Robert Fisk: If only Tony Blair could grasp the truth about Field Marshal Sisi

Do the British people love Blair? Do they eat Blair chocolates and wear Blair pyjamas?

Share
Related Topics

It was, of course, utterly inevitable that Tony Blair would back Egypt’s new authoritarian leaders.

After all, can you imagine Blair – our very own Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara – stepping forth to offer his courageous, unstinting support to a democratically elected President overthrown in a military coup d’état? Can you imagine him condemning a General – no, I forget, General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has just been made a Field Marshal – whose men have gunned down 1,000 protesters since last summer and who has now put the elected President on trial for his life as a “terrorist”? Ye Gods, if such bravery burned within the heart of Lord Blair, we would all suffer immediate cardiac arrest.

So it was that the man who brought us victory in Afghanistan and glory in Iraq – and who has always fearlessly condemned the Israeli colonisation of the West Bank – yesterday threw his entire reputation and honour behind Field Marshal Sisi, Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Deputy Prime Minister of the Egyptian Arab Republic and Minister of Defence. The Egyptian army had “ intervened” and had done so “at the will of the people”. Thus quoth Lord Blair. And Field Marshal Sisi saw that it was good, and smiled upon him. But I have to admit – let’s be fair – that Field Marshal Sisi really doesn’t deserve this frivolous “peace envoy”. Unlike some of the dictators with whom Blair  frolics, al-Sisi is a personally uncorrupt man. He comes from a conservative, decent family. His uncle was himself a Muslim Brother. Field Marshal Sisi spent months serving poor old Mohamed Morsi as a loyal minister before chucking him out. He even warned Morsi, faithful servant of state that he was, that a coup was on the cards. Sure, Sisi’s comrades killed hundreds of Egyptian protesters – but the Field Marshal doesn’t have the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on his hands. Besides, the Egyptian people love Sisi. Why else should Cairo be awash with Sisi chocolates and Sisi T-shirts and Sisi pyjamas? Do the British people love Blair? Do they eat Blair chocolates and wear Blair pyjamas?

Of course, for a man who said of Saddam that “he has used gas against his own people”, it must have been difficult for Lord Blair to resist the phrase – on arrival in Cairo to meet another military autocrat – that “he has used live bullets against his own people”. Neither did he mention the lads of Al Jazeera banged up in the Tora jail for “terrorism” (ho hum) – why, isn’t that just what Blair should have done with his own country’s treacherous journos when they failed to back his and George W’s crusade against World Evil?

Blair, a prosaic man, thus concentrated on the banal. Egypt had “ an ancient civilisation”, he said. Egyptians were “a great people” with “great energy and determination” – this was positively colonial in approach – and we should support these people who wanted an “open-minded society”. And that, announced Lord Blair, “ means we support the government here in Egypt”.

If he could have grasped a mere semblance of the truth, Blair would have understood the irony of the words he used of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, he said, “tried to take the country away from its basic values of hope and progress”. But isn’t that exactly what Blair did to his own country? Didn’t Blair – with his mendacious wars – take Britain from its basic values of hope and progress? It almost makes you wish that Sisi could have brought his chaps over to London in early 2003 to do a spot of “intervention” with the support of millions of Britons.

But Blair waffled away, apparently unaware that armies have been “intervening” rather a lot in modern history. Let’s forget for a moment that the Soviets also said that their army had “intervened” in Central Asia in 1979. But I was thinking of someone else. Austria? Czechoslovakia? Small man. Moustache. Used to be a corporal. No matter. Just comfort yourself with the thought of Lord Blair taking off his Sisi T-shirt tonight, pulling on his Sisi pyjamas and sucking away at his Sisi chocolates.



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Support Analyst - London - £22,000

£20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chel...

Learning Support Assistants-Nantwich area

£8 - £9 per hour: Randstad Education Chester: We are currently recruiting for ...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Prime Minister’s Questions: Yah Miliband versus Boo Cameron

John Rentoul
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella  

Zoella is a great role model - she changed my life

Vicky Chandler
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London