The private chambers of EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK.Â He works at his desk, with paper and pencil.Â Enter CHIEF OF STAFF.
EGYPTIAN CHIEF OF STAFF:Â Mr. President, the people are revolting.
PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK: You can say that again.
CHIEF: Â No Sir, I mean they are actually revolting.
MUBARAK:Â What seems to be the problem?
CHIEF:Â They want a middle class, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â They’ve got one.
CHIEF:Â It’s disappeared, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â Disappeared!Â You are in the middle class.
CHIEF:Â I’m the only one, Sir.Â We basically have two economic classes now, Sir.Â The poor.Â And the billionaires.
MUBARAK:Â Who is revolting?
CHIEF:Â The poor.
MUBARAK:Â That’s good to hear.Â Iâ€™ve got enough problems without having a bunch of unhappy billionaires on my back.
CHIEF:Â I’m not so sure, Sir.Â There are so many poor people.
MUBARAK: So where exactly is this revolt?
CHIEF:Â In the streets.
MUBARAK:Â Then close the streets.
CHIEF:Â We’ve tried that, Sir.Â They keep moving to another street.Â We can’t close them all.
MUBARAK:Â Of course we can.Â Impose a curfew.
CHIEF:Â Yes, Sir.
CHIEF:Â The people are still revolting.
MUBARAK:Â I’m sure they are.
CHIEF:Â The curfew isn’t working, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â Why not?
CHIEF:Â They won’t listen.Â It’s impossible to enforce.
MUBARAK:Â Cut off the telephones.Â That’ll stop ’em.
CHIEF:Â They aren’t calling each other, Sir.Â They’re using the Internet.
MUBARAK:Â Excuse me?
CHIEF:Â The Internet, Sir.Â Computers wired together.
MUBARAK: They can do that?
CHIEF:Â Yes Sir.Â They also have wireless devices.Â And they text.
MUBARAK:Â Since when do the common poor use these Internets?
CHIEF:Â They use it quite a bit, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â And they talk to each other on this?
CHIEF:Â Yes, Sir.Â Mostly with social networking sites.
MUBARAK:Â Why would the common peasant need this?
CHIEF:Â Fun, mostly. They share things and tweet.Â For example, yesterday I posted some amazing pictures of my granddaughter’s birthday party.Â In some ways, I think it makes for a richer online experience.
MUBARAK:Â Isn’t that nice.
CHIEF:Â They also use these sites to discuss politics and plan protests.
MUBARAK:Â Then this is the problem.Â What are the names of these so-called websites?
CHIEF:Â Facebook.Â Twitter.Â Youtube.
MUBARAK:Â Shut these down!Â Immediately!
CHIEF:Â I don’t know if that’s a good idea.
MUBARAK:Â If it resides inside my head, then by definition, it’s a good idea.Â Would you like to have your head cut off?
CHIEF:Â No Sir.
MUBARAK:Â Then ban these Facebooks and Twitters.
CHIEF:Â Yes Sir.
CHIEF:Â Mr. President, the people are really revolting now.
MUBARAK:Â Tell me about it.
CHIEF:Â It’s not a modifier, Sir.Â It’s a verb.Â Hundreds of thousands of them are in the streets now, revolting.Â I’m afraid they might set this building on fire.
MUBARAK:Â Still that middle class bullshit?
CHIEF:Â The economic grievances have been building for some time, Sir.Â But the more immediate problem now is Facebook and Twitter.
MUBARAK:Â I told you to shut those down.
CHIEF:Â We did that, Sir.Â It made the problem worse.
MUBARAK:Â If we turned it off, then why is it worse?
CHIEF:Â The people want to Tweet, Sir.Â They want to update their Facebook status and connect with their friends.Â They’re angry.
MUBARAK:Â Have the police arrest them.
CHIEF:Â Not an option, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â If it comes out of my mouth, then it’s an option.
CHIEF:Â The police are on their side.
MUBARAK:Â On their side?
CHIEF:Â Yes, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â But the police work for me.
CHIEF: Â Police are people, too, Sir.Â The revolt is widespread.
MUBARAK:Â So the police are not following orders?
CHIEF:Â No Sir.
MUBARAK:Â Then call out the military.Â I’ve never had any problem with them.
CHIEF:Â That may piss the people off even more.
MUBARAK:Â Maybe so.Â But if we kill a few, the rest of the people will fall in line.
CHIEF:Â The people are still revolting, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â Iâ€™m well aware of that.Â Have we killed a few?
CHIEF:Â Yes, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â And they’re still up to no good?
CHIEF:Â They’re fighting back, Sir.Â They’re filling the streets and burning government buildings.
MUBARAK:Â Then perhaps we should kill some more.
CHIEF:Â You may want to leave the country, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â Leave the country?Â You think I need a vacation?
CHIEF:Â No Sir.Â You may need to leave permanently, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â You would look very different without a head.
CHIEF:Â I’m sure I would, Sir.Â But part of my job description is advising you.
MUBARAK:Â And you would risk your life by advising me to leave my country?
CHIEF:Â Only because it may save your life.
MUBARAK:Â Nonsense.Â Where would I go?
CHIEF:Â South America is always a good option.
MUBARAK:Â And who would lead my people?
CHIEF:Â They want to select a different leader.
MUBARAK:Â I donâ€™t understand.
CHIEF:Â The people are ready for a change, Sir.
MUBARAK:Â After 30 years — the best years of my life — and this is the thanks I get? Â That’ll be all.Â You can leave now.
CHIEF:Â They want change in their government.
MUBARAK:Â Youâ€™re talking gibberish.Â You may go now.
CHIEF:Â It’s been a pleasure, Mr. President.Â I’m going to Paraguay.
MUBARAK:Â Paraguay!Â What’s in Paraguay?
CHIEF:Â Google it.
MUBARAK:Â What does that mean?
CHIEF:Â Goodbye, Sir.
end of play