Sunday, 25 December 2011

The sound of chaos

Leaving high (and low) politics aside, I would say Egypt has reached a better future if three simple, practical things happen: 1) When people move with tolerance and learn the ethic of allowing those on trains and buses to get off before they rush to get on; 2) When Egyptians grasp the concept of lanes, and the driver of a police vehicle does not break the law by driving head-on, with impunity, against the normal flow of traffic and; 3) when the nurse at my dialysis ward, to whom I have just given a handsome tip, refuses such gratuity with indignation and does not allow me to smoke in my hospital bed. Understanding the obstacles preventing these and similar cases of bad behaviour from changing, articulating the right bundle of strategies to create the enabling environment for good behaviour and effectively implementing them requires at least a generation or two of exceptionally good government. But now is not the right time to talk about such technical subjects anyway, when some Egyptians are in Tahrir yelling at the army, some others are shouting at those in Tahrir from Abbasiya, and the rest are hysterically trying to make some sense of the high (and low) political hartala that is jamming the space. Egypt is chaotically loud, everyone is talking and only a disempowered few seem to have the capacity to listen. Whether the chaos turns out to be creative or not, even after a generation or two, remains to be seen.   

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