So you don't know a thing about Egypt?
You mean you don't know what the Musliim Brotherhood was, or when it was founded, or what Hassan Al-Banna's speeches caused among Cairene crowds in 1940? You don't know whom a member of the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated in 1948, or whether or not it tried to kill Nasser? You have no idea of whether Anwar Sadat favored, or disfavored, the Muslim Brotherhood, or what its current leadership thinks about his assassination?
And you have no idea who Colonel Naguib was, or what happened to him? And you don't know what happened to all those Greeks, Italians, Jews who, under Nasser, were forced to flee, and to their property?
You don't know when Lord Cromer arrived in Egypt, or why, and when he left?
You have no idea about what Anwar Sadat did during World War II, or about his loyal service to Nasser later on?
You can't remember you never read about -- what happened in Cairo during September 1952?
You have no idea what exactly happened during the Yom Kippur War, or how the Egyptians remember that war? You have no idea why one of the three main bridges over the Nile is called the "October 6" Bridge?
You don't have any idea of how many Copts there are in Egypt, nor what percentage of the population they constitute, nor what their legal status is?
You have no idea what the exact terms of the Camp David Accords required Egypt to do, other than accept back the entire Sinai in three tranches, and not to call up its army to attack Israel?
You have no idea when the United States decided it would be a good idea to supply more than one-third of Egypt's annual defense budget, with $1.5 billion in annual aid, and what's more, to give Egypt in addition nearly another $1.5 billion in economic aid?
You have no idea what Egypt did or failed to do while the Sudanese government, over the past 30 years, was killing 2.5 Christians and animists in the southern Sudan? You have no idea what Egypt did or failed top do while the Sudanese government, over the past half-dozen years, was killing 400,000 black African Muslims in Darfur?
You know nothing about the threats from the Egyptian government to the government of Ethiopia, and toward other black African states, over use of the headwaters of the Nile?
You have no idea whether or not the statement, made by some Egyptians, that "Egypt is a rich country," is true or false? You don't know what the total revenues of the Egyptian state are, nor how much comes from Suez Canal receipts, how much from American and other Infidel aid, how much from the sale of cotton, how much from remittances from Egyptians working in other Arab states?
You have no idea of how popular or unpopular Mohammed el Baradei may be, and you don't quite know why he received the Nobel Prize, but you assume he must have done something to deserve it
You have no idea what the following people, all of them with their roots in Egypt -- think about the current situation: Tariq Ramadan, Magdi Allam, Nonie Darwish?
You have no idea what Iranians in exile, looking at what is going on in Egypt, and remembering their own enthusiasm for the fall of the Shah in 1979, think of what is going on in Egypt? For example, you cannot possibly imagine what Azar Nafisi might be saying to fellow Iranians?
You don't know whether or not the Egyptian government has been a "staunch ally" of the Americans, but you hear repeatedly that it has been, and you assume there must be some truth to the assertion.
You don't know whether or not the Egyptian government has accepted,and for all time, the existence of the state of Israel, with defensible borders, or whether Egypt has continued to wage war against Israel in all the ways that the other Arab states do, that is in every way except on the battlefield?
You have no idea whether or not Shari'a has a place in the Egyptain legal code?
You have no idea about what the population of Egypt was in 1920, 1950, 1980, but you have just read that its current populatiion is 84 million, so you feel quite well informed on the subject.
You have no idea what, among the recent large-scale public works -- the subway system in Cairo for example -- has been the work of Egyptians themselves?
You have no idea where that excitable phrase a "tide of freedom is sweeping the Arab world" comes from, nor how it applies to, inter alia: the specific situations in Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Oman, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the protector of Al Jazeera, Qatar?
You don't know exactly how many people came out for the million-man rally in Tahrir Square -- was it 200,000 -- and what socioeconomic strata those people represented?
You have no idea what those people calling for the immediate arrival of "freedom" and "democracy" have in mind when they use those words?
You have no idea how many of those people have travelled to, and learned their English, in Europe or America, and have decided that "we want what you have -- democracy, freedom" -- actually have any idea of what political theory, what view of the individual, underlie modern Western democracy, and why Islam's political theory, and view of the individual, flatly contradict what advanced Western democracy, our "freedom," requires?
You have no idea of any of this?
You don't know if Upper Egypt is on top or on the bottom?
Well, then, you're perfect.
You'll be able to speak on Egypt without hesitation, without doubts or second thoughts, sure of yourself and of exactly what's to come. Should Mubarak be instantly jettisoned, so that the "Egyptain people" can have "their aspirations fulfilled"? Fine. Or, in the alternative, should Mubarak be supported to the hilt, as "the devil we know" because, as the night doth follow the day, the Muslim Brotherhood will without a doubt inherit Egypt, and a new Khomeini is waiting in the wings, and Egypt is just like Iran, and then every other Arab state will be taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood, because that is just what happens?
Please, this is not the time for hesitation, some doubts, some skepticism, some modifying clauses that dare to express an awareness of complexity. This isn't a Henry-James look-alike contest, for god's sake. Keep those modifiers to yourself.
Now, remember to respond to the host's greeting. And smile. For god's sake, smile. This is television.
And be sure of yourself. And speak with great authority. Show the listeners that you know all that anyone needs to know. And don't worry, we'll prepare the audience to listen with respect, We'll introduce you as an "expert" on something: "Terrorism." "Islam.""The MIddle East." "Bin Laden." "World Affairs." That audience will be suitably impressed. No need for them to doubt your authority. Even though half of them have bumperstickers that read "Question Authority." .
Are you ready for your close-up?
Good. I thought you were. Everyone always is.