What is wrong with Egypt?
|Tuesday, June 24,2008 05:24|
|By Khalid Amayreh|
Today, Egypt, which could have become an African or Middle Eastern economic tiger, is facing a hard time feeding its nearly 80 million citizens. Last month, several people were killed while standing in long queues waiting their turn to buy bread, the main staple for most Egyptians.
Economically, inflation has reached an all time high, with Egyptian civil servants barely able to make ends meet. Some, probably many, Egyptians are forced to "eke out" some extra pounds to remain afloat, mainly through bribery and other forms of corruption.
This bleak reality has forced thousands of skilled and highly-educated Egyptians to leave the country in order to seek a dignified life abroad, mainly in oil-rich Arab countries or in the West.
Fifty years ago, Egypt and South Korea were more or less at the same socio-economic level. However, while the latter succeeded in becoming an industrial and economic giant, the former is still languishing in poverty, perennially awaiting grain shipments from abroad, especially from the US.
One doesn"t have to be a great authority in economics to understand the reasons for Egypt"s failure and enduring backwardness.
Egypt is not a country without resources, or indeed, without brains. However, for brains to function properly, they need a free environment. Brains simply can"t function in an environment dominated by despotism, tyranny and authoritarianism. Dictatorship can only produce human robots that obey orders, but don"t think.
Unfortunately, Egypt is still among the most authoritarian states in the contemporary world. People are arrested and tortured for their conscience and thought. Political opponents spend more time in the regime"s dungeons than they do with their families, and voters deemed "non-conformists" are beaten savagely for daring to exercise their democratic rights.
Unfortunately, this is done while America, which doesn"t stop boasting about their own First Amendment and civil liberties, keeps babbling about "making progress" toward democracy in the Arab world.
Militarily, Egypt"s will to create a deterrent force in the face of Israel"s huge nuclear arsenal has long been strangled by brazen American intervention.
This is really scandalous especially given the unending statements from Israeli leaders that Egypt, not Iran, is Israel"s strategic enemy.
How many times have Israeli cabinet ministers threatened to bomb the Aswan High Dam? How many times have Israeli leaders threatened to destroy the Pyramids? How many times has Israel, implicitly or explicitly, threatened to create trouble for Egypt by conspiring with Ethiopia to divert the waters of the Nile or limit the amount of water destined to Egypt and Sudan?
I really don"t understand the mindsets of Egyptian strategists who spend their time devising plots against opposition parties, such as the Ikhwan and Kifaya, while ignoring the real and haunting threat coming from Israel, a state which will soon be under the control of the genocidal fundamentalist millenarian Zionists who believe that dropping nuclear bombs on major Arab towns such Cairo, Damascus and even Mecca would expedite the appearance of the Messiah, or Redeemer.
So, what have the people, who are entrusted with the paramount task of protecting Egypt and its 80 million inhabitants from external threats, done to forestall such scenarios? The answer is nothing, absolutely nothing, apart from trusting the US to restrain Israel.
To compensate its multi-faceted impotence and incompetence, the Egyptian regime is now trying to display its potency by helping Israel perfect and maximize its Nazi-like blockade of Gaza.
A few months ago, the Foreign minister of Egypt threatened to break the bones of Gazans who dared cross the borders into Egypt.
And then the Egyptian authorities adopted a number of manifestly hostile measures against Gazans, like keeping them stranded for weeks and months in sub-human conditions on the Egyptian side of the border.
Yes, Egypt has every right to protect its security against terrorists and saboteurs. And the Palestinian people are the last people on earth who would want to see Egypt"s vital security interests undermined.
And there may well be a few rogue elements who have sold their souls to the devil by joining some international terrorist groups. But fighting these criminals should never be done by conspiring with Israel to starve Gazans by turning Gaza into an updated version of the Warsaw Ghetto, which Egypt is now doing.
Israel is murdering innocent Gazans on a daily basis. Last week, the Israeli army, knowingly and deliberately, murdered several Palestinian children and minors, to be added to the thousands of other Palestinians murdered mercilessly by the army of a state that commits genocide in the name of Jewish supremacy just as the Wehrmacht did the same thing in the name of Aryan supremacy.
Unfortunately, instead of stepping in to help and comfort the starved and tormented Palestinians, the Egyptian government is doing quite the opposite by hermitically shutting off the borders with Gaza, all in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from Tel Aviv and Washington.
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing these sad words because I have always loved and continue to love Egypt, a country that deserves a better fate and a different destiny.
But God doesn"t change the lot of a people, unless they themselves have the will to change their conditions.