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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The final instalment of our WW1 series

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Simon Usborne: The more you watch pro cycling, the more you understand its social complexity

Simon Usborne
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice