Revolt in Egypt

The Egyptian tyrant Hosni Mubarak, after having ruled for thirty years under the emergency laws called into effect after the assassination of Anwar Sadat, has been confronted with the largest demonstrations against his regime since the ‘bread riots’ in the 1970s. His infantile tinpot tyranny has given the Egyptian people nothing whatsoever in thirty years of rule: one-third of the population is illiterate, a quarter lives on less than $2 a day, there are virtually no political institutions that can represent the popular will and needs, and the Third World ‘population trap’ is present in one of its worst forms in that country. Mubarak has now declared around midnight local time in Cairo that he has fired his government, many of whose ministers had been ‘serving’ for more than ten years; although this is a blatant attempt at sacrificing those around him in order to buy himself time and legitimacy, this seems if anything rather a sign of weakness. The inspiration from the people of Tunisia in their overthrow of the useless kleptocracy of Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali will certainly have played a major role, but so has the persistent economic failure of the government, the lack of development, and the worsening of poverty under the current crisis and the attendant rise in food prices. Continue reading “Revolt in Egypt”

Revolution in Tunisia

All the Arab world, and perhaps the wider world as well, is amazed at the recent news that the Tunisian people have risen up and overthrown their dictator of many years, Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali. Ben Ali, who was known for holding ‘elections’ in which he invariably won with at least 90% of the vote, had ruled for about 24 years without interruption or meaningful opposition. During his reign, Tunisia underwent a period of steady economic growth and an influx of foreign tourism, while domestic opposition both of the left and of the reactionary kind was easily kept in check by Ben Ali’s security apparatus. Tunisia as a result was never known as a country with much serious chance of undergoing revolt, let alone revolution; it was praised by the hypocrites in the West as a fount of ‘stability’, that Holy Grail of Western policy, by which they mean the persistence of tyranny. But as Mao said, all reactionaries when it comes to it are paper tigers, and are easily blown away by the wind, no matter how strong they may look from the outside. This month in 2011 therefore marks the important date of being the first time in history that direct street protests and revolt managed to overthrow, and overthrow quickly and efficiently, an Arab dictator. Continue reading “Revolution in Tunisia”