Aired February 12, 2011 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube: Rabbinical Reflection #004 – Egypt
Shalom Dammit, this is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of February 13, 2011.
Well, it’s been a quiet week in the Middle East . . . nothing much going on there. (laugh) Is there ever quiet in the Middle East? In the Arab world, quiet is when they send only two missiles a day into Israel instead of the usual five.
But of course, these past three weeks, the world has been watching Egypt with a mixture of excitement, hope, fear and “oy, is gas four dollars yet?”
Doesn’t it figure that the one country Israel gets along with, the one country that has been a stable, peaceful neighbor for 30 years is the one that goes tohu-va-voho crazy? Does Iran go berserk, does Libya? No. Egypt is where they riot in the streets.
And they got what they wanted; Hosni Mubarak stepped down. One day before he quit, he sneaked away to a fancy resort. Got himself a massage, maybe a nice pedicure, calls Al Jazeera and says, “Okay, I’m done. I was gonna leave in a couple of weeks anyway. Help you guys transition to…whatever it is you’re transitioning to. But the people have spoken, and the regime is broken.” He’s probably shopping for a condo in Fort Lauderdale as we speak.
But of course, the big question is: what’s next? Mubarak’s vice president is trying to hold power – good luck on that. And as we ideally interpret the situation in the Western World, we hear the chant: “Democracy! Democracy! A democratic government by and for the people.” Crap, we don’t even have that here!
But do ya think they’ll even get that there? If and when Egypt does hold an election, the top candidate is gonna be backed by an outfit called the Muslim Brotherhood. I don’t mind the Brotherhood much, it’s the Muslim I’m worried about.
The Muslim Brotherhood is an organization across the Arab world that supports Muslim Shariah law as the law of the land. Supposedly, they’re non-violent, as opposed to Hamas, or Al Qaeda, or your typical Irish soccer fan. If we believe their press releases, they are a harmless, moderate, political group – like Shriners with different turbans. If we believe history, they’re anti-West, anti-Israel, ultra-religious – and just waiting for their day in the sun.
The question is not, “will Egypt become a Muslim state?” but “When they’re a Muslim state, will they march into Czechoslovakia?”
Now, I hate to sound pessimistic because I am, by nature, such a fun-loving goddamn bon vivant. So I will say this: when Anwar Sadat first came to the peace talks all those years ago, I didn’t trust him one bit. After all, 1979 was only six years after the Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria picked the holiest Jewish day of the year to sneak-attack Israel. We kicked their asses, of course, but what were we to make of Sadat suddenly cramming an olive branch between his teeth? How do you trust the untrustable?
Except, of course, and to his everlasting credit, he kept his word. Egypt stopped attacking Israel. And Israel kept its word, too. We didn’t attack Egypt. Well, we weren’t attacking Egypt to begin with, but such is the unbalanced balance that passes for fairness in the Middle East.
My point, though, is that Mubarak also kept Sadat’s word. Maybe he was a dictator, maybe his economics didn’t trickle down to the people, maybe he was a western puppet. All I know is, now that the strings are cut, we’d love to see this puppet replaced by Jerry Mahoney, King Friday, even Kukla.
So why does my gut tell me we’ll end up with Chucky?
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection by Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
(c) 2011 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.