The Republic of Heliopolis

the anti-Salafis

On the last day of the Egyptian revolution proper in February, hours before the announcement that Mubarak was stepping down, some revolutionaries from Midan Tahrir marched on the Presidential palace, located in the far-off, tony Cairo district of Heliopolis. Some Heliopolitans were already in front of the compound trying to protest, and I, who was following this minute-by-minute on Twitter, remember lots of pissy tweets from the hardened dissident arrivals about what bad demonstrators the bourgeoisie made. They didn’t know how to wave a banner; they didn’t know how to chant; they basically milled around waiting for their servants to do it for them. Fortunately the dictator had already decided to leave; otherwise, the neighborhood opposition might in the end have invited him out for tea. As Mao said, a revolution is not a dinner party, not least because you have to serve yourself.

In keeping with US supporters of John Kerry, who after the 2004 disaster proposed joining Canada, liberals in Heliopolis now want to secede from Egypt altogether. ” If you’re not a resident of Republic of Heliopolis, you will need a visa. Residents of Zamalek, Maadi (the posh part of Maadi), Katamiyah and Garden City are exempted.”

Naturally, although it’s not strictly within their borders, they are laying claim to City Stars, Cairo’s biggest shopping mall. (Visit the mall’s website, and check that music.) The Salafis wouldn’t want it, but the Muslim Brotherhood, to whom consumerism is not entirely alien, might put up a fight. The mall could become the Mosul or the Vukovar of Egypt’s civil war.

remember Jesusland?