The ‘Rhinoceros’ disaster

تم نشره في Thu 27 February / Feb 2014. 08:35 PM - آخر تعديل في Thu 27 February / Feb 2014. 08:35 PM

By Muhammad Aburumman

It is possible that one of the best articles I’ve read during the last few years is the article from the New York Times by Le Figaro’s Middle East correspondent Delphine Minoui, titled Egypt’s “Rhinoceros” Allegory.

The article projects the “Rhinoceros,” the 1959 (Theatre of the Absurd) play by Eugène Ionesco on the Egyptian condition, to explain the mass madness and hysteria affecting the Egyptian society, elite, media, intellectuals, liberals and leftists, making them act instinctively and irrationally; as if a plague hit everyone, except a selected few of the intellectuals (Not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood) who have retained possession of their brain and both moral and humane conscious, and were not affected by the rhinoceros plague, like those characters in the play.

The manifestations of the rhinoceros is clear in the special episode provided last Friday by the Egyptian media personality Basem Yousef about the idle talks and hallucinations that the Egyptian media is rife with, drumming for Sisi’s candidacy, and all the black comedy it contains.

Maybe Yousef — in addition to Amro Hamzawi who yesterday wrote an article that has four questions for the Egyptian elite, and Bilal Fadel who stopped writing in Al Shorouq newspaper — is among the few Egyptian intellectuals who refused to join the hysteric choir to embody another archetype in the play; Bérenger, who struggles against the stampede and yells: “I am the last man left, and I am staying that way till the end! I am not capitulating!” before the curtain falls.

If we widen our vision and look beyond the Egyptian theater, and we look at what is happening in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and the rest of the Arab world — and we the regression to the “identity mentality” (sectarian, racial, and bigoted), and all the instinctive behaviors it is spewing — we see huge destruction foreshadowed in the region, in addition to lack of rationality, destruction of the values of citizenship, law, and institutions, and no thinking of the future.

Even though the scene in Syria is the most painful today  — considering the situation has surpassed in intensity the gravest massacres and disasters historically by an unjust regime, in addition to the nihilistic reactions, entrenchment of extremism around Syria (A war by everyone against everyone) — what is happening in Egypt is more dangerous on the Arab societies and their fate.

In Egypt, which witnessed a peaceful, popular, and successful revolution that toppled the president without much bloodshed, we see today a hysterical wave against the Islamists movement, and praise for dictatorship, isolationism, and popular and media movements based on it — all of which closes the door before any consensual peaceful solutions.

It creates a conviction among many youths that the only alternative is through bearing arms and establishing an Islamic state, not the democracy that the Islamist movements conceded to during the last couple of years. Maybe that explains the transfer of anti-state organizations violence from Sinai to Cairo, again!

What is happening in the Middle East is sowing of extremism and violence in addition to an implementation of disastrous ideology, exactly like the “Rhinoceros”, “Fighting for Identity”, and the “Survived Sect” facing the others.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.