Sorry to be away from this blog for so long, but in face of today's events I can't keep away any longer. I've been watching the events in Egypt via a live feed via Al Jazeera and I have to say that I'm impressed with what I see. Huge crowds of people massing together with great discipline and dignity. Surrounded by an armed force that has, so far, also behaved with great dignity and restraint. A peaceful revolution in the making! With the eyes of the world upon it. Thanks to Al Jazeera. Let us hope it can remain peaceful.
The question is: what are they rebelling against? Who is the real enemy? Mubarack? Well, for now he is the focus, yes. Everyone was hoping he'd step down today, but it's clear he has no intention of doing so. Will he or won't he? I have a feeling it doesn't matter. It seems inevitable that the army will, at least for now, side with the masses of protesters. The presidential palace will be stormed, and Mubarack will either be arrested or killed.
Then what? Is Mubarack really the problem? Will the problem vanish when he is gone? The real problem in Egypt, as all over the world is, very simply: inequality. The students of Egypt have been swindled. There are no jobs for them and no future. But students all over the world have been swindled. Certainly students here in the US who now owe tens of thousands of dollars with little or no prospect of any sort of job at all have been swindled. So have workers, so many of whom have lost their jobs. But so what, since the jobs they lost weren't worth much to begin with.
We are told there ARE no jobs. We can no longer compete with India or China. Automation has made humans obsolete in any case. This is the message we are hearing all over the world from our leaders. Even the leader in which we have invested so much hope, Barack Obama. No jobs, no prospects, no money, no nothing. We have no choice but to drive down that terrible deficit and hope that some miracle will rescue us.
Meanwhile, the wealthy and well connected, the ones who created the huge disaster that got us into the mess, continue to do all too well for themselves, living like kings at our expense.
Sorry. I was speaking about Egypt, but as I see it, Egypt is only the beginning, because this is a worldwide problem. The media keep talking about unrest in the Arab world, as though the Arab world was the only place where the wealthy are gorging themselve on the future of the people. When Mubarck is out, then the real test will come. Will the educated young people of Egypt recognize their real enemy? Will they demand an end to inequality? Will they create a government that has the balls to confiscate the absurdly inflated wealth of the elite? And if they do, then what country will be next in line?
We are continually being told there is no money for this or for that, while the world is reeling with the excesses of billionaires who literally don't know what to do with all their cash. We are told that automation has made so many jobs obsolete and isn't that a shame, as though anyone in his or her right mind would even want such a job. If computers can do what humans used to do, then as I see it those humans should now be free to do more interesting, challenging and creative things with their lives.
But the computers are working for the privileged elite, not for us. And why is that? Why is it that the elites are the ones who profit from cheap labor and automation -- at our expense? ONLY because we let them.
The Egyptians protestors strike me as highly educated and intelligent. I have a feeling they are going to figure this out. Egypt will never be the same. And neither will the rest of the world.