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The art of saying nothing: Mubarak speech mashup

UPDATE 12 noon, February 11: so wordy emptiness wasn’t such a good move. Now if we could just overthrow the aid bureaucrats who produce documents as bad as the Mubarak speech.

In the Isaac Asimov sci-fi classic Foundation, an envoy from the Empire arrives for 5 days of talks to promise a small planet Imperial protection against attack. Scientists at the Foundation then use symbolic logic to analyze the Imperial envoy’s transcript, and reach this conclusion — real guarantees of protection: zero; content of 5 days of talk: zero.

Veterans of aid bureaucracy are used to long wordy documents full of buzzword-heavy promises, which actually say nothing. So perhaps we aid veterans are qualified to analyze another group skilled at promises while saying nothing: autocrats trying to defuse protests against their rule.

I took a transcript of Mubarak’s speech on Thursday night and mashed it up and compressed it. The results are certainly unfair to Hosni Mubarak, as first the transcription was done by computer, and second I was no doubt biased assembling the words below (they are in order, but leaving out other words in between to compress the transcript).

But hey who better to treat unfairly than a clueless bureaucratic oppressor?! all of the words below are  from the transcript:

committed strongly to implement without hesitation all of that without hesitation. This commitment stems from a severe commitment, a strong commitment. commitment to this And express a similar pledge And commitment to carry on — to protect the Constitution, the interests of The people, Will be guaranteed with Transparency and freedom. to Implement the demands of people Within the constitution’s Legitimacy and in a way that Will achieve stability and also at the same time put Forward a framework agreed Through a responsible dialogue Amongst all the forces of Society and with all — with Most degree of frankness and Transparency.  put it forward to implement it.And these plans would be implemented within reason. in fact, started a very constructive national dialogue that includes Egypt’s youth, which have led, for a call for Change and all the political Forces. This dialogue has resulted in The principled agreement in Opinions and stances which has Put  in the path, on the right Path And should carry on this Dialogue so that to get it from The framework into a real plan, A clear road plan, and within a Precise and fixed timetable. This national dialogue has made over the formation of a Constitutional commission to look into the required Constitutional amendments and ad Hoc legislative amendments. It has also agreed for the Formation of a commission which Will follow up a sincere Follow-up. The formation Have both commissions should be made from who have experience And trust Composed of leaders and experts. Yesterday the first Report regarding the Constitutional priority, Constitutional amendments, as Proposed by the commission composed of the Judiciary and the legal experts To study legal and Constitutional amendments as Required. And in response to the outcome Of the commission’s report This is stressing at the same Time that other amendments will be implemented according to Necessity and as needed. These amendments to facilitate …in accordance To the right circumstances and The prevalence of stability so That we can do that. we should Continue our national dialogue That have already started.

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3 Comments

  1. Del wrote:

    Glued to aljazeera (english) to watch the Mubarak speech! But in the first minute or so when he represented himself as the parent guiding the Egyptian children to a better system, I suspected that he was staying in power. And the crowd in Tahrir Square quickly got the message and promptly raised their shoes in insult!
    Big worries about the “Army”. The armed forces are an important of the industrial complex in Egypt, and the “management” positions in these firms are an important source of perquisites for active duty and retired officers and their cronies. They like the status quo!
    With respect to your note about Panetta’s mentioning what he had heard when he was testifying Thursday morning, he should have not said anything. Especially since after the fact he turned out to have been dead wrong and merely managed to embarass the whole “intelligence” community.
    Meanwhile, BHO notes that we are “observing history unfolding”. Way too detached an observation, given our stakes in the region. Tme for a little realpoliitik!

    Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink
  2. joe wrote:

    Seems like that speech was the final straw, he left in embarrassment.

    God help Egypt if the Army are left in charge.

    Posted February 11, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink
  3. Robert Tulip wrote:

    Where is Alan Sokal when you need him? This speech could have been written by a postmodernism generator for tyrants.

    http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

    Posted February 12, 2011 at 3:52 am | Permalink

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  3. […] Hosni Mubarak took to the airwaves to deliver a speech that, more or less, addressed and resolved approximately nothing. His speech, of course, was a response to the growing crescendo of protests and actions against him […]

  4. […] Hosni Mubarak took to the airwaves to deliver a speech that, more or less, addressed and resolved approximately nothing. His speech, of course, was a response to the growing crescendo of protests and actions against him […]

  5. […] Hosni Mubarak took to a airwaves to broach a debate that, some-more or less, addressed and resolved approximately nothing. His speech, of course, was a response to a flourishing crescendo of protests and actions opposite […]

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    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

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