Jewish World Review Nov. 28, 2012/ 14 Kislev, 5773
The land of pharaohs: The more Egypt changes ...
By Paul Greenberg
No doubt many an Egyptian misses
Slavery does have its enchantments, its stability however deadly, its fleshpots if you're a house servant rather than a field hand. Witness the faux nostalgia for old times down on the plantation with Old Massa presiding over a happy scene from "Gone With the Wind," however false the image.
Evil can be romanticized in the imagination, and certainly in official histories. See the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, where faces of old leaders had a way of being air-brushed out in every new edition as today's Hero of The Revolution became tomorrow's unperson.
Even now the revolution that overthrew
This familiar process isn't confined to our own time, or just the
Recommended reading: "The Anatomy of Revolution" by Crane Brinton, the classic that charts the progress, or rather regress, of modern revolutions as a series of shock waves from left to right till the pendulum reaches its Reign of Terror, then pauses as it reaches the end of its arc (Thermidor) and begins to swing back -- till a new tyrant succeeds the old, and it isn't always easy to tell the difference. Except that the new commissars and reichsministers may be crueler than the old czars and nobles.
See the latest news from
The new Egyptian president courtesy of the Muslim Brotherhood now has decreed that the old one be retried, the mob not yet having exacted the fullest measure of revenge on his predecessor. Yet he's been careful not to order any retrial of lower-level types in the state's security apparatus so he can count on their thuggery when needed.
The protesters and anti-protesters will be coming out in strength in
One of the shouters in
Indeed, the current withdrawal of one Middle Eastern "republic" into the veil of Islam, complete with hijab and averted gaze, does begin to resemble the
On the other side of whatever revolution or counter-revolution is going on at the moment, there is this comment from an anti-protester who ventured into
As usual, speech may reveals more than what the speaker intended. Whenever someone uses that most un-American of phrases, The Masses, you can be certain that he'll soon be defending a dictatorship in their name.
Here in America we have no masses, only people. As in the We the People, the first words of the Preamble to the Constitution of
Contrast the connotation of The Masses with the highly individualized, personalized, delineated portraits of the people in
Think of a
These are the people who built America, each in his or her own way, and who know better when they're told, "You didn't build that." Who else did but they, each his own master, unafraid to look anybody in the eye and, if need be, tell poobah or president where to get off? Which may be why any American, told that he must do this or must not do that, can only feel his spine stiffen and a knowing smile form on his face. We are Americans; nobody tells us what to do or think or believe. Or dares confuse us with that European concept, The Masses. Not for long, anyway. The People, Yes!
As for this supposedly new
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
if (strpos(, "printer_friendly") === 0)
=<< © 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.