Way OT – Egypt

← Back to Forums


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

I was thinking about this very thought while listening to the 5pm NPR coverage. Should we support a regime that would do the most good for us, or the most good for the region’s and the world’s stability? I personally would hope for the former.

Much of how this plays out is up to Barack and Hillary.


ejwme
Participant
#

Personally, I hope the Egyptians manage to get a government in power who will benefit THEM the most, not the US, not the Middle East, but the Egyptian people. Some aspects are inclusive of all three. Some aren’t (at least not in everyone’s eyes).

I hope that their government will then encourage the governments of other countries to behave likewise, looking out for the interests of the actual citizenry they represent.

Not corporations. Not conglomerates. Not money. Human beings… all of them.

I hope they have a chance at it. I hope some day we do too.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Y’know, I should proofread my posts better. I made a wording change halfway through typing that, and in fixing it, switched the order of the choices. What I was trying to say was…

I personally would hope for the latter.

*facepalm*


edmonds59
Participant
#

People need to think about short term interests versus long term interests as well. Americans tend to want things wrapped up quickly and neatly with a nice Hollywood ending. This will most certainly not be that, this will require a long attention span.

40 years ago the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, left them to their own devices, and now it is a thriving country, and a trade partner.

30 years ago Reagan wanted to seal his legacy as the President who caused the fall of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, created Al Qaeda, and left us with the quagmire in which we are currently embroiled. This will probably not be mentioned by Fox News during the current Reagan deification.

And back to the women. The U.S. needs to stop thinking in terms of which thug they will back next. I’m convinced that the way for the U.S. to nudge the region away from destructive Islamic theocracies is to insist that any diplomatic talks include Women’s rights organizations at the table. They are a major factor in the Egypt situation. They are powerful, they are our “sleeper cell”.

Iran, 2009:


sloaps
Participant
#

I think such a “sleeper cell” is rallying in Saudi Arabia at the moment.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
#

@sloaps – don’t be so sure… from Wiki:

“The Basic Law, in 1992, declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the progeny of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud. It also declared the Qur’an as the constitution of the country, governed on the basis of Islamic law.”

“The freedom of women is seriously restricted in Saudi Arabia. Women are not allowed to travel without the permission of their closest male relative, who may be a son or a younger brother. Women who are divorced, return under their father’s authority and like any other adult woman is denied the right to live on her own and to marry of her free will.[85] Furthermore, the Saudi government considers filial “disobedience” as a crime for which women have been imprisoned or have lost custody of their child.[85] Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are banned from driving in major cities and towns…”

That’s a pretty heavy hand.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
#

but wait, there’s more, also from Wiki:

“The World Economic Forum 2009 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Saudi Arabia 130th out of 134 countries for gender parity. It was the only country to score a zero in the category of political empowerment.”

“There is evidence that many women in Saudi Arabia do not want radical change. Even many advocates of reform reject Western critics, for “failing to understand the uniqueness of Saudi society.” [3][4][5] Journalist Maha Akeel is a frequent critic of her country’s patriarchal customs. Nonetheless, she agrees that Westerners criticize what they do not understand. “Look, we are not asking for … women’s rights according to Western values or lifestyles … We want things according to what Islam says. Look at our history, our role models.””


Morningsider
Participant
#

My biggest issue with “common sense” is that there is very little “common perspective.”


edmonds59
Participant
#

“Look, we are not asking for … women’s rights according to Western values or lifestyles … We want things according to what Islam says. Look at our history, our role models.”

Exactly why I think the West must insist that women’s representatives get a seat at the diplomatic table.

Although on the other hand, at some point, outside parties have a responsibility to step and say that stoning, cutting off of limbs, ears, noses, mutilation, and the like is just unacceptable, I don’t give a shit what your “traditions” are.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Not to detract from the women’s rights aspect of this thread, but rather to point out another very important aspect of the whole Egyptian turmoil: food prices.

Why are they high, really? And how does this relate to bicycling in Pittsburgh? It’s not “Way OT”, really.

Start with this webpage, which explains in detail what I will summarize here in (hopefully) just a few words.

Egypt up to now has exported oil, and used the profits from that sale to subsidize the cost of both fuel and food. However, internal oil use has now caught up with its own exports, so it exports less, approaching zero. Lacking that oil income, there is no money to subsidize food and fuel. The government is using what little income is left to prop up fuel prices, leaving food prices to set their own level. Namely, much higher. This has sparked the uprising against Mubarak.

