The story is as familiar to us as our favorite Hollywood films and Stieg Larsson novels: evil industrialists, usually of fascist tendencies, rule over a land by cruelty, oppressing the innocent people.
A few lone brave voices stand out, are ignored for a while, then the people come to them and unite and the resulting mob takes down the dictator and saves the day. Yay! Toot!
The movie ends before you see how that works out, because filming 20 years of rebuilding a government is not only boring as bricks to most people, but also requires facing some hard truths. There will be blood.
As the Egyptian riots progressed, the media feeding frenzy spun “discontented students throwing bricks” into a full-on People’s Revolution For Great Justice, and then the rioters wised up and started calling it the same thing.
But as the days have trickled past, more of the truly interesting structure underneath the skin has emerged:
In an interview for the American news channel CNN, to be broadcast tomorrow, David Cameron said: â€œI think what we need is reform in Egypt. I mean, we support reform and progress in the greater strengthening of the democracy and civil rights and the rule of law.â€
The US government has previously been a supporter of Mr Mubarakâ€™s regime. But the leaked documents show the extent to which America was offering support to pro-democracy activists in Egypt while publicly praising Mr Mubarak as an important ally in the Middle East.
In a secret diplomatic dispatch, sent on December 30 2008, Margaret Scobey, the US Ambassador to Cairo, recorded that opposition groups had allegedly drawn up secret plans for â€œregime changeâ€ to take place before elections, scheduled for September this year. – The Telegraph
The USA uses its anti-culture as a neutralizing force. If your government has views we don’t like, or even might, we will export our disabling lifestyle to you. When democracy, consumerism and narcissism are in your country as well, you will be like us: unable to act except in “he attacked us first” circumstances, and always passive-aggressive.
Except for you, well, you’re not a superpower, so you can’t even be halfway effective. But your people will think they are happy. They will have McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, “freedom” (which no one will define), sexual liberation, welfare, etc. All the goodies will be free. You will have bought them off with the oldest bribes known to humanity. This will keep them and you as a nation ineffective, decadent and most likely compliant to the wishes of your favorite superpower.
A good instigator — or salesperson — knows that every person on earth has a weak spot. Something is not right in their view of the world, and so they can be manipulated. Don’t like those unsightly hairs? Think it’s terrible how we treat the Eskimoes? Wish the streets were painted pink? Well then: we have a solution (product) for you!
As a result, revolutions tend to find ideological expressions for psychological discontents. In Egypt, it wasn’t “freedom” — it was a rising population, meaning that people felt oppressed by each other’s needs, and they want to be bought off with goodies if they’re going to have to live in a dying society:
The truth is there are simply too many people for the countryâ€™s limited resources. When Mubarak came to power in 1981, there were 44 million. Today there are 83 million, and most live in a narrow ribbon of the Nile Valley, just over three per cent of the country.
The government has had to double the housing, double road and rail networks and in a desert country with little rain, greatly increase irrigation to feed the population.
Egypt has had to become the biggest importer of wheat in the world. Food price inflation is now running at 17 per cent and economists say living standards are lower than 1911, when there were only 12 million mouths to feed.
Just last November, economist Hamdi Abdel-Azim warned: â€œIf the rise in food costs persists, there will be an explosion of popular anger against government.â€
That said, Mubarak has for long been acutely aware of the looming crisis. In 2008, banners adorned Cairo streets, pleading: â€œBefore you add another baby, make sure his needs are secured.â€ – The Express
Overpopulation doesn’t happen because of governments, especially not totalitarian governments. It happens because governments are not totalitarian enough to regulate breeding, as was done in China. Mubarak “pleaded” with his population, but if he wanted to stave off the revolution, he needed to make abortion mandatory until the population was under control. Instead, he gets this revolution.
Humans have a nasty habit of dressing up their covert wants and frustrations as ideological needs. Ideology may be the most defunct category of human ideas as a result, because most ideologies seem to be justifications for results that hide the actual impulses to that result.
It reminds me of college, where about sophomore year most males became “feminist” in order be able to partake in the sexual smorgasbord parading before our eyes. If you say the right thing in airy conceptual language, you get the right result in gritty earthy reality.
The United States government and the people of Egypt are both hiding behind “freedom” and “democracy” as excuses to manipulate a bad situation into a worse one. What happens when popular tastes turn toward violence? No one was thinking about that at the time, future history books will reveal.