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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

 

Egypt, Mubarak, and the United States


*

Another of our Favorite Goons Facing Loss of Power

The popular uprising against Hosni Mubarak of Egypt gaining momentum by the hour. Reports on the Internet indicate that time is running out for him. The Israelis are worried, and they certainly have their ears on the ground. Mubarak's Egypt was their ally, propped up by American aid. The Israelis fear that the stage is past when their friend Omar Suleiman, former chief of intelligence and recently named by Mubarak as vice president, would have a meaningful role.  Mubarak's son, Gamal, is not going to be the successor.  As Bob Dylan's song goes "The times they are a changing".  And America is between the proverbial "a rock and a hard place", quietly trying to extricate itself.
AlJazeerah
It's incredible, really. The president of the United States can't bring himself to talk about democracy in the Middle East. He can dance around it, use euphemisms, throw out words like "freedom" and "tolerance" and "non-violent" and especially "reform," but he can't say the one word that really matters: democracy.
ElBaradei could have a role. If hard-liner Islamists don't dominate the government after Mubarak relinquishes power then Egypt would be a better country for its people.

Justine, first volume of the Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell, contains a translation of The City by C.P. Cavafy. The center of the protest against Mubarak is,of course, Cairo. But in Alexandria,too, thousands have gathered to demand end of Mubarak's rule.

The City

You tell yourself I'll be gone
To some other land, some other sea,
to a city lovelier far than this
Could ever have been or hoped to be--
Where every step now tightens the noose:
A heart in a body buried and out of use;
How long, how long must I be here
Confined among these dreary purlieus
Of the common mind? Wherever now I look
Black ruins of my life rise into view.
So many years have I been here
Spending and squandering and nothing gained.
There's no new land, my friend, no
New sea; for the city will follow you,
In the same streets you'll wander endlessly,
The same mental suburbs slip from youth to age,
In the same house go white at last--
The city is a cage.
No other places, always this
Your earthly landfall, and no ship exists.

C.P. Cavafy --translated by Lawrence Durrell

*****

Comments:
Hi,
I stumbled on to your comment about Sanyal Brothers in Jamshedpur. This really brings back so much memories.

Regal, Natraj, Karim
I was a frequent visitor to Jamshedpur in the 70s...I grew up in Rourkela just 100 miles away.

Is Sanyal Bros still there ? Do you still visit Jamshedpur ? I'd love to get in touch.
 
Great luck !
 
A pleasure to find your comments. I know Rourkela -- never lived there but visited friends. But that was decades ago.

The last time I was in Jamshedpur was 1984. There are some former residents of Jamshedpur who live in the San Francisco Bay area. According to them, Sanyal Bros is still there. Good, if true. Let us hope that books and book stores will survive in this age of high tech.

Thanks for visiting.
 
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