Thursday, February 3, 2011
(my) Egypt Analysis
This weeks Newsweek had an article on the riots occurring in Egypt and other Arab countries, they mention a population boom of young men. that's not entirely accurate. Birth rates have always been high in these countries, that's not what has changed. People are dirt poor and opportunities scarce, also, no change. The fact that dictators rule these nations is as old as society itself in Northern Africa. But there is something that has changed. 50 years ago, young Muslim men were welcome into Europe where many emigrated and found jobs. About 10 years ago those jobs began drying up. In recent years high numbers of unemployed and voiceless young men in these countries began causing problems for authorities. Many of the lax immigration laws were changed and much of Western Europe has been closed to new immigration ever since. What was once a release valve for excess populations in no more.
The groups gathering at Liberation Square in Cairo (at least what is being reported) are revolting with no particular cause other then the ouster of Mubarek. What's that going to do for them? Democracy in the hands of this mob is a bad idea for everyone and I suspect much of these troubles have been instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other pro-militant Islamic factions. The only thing I am sure of is that the people throwing rocks and burning cars probably never got a cent of the billion dollars the US sends Egypt's way every year.
I feel bad, the angry young men are like rebels without a cause, full of testosterone and trouble they are not what is being portrayed. These are not lovers of democracy, freedom and other such lofty ideals, well, maybe on some superficial level they are. Mostly this is a mob of people on the fringe. You are in your twenties, your job prospects are horrible and in a society where access to a wife is severely limited by your religion and income, you are frustrated. This can't end well for them. Mubarek may be every nasty thing they say but for international purposes, he is stable and does not cause trouble. Internally, I couldn't tell you but from the looks of the real life flash mob, reporters better keep filming from their hotel rooms because what is on the ground is neither uplifting nor worth the accolades.