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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thomas Friedman, "Watching Elephants Fly": Friedman Flies Into Cairo

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Watching Elephants Fly" (, Thomas Friedman informs us that he is back in Cairo covering the Egyptian elections from a women-only voting center in the impoverished Shubra el-Khema neighborhood. Watching the women, who have all undergone genital mutilation, cast their votes, and continuing to ignore his recent dalliance with anti-Semitism (see:, Friedman again expresses amazement over the Tahrir Square rebellion that toppled Mubarak. Friedman says of that rebellion:

"If you didn’t see it coming, what makes you think you know where it’s going? That’s why the smartest thing now is to just shut up and take notes."

Indeed, while covering the events at Tahrir Square, Friedman, Kristof and Cohen largely ignored the bearded, non-English speaking "shock troops" from the Muslim Brotherhood, who, gritting their rotten teeth, hurled rocks back at the Mubarak supporters. Instead, interviewing university graduates and urbane plant managers, the trio from The Times portrayed a delusive picture of events in Cairo.

What makes me think I know where matters are headed in Egypt? The answer is easy, Tom. Almost a year ago I informed the readership of this blog (see: of the results of a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in December 2010 (

"At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt . . . say they would favor making each of the following the law in their countries: stoning people who commit adultery, whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion."

According to this report, 95% of Egyptian Muslims also believe it is "good" that Islam plays a large role in politics. Given these numbers, it should hardly have come as a surprise that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis have taken some two-thirds of the ballots in Egypt's elections.

Notwithstanding the Pew Research Center data, Friedman today blithely concludes:

"That box and all the hopes stuffed into it by so many average Egyptians is surely necessary for a new beginning here. But it is not sufficient. The country needs a leader — there is still a huge vacuum at the top — who can take all those votes, all those hopes, and meld them into a strategy to create the jobs, schooling, justice and security that all Egyptians clearly crave. If that happens, those ballot boxes really will have delivered a different future for Egypt. Until then, I am just taking notes."

No mention by Friedman that the Muslim Brotherhood's deputy leader, Dr. Rashad Bayoumi, recently told the Arabic daily al-Hayat that his party will not recognize Israel “under any circumstance,” and that it intends to cancel the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel (see:

Thanks for the mindless blather, Tom. Once again, you've made my morning.


  1. Look, Jeffrey. Our mutual "friend" is featured in this interesting article:

    "It makes no difference if the hater is a Muslim like Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Christian like Jostein Gaarder, an American Jew like Thomas Friedman, or an Israeli Jew like Neve Gordon, he is an enemy of the so-called “Zionist entity” and therefore an anti-Semite. Make no mistake about it."
    I agree.

  2. Jeffrey,
    I'm sorry. I just scanned this article and didn't notice a problem. If I remember it correctly, King's statement mentioned in it isn't genuine. I still find the article interesting and basically correct.