Friday, April 22, 2005


Once upon a time in the antique land of Egypt,
In the rarefied precincts of the People’s Assembly,
There lurked a formidable man who presided over the abode of Egyptian democracy.
Possessed of such an imposing, zaftig embonpoint was he,
That a small army of security was deemed a necessity.
Rosy-cheeked, charmingly grizzled, and outfitted in Italian finery,
Our powerful potentate was unmatched in the arts of legislative parley.

What is the origin and trajectory of such a creature, you ask?
Very well, then, let’s get right to the task.
On a blessed day in the unsuspecting town of Bagour,
An infant’s cry was heard, a ululation emitted, the sun shone upon the village’s moor.
Unbeknownst to the famously wily residents of Menoufiyya,
Their governorate was set to become bar none the most famous mudiriyya.

Behold the ambition and meteoric rise of the methodical magnate,
Tethering himself to high-profile platforms where he could pontificate.
Socialism, mixed economy, capitalism, whatever the zeitgeist brought in,
Our covetous climber was not one to be bothered by scrupulous precision.
And so he seamlessly moved through the Youth Organization, the Arab Socialist

Union, Hizb Misr, and the very National, very Democratic Party,
Whatever would keep him close to the commanding heights of the presidency.

Hard work pays off, gentle readers, so contemplate and consider:
To travel high up in the state's elechons one can’t afford to dither.
Our vigorous Vizier is finally in the rarefied inner circle,
A fixture, a power broker, a practiced dispenser of the requisite treacle.
But in the People’s Assembly, behold his famous tongue-lashing,
Of renegade, refractory, or respected deputies no matter how dashing.

At the end of his long days filled with admonishment and machination,
Our burly baron retires to his tranquil, plush, and well-heeled habitation.
He works on his memoirs, perhaps reflects on his conquests,
Perhaps he has reveries, or draws up his bequests.
Perforce he must plan, concoct, and connive,
Hatch schemes and designs to perpetually survive.

A new day dawns, Egypt waits to be ruled,
There’s much to attend to, slaying democracy’s ghoul.
Street protests and mutiny, the people have arisen,
The final solution, is to repress and imprison.
Too much is at stake, the viability of powers-that-be,
Methinks our once intrepid politico is considerably uneasy.