Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Colorless, Umm, Something

Egypt is yesterday's news. Even the transnational Arab press is more interested in Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and so on. It's a useful reminder that international attention is fickle. I'm frustrated, because I care about Egypt and what becomes of it, but I'm not especially outraged – what's happening in Egypt right now is hard to frame as a gripping, nailbiting story that can dominate a news cycle in the same way as, say, Japan. I like criticizing media shallowness as much as anyone, but as a practical matter I simply take it as a basic rule of the game that most people will only pay fitful attention to things happening thousands of miles away, and the world will probably lose interest in any given struggle before that struggle is over. Activists and writers and so on have to deal with that, for better or worse.

So, no guilt trips from me about the world abandoning Egypt. But, the story did not end when Mubarak stepped down and the cameras went elsewhere. After the big protests stopped, it's been a collection of smaller things that are hard to fit into a coherent narrative of What is Going On, but that's what I want to do. I'm trying to figure out what's going on politically, and the answer isn't clear, at least to me. I'm not sure if we're looking at a revolution, a counter-revolution, a military coup, or something else entirely. That question – what exactly is it we're looking at? - isn't trivial, and if the answer is obvious to you, it isn't to me. So, I'm going to think it through via blogpost, in the hope that a picture will emerge piece by piece.

Revolutions, protests, coups, and transitions are very far from my specific expertise. But I'm going to write what I see and what I make of it until I run out of things to say. Hopefully someone, somewhere will find the result informative, or at least interesting. And if I do my tiny part in attracting more attention to what I think is a very troubling situation, all the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment