February 12, 2011

Would be good

I really would like to know how many people in Egypt tonight (February 11) are as grim-faced as this bloke, Omar Suleiman is in this hilarious little clip. Though you can't blame him: this is how you would look too, if you watched your cozy certainties, your cozy certainties for 30 years, crumble around you.

I mean, consider it this way: pretty much half of Egypt wasn't born when Hosni Mubarak took office. And absent the revolution of the last three weeks, Mubarak would have clung to power for many more years, perhaps until death tore him from his seat. No ruler should cling to power that long; no ruler can cling to power that long without, by definition, alienating his people. You'd think Mubarak would have learned that lesson from the Duvaliers and Shahs and Mobutus, but apparently not.

One thing about this Egyptian revolution is the lesson it holds for governments in the West, though it's not clear the lesson will strike home. This lesson: If you prop up unpopular leaders in the name of "stability" and other fine-sounding words, what you get is instability. Resentment. Hostility. Alienation.


Now I wonder how far the Egypt message will spread. We've seen unprecedented things happening in Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen. How many more?

And now I wonder too, is it possible that the 1 billion-plus of us Indians will ever reach a consensus, as Egypt seems to have done, about rejecting those who have governed us, or misgoverned us, over the last 30 years? Deliberately, I won't name names. Because I know there are political favourites out there, and that's just why I wonder about that consensus. (Personally, I cannot think of one party, or leader, in this country in the last 30 years who has delivered governance. Possible exception: Nitish Kumar).

Would be good, though.


Anonymous said...

Dcubed - Considering this whole episode what do you have to say about Obama's Cairo speech that you so love.

Didn't he prove that it was just outright hypocrisy and as Robert Fisk calls it "pussyfooting nonsense"

Have your opinion about Obama's Cairo speech changed?

Baby V

Robert Fisk: Hypocrisy is exposed by the wind of change

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the above link:

Here you go...Please delete this comment if you dislike the fact that I am passing on these links on your space. I think they are worth a read....but its up to you -

Robert Fisk: Hypocrisy is exposed by the wind of change

Obama's man in Cairo

The Egyptian mirror

They illustrate the point I have been trying to make, we should not glorify hypocrites who indulge in and endorse the same crimes that known despicable monsters do, just because their words impress us essentially because their actions are the same as those of monsters. In such cases, words mean nothing at best and are a deliberate delusion at worst.

Baby V

Dilip D'Souza said...

Baby V: That link doesn't work. But I can get Fisk's article.

Please remind me though of Obama's Cairo speech. I don't recall expressing an opinion, though I could be wrong.

Leaders have their compulsions and few are able to rise above them: that's why I prefer to choose what I want to take lessons from (and not take lessons from) in things they say. Through the happenings in Egypt, I'm much more interested in what journalists on the ground there in Tahrir Square or elsewhere have to tell us. I'm all for such ground-level truths exposing the hypocrisies of all our governments, whether in the US or in Europe or in India.

Anonymous said...

I had written one more message. Disappeared. Writing again -

This is what I was referring to
Shied away

It also further spilled over here:
Obama's wondrous speech vs Shiv Sena genocidal speech. Commonality: actions - participation in massacre

Robert Fisk: Hypocrisy is exposed by the wind of change

Obama's man in Cairo

The Egyptian mirror

"Leaders have their compulsions and few are able to rise above them" - This is not a justifiable argument for torture, spying, executive assassination. Hence can not be applied to Obama.

Baby V

Dilip D'Souza said...

Baby V: Just found that one of your comments had been marked by Blogger's clever filters as spam. So I unspammed it, it appears above. Sorry for not catching this earlier.

What you have linked to is my post about Obama's speech in India, not in Cairo. I still don't recall expressing an opinion about his Cairo speech.

I make no justifications for torture and so forth. Again, I'm just saying this: political leaders have their compulsions. Which is why they say (or don't say) things that incense us. Applies to Obama, applies to Modi, applies to Singh, applies to .

Therefore, I pick and choose what I personally find useful or thought-provoking from what they say. Sometimes there's very little to pick. Sometimes there's a little more.

Anonymous said...

Dilip, How can you not mention Mr.Modi when it comes to governance? Oh you rely on Teesta for news about him..sorry shud not have asked you.
And we all know Teestas credibility as exposed by Rias Khan.

Nikhil said...

How can you not mention Mr.Modi when it comes to governance?

Surya - Want Dilip to lose his paychecks? Please- let him earn his lving.

Dilip D'Souza said...

I said in this post: "Deliberately, I won't name names. Because I know there are political favourites out there..."

And naturally it didn't take long for two people to pop up with Modi.

For the record: a CM who is unable to stop weeks of massacres that leave several hundred of his people dead is not quite my model of governance. Put that in your pipe, won't you?

Jai_C said...

Hi Dilip,

1.Since you've named Nitish Kumar, it seems okay for others to put forth their suggestions here. Maybe Naveen Patnaik from Orissa comes in second.

2. re. leaders unable to stop weeks of rioting I am not so sure its entirely within their control. Omar Abdullah I wouldnt rate anywhere close to Nitish Kumar, but he is a fresh face with new ideas. I wouldn't dismiss him so quickly even though I think he could have handled riots in Kashmir better.

3. on the main topic, I dont think the billion+ indians will be able to reject mis-governance so easily because the alternatives are all about the same. fledgling initiatives like RTI need to be strengthened.

If you're talking about the central govt, I'm slowly getting into the mood expressed by somebody long ago when there was only one airline in India:

He wished there was another option. he would take it even if it was *worse* so he could punish IA.

I hope there is a 3rd front that can be put up in time for the next polls. As things stand, it appears to me that unless BJP does something suicidal (like puting forementioned Modishree in charge of the poll campaign), they are in with a chance. I would vote for them (yes, stupid mandir movements and all) if there is not a 3rd front.

I feel the need to get out the message to Cong/UPA that their TINA credits are running out.


Nikhil said...

For the record: a CM who is unable to stop weeks of massacres that leave several hundred of his people dead is not quite my model of governance.

In the same way how a Pm who has presided over the biggest scams and non-governance is in your opinion a man of great integrity - says a lot about your evaluation criteria.
Anyway nothing will absolve Modi of failing to control riots. But keeping Nano in India (recollect how you condemned Ratan Tata for this) and his governance model
has to be appreciated. Add to this Nitish has also adapted this same model.
Problem with these models is your jholawala brigade is out of work.

Sorry - but the TINA factor for UPA is still there. A third front ? Seriously man who will consist of (Left parties, Jayalalitha / DMK, PMK, Paswan, Mulayam / Mayawati, Mamta, Laloo, Omar etc)
Great combo for governance - should say

Dilip D'Souza said...


Maybe I should have been clearer about what I meant: that it didn't take long for people to pop up asking me why I hadn't mentioned Modi.

Political favourites, of course.

I have no problems with anyone putting forth their suggestions.

A day, two days of rioting -- ok I can understand that a leader might not be able to control that. But there were people being killed in Gujarat starting from Feb 27 2002 all the way into May/June. A chief minister who cannot stop that has failed his most basic duty to his constituents. (This post more or less captures what I'm trying to say).

I fully agree: non-performing (or worse) govts need to be flung out regardless of the fear that the alternatives might be worse. Most certainly that message needs to go to the Congress and their far-too-silent PM.

I too hope for some kind of credible third force, to show both the Congress and the BJP the door.

In other news, I love how this guy makes accusations and then never backs them up. In this case, that I "condemned" Tata for "keeping Nano in India" (and to try to give a veneer of truth to his lie, he wants me to "recollect" it). I have never said anything remotely as stupid as this, but this guy is a specialist in lying accusations which no longer surprise me.

