Couple of days ago in the weekend I was reading a long article about an expat's view about Cairo. There is a part where the writer is wondering how will Egypt survive all what it is facing inside and outside. I thought I should share it with this blog audience to discuss.
Dr. Raymond William Baker, Trinity College
How, one wonders, will Egypt survive? Once the lead society for the whole Arab world, Egypt is now bereft of much of the intellectual and social weight it had enjoyed throughout the modern period and very little is left of its political influence.
“Political life in Egypt,” pronounced one moderate Islamist public figure, “is clinically dead and awaiting burial.” To be sure, the regime is stage managing a multitude of proposed constitutional amendments but the whole process appears aimed simply in preserving and extending the dictatorship.
The economy, we are told by the business class and their American friends, is doing just fine. But for whom: the business elite have a stranglehold on the economy that has gone beyond corruption, compressing the middle class and the impoverishing the masses. Ordinary Egyptians are exhausted. All of their efforts go into survival with little time for family or friends.
But what I have always loved most in Egypt is the unwarranted optimism, guileless generosity of spirit, and sheer joy for living that are the enduring characteristics of the Egyptian people. And there are still such moments: You feel it politically when Kefaya brings together political currents across the spectrum, from the Brothers to the Marxist left – all part of the Egyptian family as Naguib Mahfuz painted them in his classic trilogy. You sense it when the centrist Islamist al Wasat Party continues to develop its ideas and grows in influence in Egyptian civil society as an embodiment of democracy within Islam – despite a decade of official obstacles and impediments. But the immediate future seems to offer little more than prolonged immoblism and sterility.