The Unbearable Indolence of Dr. Mursi

A decade or so ago, President Mursi was a rising Member of Parliament, fond of fiery speeches excoriating Ministers for failures large and small. Now as President, his alacrity with words as a powerless politician seems matched by indolence of action as a Chief Executive. No wrong in Egypt can raise him from his prayer rug or distract him from his weekly sermons. He is becoming the “Ma’lish” President.

One can list the many ills that seem to leave President Mursi satisfied to do nothing. If the Sinai degenerates into a lawless frontier, then his natural reaction seems to be “Ma’lish“. If the country’s economy continues to spiral downward, threatening to leave the poorest bread-less, that  seems to be no reason for alarm. If the lawlessness of Salafis allows them to kidnap children and forcibly marry them off , then perhaps “reconciliation” between parties is best. Enforcing the law seems to be none of his business as a President. On and on the litany goes.

But then something small happens, something that seems to demand a shout in the face of the new normal. That small thing is the proclamation by a Salafi attention-hound of his desire to tear down the Sphinx and the Pyramids.

Let us first rest assured that the Pyramids are not going anywhere. The Mamelukes used them as a quarry to build Mosques, and they are still standing, a testament to Egyptian solidity in the face of parvenu invaders and small bore religious fanatics.  But that is not the point. The boast by the witless beard is an offense and a crime. If an American fundamentalist threatened to raze the Capitol or a British fanatic proclaimed his desire to bring down Stonehenge, you can be sure they will be paid a visit by the police and perhaps find themselves in the dock on charges of terrorism.

But not in Mursi’s Egypt. Tamam, Ma’lish, Kulu Kwais.

Law and order is a prerequisite for freedom, and like freedom, it demands vigorous defense. Most of all by the men at the top.

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