Sunday, February 6, 2011 | Categories: Episodes
On Cross Country Checkup: Egypt
The continuing turmoil in the streets of Egyptian cities raises a whole series of concerns for the protesters, the country, the region, and the world.
Are you concerned about the consequences of the Egyptian crisis?
With host Rex Murphy.
Israel is the single largest recipient of US aid - many billions per year, even though it is a first world nation and already enjoys a high standard of living. This money is earmarked for military equipment, and some pays for Israel's colonization of the Palestinian territories - Jewish only settlements and Jewish only roads. Meanwhile the US's infrastructure is falling apart and its own citizens are being thrown out of their own homes thanks to the deregulation of the banking and insurance industries. Israel receives these entitlements as well as US veto power in the UN against its illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories thanks to its extremely powerful lobby, AIPAC.
Egypt is the second largest recipient of US aid at around an average of $2 Billion annually, ostensibly as a payoff to act as an ally to Israel. Remember Egypt is right next door to Israel and very importantly Gaza - Palestinians are not permitted to escape the humiliating conditions in Gaza, but this could change with a different regime in Egypt. However it does seem that what Israel wants it gets.
Saltspring Island, BC
Shame on the USA for supporting an autocratic, repressive, cruel, regime, for all these years, never giving a thought to the Egyptian people! Giving $1 billion a year to the Egyptian military to suppress a poor population just to achieve the selfish goals of the USA, Mabarak has taken full advantage of the power and the dollars!
Let us question the sweet and self-righterous talk about democracy when it is so readily set aside for the protection of Israel, to win American votes when needed. Will honesty ever prevail in politics? The average Egyptian makes $2400 each year, Mubarak has $40 billion in the bank, enough to raise the standard of living of every Egyptian.
Thank God for the people of Tunisia and Egypt. They have unblocked the log jam that has been the middle east for decades. The result has been the beginning of democracy not only in their own countries but perhaps in Yemen, Jordan and Algeria as well. No longer can Israel claim to be tha "only democracy in the area" and Israel may now have to consider its own position vis a vis the West Bank. The solution, long obvious to many observers, to dismantle ALL settlements and assist in the formation of a democratic Palestine State may result from this fundamental change in the Arab world.
Another point that was raised by some of your callers is the position of the Muslim Brotherhood. When we in the west cheered the massive changes in Eastern Europe we didn't voice fears about who would ultimately be part of democratically elected governments. We voiced support for democracy itself. How can we deny the same to the people of Egypt? If the populace wants certain representation, under a democracy they will grt it. The west has played an old game too long. Surely the experience of Saddam, the Shah of Iran, the President of Yemen and now the President of Afganistan has taught us something. Leave the people alone If we think democracy is good enough for us, ALL of Europe, and most of South America its good enough for the Tunisians, Egyptians and even more peoples of the area.
The most radical theocracies that exist today are supported or came about due to actions of the western countries. Egypt is a great country with a great people - allow the Egyptians decide how to govern themselves and let the chips fall where they may.
In following all the media clamour about events in Egypt and the mid-east, we hear most commentary focused on "democracy vs. authoritarian systems" of governance. I think this story - though a stimulating, fear-based discussion - is in many ways ia distraction from a larger reality. Listening today, we hear that underlying problems in Egypt have been desperate and I think a microcosm of other situations in the world.. The brave youth of Egypt now, as throughout modern history are clearly vested in leading change for greater acountability of their leaders and gaining some hope for a secure future.
The issue of unrest has a more fundamental undercurrent - the problem probably has more to do with huge economic disparities within and between many countries and a growing class of unemployment or underemployment, rising inflation with millions of lower income people paying greater percentage of available money on food and life essentials. The stark disparities are obvious in countries like Egypt and Tunisia, but we hear from the head of people like the head of the IMF express fears of conflict and war due to growing poverty...and similar trends exist in other countries like South Africa, Venezuela, Croatia, Indonesia, even some European countries and even more worrisome, in countries like China and India.
Perhaps, it is the leveling effect of information sharing from Facebook and other social media, are now bringing to light, the realities of these growing disparities. We hear about the enormous concentration of power and wealth amongst the elites in the middle-east countries....but we must not forget that huge populations in the countries mentioned are facing the same dilemma. When people are pressed for survival, they fight back - and of course, while ideological opportunists prey on the situation to further their dogmatic agenda, other global opportunists -- perhaps Western countries in particular - seem content to strive only to tweak the status-quo, - many would call a - dysfunctional global monetary system with the ikelihood of a growing protectionist movement, and even more conflict.
What many believe we need is a major transformation of global economics, with emphasis on a wider range of indicators that reflect basic needs not just GDP and trickle-down economics. This means greater and secure access to food, water, shelter, of the 'renewable', and sustainable form, not more 'dinosaur-thinking' that only favours a small percentage of the world's privieleged few like we Canadians.have!
I truly hope the freedom-loving countries of the world like Canada, work harder to lead change to overcome economic disparities, not just focused on replacing despots!
Moberly Lake, BC