Wednesday, February 02, 2011

China Mieville on Egypt

The pig of empire is sometimes enlipsticked, a few decorous phrases thrown in: freedom; concern; restraint; &c. These codes are so well-worn, so universally understood, as to make their decipherment a simple, if bleakly amusing, task.   
Often, however - increasingly - no make-up is applied. Thus, breathtakingly, this.
  • ‘Where it’s best to end up is in free elections at a certain point in time, but in the mean time to get a managed process of change …’ 
  • ‘I totally understand that [that Egyptians want Mubarak gone now], but you asked me what’s the best thing for Egypt and for this region …’
  • ‘I don’t think that Western governments should be the slightest bit embarrassed about saying we’ve worked very closely with president Mubarak …’
  • ‘You have to say, he has been a staunch and often courageous advocate for peace …’
  • ‘The important thing now is that we allow this process to happen in an orderly and not chaotic way …’
There is no embarrassment at opposing democracy in favour of imperial control. No blushes at, even now, encomia to the dictator. Nothing inadvertent nor shameful about the verbs ‘manage’ & ‘allow’ to describe ‘the West”s mission, faced with liberation. Indeed, shame is explicitly abjured.

Here is no great & terrible Oz to deflect attention. No smoke, no mirrors. No bread, no circuses. No dissembling, no lullabies, no kiss on the cheek, no taxi fare home. There is no wriggling. The man in the suit tells the heroines & heroes & martyrs of Egypt quite clearly that their lives, their revolution, their emancipation belong to him & his colleagues, to dole out as, & when, & if, they see fit.
Bolding's mine. What else could I possibly add to this?

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