I work with a global logistics behemoth and things have turned completely topsy-turvy in the last few days owing to the crisis in Egypt. We have been bending over backwards communicating updates to anxious customers and assuaging fears. There is skeletal staff at the cairo offices. For inter-office communication via messenger we use the Microsoft Office Communicator (OC) application. Usually it is work but sometimes it’s a nice device to learn more abt people sitting in far away places, thinking different thoughts and seeing things you’ll never be able to. Rashid Alwai is the communications executive in Egypt and as we were discussing what updates to issue, the conversation meandered off to the current uprising.
Whenever such events unravel, the world and media form opinions abt its impact. People actually facing these events often have totally different things to say. For Rashid, the ousted President Mubarak was not as bad as he’s being made out to be. At a very simplistic level, he feels that only those Egyptians who have no work or are too lazy to work are part of this opposition to Mubarak. Though I didn’t argue with him I don’t think this is the complete truth.
Mubarak’s 30-yr rule has been fairly authoritarian and he’d even been planning to instal his son in his place. Discontent was natural.
I’m currently reading The Finkler Question. A lot of jewish authors have tackled the question of jewish identity and inheritance in their works but this has gotta be the most in-your-face kinda book I’ve come across. As I was thinking abt Egypt yesterday, I wondered – what would be the repurcussions for Israel. After all, Egypt had been the jewish state’s most powerful ally for decades. What happens if the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood comes into power after fresh elections? It has always opposed peace with Israel and will go all out to rouse Arab nationalist passions, if not for anything than to consolidate its position. With the Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, can Israel really bear the burden of an Islamist Egypt?
A broken-hearted D told me yday that her close friend Aarya had refused to share her stickers and chocolates with her, despite D having always shared her stuff with Aaarya in the past. What moral conundrum! How dyu explain to a 6-yr old sweetheart what you still haven’t figured out yourself. Told her, she should try explaining to Aarya that it wasn’t a very nice thing to do to one’s friend. Couldn’t tell her that she too shouldn’t share her stuff in future, nor did I feel like advocating the path of calm acceptance. There is enough time for all that later.