Two and a half years ago the Nations of Virtue, hyperventilating hypocrites forever prattling about the virtues of human rights and democracy, applauded as one while Generalissimo Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi dispatched the only democratically elected government in the history of Egypt into the dustbin of history.
That military coup allegedly saved Egypt's nascent democracy, as military coups often do, especially when the deposee is out of favour in the capitals of the West, as was Morsi.
The consensus among people who follow these matters is that human rights in Egypt are under al-Sisi worse than under Mubarak and much worse than under Morsi. Yet the Generalissimo is made welcome when he travels abroad to visit with the Prime Minister of England or the President of France.
It was therefore interesting to see how that great liberal news purveyor, The Guardian, handled two separate but related Cairo stories today. Pile of trouble; gigantic red carpet stirs up Egyptian media storm is about the Cairo authorities laying down a few miles of red carpet so that the presidential motorcade could drive to an engagement... on the red carpet!
Is that messed up or what?
That's the kind of wanton display of excess and tastelessness that you'd expect from a bankrupt banana republic, isn't it? Which perfectly describes Egypt, although I'm not sure they grow bananas in their banana republic. Guardian editors even found the story worthy of a little punnery, if you'll notice. And of course, it goes without saying that any country where a media storm of anti-government outrage can still be stirred obviously has a reasonable level of press freedom.
We'll call that the "good news" story.
Here's today's other Cairo story; Thousands of academics demand inquiry into Cairo death of Giulio Regeni.
Regeni was an Italian citizen and a student at Cambridge who had as a sideline the writing of critical stories about the Generalissimo's fascist state under a pseudonym. His remains were found in Cairo bearing obvious signs of torture.
My question is this; will the fate of Giulio Regeni in any way cast a chill on the warm welcome al-Sisi receives when he next visits the capitals of the Nations of Virtue or the pages of The Guardian?