Monday, January 31, 2011


By Mahtab Bashir

All the old paintings on the tombs
They do the sand dance don't you know
If they move too quick (oh whey oh)
They're falling down like a domino

All the bazaar men by the Nile
They got the money on a bet
Gold crocodiles (oh whey oh)
They snap their teeth on your cigarette

All the cops in the donut shop say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walk like an Egyptian
Walk like an Egyptian

I remember my childhood kicks off listening this hip hop single by ‘Bangles’ in mid 80’s, didn’t know at that time even the ‘Bangles’ are referring it to Hosni Mubarak to walk like the other Egyptians and foget his own gait.

"Walk Like an Egyptian" is a number-one hit from the album Different Light by The Bangles in 1986. The opening lyrics state, "All the old paintings on the tombs/They do the sand dance don't you know". The reference to the sand dance possibly refers to a music hall routine performed by Wilson, Keppel and Betty where Wilson and Keppel danced around in the postures portrayed on the reliefs wearing the fez while Betty watched. I used to listen this song with a good dance beat since I took my senses. The song is the first song by an all-female group playing their own instruments to top the Billboard singles chart.[3] The success of the song and "Manic Monday" propelled Different Light to number two on the Billboard 200 chart, making it the group's most successful album.

“As long as there is in my chest a heart that beats and I draw breath”, that is how long Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak vowed to continue ruling the land of the Nile in a 2006 declaration to the Egyptian Parliament. However, the massive uprising that is the largest in the three decades of his rule, inspired by and following in the footsteps of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, looks set to prove the 81-year-old president wrong. Since January 25, youth from all walks of life in Egypt have been rallying against a system that has for too long given them nothing but unemployment, crippling price hikes, corrupt governance and police brutality to make it clear to Mubarak — and the world — that they are no longer prepared to put up with a dictatorship that has been seeking to inculcate a political dynasty through anointing Mubarak’s son as his successor (the son has fled in the face of the protests to London, complete with bag, baggage and family).

Hosni Mubarak has been President since 1981, taking over after President Anwar El Sadat was assassinated. He had continually been re-elected to office in 1987, 1993 and 1999 in largely controversial elections as no one could really run as a candidate against the president. In 2005, a highly biased referendum was held in which Mubarak was once again re-elected. Although still clinging to power, rumours started buzzing that the ailing president was grooming his son, Gamal Mubarak to take over. For the people of Egypt — where 40 percent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day — to have a son of leisure and privilege represent them without their approval was perhaps finally too much to swallow. Emboldened by the successful ouster of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s protesters, it seems, will not rest until they have rid themselves of a despot president.

So far, some 75 people have been killed and some 1,000 arrested in protests all over Egypt. On Wednesday, when the government saw the situation getting radically out of control, curfew was imposed and gatherings of more than five people were officially banned. The army was ordered in and the police rampaged with tear gas and water cannon. What started off as a peaceful demonstration of youth dissent quickly turned into an all out revolt by Friday. The government has sealed off most internet and media access inside the country. The headquarters of the National Democratic Party in Cairo were set on fire by the protesters on Friday after which President Mubarak, in a late night televised address, dissolved his government in an attempt to pacify the crowds. He has still not hinted at stepping down and the people seem inclined to settle for nothing less.

As can be seen in much of the Arab world, the US has always sided with rulers who serve its agenda best. Pumped up with some $ 2 billion in military and economic aid annually, Mubarak was the US’s trump card to keep the ‘Islamists’ away from power — the Muslim Brotherhood is perceived by the West as Egypt’s biggest Islamist threat — and keep Egypt within the fold of Arab states who have made peace with Israel. Throughout the Arab world, the US has aligned itself with despots who refuse to vacate power, making a mockery of the ‘democracy’ it otherwise advocates so fiercely. Even now, President Obama is urging “democratic reforms” in Egypt but not the ouster of an unpopular president, while at the same time withholding $ 1.5 billion in military aid, perhaps as a signal to the Egyptian generals to intervene if they want the money.

Considering the momentum of events and the unrelenting protests on the streets, it looks like President Mubarak’s days are numbered. With the Muslim Brotherhood remaining silent so far, it is yet to be seen what character this impending change will take. Any regime changes in Tunisia and possibly in Egypt will set the tone for whatever comes next in the Arab world. The entire world watches and waits.


Sobia Nosheen Saleh said...

Nu simply dey marr kee, che story ey end shee.

pretty aquarius said...

story end nishta...:)
anyways sir jee, i love the verses written in the start of this article.... really appreciateable...keep it up...