Wednesday, July 10, 2013
More about Egypt
I can't claim to be any kind of an expert about Egypt. My wife and I visited the country once as tourists about twenty-two years ago. We saw some of the pyramids and a couple of sphinxes. We learned from our Egyptian guide that the missing part of the face of the Sphinx near Cairo was on display at the British Museum in London. From what I could see or learn, Egypt is a great museum. The water table is low and ancient artifacts buried in the soil last indefinitely. At the time the water backed up in Lake Nasser by the high dam at Aswan was causing the water table to rise. There was an urgency to get on with the excavations of ancient artifacts to rescue them from the rising water.
As a tourist, I couldn't tell much about the social and economic structure of the country. I have read recently that there is a need to change the society and economy to produce a more egalitarian society. Change from a society in which a few very rich and educated people own almost everything, including the government. Perhaps the writer of such an article is merely imposing the tendency in our country toward that situation on Egypt. The only evidence I as a tourist saw of grinding poverty was at one point on the tour the bus we were in stopped to allow us to see young men without any clothes on. When the bus stopped these unclothed, dark-skinned young men ran toward the bus. I presume that they were hoping for some hand-outs from the rich tourists inside. By the time the naked ones were close to the bus, the driver started the engine and we drove on.
Western comment about the recent ousting of the President Mohammad Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies by the Egyptian army has stuck to the simple story that democratically elected government officials were removed from office by a coup. It was an undemocratic or anti-democratic act and was thus worthy of condemnation. This analysis calls for an analogy. I've thought of an analogy.
A chiropractor is treating a patient who is partially paralyzed in his left leg. The patient also has pains in other parts of his body. The chiropractor works on the leg with message and gentle exercise with the expectation that when the patient is again able to walk normally his other problems will go away. The chiropractor either ignores or doesn't know that the patient has a malignant brain tumor that causes the pain and the partial paralysis. We in the west are trying to treat the partial or complete paralysis of democracy in Egypt and are ignoring serious problems in the social and economic structure of that country.
Anyway, that's my opinion about Egypt. Any comments, corrections, brickbats?