The American TV audience is well trained to watch and think from such an ahistorical, current events, accept as presented, now-generation, myopic perspective, is it not? Of course, some, even many, people will grumble epithets of disbelief in the media but they ultimately will be resigned to examine or think no further. The Egyptian revolution is an excellent case in point.
As I watched and listened to the international reporters describe the uprising of the Egyptian populace, I was stuck by the scant or missing commentary on the historical, political role of the US. As the revolution was well underway, FaceBook and Google were unfolding as the Western centerpieces facilitating the massiveness of the turnout. Many grievances of the people were cited as the causal factors behind the people’s demands for the ouster of the thirty-year reign of Dictator Mubarak.
The list of protests included repression and brutality at the hands of the Egyptian police, restriction of freedom of speech, lack of occupational opportunities for the highly educated young adults accompanied by extremely high unemployment and widespread poverty. The media’s characterization of the Egyptian revolution had the ring of the two-hundred year-old American Revolution. After all, the Americans revolted against tyranny and exploitation by a foreign nation, the British. There seemed to me to be a strange paradox lurking hidden behind these not too vaguely linked characterizations and causal explanations.
In the case of Egypt, the revolt, while reported as directed at its homegrown tyrant, was actually a revolt against a puppet dictator propped up and fertilized by the US. While the Egyptian police were reported as being Mubarak’s henchmen exercising brutal control over the populace, the Egyptian military, quite the contrary, was reported as being almost guardians of the revolutionary masses.
An aspect of the paradox, then, is that, like Mubarak himself, these military monitors and protectors of the revolutionaries, for the thirty years under Mubarak’s reign, not only had been funded by US but also had been the recipients of a vast monetary largesse from the US, which primarily was intended to buy their loyalty to the US. Both the King and his army were cited has having become quite rich while the people languished in poverty. The remaining mystery is why the King’s police remained steadfastly loyal to him? Was this because the US was not the patron of Mubarak’s police force?
This Egyptian phenomenon of the extreme material partiality of upper classes over lower classes, yet another fact in the history of civilizations, however, is not exceptional. Nevertheless, this eventuality of the US buying off a monarch’s military is unique to modern political strategy. Is this not an extraordinarily unusual exception in the long history of such revolutions against rulers and autocrats of all sorts?
Some US commentators conceded that the explanations for propping up Mubarak and maintaining and training his military was that the US needed them to both protect the Suez passageway for oil transport and to secure their compliance in protecting Israel.
As an alternative or additional explanation, and behind the veil, while the largesse to the military had bought their loyalty, this had and untoward outcome in the case of the tyrant. In Mubarak’s case, the unmerited, gratuitous awarding of wealth may have merely served to further his delusions of resuming his place as another in Egypt’s long prior history of autocratic pharaohs. Furthermore, as with all pre-modern kings, the dictum that ‘king can do no wrong’ and may be as ruthless, vain, and acquisitive as he wishes with impunity, still held true for the pretentious Mubarak. As the saying goes, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely!”
In that vein, history does seem to continue to repeat itself. The divergence was seen in the way Mubarak’s military was not about to surrender its opulence and security. They were not about to go down with a puppet dictator, who after all, was not even their financier. The military would surreptitiously side with the covert cyber warrior instigators and their humungous mass of revolutionary followers, thereby assuring them of the life style to which they had become accustomed. In other words, the US was, while inducing sedition in his troops, setting its puppet up so high, inducing in him so much pride, that he would inevitably topple at the crest of its swell. As usual in such cases, the masses, and but now the entranced watching world as well, would cheer deliriously and the US would smile, ever so simply, smugly, and ‘innocently.’
And, what is the upshot of this revolution? What have the exuberantly triumphant revolutionaries gained now that the dust has settled from Tahirh Square?
Unfortunately, in the aftermath, there are no avenues for employment and not likely to be any in their lifetimes. Poverty will not be eradicated. Most likely, they will have freedom of speech, especially on the internet. However, as we all know, most talk is cheap while money talk usually gets its way!
If, ‘in fact’, their coveted democracy eventually does come to Egypt, what, ‘in fact’, will that mean? ‘In fact,’ that merely and sadly will mean the American style Corporatocracy will come with even more dynamism and dominance to Egypt. Only now, the Corprocrats will have the Egyptian military to insure their success and their corporate controlled media to sway Egyptian democratic elections to their liking. Democracy, they eventually will learn, is, ‘in fact,’ a mere ineffectual sport that simply provides material for the media’s infotainment programs.
Our democratic charade will ever so easily be foisted onto the unsuspecting, media mesmerized, Egyptian populace. As has been done by the US corporations, their international corporate cohorts, and their subservient, sycophant complicit governmental leaders all over the globe, the elitist plutocrats will continue clandestinely, unseen and unknown from aloft their summits, once again, to win their devastating global zero-sum game over the people of earth. The long procession of propped up and put down dictators will continue unabated, just now in the fashion du jour!
Of course, this same use of the internet to instigate revolutions in nations could be used to promote worldwide revolt against corporations that enslave and exploit people and natural resources and destroy health and the planet.