Okay, here’s a lesson on How to Wreck an Article Gracefully. First make a bunch of interesting observations about how both Mikhail Gorbachev and F.W. de Klerk let reforms go too far and lost control of their respective countries. Then, right at the end, say something criminally uninformed that makes all learned people mock you. Like this:

Congratulations, you ousted the tyrant, you won an election, your inaugural address stirred the hearts of your people. Now here’s your giant goodie bag of festering misery ­— Egypt! ­— where the army runs the private sector, the mullahs may or may not be spoiling to impose shariah law, the tourists have been scared off, poverty and unemployment are rife and any day the score-settling will begin.

The “mullahs”? Really? You had to bring mullahs to a discussion about Egypt? That was dumb. As even Wikipedia knows, “mullah” is not a term often used in the Arabic-speaking world. It’s also not a word that it is used often among Sunni Muslims, except on the subcontinent. In Egypt, the only mullahs are Iranians.

And, in Iran, “mullah” is a term of derision used to mock the learning of young ayatollahs. You don’t ask what the mullahs of Egypt want because they have no mullahs. It’s an Urdu term, anyway. The Brits brought it back from Pakistan. And it’s normally applied to Shi’ite scholars, not Sunnis. Egypt is a heavily Sunni society.

Yeah, so, you just ruined your column by demonstrating that you don’t know shit about Egypt.

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