There’s a key line in that story, which I’ve been repeating ad nauseam for a while now. World oil production has peaked. Fuel prices can only rise from here on out, not just here but everywhere, and no number of holes poked in the Gulf of Mexico or the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve is going to fix it.

Bicycles, people. Learn to ride one if you don’t, choose to ride one if you do.


Morningsider
Participant
#

“stoning, cutting off of limbs, ears, noses, mutilation, and the like is just unacceptable, I don’t give a shit what your “traditions” are.”

What if they are electrocuting, injecting poison intravenously, or hanging?

just sayin.


edmonds59
Participant
#

Yeah, I’m not saying the U.S. has especially solid ground to stand on there, since we “off” people. But other civilized nations don’t.


ejwme
Participant
#

you also have to be careful who you ask about a given culture’s “traditions”. Afghanistan had female doctors, universities that taught women, all under the Evil Soviets. I’m sure the internets could tell you what the place was like before the soviets moved in (I have no idea personally). 9/11 made it clear what the place was like after they moved out.

So an 85 year old (any gender) may say their society’s traditions are grossly different from what a 55 year old woman who remembers the soviets would say, which could be grossly different from what a 30 year old (pick a gender) person who only remembers war and Taliban.

Traditions are what the people decide they are, in some ways they provide cultural identity no matter whether others condone them or not. That’s why it’s tricky to go in and say “now you have to institute rule by the people” and then let go. Who knows what they’ll come up with.


Mick
Participant
#

@ejwme Afghanistan had female doctors, universities that taught women, all under the Evil Soviets.

According to the booK “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001,” The impetus for the terrorists (er…um…”Freedom Fighters” I mean) to rise up against the Soviets was that the Soviets were making 10 year-old girls learn how to read.


Pierce
Participant
#

While listening to Born Slippy, I for once saw a useful pop-up on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/aljazeeraenglish?feature=ticker

Hats off to GoogleYouTube for pushing that information

Sounds like the President is stepping down, making an announcement around 3pm EST


Pierce
Participant
#

Bah, pretty mediocre speech, came about 40 minutes late

He’s not stepping down yet


Pseudacris
Participant
#

Looks like there will be a regular solidarity demonstration @ Pitt:

DEMONSTRATION IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE AGAINST GOVERNMENT OPPRESSION

DEMAND THE END TO THE MUBARAK REGIME

DEMAND THE U.S. END ALL MILITARY AID TO MUBARAK REGIME

Every Friday at 3PM on the corner of Forbes and Bigelow Blvd. in Oakland.

{edit: I’m not shouting, this is cut n paste from an email}


Marko82
Participant
#

Mubarak just stepped down!


cburch
Participant
#

edmonds59
Participant
#

Damn.

A clip from a U.S. State Department document from Jan 28, 11, leaked by Wikileaks:

“April 6’s [the movement]

stated goal of replacing the current regime with a parliamentary

democracy prior to the 2011 presidential elections is highly

unrealistic, and is not supported by the mainstream opposition. End”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8289698/Egypt-protests-secret-US-document-discloses-support-for-protesters.html

Whoops.


edmonds59
Participant
#

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is now officially on my bucket list.

http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/02/07/robertson.alexandria.library.cnn

Librarians are awesome.


nick
Participant
#

WOW! congrats egypt! they won!


Mick
Participant
#

@nick they won!

Nope.

No “mission accomplished” here. The difficult, dangerous stuff is about to begin.


edmonds59
Participant
#

Well, yeah, it’s kind of like they won a 1955 Chevy that needs to be completely rebuilt from the ground up, but it seems like they know what they need to do. Yep, they won.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

OK, now would be a good time to review the French Revolution in three parts (one of these was alluded to earlier in this thread) by the Vlogbrothers.

1

2

3

…and then their intro to Egypt.


Erica
Participant
#

While I’m sure everyone is glad that Mubarak is gone, I did come across this yesterday:

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/21Zz66/www.good.is/post/why-omar-suleiman-will-probably-be-as-bad-for-egypt-as-hosni-mubarak/


sloaps
Participant
#

It seems the only way for the Egyptian people and it’s myriad of loose knit factions to get what they want is for the military to serve the people, and for a strong legislative body with a weak administration to exist – like California. However, I don’t believe that is how their constitution is written, and, even if that relationship existed, the conclusion to all this will be measured in years, not days or months.


edmonds59
Participant
#

re: Military – I think temporary military control is just fine for a few reasons:

1. Throughout the last 3 weeks the behaviour of the Egyptian military has been absolutley correct, almost unbelievable – they did not turn against the existing leaders when their power was in question, at the same time did not use excessive force against the protesters, they simply stood ready to keep the peace. I am quite impressed.

