The Day Hosnai Mubarak Finally Faced the Music

On February 11th, 2011, embattled Egyptian President Hosnai Mubarak wakes up earlier than usual. Riot rumbles and crashes rouse him from his slumber. After eighteen days of unrest, he’d sell the Pyramids for just twenty-four hours of peace and quiet so he might get some rest for himself.

He ponders why yesterday’s surprise announcement that he would keep his warm, guiding hand on the helm of his country did not allay the protesters. The howls of businessmen, the cries of street vendors, the secular screams, and the call to prayer for a relinquished post: all spiral and stir the morning air and converge upon the Presidents ears. Despondent and aloof as all ivory tower officials eventually become, Mubarak flips open his laptop, opens iTunes, and turns towards the one sound that could bring him solace: dance pop.

Robyn? No, he can’t bear to listen to the pop queen of a country so intractably communist at a time like this. Katy Perry? Too benign, her beats as uncatchy and sexless as her impotent attempts at a modeling career. Britney Spears? Mubarak sighs, longing for the days when he was the proud bridge between the Middle East and the Western World. Hit Me Baby, One More Time with a healthy relationship with both Israel and his Muslim brethren, he thinks. And so he defaults to the tried and true: Lady Gaga.

But what’s this? Her new single released today?!? With deft keystrokes that betray his arthritic digits, he downloads the song and slowly wheels up the volume on his bedroom hi-fi system. His knees start to shake. His earlobes waggle with anticipation as he slides shut the lock on his bedroom door. As dubiously loyal as his aides still remain, his private morning dance party is a ceremonious fealty to the beat. And yet, as Gaga charges into the chorus, only fear raps upon Mubarak’s eardrums.

He’s heard this chorus before. More than two decades ago, Madonna shook his chamber walls with this melody. And it wasn’t but ten years hence when the pop queen came public with her devotion to Kabbalah, a form of mystic Judaism. Prosperous as his reign has been, Mubarak’s stance on Muslim/Jewish relations has been one of delicate trepidation. If Gaga’s career continues to follow Madonna’s pop hooks like the Hebrews behind Moses, her spirituality would soon follow. Mubarak knows his music tastes would then betray his Middle East diplomacy.

Perhaps the masses were right. Change is necessary. He listens for one more minute, stony and still as the Sphinx, hoping the song might change or settle on a different hook, or at least find a contrasting bridge. Finally, he turns it off, trembling, now not out of anticipation, but out of fear. It was time to address his people one last time…

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~ by strandedonterra on March 3, 2011.

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