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Weekend Sober Thread: Shit's Gettin' Real in Egypt

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. DrFrylock

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    There was minor discussion about the situation in Egypt in the drunk thread but fear of the "no politics" rule kicked in, and rightly so. However, this is an important situation for the world community, and TiBbers who are so-inclined should have a place to talk about it.

    As with other sober threads, the no-politics rule is suspended in THIS THREAD ONLY, but other rules (the no-asshole rules, the don't-post-your-goddamn-cellphone-number-on-the-Internet rule, and the rest) still apply.

    EDIT: I note also that RCGT, our resident Egyptian transplant, has not posted in about a week. Hope all is well...
     
  2. jordan_paul

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    Ive been in country for the past week and have heard of the rioting, but what exactly are they fighting about?
     
  3. Juice

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    Shits definitely getting real over there. I like how Mubarek dismissed his cabinet to qualm the protesters, some how missing the point. I haven't been paying much attention to it, but I guess the big fear is these countries (Tunisia as well) turning into some sort of Islamic theocracy, which is exactly what that region needs more of. Hopefully they don't go that route, but the results of the Shah of Iran being overthrown speaks differently.

    Can't we talk about some important news like Jersey Shore heading to Italy!?
     
  4. DrFrylock

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  5. Omegaham

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    Egypt's been going through some really tough times lately. The government hasn't really changed in the last 30 years, and while it's reasonably stable, it's corrupt as hell and doesn't really care about the people. Somehow, people have finally decided that some change is in order, and they're doing it through the good old fashioned way - burning cars and throwing rocks at cops.

    Mayhem ensues, and sooner or later the current dictator is going to get ousted. Whether bloody executions will follow is up for debate. One thing's for certain, though - the faces will change, but Egypt will remain a third-world corrupt kleptocracy regardless of who's at the helm.
     
  6. Harry Coolahan

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    It's funny... I spent all of last semester studying the history of the Middle East from WWI through to the present. One very clear theme was how revolutions like this were a pretty typical way of enacting any kind of social change. I had foolishly thought that there were enough modern political processes in place that this kind of stuff was obsolete, but clearly not. The more things change, the more they stay the same...

    My prediction is: Mubarak will stay on power. As long as his police/army doesn't get overwhelmingly violent, the protests will exhaust themselves out over the next week or three and they'll dissipate after he makes some significant (to the Egyptians) but ultimately pointless (to threatening his power) change. For an example, see: Yemen's president cutting income taxes by half, to placate protestors that were outraged at his bill that would allow him to maintain his presidency for life.
     
  7. Evildreams

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    My prediction is that by the end of this year, the flag of jihad will be flying above Tunisian government buildings. The people of these countries see their governments as corrupt (which they are), and as supported by the US (which they are), so the imams are taking advantage of this panic. Tunisia was one of the most 'liberal' north African countries, they allow tourists to drink alcohol etc. My guess is the only north African country which can avoid revolution is Libya. But when you've got a dictator whose been in power for 40 year, who each year gets billions from the Italian government, well, it's not that easy to overthrow someone like Gadaffi.

    In Egypt there have already been unconfirmed reports that the family of the president, have escaped to england. We'll have to see how things progress, but there have been reports that a policeman shot dead a protester who was throwing rocks. If the protests continue, the president will flee the country in the next few weeks. Ben Ali took with him 24% of his country's gold reserves, let's see what Mubarak takes with him.
     
  8. Captain Apathy

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    I was in Egypt last month visiting a cousin who works for USAID. Crazy fucking place with no traffic laws and millions of people who will literally lift the money from your wallet in exchange for directions, but everything seemed fairly calm. The cousin emailed me today and said there haven't been any protests in his neck of the woods (read: suburban, expat, well-off), but if things get rougher, there could be a blanket order for foreign nationals to evacuate. Fun fact: this cousin had papers to go to Haiti in January 2010.

    It's interesting how our government has to walk a very fine line with Mubarak. He's an authoritarian scumbag, but if he steps down, the only group with an organization in place is the Muslim Brotherhood, who, you know, hate us. We'd all love to see El Baradei running things, but the secular democratic opposition in Cairo is weaker than wet Kleenex. As a result, the State Dept's position for the past 20 years has basically been "yes, Mubarak's an asshole, but he's our asshole."

    For the record, I had a great time when I was in Egypt. The pyramids really have to be seen in order to grasp their true size, and the Egyptian Museum is the kind of place where you can get lost for days.
     
  9. Bjornturoc

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    We're all being taught an old and valuable lesson about the middle east. Unless someone is pressing down on the people's thumbs, these Arab countries go nuts for extremists. Forget separation of church and state, these people need to learn separation of church and reality. How do you go about fixing a mess like this? Any guesses?
     
  10. Kubla Kahn

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    The Super Bowls in a couple of weeks isn't it?



    Someone pass me a beer.
     