2. The military leaders have not (yet) shown any indication that they have designs on political power. My impression is that they sincerely want to carry the country forward to the next phase.

3. The U.S. pays the military’s $1.2 B/year paychecks.

Also everyone needs to keep in mind that it took 10 years to develop our own Constitution, our system did not just spring into existence, and it was a pretty painful and uncertain process.


Mick
Participant
#

@edmonds Also everyone needs to keep in mind that it took 10 years to develop our own Constitution, our system did not just spring into existence, and it was a pretty painful and uncertain process.

Edmonds is right.

Not only did it take a decade, but for over a century before that, the colonies had functioned as 13 democracy petri dishes. The people had a pretty good understanding of what worked.


edmonds59
Participant
#

Apparently our own little experiment is still simmering, the latest hot spot seems to be – Madison, Wisconsin.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/02/18/wisconsin.budget/index.html?hpt=T2

And I am a bit more of a Packers fan now,

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/116231984.html


ejwme
Participant
#

I’ve heard that in Tunisia and Egypt they’re drunk off freedom protests, and have started protesting everything under the sun… I can’t find the links, but heard that all kinds of workers were forming unions and going on strike and whatnot, especially in Tunisia.

I keep thinking it’s sort of turned into an almost market dickering kind of thing, which if any of you have been to open air markets in that area, you know the kind of negotiating that goes on. I think they’d be even better at democracy than we who culturally look for sticker prices would. Negotiating is in their blood – its how they buy groceries. Well, some do, western influence has eliminated areas of that I suppose.

The Egyptian military has completely blown my mind over this whole experience. I’m tempted to hope for really good things.


dwillen
Participant
#

I’ve heard that in Tunisia and Egypt they’re drunk off freedom protests, and have started protesting everything under the sun…

Are they learning to speak French as well?


edmonds59
Participant
#

It was astounding in Egypt how many people reporters could just grab on the street and get fluent conversations in English, many of the protest signs were in English.

Imagine if, say, a French TV station sent reporters to a tea party rally in Ohio and started asking questions in French, how might that go…?


dwillen
Participant
#

It was more of a sarcastic jab at the French, for protesting everything under the sun.


Swalfoort
Participant
#

The story in WI is really gaining national media attention. My brother and sister are both unionized workers in Wisconsin. The media is all over the proposal to increase worker contributions to pension and health care. Real issue for the workers is the proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights, although the other monetary issues are a concern albeit to a lesser degree. (Police and Fire unions are not included in the proposed changes. Teachers and all other public employees are.

Noise levels in the rotunda of the state capital reached 105 dB on Wednesday. That’s roughtly the equivalent of being 1 foot from a running chainsaw. That’s pretty loud!


edmonds59
Participant
#

My issue isn’t even so much any concessions that workers may or may not have to make, it’s that this Walker character had the nerve to threaten to call out the National Guard. This guy has an absolutely Henry-Clay-Frickian sensibility regarding what his powers are.

This has nothing to do with budget problems, this has everything to do with taking the country (all the way, I mean, we’re already on the road) back to an 1800’s oligarchy.


ejwme
Participant
#

hey – the (educated urban) Tunisians mostly all speak French anyway. I think they’ll be ok. Egypt… I bet more of them speak better french percentage wise than Americans.

Vive la Revolution! C’est une fete mondial! Liberte ne dort jamais plus!

and Vive l’Ouisconsin?


Lyle
Participant
#

If called on, I doubt the Wisconsin Nat’l Guard would exhibit the same restraint as the Egyptian army. And that’s pretty sad.


edmonds59
Participant
#

Dan, apologies, I wasn’t countering your jab, I just used French because occurred to me that if I used a Spanish TV station in my scenario, the teapartiers would just lynch them or turn them over to ICE for deportation.


ejwme
Participant
#

Just looked in to the Wisconsin thing, and I think it’s kind of funny that the governor and republican majority are claiming they “won’t be bullied”. Seems to me that ~30,000 Wisconsin people on Wednesday, and ~25,000 on Thursday already made that claim.

When it’s tens of thousands of people revolting against a single powerful person (or small group of very powerful), is it still bullying?

← Back to Forums

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.

Supported by