Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Inspirational Violence

Tunisian youth are protesting violently against unemployment and corruption among the ruling elite. The North African country has an unemployment rate of more than 13%. And with a population of just 10.4 million, that's a lot of jobless people.

The violence is linked by some sources to a Wikileaks document released last month, that reveals US Foreign Policy on Tunisia and the concerns it has over Tunisia's internal politics. One of the key passages states that "The problem is clear: Tunisia has been ruled by the same president for 22 years. He has no successor. "

Now, I can't help but start to draw a comparison here.

Egypt has an unemployment rate of 8.4%. That's less than Tunisia. But Egypt has a population of more than 80 million. That's quite a lot of angry, frustrated, jobless people.

We've had the same president for 30 years. He has no successor. We supposedly have presidential elections this year. We have no candidates. We have a single party government, with zero representation from the opposition.

So... my question is... aren't we sitting on a time bomb? There might be a lot more to this than a simple, straightforward comparison. Maybe if I conducted a very thorough analysis of the socio-economic and political situations in each country, I would see this differently. But right now, it does seem that simple.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

2011 started in Alexandria

I always imagined I'd launch this blog on a positive note, simply because I left The Conversation at an all-time high.

But the event that kicked off 2011 in Alexandria on New Year's Eve makes me wonder how the next 12 months will turn out.

The one thing I've been wanting to scream at everyone, is that those who died in that horrendous crime were Egyptian citizens. People died.

Of course, the mass media frenzy, the sheer skill of knowing how to aggravate an audience - isn't new to us. This is quite similar what happened at the time of the Egypt-Algeria World Cup qualifier in 2009. The talk shows, the headlines, the emails...

I just hope we're a little bit wiser time. There are many calls for action, including going to church on Thursday night to attend the Coptic Christmas eve mass. A call to Egyptians. Pick a church, go and pray.

Pray that this weekend goes by in peace.