I know about as much about Egypt and their President as I know about eating steak tar tare and the thought of both makes the hair on my arms crawl.
A brief read tells me that Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak was a military man starting at a very young age and ended up a commander in Egypt’s Air Force for many years prior to entering politics. Mubarak assumed the office of President in 1981. Of course he’s been there ever since! THIRTY YEARS in power! Well, you don’t need a ‘girl with a dream who ended up in a trailer park’ to explain the “X’s and O’s” as to what that can do to a man and to a nation. So anyway, the dude is in power for 3 decades and surprise, surprise Egypt’s economy “stabilized”; the Egyptian stock market came in first place out of all emerging markets in terms of percentage increase for the fiscal year 2004/2005 and certain companies began to flourish after years of stagnation. But guess what friends, and it’s the “same old, same old,” unemployment still persisted and rose especially amongst the lower-class and Mubarak came under criticism for favoring BIG business and privatization as opposed to workers' rights. (Hmm...Been there. Done that.) Now it makes total sense why Bush was such a chum with Mubarak, most likely, golf buddies.
While in office, political corruption in the Mubarak administration's Ministry of Interior has risen dramatically due to the increased power over the institutional system that is necessary to secure the prolonged presidency. Such corruption has led to the imprisonment of political figures and young activists without trials, illegal undocumented hidden detention facilities, and rejecting universities, mosques, newspapers staff members based on political inclination. On a personnel level, an individual officer can and will violate citizens' privacy in his area using unconditioned arrests due to emergency law.
Right now the man has stripped his people of phone service, the Internet and according to some Twitter tweets @ #Egypt, "...He’s opened the doors at high security prisons" and those 'special folks' are the ones who are doing most of the looting and burning. Also on Twitter..."It's a horrific scene in Egypt but there is also amazing solidarity being displayed: Egyptian Christians said they will guard the Muslims from the police while they on Friday Pray." Of course these are quotes not corroborated.
It also makes sense why President “Yes We Can” Obama is walking an extremely narrow tightrope. It’s a damn good thing he’s a brilliant speaker because how can he show support for the 1/4 MILLION protesters who are unrelentingly in the streets and, for the most part, marching peacefully demanding justice, civil liberties, their voices be heard, AND yet (He) also keep that damn Suez Canal in the breast pocket of his suit? You see, more than 35,000 ships crossed the Suez in 2009, about 10 percent of them oil tankers.
And then there’s you and me; those of us who feel the pangs of sympathy, empathy and occasionally send a “shout-out” to the Egyptian people: “Fight on! We stand behind you! Democracy rocks!” But we haven't taken to our own streets in multitudes really since 1963 in Selma when 250,000 people participated in the largest demonstration in our history, demanding justice, civil rights, freedom and accountability from our government.
And I'm asking why? Why didn't we take to the streets under the 8 year rule of King George W? Maybe we would have, God I hope so, if his reign had been 30 years like Mubarak. Why aren't a million marching against The Afghanistan war? Why aren't twice as many marching to eradicate poverty or demand affordable health care? Or 1/2 a million marching for gay rights or even advocating rights of trailer park ...oh, forget that!
But seriously, if you have any answers as to what it will take, please do share.
Good Day Cairo!