I've stopped posing my lawn jockey for this season at least, so that gives me some time to reflect on these latest history changing events from the all important viewpoint of the retail worker.
Egypt. Wow. Who would have thought that was coming? Big question now is who will be Pharaoh. My guess is on the Muslim Brotherhood. Like every other revolution, everybody is going to be handing out candy between dances, but then they will discover a degree in Islamic Studies doesn't pay the bills. Cue the repression.
What is so interesting about this is that it's all been done before not so long ago in Egypt. No one wants to remember that Mubarak was Sadat's vice president, and Sadat was Nasser's. Of course, Nasser came to power in the '52 revolution in which the people of Egypt were very much on the side of the plotters. In fact, when Nasser offered to resign for losing the '67 war with Israel, street demonstrations demanded that he not. It's your mess, Egyptians. You put them there.
Yes, we "propped them up" in the sense that we pay a big fat bribe every year for peace. That's what makes watching Egypt fun: Egypt starts, or a least provokes wars with Israel that it loses, and in return we pay them a heap of money, make sure they get every inch of land back and have them sign a treaty not to do it again.
Probably too early to make predictions, but a lot of people are thinking the Copts are going to have a pretty rough time in the future. Non-Islamic peoples in Arab lands have traditionally taken the nationalistic route, and the Copts have carried the Pan-Arab spear as high as anyone else. Those days are probably over. The various -isms of the past century have had their chance to change the Arab World and have failed. Islam is the only man in the arena, and with everyone else long gone, the Copts are beginning to see the crosshairs slowly being trained on them. You can only dhimmi up for so long before you start to realize that the kicks are not stopping.
Of course it is possible that nothing will happen and the Muslim Brotherhood will prove tolerant. I hope so, because things might get grim. It would be nice to think the States would welcome fleeing Christians, but my amateur study of the Middle East suggests that the West is pretty apathetic towards religious minorities.
One last thing: I wonder how many museums are looking at their Egyptian collections and saying "Told you it was preserving, not looting!"