Egypt is one the most fascinating countries in the world. Not just because of the ancient civilization, the Pyramids, the Nile, or any of the well documented cultural and historic privileges, but because it defies all logic, and obliterates all reason.
Consider that it’s the only Arab country to have been through the revolutionary transition of the Arab Spring, only to replace the old guard with pretty much an identical regime, if only just a little younger. The world is splitting hairs on whether the current regime came to power via a coup or a revolution, but for most Egyptians, it’s a moot point. It’s the same regime they’ve had for the last 5,000 years. The only reason they paid attention during the Arab Spring is because it was the flavor of the season. Other Arabs were in on the action, and Egyptians can never be upstaged. Most analysts are wondering why it took Egyptians so long to rise up against the tyranny of Mubarak, and the dirty answer that no one will admit is that it’s not that they couldn’t revolt, they just didn’t feel like it.
Across the rest of the Arabic world, radical Islamic forces are ravaging millennial old social structures, with the explicit intent to reset the region back to the stone-age. But in Egypt, instead of resisting the Islamic current, the country embraced it. The Muslim Brotherhood were the first to rule after the first revolution. Then promptly they were gobbled up, chewed and spat back like they had never existed. This is even more awe inspiring considering that the very fabric of political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood as its most visible face was actually invented in Egypt. Yes, the Muslim Brotherhood was voted in democratically, but barely lasted a year before Egyptians realized they were not much fun and would cramp their style. Limit tourism? Ban alcohol? No soft-porn music videos staring Lebanese singers? Yeah, right. Forget the religious facade most Egyptians put on for show. Egyptians, at their core are fun loving, sexually obsessed, hedonists who’ve been around for such a long time that they figured the best response to any crisis is an amazing sense of humor and exceptionally thick skin.
But perhaps the most amazing feat of nationstate hustling ever achieved, is the fact that Egypt is everybody’s friend, but no body’s girlfriend. It’s honoring its peace treaty with Israel, on paper, but in practice, there is hardly any normalization of ties. It’s got the United States AND Russia paying up the nose in hush money and to maintain whatever is left of the status quo in the region. Not to mention China, Europe, Saudi Arabia, AND it’s most loathed nemesis, the tiny blip of a state Qatar that’s taken it upon itself to put its natural gas wealth in the service of exporting turbulence and havoc. Egypt lambasts Doha in public, but everyone knows Al Jazeera’s puppet masters are paying up the you know what. Or else.
ISIS pays only lip service to bringing the war to Egyptian shores, but they probably know they wouldn’t stand a chance.
Ask any Egyptian now if life is better after the revolution and they will laugh at you and give you a laundry list of how everything is far worse than before. Now turn around and ask someone else if they miss the Mubarak days and they will laugh at you and give you a laundry list of how everything is far better than before.
In other words, everything has changed in Egypt since the revolution, yet NOTHING has changed since the revolution.
Or to be more specific, for external powers vying to meddle in Egypt, the message is clear, don’t Fu#$ with Egypt. The rational laws of physics involved with Fu#$!ng with a population are no more applicable in that country than gravity is in space.