Why are the Egyptians so upset?
For those in North America without ties in the middle east or Europe and who are not keeping up with global politics, the unrest and unruly crowds in the streets of Egypt seem incomprehensible. What makes regular people do that?
The Globe & Mail published an article last weekend by Emile Hokayen from which I will quote freely.
Two men were hanged last Monday for distributing videos of the video footage of the recent protest demonstrations without any form of trial or formal court process. All email and internet connections
were shut down over the weekend. The middle Eastern news station El Jazeera was shut down on Sunday. This is of course censure of the worst kind and is an attempt by the current regime, mostly Mubarak (in power for the last 30 odd years ruling Egypt with an iron fist) to control the media and the message.
Forty percent of the Egyptians are unemployed, often with a decent education, but no job. The average income is as low for many as the equivalent of $2 a day. A month ago, the price of a pound of beef (muslims do not eat pork) was $3.20, today it is
$5.13 per pound, while an average income would be $3,700 per year (!).
Mubarak’s secret service has killed and supressed any opposition to Mubarak’s rule so far.
Mubarak and his relatives live in opulence and the family has gathered wealth in the billions that is without any doubt mostly outside the country in a safe place.
Mubarak came into power after his predecessor was shot down and killed by Islamists (Anwar Sadat). The US has, since the end of the second world war, pumped billions in the Egyptian leadership (and its army) to ensure “stability ” in the region. In turn, Egypt was the first nation to sign the peace treaty and recognize Israel’s sovereignty as a state, followed by Jordan.
Now, the Muslim Brotherhood has joined the already existing opposition to Mubarak’s regime with its message to regain democratic powers for the local people and stop the exploitation by the rich few, seen as puppets of the west and the US. Egypt was a secular state; the Muslim Brotherhood wants to promote a Muslim government, and they want to reach that goal for all nations that have an overwhelming muslim population and are still suppressed by their tyrant rulers. The better educated younger generation see the Brotherhood as a vehicle for motivation and for change, that may
get results and achieve a better existence and future for the population. The new generation is not afraid anymore for the rulers and want civilian rule.
We will see how this ends. Hold on to your hat, it will be wild ride and no telling how it will end.