Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rehabilitating Egypt's Global Image

Egypt's image in the world has taken a battering. From the fully discredited people-power moment of January 2011, to a rocky experience with an Islamist-dominated democracy to the violent re-imposition of the status quo ex ante, Egypt has been on the headlines for too long and for all the wrong reasons. Virtually any mention of the country these days is in relation to unfavorable comparisons to other banana republics, Orwellian repression, religious pogroms, emptying tourist resorts, fleeing investors, rampant xenophobia and impending civil war. 

The state-sponsored response has been as impotent as it has been furious. A noxious mix of jingoist drivel, tall-tailed conspiracy and preachy paternalism has done nothing to endear. Eager efforts of independent and semi-independent supporters have been similarly ineffective, other than to reinforce the same beliefs among the same circle of believers. English language slogans and simulcasts of shrill Egyptian TV talk shows, frenzied use of social media spreading the views of fringe Western analysts and indignant letters to the closet-terrorist president of the United States, come across as more than a little paranoid. To the extent there has been damage control, most of it has been thanks to an Israeli lobby fretting of a unstable neighbor, rather than any indigenous efforts.

For an Egypt-inspired image recovery, look beyond the failures of this and recent generations. Time to roll out the next world tour Tutankhamun's death mask.

Tut to the rescue

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