The struggle for democracy in Egypt has prompted me to reflect on my own position, and certain similarities between the two…
It was in the 1980′s that I met Mrs B. No one thought it would last more than a few months but against all odds it did, and of course we are still together now.
Over time our population increased and our small happy family lived peacefully, successfully guarding our territory against attack – mostly from the stresses caused by banking bosses, school catchment areas and commuter trains – and it seemed nothing could threaten our peaceful existence.
Later we pursued an expansionist policy, with the peaceful occupation of a field in France. While we still control the field we have made no effort to further increase our territory and have made some kind of peace with the locals. Inter-nation relationships here in the ‘Dordogne strip’ can be tense, but valiant expats manage to smuggle supplies into the region from the UK – groceries, plumbing supplies, paint – to help preserve some form of normality.
But times change and with the passing of the years I found my authority as ‘head of the family’ under increasing attack. It was only ever a notional position of course, with no real decision making powers, but even so I found my responsibilities reduced and faced continuing challenges to my ‘authority’. Dissent was rising!
I tried everything – bribery, corruption, flat-screen TV’s (I’m too squeamish for torture) – and while these had a temporary calming effect and helped to keep the peace for a while this was short-lived and discontent continued to increase.
We are now at a critical stage. Our teenage daughters rebel openly, and use facebook and twitter to keep in touch with other disenchanted youth. I fear any last vestiges of authority I once held are slipping away. I have relinquished all decision making to Mrs B, which has helped, but still the children want us to hand control to them.
Should I attempt to hold on to parental authority or just accept that all family members should be allowed an equal say? If I stand down and accept free voting on all our household decisions where will it end? Iphones for all? Sports cars for the children? I didn’t have the foresight to stash large amounts of money in a Swiss bank so going into hiding isn’t an option, I must stand alone against the forces of rebellion.
So for the time being I am hanging on desperately despite the threats that confront me. I have erected barricades on the bathroom door (the first room where Mrs B and the girls tried to seize control) but I don’t know how much longer I can hold out…