Rupert, Al-Qaeda and the sacrifice of lambs in Egypt

Rupert Murdoch is still very much the story of the day; one of his victims, Gordon Brown made a speach in parliament about it – it turned into an acrimonious debate, but it did give Brown a chance to say he stood up to Murdoch – a thing he suggested some of his peers did not do.  Politicians are rushing as quickly as they are able to run across the room and line up on the side of purity on the side of those who “always” fought against the corrupt influence of Murdoch and his henchmen.  Of course, the major development today is the unrolling of the SkyB deal; but probably more important are the investigations being imitated.  There appear to be five separate investigations in England and others in the United States and Australia into Murdoch and his empire. Even the Arab press was obsessed with Murdoch today – very quickly he is undergoing a change – a few months ago Murdoch was the symbol for smart (if somewhat ruthless), powerful and successful international business man; today, he is fast becoming a metaphor for those who would corrupt our politicians and destroy our integrity.  We can anticipate that future investigations into political corruption will be looking for the “Murdoch” the case.; or not, within a week or a month we may forget Mr. Murdoch as someone or something supplants him in our minds – but that will depend on the results of the many investigations – I envy him not.

There are of course other important events in the world, bombings and assignations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India; the Saudis say they uncovered a plot to overthrow the government – it should come as a surprise to no one that the Saudis are blaming Al-Qaeda – as Murdoch may one day be,  Al-Qaeda is a metaphor for terrorism and as such more powerful than it is as an organization.   It is possible that Al-Qaeda was plotting to overthrow the king, his brothers and the rest of the ruling royalty, but it is also possible that political dissidents can be turned into enemies by calling them Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is a very convenient symbol in many places besides Saudi Arabia – there are very few better ways to discredit your enemies than to call them Al-Qaeda or Taliban.

In Egypt, the policeman accused of crimes against the people during the anti-Mubarak demonstrations have been fired as promised.  The number of discarded policemen was nearly 700 – that is 700 were accused of killing or in some way brutalizing demonstrators in January and February in Cairo; somehow I had though the number would 10 or 20, not something close to one thousand.  But then, the Egyptian government may be using these policeman as sacrificial lambs – a way to appease the anger of the mob, and if it only costs a few hundred policeman to keep the power, it was a real bargain.  Now, if the guy from Beirut is right, we must wait for the people’s response – will they gather in Tahrir this Friday or next to protest or will they accept the sacrifice?  Feels almost biblical doesn’t it?  It is a metaphor that Murdoch and his attorneys might ponder – just what will they have to surrender/sacrifice to appease the crowds, politicians and prosecutors in England?  It won’t be so simple – there is only one court or jury or record in Egypt at the moment – the people – Murdoch will have hundreds of judges and juries to face if much additional evidence surfaces.  Could the entire empire unravel? Today that does not seem entirely impossible.



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