Egyptian Revolution and "Whatsnextism"

Hosni Mubarak

Image by robertxcadena via Flickr

Now that Hosni Mubarak has finally resigned and the people of Egypt haave triumphed, the US news circus, as expected, has entered the “whatsnext” phase of its spin-driven news coverage. Roughly explained, whatsnextism is a specific metropolitan malady based in certain deeply rooted prejudices about the people of the periphery.

This concept was strategically employed by the French and the British in their attempts to hold on to their colonies. Phrases like  “our sudden departure would leave a power vacuum and chaos will ensue in the “ordered” colonized societies were often deployed to great effect, just as the same language now explains the US missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It seems the metropolitan perceptions have not altered much: instead of celebrating the great victory of the Egyptian people against an imperial stooges, we are now trying to relegate this monumental event to a dangerous turn in Egyptian history:

CNN: But it’s uncertain what will come next in the most populous nation of the Arab world, and how Egypt’s revolution, which succeeded on the 32nd anniversary of Iran’s, will reverberate throughout the region.

FOX: Now that the announcement has come, and Hosni Mubarak has stepped down, who will succeed him? What role will the Muslim Brotherhood play? Is there a chance a true democracy, currently unknown in the Arab world, can emerge in this most populous of the 22 Arab countries? How much longer can the paralyzed Egyptian society function?

MSNBC: While Egyptian protesters on Friday celebrated achievement of their no. 1 goal — the removal of President Hosni Mubarak — it remained unclear whether the Egyptian military’s assumption of power will mark the beginning of a transition to a more-democratic system of government or simply a shuffling of the Mubarak regime deck.

It seems as if even at their most triumphant moment, the Egyptians still cannot evade or transcend their own instrumental function within the orbit of imperial interests. Yes, the situation is uncertain as it was when the French had stormed the Bastille or when the Americans had sent the British packing: revolutions are always dangerous and messy. But we should, for once, tell our reformative, normalized, and pragmatic selves to shut up and enjoy this moment, for the first step is always to get rid of the dictators, all else follows in due course.

Let us rejoice for a day at least: the people of Egypt have just ousted a dictator.

We will meet the future tomorrow!!!

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