Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Root of All Evil

A thoughtful review of two memoirs of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 provides some very good context for understanding the events one year one. Reviewer Lee Smith clearly identifies the military establishment as the ruling authority in Egypt.

And their motive:
Those who dismiss the likelihood of renewed Israeli-Egyptian conflict assume that the Egyptian army does not dare forfeit the $1.3 billion that flows to it in U.S. military aid each year. However, the army’s priority is not to obtain American cash but simply to stay in power. Over the past half-century, international, regional and domestic dynamics have repeatedly driven Egypt’s rulers and its army to make war against Israel in spite of what would seem to be their better interests. A military that represses its people for the sake of its own wealth is liable to make any sort of mistake. (emphasis added)

To stay in power. That says it all.

The two books reviewed, Liberation Square by Ashraf Khalil and Revolution 2.0 by Wael Ghonim offer the reader differing perspectives on a cataclysmic national experience. As initiator of the Facebook site that launched the protests, Ghonim talks from the inside. Khalil gives the broader context. Reviewer Lee believes Ghonim’s "two understated chapters of his time in chains and blindfolded deserve to become part of the canon of classic prison literature... " which puts it in high company. Lee describes Khalil's work as "a solid journalistic account that places the Egyptian revolution in a regional context and details the events over the past decade that led to Mubarak’s downfall."

Both worth reading if you want some first-hand accounts of people demanding change.

And remember:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

--Frederick Douglass

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