Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happy Egypt Revolution Day

San Francisco's City Hall had a false fire alarm at about 4:30 Monday afternoon...

...and the building was quickly evacuated so that Supervisors such as Aaron Peskin and political fixers like Dean Macris could be seen chatting each other up on the Van Ness stairs rather than in the hallways and back offices on the second floor where most of these conversations take place.

It was amusing to see the one tall gentleman in the Peskin group stand on a stair lower than everyone else so he wouldn't tower over the diminuitive Peskin.

Perhaps that was the reason the statuesque Supervisor Sophie Maxwell parked herself on the other side of the stairs, not wanting to tower over the Board president, while waiting for the alarm to be over.

Finally, a Sheriff's deputy came out and announced that we could enter, "Employees first, and then everyone else," which prompted someone to crack "Ah, yes, first the bureaucrats and then the taxpayers."

On the Polk Street side of City Hall, the Barry Bonds home run flag had been replaced for the day by the Egyptian flag in honor of their national "Revolution Day" on July 23rd...

...which was being marked by yet another photo-op on the mayoral balcony that included Gavin Newsom, Charlotte Maillard Schultz, and various Egyptian consular dignitaries.

Abdul, above, traditionally starts off the general public comments at the weekly Board of Supervisors meeting with paeans of praise for the government body or diatribes about their perfidy, depending on his mood, and it turns out he's originally Egyptian and knew most of the consular staff exiting after the photo-op.

"Revolution Day" marks the military coup on July 23, 1952 by "The Free Officers" which included subsequent Egyptian presidents Nasser and Sadat that drove King Farouk from power and into exile on his yacht in Italy. I found a wonderful short history of the revolution by Ted Thornton, a professor of the Northfield Mount Hermon School (click here for the whole thing), where there was a great quote from General Muhammed Neguib, the figurehead of the revolution.

In the warning that Gen. Muhammad Neguib conveyed to King Farouk on 26 July upon the king's abdication, he provided a summary of the reasons for the revolution: "In view of what the country has suffered in the recent past, the complete vacuity prevailing in all corners as a result of your bad behavior, your toying with the constitution, and your disdain for the wants of the people, no one rests assured of life, livelihood, and honor. Egypt's reputation among the peoples of the world has been debased as a result of your excesses in these areas to the extent that traitors and bribe-takers find protection beneath your shadow in addition to security, excessive wealth, and many extravagances at the expense of the hungry and impoverished people. You manifested this during and after the Palestine War in the corrupt arms scandals and your open interference in the courts to try to falsify the facts of the case, thus shaking faith in justice. Therefore, the army, representing the power of the people, has empowered me to demand that Your Majesty abdicate the throne..."

The world would be a far better place if only we could do the same to King George in Washington, D.C. who has "toyed with our constitution...and debased America's reputation in the world."


sfmike said...

Just as an addendum, Abdul used his speech at public comment today (Tuesday) to berate the Newsom administration for not replacing the Barry Bonds flag with the Egyptian flag until 5PM on Monday. He was furious at the insult to his national honor.

Tim said...

Another fine post...and yet another reminder why we all should be students of world history, and not only our own. The warning from Neguib to Farouk is only too apt for us today.

Thanks, Mike.

Matty Boy said...

As Princess Sparkle Pony might say in a similar situation... Okay, Pony Pals, leave this one to me!

sfwillie said...

Hi Mike,

I posted a YouTube of Abdul's comment to the Board of Supervisors on this topic:


YouTube link: