Happy About Egypt?

Tom Friedman, a superb columnist for the New York Times, asked a rhetorical question while being interviewed a few days ago by Charlie Rose: “Why hasn’t Egypt developed in the last 20 years like Taiwan or Singapore or India?” He could have added Israel or even Islamic Malaysia.

Egypt has mineral wealth, tourism, water and millions of educated English speakers. It has the ingredients for success as a nation, yet it has floundered abysmally with enormous unemployment, corruption and lack of political freedom.

We should be surprised that the revolt by its citizens has not happened sooner. The sparks of anger over the secret police and persecution occur every day, but until January there was no ignition.

The missing ingredient for the revolt until now was probably that critical organizing tool, the Internet. Today’s wide-spread cell phone Web access and social networking outlets enabled the younger generation of Egyptians to mobilize. The entrenched leaders in a country like Egypt are old guys who still think they can control information. Americans worry that Egypt could turn into Iran, but in Iran I’m sure the rulers are petrified that Tehran could become a Cairo. I’m hoping that the next time Iranians try to revolt, America supports the revolution rather than waffling to appease the despots.

Are you happy about the turmoil in Egypt?

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5 thoughts on “Happy About Egypt?

  1. Buelldog

    I’m not happy with what is happening in Egypt. I worry about what will happen to the people during the turmoil. I’m concerned more may be lost more than created during this crisis. I fear they may end up with a totalitarian theocracy instead of a totalitarian dictatorship. There are so many risks for them during this time. I wish them the best of luck and hope they come through this with something better than they started with.

  2. Bruce Renwick

    I have heard that Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt is more wealthy than Bill Gates, He has never developed, invented or created anything for this wealth and has been in power for 30 years. He has gathered this wealth solely from the United States whom gives “Egypt” about $2 billion a year. The peoples of Egypt, at least 41%, live in poverty, while the well-to-do get richer. Is this scary times for Israel and the West? Yes, very. After all, much of “our oil” has to be shipped through the canal that Egypt controls and I’m sure our government is concerned and should be concerned. I believe this is just another indication that we, the USA have to look at and change our energy policies and quit being enslaved to dictators in the Middle East. And if somehow the peoples of Egypt are better off without this totalitarian dictatorship, we should all be happy.


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