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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Tuesday, July 29, 2003  
    The weekends failed mini coup d’état ( Coup Lite ) in the Philippines in which some three hundred disgruntled junior army officers took over a shopping mall for an entire weekend ( and didn’t buy a single thing ) is a sign of the times and a harbinger of things to come ( apart from a continuing decline in retail figures ).
    In the modern ALL- NEW! ALL- CAPITALIST! NOW WITH 25% MORE CAPITALISM! sans Berlin Wall world seizing radio stations, parliaments, presidential palaces and other archaic symbols of power are things of the past.
    Coup plotters need now only seize their local Westfield ( shopping mall ).
    Just as disgruntled consumers may boycott these “palaces” of capitalism, disgruntled political consumers can also make a point by inversing this – seizing the seat of capitalism ( the only seat of power in the modern world) to make a point that all is not well in their corner of the New World Order.
    In an instance of perfect convergence, their complaints and demands were also of a very capitalist nature - “more money please”.
    Which is a fair enough end, but I’m not too keen on the means.
    They’re reminiscent of those brave anti-American and/or anti-globalisation ( is there a difference?) “warriors” who choose to confront the Yanks not by the cowardly method of fighting the worlds most powerful army wherever they may find them but by courageously attacking McDonalds outlets PACKED WITH THEIR OWN COMPATRIOTS! ( McDonalds is meant to be a happy place people! )
    I.e. here in now peaceful Lebanon we had a spate of ( fortunately non-lethal ) bomb attacks on American fast food franchises ( mainly McDonalds – I knew that crap was bad for you! ) by fundamentalists protesting American and Israeli policies in Iraq and Palestine.
    Good one! Protest massacres of innocent Arabs by massacring innocent Arabs! Hello! ( excuse me for temporarily lapsing into the detestable American habit of saying "hello" out of context ).
    To paraphrase Shakespeare's Shylock "hath not Ronald McDonald two eyes, two ears,two all beef patties...on a sesame seed bun?"
    Despite the government’s denials that the thriller in Manila was not an attempted coup but rather a “mutiny”, “rebellion”, etc, it was indeed a coup attempt.
    The only difference between these euphemisms for coups – “mutiny”, “rebellions”, “army’s having a bad hair day”, etc – and actual coups is that they are merely coups that nobody attended and thus didn’t work.
    In other words, if a coup attempt happens in the forest and nobody sees it – did it still happen? Of course it did!
    Unlike Philippine President Gloria Some Middle Name I Didn’t Understand Arroyo’s soft coup d’état two years ago which was very well attended ( by the army and the populace ) and thus succeeded.
    Question – what does a Third World leader do immediately after coming to power in a coup d’état?
    Answer – ban coups d’état! ( “New rules!, new rules!” or - my elder brothers favourite line when we were kids and my younger sister and I would want to imitate something verboten he’d JUST done – “no, YOU cant do it, mum and dad will find out”* )
    Arroyo overthrew Joseph Estrada in 2001 with the military’s assistance and is now peeved and alarmed to learn that what’s good for the goose ( herself ) is also good for the gander ( Estrada ) – i.e. the army that overthrew Estrada on her behalf can also overthrow her on Estrada’s behalf! ( as the weekends shenanigans apparently were an attempt at ).
    The symbol of the Philippine army should be a double-edged sword.
    But, then again I suppose we shouldn’t begrudge and deprive the Third World of their national sport ( coups d’états ) as its often their only form of , albeit slightly imperfect, democracy.
    Put it this way, at least a coup prone continent like Africa can get to change , swap and vary dictators ( a change of blood – too bad about the spillage ) whereas the Middle East has to put up with the one dictator for life!
    Furthermore, Ms Arroyo’s rise to power (just like her Indonesian counterpart Megawati ) is a further example ( if needed ) of the dangers of giving women their so-called “rights”.
    Both the Philippines and Indonesia “enjoy” universal suffrage but no, that’s not good enough for Ms Arroyo and Megawati.
    They both became Vice – Presidents of their countries (which is a lot better then cooking or washing dishes, etc ).
    Do you think they were happy with that?
    They both overthrew their male presidents!
    Women! Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile!

    *Of course we never went as far as actual coups d’état but several regimes ( municipal councils that is ) did breath a sigh of relief when we matured though.

    10:30 am

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