  11. Durbanite

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    There is no fixing this mess. Circumstances will never change in these countries, purely because it's against the will (and the mostly hostile-to-the-West intentions) of the majority of Imams and Islamic Councils to have the populace educated. They rely on ignorance for their Jihad. The only reason this is a problem *now* is due to the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons in the Middle East since WW2 and the adoption of terrorist tactics (thank you, T.E. Lawrence) and, of course, cheaply available worldwide travel - a concoction of nastyness.
     
  12. Juice

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    Unless you have an extremely charismatic, moderate Muslim leader who is willing to stand up to extremism and put his life on the line, there really isn't anything. These problems are generational and compound that with their main source of information being al Jazeera. One argue people like to throw out that it's the western world's meddling during eras like the Cold War that causes these nations to turn to their religion and hate us, which is only half correct. Islam is going through it's own version of the Crusades and they are so hell bent on Islam being the absolute, theyre willing to kill us, each other, and themselves to that end.

    I think nothing is going to change, just like nothing changed after the Iranian student protests in 2009. As you said, these people need a brutal dictator keeping their asses in line because they sure as shit wont know what to with Democracy. But if the government does change, Its all about what theyre willing to listen too. Unfortunately it's much easier to listen to hate speech and blame others for the problems than to look inward, nothing unites like hatred.
     
  13. ghettoastronaut

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    Don't pretend this doesn't extend to opinions of Islam as much as it extends to opinions about everything from worldly issues to TV shows.

    Come on. If you think one or the other transliteration of Arabic is more or less PC or sensitive than the other, you've got your priorities messed up. There are as many different spellings of the Koran as there are of Mao Zedong or Tchaikovsky. This is like quibbling over the use of STD and STI. I can't claim this as my own, but I like repeating it: everything everyone says is always politically correct. It's just correct by their own politics. Not that I particularly take issue with your assessment of Islam, but you were clearly eager to use the opportunity to rant about political correctness. If you ask me, it detracts from making a serious argument.

    Me, I just hope there isn't a Revolutionary Guards style counter-revolution that takes place. But I don't know. It doesn't seem that a group of people united only by their hatred for the government and organized by Twitter will be able to form a government (or more accurately a political system) that will a) be friendly to Western values, b) be supported by a large number of people, and c) remain stable. You can pick two of those characteristics.
     
  14. BL1Y

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    If the French Revolution were today, the US government would support the monarchy because it's a "stable ally" and we feared the formation of socialist state that would be easily influenced by communist nations like Russia and China.

    In 1776 we figured that 50,000 deaths was a fair price to pay for liberty, democracy, and all that jazz. But now we're willing to support the oppression of 80 million people in Egypt, for what? To prevent another 9/11? As bad as 9/11 was, we lose 10x as many people every year in car wrecks.

    Our cost/benefit ratio is seriously fucked up.
     
  15. Cotton

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    What's going on in Egypt and Tunisia is about jobs and the economic prospects of the people, not religious extremism. I've not once read of any of the boilerplate "Down with America" or "Death to the infidels" chanting that's usually standard in middle east protests.What I have been reading though, are protesters telling reporters that they have a law degree, or an engineering degree, and they support their families by selling fruit or cleaning houses.

    It still remains to be seen if the government has the will to muster the brutality necessary to cow the protesters. I think Mubarak could still lower the boom much like Iran did, face a cold shoulder from the west for a period of time, and then act conciliatory to remain in power. He would still be our asshole in the middle east, only more so.

    Also, I don't buy that a Muslim country left to its own devices would necessarily become a religious theocracy. I visited Turkey in 2009, and not once did I have my head cut off.
     
  16. BL1Y

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    Lawyers paying the bills by cleaning houses? Shit we have that here! <a class="postlink" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/09/10/2010-09-10_jobless_lawyer_misses_babysitting_job_offers_to_do_housekeeping_one_more_attorne.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/201 ... torne.html</a>

    But yeah, I got the same impression: It's the economy, stupid.
     
  17. lostalldoubt86

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    I love how intelligent many members of this board are. I know this is completely off-topic, but I don't have anything of equal intelligence to say about the situation in Egypt and I'm really just loving this thread
     
  18. BL1Y

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    China is not allowing people to search for "Egypt" on their Twitter-like service Sina.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2011/01/201112991712140318.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia- ... 40318.html</a>

    But, no chance Obama is going to demand that Hu Jintao allow his people access to social networking tools.
     
  19. Juice

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    You're correct. Im not saying that once the president is gone, theyre going to become the next Iran. But there are groups that will try to seek power from a weakened government, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. While the prospect of a muslim theocracy isnt necessarily high, its not out of the question. Egyptians dont have a blind hatred for western culture and will be more resilient to theocratic government, but sometimes that doesnt matter.

    One interesting fact is that out of all nations in the Middle East, the citizenry of Iran has a (comparatively) higher approval rating of the West. However, Ahmadinejad's government is strong enough to hold down against the protests we saw in June 2009. Like I said before, its all about what the people of Egypt are willing to listen to. Heres an interesting article on it that also applies to Egypt.
     
  20. BL1Y

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    Remember when Egypt was part of the West? What a difference a few centuries can make.

    Anyone know how the average Egyptian sees where Egypt fits into the world? Do they consider themselves Middle Eastern? Mediterranean? African?