After Egypt's Revolution

(New York Times) Andre Aciman - Rather than see things for what they are, Egyptians, from their leaders on down, have always preferred the blame game. Blaming some insidious clandestine villain for anything invariably works in a country where hearsay passes for truth and paranoia for knowledge. In Egypt there is no public trust. False rumor, which is the opiate of the Egyptian masses and the bread and butter of political discourse in the Arab world, trumps clarity, reason and the will to tolerate a different opinion, let alone a different religion or the spirit of open discourse. Nothing in the Middle East can keep you as focused (or as unfocused) as the archvillain of them all: Israel. Say "Israel" and you've galvanized everyone. Say "Israel" and you have a movement, a cause, a purpose. Say "Israel" and all of Islam huddles. Iran, Hamas, Hizbullah and now Turkey. The writer, born in Egypt, is a professor of comparative literature at the City University of New York.

2011-11-22 00:00:00

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