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Change Is Coming To Egypt

As an African American who has never set foot in Egypt or has been kept abreast of all the modern happenings in Egyptian society, it would be pretty stupid of me to make some allegation about the crisis in Egypt with anything other than a cursory understanding.  So I watch the unfolding crisis in Egypt totally dependent on the commentary I hear on the television and on the radio to better comprehend what is really going on.

Like a lot of people who haven’t been paying close attention to what was happening, I was surprised to see the images of the Egyptian people protesting with such violent imagery.  I watched as the people confronted the police.  I saw Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek make an appeal to the people for calm with a promise to change the direction of the government by calling for the resignation of his entire cabinet and starting anew with a fresh set of politicians under his direction.  I found his speech and his promise pretty insulting.  Dude’s been running Egypt for the past thirty years.  If he actually cared about what was going on, he would have had his finger on the pulse of the people’s sentiment a long time ago.  The cabinet that follows his direction isn’t the problem.  His very leadership, leadership that has driven people to take to the streets in order to do something to be heard, is the problem.

People have the responsibility to demand change from their government.  And when government proves itself unconcerned, uninterested in hearing what the people have to say, it has no choice but to deal with the consequences of such neglect.  The longer such neglect continues, the greater the consequences.  And when we see people en masse rioting in the streets, challenging the police, and promoting civil unrest, it’s pretty obvious that the consequences have truly gotten significantly out of hand.  Talking about reaping at what you sowed.

There were a number of images of the turmoil and chaos that has ensued.  There were the images of the people gathering and refusing to disperse.  There were the fires of protest.  Government buildings were set ablaze.  However, one image that really burned itself into my mind was the results of the looting of the Egyptian museum.  Priceless and irreplaceable artifacts of Egypt’s rich history were pulled out of their protective glass cases and laid shattered on the floor.  Other items were no doubt stolen and it is a reasonable assumption that a large percentage of them will never be seen again.

When I first saw the image of the shattered artifacts, I thought how could anybody turn their back on their history?  I asked myself, how could anyone destroy something so valuable?  But it didn’t take me long to come up with an answer.  For a brief moment, I actually lost perspective.  For a brief moment, I actually forgot that there was a large percentage of the population that felt driven to the edge of this kind of madness.  Is a broken statue, regardless of its age, really worth more attention than people who feel helpless to the whims of their government?

The Egyptian government put a lot of resources into protecting its history.  In fact, it could be said that the Egyptian people felt that their government puts more thought into the welfare of an ancient status than it would to the welfare of its poor.  For a lot of these people dissatisfied with the way that they have been treated by the very government that should be protecting them the most, fuck the old statue.  If it’s that important to somebody, maybe somebody’s willing to pay a buck or two to get it back.  I’m not saying it’s right.  It’s not right.  However, I can understand how a people who can be so frustrated.  I do think it’s a shame that these artifacts are lost.  But if the loss of these ancient Egyptian artifacts leads to a change in the way business in Egypt is conducted, then it’s a small price to pay.

Mr. Mubarek has run the Egyptian government for decades.  A lot of people have done well during his rule.  But it also looks like a lot of people have not and they are ready for change.  And whether or not he realizes it, there will be change.  After thirty years of being on top of everything it’s a pretty sure bet that he doesn’t understand these people’s frustration or has a clue what to do to turn the country to the right path again.  People have lost confidence in his leadership to the point that they are now taking it upon themselves to make change come.

Taking people for granted is never a good thing.  Taking an entire country of people for granted is truly bad.  If anybody cares to disagree, I’d like to direct their attention to the latest images coming out of Egypt.  Every government with a mass of people that feels honestly neglected and abandoned should be taking notice.  This is a people’s revolution.  It’s not some phony outrage claiming a need to take their government back because they feel their freedom’s at risk because the government is trying to provide an environment where people have healthcare.

Take note of real outrage.  These people are more likely to be protesting because they don’t have access to healthcare.  These people aren’t protesting because they don’t like their government of the past two years.  They have been dealing with a neglectful government of thirty years.  These people aren’t upset because somebody wants to limit the size of their gun clip to ten bullets.  They have no weapons other than their collective feeling of disgust.  The Egyptian people aren’t protesting because they believe Mr. Mubarek was born somewhere else or is failing to produce an acceptable Egyptian birth certificate.

Mr. Mubarek has created a truly unbearable situation, no one else.  Getting rid of his entire cabinet was a good first step.  The next step is for him to net let the door hit him where the good lord split him on his way out of office.  He’s done well for himself and can leave his office a very rich man.  He should take the hint and call it a day before the military takes matters into its own hands and oust him on terms that may be a little more forceful.  However way it actually happens, change has finally come to Egypt.  I hope it goes well and does the most good for the ones who need it most.

Monday, January 31, 2011 - Posted by | Life, Thoughts

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