January 12, 2006

Typically Nuanced Views from Egypt

As of this writing, dear reader, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is making a mild recovery from his serious stroke, thanks to the work of Israeli doctors. (Yasir “She’s My Baby” Arafat, by contrast, was flown to France upon becoming gravely ill. Perhaps Palestinian hospitals aren’t up to the standards of their Israeli counterparts? Who would have thunk it?)

Although Mr. Sharon’s situation has improved of late, he is still in rough shape, and his political life seems over. Under such delicate circumstances, what kind of commentary do you suppose a reputable news source would offer on the ailing Mr. Sharon?

Well, how about making an explicit comparison between Sharon and Hitler? Sounds reasonable to us.

And it surely sounded reasonable enough to the folks at Al-Ahram, a state-controlled Egyptian daily. Just recently, Al-Ahram, the rag notable for publishing the late Edward Said’s pernicious ramblings, printed a staff editorial loftily called “Sharon’s End and the Law of Life.”

If that title leads you to believe that the piece presents kindly ruminations on the nature of human frailty, think again. For Al-Ahram is so nuts that it makes the unhinged nutters at The Nation seem positively hinged.

Don’t believe us? Well, take a gander at a choice selection from the editorial in question:

Adolf Hitler used to say that his entire life was not enough for the things he had in mind for Germany. Hitler believed that his plans for Germany would need hundreds of years to be completed, whereas he had less than 100 years to live. Because he had so little trust in the abilities of his aides, the Nazi leader had to race against time to accomplish his dreams and make the future, as he saw it, come true.

Ariel Sharon felt the same way.

Well, gee: That’s certainly reasonable. Surely the most apt figure to compare with Mr. Sharon is Adolf Hitler. We can’t think of anyone more suitable. And we can’t think of any reason why such a comparison may be the slightest bit morally objectionable.

Further on in the repellent piece, Al-Ahram posits: “Sharon had the same problem as Hitler.” Um, not the exact same problem: Didn’t Hitler have some sort of “Jewish Problem” that he thought required a rather final solution? Apparently the subtleties of all this are beyond the anti-Semitic cretins at Al-Ahram.

In the course of the editorial, Israel is referred to as merely possessing the “trappings of democracy”—as if the thuggish tyranny in Egypt were somehow superior to Israel’s parliamentary system. And this brings to mind an important question: Al-Ahram is nothing more than an Egyptian state propaganda outfit. If this is the kind of noxious political sermonizing it produces, why exactly does Egypt deserve billions of dollars in US aid?

Posted at January 12, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack