Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reply: Survival in Egypt


Here is a good article on Egypt you will be interested in, reporting on
things that most media ignored, notably a short period of anarchy when
all hell broke loose:

Here is an excerpt:
"Saturday was indescribable. Nothing that I write can describe the utter
state of lawlessness that prevailed. Every Egyptian prison was attacked
by organized groups trying to free the prisoners inside. In the case of
the prisons holding regular criminals this was done by their families
and friends. In the case of the prisons with the political prisoners
this was done by the Islamists. Bulldozers were used in those attacks
and the weapons available from the looting of police stations were
available. Nearly all the prisons fell. The prison forces simply could
not deal with such an onslaught and no reinforcements were available.
Nearly every terrorist held in the Egyptian prisons from those that
bombed the Alexandria Church less than a month ago to the Murderer of
Anwar El Sadat was freed, the later reportedly being arrested again

On the streets of Cairo it was the scene of a jungle. With no law
enforcement in town and the army at a loss at how to deal with it, it
was the golden opportunity for everyone. In a city that is surrounded
with slums, thousands of thieves fell on their neighboring richer
districts. People were robbed in broad daylight, houses were invaded,
and stores looted and burned. Egypt had suddenly fallen back to the
State of Nature. Panicking, people started grabbing whatever weapon they
could find and forming groups to protect their houses. As the day
progressed the street defense committees became more organized. Every
building had its men standing in front of it with everything they could
find from personal guns, knives to sticks. Women started preparing
Molotov bombs using alcohol bottles. Street committees started
coordinating themselves. Every major crossroad had now groups of
citizens stopping all passing cars checking their ID cards and searching
the cars for weapons. Machine guns were in high demand and were sold in
the streets."



Antiacus said...

I can't imagine. I feel bad for the old people in that country.

My concern is with Egypt's current treaty with Israel. There are forces in the region who will pry whatever leverage they can to force a war.

SiriusBlack said...

Those are the things that happen when you bottle up people's legitimate aspirations for so many decades. Hopefully the world will learn that "stability" means a lot more than keeping the same tinpot dictator in power.

Don Williams said...

Ferfal mentioned in his earlier post that INFLATION (plus unemployment) is often a trigger for the unrest we are seeing in Egypt.

Re that, The Financial Times (UK) had an interesting story on Friday, Feb 4, page 6 re Argentina inflation:
" Argentine economists say that the government has found a new way of dealing with high inflation: shoot the messenger.

The government this week sent a detailed questionnaire to private consultancies giving them 48 hours to spell out how they calculate their inflation estimates or face fines up to 500,000 pesos ($125,000 US).

Independent estimates put inflation last year at around 25 percent and reckon on 30 per cent for this year, way above the official 10.9 per cent rate for 2010.

Official price data have become so out of step with reality that union leaders, even in the public sector, disregard them when negotiating pay rises. Last year, unions secured pay increases of as much as 42.5 per cent."
ha ha. Article goes on to note that Argentina's people seem to accept high inflation so long as their salaries/purchasing power rises by a corresponding amount but that food price inflation (estimated to be 40 percent for past year) is a very sensitive political issue. Says it could be a major issue in upcoming Presidential election in October and that Cristina Fernandez has not yet said whether she will run for reelection.

Don Williams said...

1) There are signs that US President Obama is also "lying with statistics".
The US unemployment news release a few days ago said that US unemployment fell from 9.4 percent to 9.0 percent.

But if you look at the details of the numbers, that is because
they REDUCED the number of workers in the US Civilian Labor
Force by 2 MILLION before calculating the rate by dividing
the number of unemployed by the number of workers.

2) In other words, the Civilian NonInstitutional Population (Adults minus those in the military or in prison) GREW by 2 million but those 2 million people just disappeared when it came to counting the number of workers (Civilian Labor Force) --which
the government says SHRUNK by 170,000 workers in the past year.

As one person said, at this rate we will be back to full employment in no time.

3) NOTE also that this US recession is much different from past recessions. In past recessions, unemployment had started dropping rapidly by this point but is currently showing no signs of improvement.

See Chart 1 here:

Anonymous said...

wow, a great read. shows how it's practically impossible for US citizens to get the "real" story of events on the ground. i've been watching mostly al jazeera coverage, and this author shows that they have just as much of an agenda as any of the crappy US "news" stations.

the described power vacuum was unnerving. could you imagine a power vacuum like that occurring in someplace like New York, or LA? Total mayhem.


Anonymous said...

Why bring Israel into this dialogue at all? I don't see hunger among the Israeli population.

The Egyptians have their hands full dealing with the day to day. 80 million Egyptians don't want trouble - they want calm, peace, food and jobs.

Anonymous said...

ferfal, you have "been there and
done that". here it is Egypt-style:

Anonymous said...

"Why bring Israel into this dialogue at all? "

Because its all about Israel, allowing a democratic government would make those governments far more hostile to Israel. Hamas is the Gaza branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, with freedom they will be able to supply weapons, food and concrete to defend Gaza. Its a major problem for Israel having a free country along its borders that isn't in the pay of the USA.