Wednesday, August 21, 2013

El-Sisi as Macbeth

Bloody days in Egypt.  A Pakistani columnist (might they know a thing or two about military dictatorships propped up by a well-manipulated Islamist threat?) predictably and accurately invokes Shakespeare to size up the carnage, implicitly comparing Egypt's de facto ruler Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to Macbeth.  The interesting part is his critique of Mohamed El Baradei, the Nobel laureate/coup backer/fig leaf vice president/perennial tweeter of truth to power whose belated post-massacre bout of conscience has driven him to exile in Vienna.  El Baradei is compared, a bit shockingly to my eyes (is it the gender dimension? or the implication that he has actual blood on his hands?) to Lady Macbeth:
Interim Deputy President of Egypt, Mohamed Mustafa El Baradei, generally considered as a toady of the West, has resigned protesting the military crackdown. However, can he absolve himself of the responsibility? He cannot remove the innocent blood of thousands of innocent Egyptians off his hands like Shakespeare's Macbeth after the murder of Duncan:

“Will all great Neptune‘s ocean
wash this blood,
Clean from my hand? No, this my
hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red” (II:2).

Nobel Laureate El Baradei, rightfully considered as the enemy within, stands among them who have turned red the blue waters of the Mediterranean. History is witness that people, who have innocent blood on their hands and conscience, are judged even posthumously and most often they taste the fruit of their crops in their lives. Shakespeare again points this fact through Macbeth's soliloquy in Act 1 Scene VII very well:

“But here, upon this bank and
shoal of time,
We'd  jump the life to come.
But in these cases
We still have judgment here;
that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which,
being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this
even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our
poison’d chalice
To our own lips.”
I don't know enough about Pakistan to pinpoint the local targets of Syed Javed Hussein's critique, but it sounds like there might be some.

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