should never do or say anything while they're angry, or else they'll do something stupid every time.  Therefore, for some quieter and more carefully reasoned insights on the same events, at the moment Juan Cole at Informed Comment is doing a much better job.

To illustrate, Angry was invited to speak about Egypt on Al Jazeera.   You would have thought, with Al Jazeera enjoying its newfound place at the top of the news service heap and certainly putting all the stumbling, mumbling U.S. media outlets to crying shames,  he would've jumped at this chance to hold forth on something he knows a lot about, and to an international audience no less.   But he declined, using the shaky excuse of having classes to teach.   He admitted to his readers the real reason, that he didn't trust himself to keep from exploding on the air.

I believe, besides his concern for the protestors and the Egyptian people, Angry is miffed because he has made several predictions about Mubarak stepping down that haven't quite met his timetables.

Meanwhile among many others he is scornful about the concern for protecting Cairo's museums from looting and what-not.   He sees that as kowtowing to something he calls "the White Man."

I think he has really grabbed the sow by the wrong teat on that one, as they used to say in Dublin, Ireland in the year 1904.  Museums, like libraries, are the protectors of posterity, and the destruction of the library at Egypt's Alexandria that had been the main repository of all knowledge that had made it into print (that is, scrolls) in the Ancient World was already horrible enough to have happened in one country, Egypt, even if it was some time ago, like in 47 B.C. or around there.  Just as the surrounding events that caused the total disappearance of that library have long been forgotten, all the current commotion, as important as it is to the principals and to the world, will likewise fade from memory.   But if those museums were to be sacked as thoroughly as the ones in Baghdad were, during the American invasion, people will be remembering that with bitterness far into the future.

 The things in those Egyptian museums are the world's oldest and most valuable artifacts, bar none.   In fact they are so valuable that they can't be said to belong to the Egyptians at all and are not theirs to destroy, for any reason.   Instead they belong to civilization as a whole, among those humans who are civilized, and the world has all along trusted the Egyptians to protect them.   Those statues, busts, mummies, paintings, inscriptions, and the like represent the sources of the beginning of civilization.

Besides there is a practical aspect that Angry overlooks.   When the protesting is over and business can set in again,  and the tourists, those relentless carriers and guardians of civility and the bringers of large amounts of much appreciated cash, come streaming back into Egypt, as they surely will no matter what happens, those items in the museum will be the next things the tourists will want to see after they get through ogling the pyramids and the Sphinx.   They know what is supposed to be there, and if anything is missing they are going to have a lot of very serious questions to ask and to relay back to the rest of the world, which will already have been holding its breath for a long time.

I kid you not (an odd expression for Angry to latch on to, and he has done a good job of driving it into the ground).


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