Democracy is the Solution (via Out of the Black)

This blog post is an analysis of Dr. Aswany’s words and the state of the nation of Egypt. In the United States, there is an assumption that foreigners are always moving toward an American style democracy. I do not believe the current American government is a shining light on a hill to virtually any foreign nation or its people. The adoption of torture demonstrate to many that the United States has given up on moral absolutes and operates only along the lines of what action is most profitable at the time. The best we can hope for is the development of democratic reform. A nation with the kind of rich educational and philosophical history of Egypt is quite capable of developing its own democratic institutions.

James Pilant

This is my favorite paragraph –

Ultimately, I think Dr Aswany’s answer is that the revolution was the cry of wounded human dignity. Firstly, many of his stories involve Egyptians being sent to several different hospitals and being refused treatment at each, like a scene from The Death of Mr Lazerescu, or being asked for a bribe. Secondly, Egyptians regard Gulf States seeking domestic servants in their country as an affront, especially as the idea of Pan-Arabism is a deep political instinct. Thirdly, attitudes to women and sexuality play a highly significant part in Dr Aswany’s rejection of the cult of power and formulaic Islam. Despite, or rather, because of the introduction of the hijab and the niqab, sexual harassment has risen exponentially, leading us to conclude that societies which seek to place the blame on victims merely encourage the urges of the perpetrators.

On the State of Egypt; What Caused the Revolution by Alaa Al Aswany (2011) Addressing distinguished guests at the Mansion House last month, William Hague called the Arab Spring ‘perhaps the main event of the twenty-first century so far.’ More significant than the rise of al-Qaeda, which changed the course of Western foreign policy in the region, or the global economic crisis, which has accelerated the relative decline of the West vis-à-vis China … Read More

via Out of the Black

Facebook, Twitter Push Hazare’s Lokpal Bill Fight Facebook, Twitter Push Hazare’s Lokpal Bill Fight (via Pratyush K. Pattnaik)

By all means, let’s join the struggle. Hazare’s battle is our battle, wherever we live, whatever we do, our lives are diminished by corruption – but also enriched by the efforts of the wise and heroic.

Go to Facebook – Join up.

James Pilant

Facebook, Twitter Push Hazares Lokpal Bill Fight Facebook, Twitter Push Hazares Lokpal Bill Fight Over 1,00,000 followers on Facebook; over 7 lakh people express their solidarity through phone lines Satyagraha finds its way onto new media, after Facebook, Twitter and SMS added teeth to social activist Anna Hazares crusade against corruption. Hazares protest involves him fasting until death till the government agrees to table the Lokpal Bill, which puts corrupt politicians to accountability and scrutiny by an independent body. In practically … Read More

via Pratyush K. Pattnaik

How The Mubarak Family Made Its Billions ~ Marcus Baram (via PLANETIZEN POST)

Frankly, I was curious about this myself. Amassing 5 to 10 billion dollars or more (there are estimates of up to 70 billion) while working on a government salary, be it in the United States or Egypt,  requires considerable energy.

How did they do it? My figured it was the usual means such as corruption in state-owned enterprises and government-run banks giving out loans without the expectation of being paid back. However, they did it more slowly with the appearance of legality.

This scheme appears to be based on the 51% rule. That rule says that no foreign business can be set up in Egypt without a majority stake being owned by an Egyptian. Obviously, the Mubarak family is more “Egyptian” than anyone else.

There is a warning in this. Nations requiring such partnerships may not in reality be all that friendly to business, not in the long-term. Certainly foreign interests are going to take a hit when they are in such an incestuous relationship with a corrupt government, first by shakedown and then by the inevitable revolution.

Such economic rules exist in many parts of the globe. The most prominent being China. For those businesses investing overseas I would recommend caution in these kinds of partnerships. Such an investment may pay off for the next quarter or the next year. But in theory, corporations are eternal. Having your immortal organization seized by an enraged population is an ignominious end. The situation in Egypt is a textbook example of how such investment can go wrong.

Whether the investment is shared with a corrupt Middle Eastern nation run by a single family or by a single political party (Chinese Communist), the future is hardly serene.

James Pilant

How The Mubarak Family Made Its Billions ~ Marcus Baram A tourist in Cairo spots three photographs on the wall of a restaurant: one of Nasser, another of Sadat, and the third of Hosni Mubarak. He asks the owner who the first man is, and the owner tells him it’s the man who overthrew the Egyptian monarchy and served as the country’s president. “Who’s the second man?” the tourist wants to know. “That’s Anwar Sadat, our next president,” comes the reply. “He made peace with Israel but was assassinated in … Read More


Popular Revolt in the Arab World (via Grand Strategy: The View from Oregon)

These events are hardcore business ethics matters. It is the economic theories of the Chicago School of Economics that propels the austerity measures all over the world. It is the intense privatization movements again pushed by American philosophies and business interests that is a factor in these conflicts. I will cover the IMF and its part in these uprisings in more detail in my next posting.

There are few commentators I trust as much as J. N. Nielsen. Certainly very few are as well read.

I strongly recommend his writings.

James Pilant

Popular Revolt in the Arab World Thursday Tunisia’s authoritarian government of several decades duration has fallen to a popular uprising. This was not a perfectly bloodless revolution, but bloodshed was definitely kept to a minimum, largely because security forces took the side of protest … Read More

via Grand Strategy: The View from Oregon

EGYPT [26-29] Revolution goes on (via News For A European Strike)

There is some protest videos here from the Egyptian Revolution. I am given hope by the events in Tunisia and Egypt that no matter how rich, powerful and protected by all the powers of the state that the privileged rulers are, there is in the end the possibility of justice.

These revolutions are not just local affairs. From the unrest in Iran a few years ago to the current revolutionary struggles, these are the beginnings of a worldwide movement to shake the foundation of the ruling oligarchy all over this planet.

These are great days to be alive because we actually men and women act with courage in the face of tremendous odds. May we see that kind of courage here in the United States as well.

James Pilant

Huge protests all arround the country against Mubarak’s government. Citizens challenge the curfew in the streets. Internet and mobile communications have been blocked by the government in order to keep the people uncommuncated. Read More


Is Access to Social Networking a Measure of a Society’s Freedom? (via The Philosopher’s Eye)

Access to social networking is becoming a measure of freedom, certainly not the main or the only one, but a measure of freedom. And it will become more critical as time goes by.

Everywhere and particularly in the United States, the Internet and social networking are the only remaining avenues of citizen democracy as the rest of the media and the government settle into a single pointless monolith.

My heart goes out to people everywhere on this earth – who suffer the terrible pain to live in countries with the kind of leadership we have now.

James Pilant

Is Access to Social Networking a Measure of a Society's Freedom? In responding to the political demonstrations, the Egyptian government has disrupted internet service and mobile phone services, in the obvious hopes of (a) reducing the volume of testimonies and videos being communicated outside of the country and (b) to disrupt the capacity of the protesters to remain organised and to communicate their progress to the greater population. The BBC reports that both Facebook and Twitter— relied upon by protest org … Read More

via The Philosopher’s Eye