Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why Are Egyptians Upset?

As protests swell in Cairo and schools are cancelled here in Ohio (due to snow and ice), CNN published a story based on interviews with people in the crowd  that helps explain why up to a million people have come out into the streets.

As one man shouted, "Mubarak has been here since Ronald Reagan."

A 23 year old man, who had struggled to arrive because the government shut down train services, said this:
I'd like to see a president in Egypt every eight years like in other countries. . . . This is just the country of rich people. I graduated from university and I speak four languages but I can't find a job because of nepotism and corruption. To do anything you have to pay money.
Sadly, his story is all-too-familiar for young Egyptians. Millions of them work hard, study hard, and strive to get ahead, but they are blocked by forces beyond their control. Their frustration was palpable to any visitor to Egypt who took the time to listen to them. These are bright, funny, thoughtful people who took jobs far below them just to buy food--or lost their dignity by paying bribes. Now they have finally had enough.

While much American commentary centers on fear for our strategic interests (and Israel's), not enough has focused on this straightforward demand for regular political change, economic opportunity, and less corruption. Although no government of any country can ever deliver all this, the people of Egypt (especially the young adults) will settle for Mubarak to go.

Call it term limits, Egyptian-style.

No comments:

Post a Comment