The violence in Egypt is simply breathtaking. Maybe heartbreaking is a better term.. I understand that Egyptians, for the most part, weren’t happy with the Muslim brotherhood. I’m sorry. If you indeed had a free and fair election, you need to live with the consequences. I am sitting here in North Carolina seizing over what has happened to what was the most progressive state in the South. Our answer is not to take to the streets and begin randomly shooting people. Instead, we are organizing. We’re going to get more people registered to vote. We’re going to vote these ultra conservative Republicans out of office and take back our state.
Paul Krugman had two excellent posts yesterday. The first post had two things that were very interesting to me. First, Professor Krugman wondered if most Americans knew that the budget deficit has been rapidly decreasing. Somebody from Google got in contact with him and they quickly put out a survey. This isn’t the exact same thing as a poll, but it does give you an idea of the power of the Internet. The poll suggested that over 75% of the respondents had no idea that the federal deficit had significantly decreased. This brings me to my next point, that the budget deficit has significantly decreased compared to GDP.
In Paul Krugman’s other post, he talks a little bit about the economy in the Netherlands. The Netherlands had the kind of “Grand Bargain” that several in Washington have been arguing for for the last couple of years. Basically, cut the federal budget and cut the federal budget some more. Then, when you think you’re through, cut the federal budget once more for good measure. Well, this didn’t work out so well for the Netherlands. Their economy is in the tank. Continue reading News Roundup – Egypt, Paul Krugman, North Carolina→
It is hard for me to say exactly what country has caused my biggest disappointment over the last year or two, but Egypt has to be in the top five. It is impossible to rule a country based on public whim. Several months ago, Egypt went through their “Arab Spring” and threw out their longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak. Following this, they went through a somewhat democratic process in which they set up democratic institutions and largely elected representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood. A year later, Egyptians were frustrated. The exact source of frustration is somewhat confusing. It seems to be a combination of economic woes plus new religious restrictions imposed by the Muslim Brotherhood. What is clear is that Egyptians took to the strange. Their military deposed, ousted and overthrew the democratically elected president and his government. As far as I know, this isn’t how democracy works.
The police and armed civilians opened fire Saturday with live ammunition on protesters against Egypt’s new military government, witnesses said, killing scores of people as hopes faded that the Egyptian military would reach any political accommodation with the Muslim Brotherhood and its ousted president, Mohamed Morsi. Continue reading Egypt→
Yesterday, Egypt’s “President” Hosni Mubarakgave some rambling speech, ending with “I’m not stepping down.” (I paraphrased a little bit.) This in spite of the fact that highly placed sources stated that the President was going to vacate the office. To say that this was a let down would be the understatement of the decade. This led to more protests today. Finally, after 18 days of demonstrations, the president got out of Dodge. He abdicated. He left the building (with billions of dollars, not millions, but billions!!!).
I know that many progressives are doing the “happy dance” for the Egyptian people. I would like to wait. I would like to see what comes next. Currently, Egypt is under military rule. What kind of interim government will the military set up? What kind changes will be made to the Egyptian Constitution? Will the people be involved in any of these decisions? When will real elections be held? In my mind, there’s too much uncertainty for me to give a big thumbs up for a dictator who just left the office. I am happy for the Egyptian people but there is much work to do.
History tells us that democracy is hard. If democracy was easy, everyone would have one. Can the Egyptians make the difficult decisions and continue their progress towards freedom and liberty for all? This young Google executive, Wael Ghonim… can he step up to the plate and be the leader they Egypt needs him to be? What role did the US play in Mubarak leaving? Any or nothing? What role will the Obama administration play to support democracy?
Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Friday, bowing down after a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands. “The people ousted the president,” chanted a crowd of tens of thousands outside his presidential palace in Cairo.
Several hundred thousand protesters massed in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square exploded into joy, waving Egyptian flags, and car horns and celebratory shots in the air were heard around the city of 18 million in joy after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall.
Mubarak had sought to cling to power, handing some of his authorities to Suleiman while keeping his title. But an explosion of protests Friday rejecting the move appeared to have pushed the military into forcing him out completely. Hundreds of thousands marched throughout the day in cities across the country as soldiers stood by, besieging his palace in Cairo and Alexandria and the state TV building. (more…)