Anonymous said...



On Modi, you're pretty much preaching to the choir Dilip, when you speak to me. Elsewhere I have chats ongoing abt how the Guj govt went after IPS officers who did their jobs (defend Bhavnagar Madrassa, collect phone records etc.)

But I didnt know abt violence stretching all the way to May/June 2002. I wonder if Ketan P has any comments on this (if you dont mind of course).

My point is a more general one: it seems all too easy to create violence in this country, on one pretext or the other; and then allege failure of governance.
I consider no party innocent on this score; no not even the vaunted seculars.

I wouldnt like the Cong to be shown the door actually. I want them to have to seriously fight for votes and earn deserved wins over another competent formation without being able to use any bogeymen and TINA scare tactics. But I think I am ready to put up with spells of rule under *worse* combinations if that is what it takes for them to lift their game.


babbarsingh said...

Do you think the problem with pushing for a Egyptian styled revolution* really is that we always have access to slightly less evil alternatives?

Like in TN and UP, two parties have alternated for a while now. They hang on to power just long enough. Then go away for an election cycle or two and once the other party has been demonized, return.

The hope for our country doesn't lie in these revolutions outside the system. It has to come from within. Something like what Nitish Kumar is doing in Bihar.

*By this I mean getting rid of bad governance, not the replacing it with the military part.

Nikhil said...

Aha Typical Dilip
Please read this. This was after the Nano announcement.


Point is would it have caught your eye if Tata had gone elsewhere - Maha, TN etc. Only going to Gujarat made the difference. Ok maybe he should have gone and set it up in Karachi. That would have warmed all the jholawalas

Nikhil said...

It would be interesting to see if the Egypt changes results in a genuine democracy or change or ends up with people in charge who stone women, impose blasphemy laws and put women behind veils.
Then perhaps we can wish for Mubarak - like how everyone wishes for Musharraf today in Pak.

Dilip D'Souza said...

would it have caught your eye ... [etc]

Ah. This commenter manages to translate a quote by a TOI reporter that asks "Is this the same man who hugged Narendra Modi?" into "Dilip condemned Ratan Tata" for "keeping Nano in India". Not just that, he actually asks me to "recollect" how I did this condemnation.

That question, moreover, comes after the TOI reporter has spelled out RT's outrage with the Shiv Sena's leaders after the killing in Bombay in 1992-93.

As for whether the changes in Egypt will result in "people in charge who stone women, impose blasphemy laws and put women behind veils" -- well, here in India when we were disgusted with the Congress, we put some people in charge who had been obsessed with tearing down a mosque. Not a whole lot different, if you ask me. And in any case, that did not invalidate the earlier disgust with the Congress.

Anonymous said...

This maybe getting a little OT but I have to mention how it feels to be on the receiving side of secular anger:

not too different from being on the receiving side of communal anger.

This happened a few yrs ago when KA went over to BJP rule. Some bloggers started including it in their boycott calls asking for industries etc. to think twice or go for MH /TN. To be fair KA figured in the tail end of the lists with GJ being at the top.

With the recession setting in and jobs starting to go pfft! at about the same time it was not easy to avoid linking such calls for punishment with situations on the ground; even if there was *hardly any link* in reality and the business cycle and its troughs didnt reflect ideological drives.

To secularists everywhere, I request you to find better ways to express your anger at the voting public. It can be counter-productive to call for bans and boycotts.

PS: I do not question your *right* though to express your anger any which way you feel fit.

Nikhil said...

not too different from being on the receiving side of communal anger.

And i say Amen to that.

here in India when we were disgusted with the Congress, we put some people in charge who had been obsessed with tearing down a mosque. Not a whole lot different, if you ask me. And in any case, that did not invalidate the earlier disgust with the Congress.

Who are the 'WE'? Big news to me. first BJP was the last alternative that people voted for. Before that in 1977, there was the Janata experiment and then in 89 there was the VP Singh experiment. Whay do you not mention this man who let loose all the caste and communal passions - worse than anything the BJP did? Oh but such actions are ok and fit with your scheme of things.
BJP never spoke of explicitly demolishing the Babri masjid. But they facilitated it indirectly. That can be an argument for another day. Anyway enough alarm bells rang then with doomsday scenarios of minoriites being sent to gas chambers etc. but nothing happened and they were even voted out. Now in Iran and now in future Egypt will there ever be any chance of that happening?

Anonymous said...

"That can be an argument for another day."

Which day?? BJP and it's supporters never want to discuss that thuggish behavior. nearly 20 yrs and they still say "another day". what a bunch of wimps and losers.

Jai_C said...


There is enough time in my view for the Cong/UPA to recover.

There is enough time possibly for a 3rd front option to be put up.

There actually is enough time, if you think abt it, for the BJP to jettison Ayodhya (something it seems to be doing though quietly) ensure justice in riots whether GJ or elsewhere, help the victims rather than the accused, and maybe even become a real contender rather than an option that we may have to hold our noses and go for. I'd like to think that you aren't shuddering as you read this. I'd like to believe that these are goals you share.

All I am saying on this thread is:

- Imagine Cong continues to be comatose.
- No 3rd front option is presented.
- BJP & Co are returned to power next.

Hindutva being part of their DNA they get back to their usual ugly stuff :-( ... and get voted out or lose majority even mid-term hopefully :-)

- Cong gets back in with another cobbled bunch.

This new bunch now knows the limits they can loot to. A circular goes out strictly clipping all scams to less than 100000 crores.

After ~a decade we throw them out again and inflict BJP on ourselves.

Then they come back with a reduced limit of 50000 crores.

Repeat this cycle as necessary till we get to a tolerable limit say 1000 crores (inflation adjusted). I think our politicos need a minimum operating margin. I dont expect zero corruption.


Anonymous said...

Dcubed - I was trying to be slightly funny there...It was me who had called Obama's Cairo speech as something great vis-à-vis Bush's speech post 9/11. I audaciously accused you for over evaluating Obama's speech when in fact it was me who had done it. It was for comic effect. No body laughed.

Anyway, when you find the time please prove your point about Nitish Kumar and why you think he is an exception.

It has never ceased to amaze me what a fantastic correlation there is between such adjectives as "clean", "efficient", "talented", "deserving" candidates and Upper caste/ Forward caste/ class people in our popular discourse. Given that, I think anybody who describes an upper caste dominated government in positive light...the onus of proof is on their side.

I am not being sarcastic or anything, I know very little about the politics of Bihar, I really want to know why you think Nitish Kumar is an exception.

Baby V

Chandru K said...

What is interesting about this whole uprising in Egypt is the hypocrisy and shallowness of the Western and international media in covering it. They have made the whole problem into one word "Mubarak". Mubarak this and Mubarak that. But the US, UK and many other countries were praising and supporting Mubarak earlier, particularly after his overtures to Israel. Now that there is a popular movement to remove him( successful), the reference to the earlier support has vanished, and it's now the people of Egypt, previously practically invisible to the same international media, who are in the limelight, not the 'leader'. And this raises another issue. We have learned through this recent upheaval, that Egypt is actually a very poor country, where 80-90% of the population is merely getting by, surviving. How come we didn't know that before? Why was the earlier massive emphasis on "Mubarak" as well as ancient Egypt with its Pharaohs and pyramids? The people were practically invisible. Everything was evidently fine with Egypt all these years, until the recent revolt. But we know now, that everything was not well in Egypt. And true to the shallow, manipulative and hypocritical character of the Western media, it has taken a crisis to make visible and vital, what was at one time invisible and insignificant.

Nikhil said...


Can I ask for your Contact number please.


Chandru K said...

Hi Nikhil,

If you were referring to me, you can reach me at chandruk68@gmail.com
If not, disregard above.