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Debates Forum

  1. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Jan '16 20:451 edit
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/16/future-egypt-revolution-tahrir-square-jack-shenker

    This artical includes enough material to examine the extent to which Egypt's problems arise from the imposition of USA, European and IMF directed neoliberal policies in an utterly undemocratic manner, and its recent revolution was not an outburst of Islamist fever, but a demand for economic protection and democratic accountability. Contrary to the hysterical squeals of American and other Western media, the upheavals of the region are not a threat to western safety, but rather a threat to western imperialism and neocolonial practices, sucking the economic and political life out of the region, funding and protecting an arrogant elite that enjoy corrupt priviliges in exchange for protecting western corporate and financial interests, all at the expense of the people in a vast region filled with natural and human assets, from which a decent life could be achieved, but only when the western tyranny is terminated.
    The Nasserite state succeeded in delivering material security to much of its population, but it was based on a strictly paternal model of authority: the highest ranks of the military would rule in the interests of everybody, and everybody would be grateful for their munificence. As had been the case under colonialism, there was no room for popular participation or dissent. Over the following decades, as Nasser passed away and others succeeded him, that fundamental exclusion of most Egyptians from the political arena remained in place. One could plead for concessions, as a child might petition a father, but never intrude upon the state’s private fiefdoms, never exist as an equal.

    When Mubarak took office in the early 1980s, the Egyptian state remained as undemocratic as ever; by now, though, its operation was less concerned with delivering material security to its population and more with carving up social assets for the financial benefit of its custodians. In 1991, the Mubarak regime signed Egypt up to a structural adjustment programme administered by international financial institutions tasked with entrenching the free market mantra – “stabilise, privatise, liberalise” – wherever they wielded influence. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Egypt’s government sold off hundreds of public institutions, usually at below-market prices, to private investment consortiums that were often partnered with cabinet ministers or close Mubarak allies; social safety nets were scaled back, workers’ rights curtailed, and ordinary living standards reduced.

    A state that Nasser once claimed would offer an escape from feudal violence and imperialism had, by Mubarak’s era, become a transmission line for privileged appropriation and brutality. Abroad, western power-brokers queued up to applaud the transformation. In the runup to revolution, the IMF hailed Egypt’s economic policies as “prudent”, “impressive” and “bold”, and the World Bank labelled the country its “top Middle East reformer” three years in a row. Multilateral development banks opted to invest in funds run by some of Egypt’s most prominent kleptocrats; as a consequence, European taxpayers became unknowing business partners not only of the Egyptian government, but of the Mubarak family itself.

    The US, which made Egypt a key partner in its “war on terror” and used the country as a central base in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme, transferred more annual aid to the Mubarak regime than to any other nation bar Israel. “I really consider President and Mrs Mubarak to be friends of my family,” said the then secretary of state Hillary Clinton in 2009. A few months later Barack Obama described Mubarak as “a leader and a counsellor and a friend to the United States”, and the American ambassador in Cairo, Margaret Scobey, declared that Egyptian democracy was “going well”. The following year, a young man named Khaled Said was beaten to death by police officers outside an internet cafe, and Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic party awarded itself 96% of the vote in the first round of parliamentary elections.

    When the revolution erupted, the state upon which these “impressive” conditions depended was plunged into an unprecedented crisis.

    We are living through a period of global volatility, the roots of which can be traced back not only to 2011, when the Arab revolutions started, or even to the financial meltdown of 2008, but further still, to the late 1970s and early 1980s when the present iteration of highly financialised capitalism began to take hold. The relentless expansion of markets over recent decades has generated a growing disconnect between citizens and states, be they military autocracies or august procedural democracies; for better or for worse, from the rise of maverick politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to institutional chaos in southern Europe and the dissolution of national borders in the Middle East, existing political models are buckling under the strain. There is no guarantee that what emerges from this period will be more democratic than what has preceded it. But undoubtedly, those who are most invested in the old ways are facing a battle for their survival, and Egypt sits firmly on that battle’s frontline.

    Within Egypt, at the time of writing, it is the counter-revolution that is in the ascendancy – turbo-charged by vast foreign loans, a toxic brand of chauvinistic nationalism, and an endless stream of promises that under this regime, this time round, revolutionary aspirations will finally be fulfilled. Those promises are certain to be broken.
  2. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Jan '16 21:12
    I find it hard to stomach the deep awareness that the chaos and violence in this region is being systematically provoked by the most cynical people on our planet, who get much of their power not just from money and wealth as such, though that is real, but from the machinery of government, for which they require our votes. I observe so many internet forums in which it is clear that a great many people accept without question the racist, islamaphobic, "orientalist" cover stories under which the west is using OUR resources to reduce other countries to a social and environmental wilderness. Others fall prey to the cynical belief (carefully nurtured) that they cannot change government and that it is preferable to leave major decisions to secretive, unaccountable and deeply untrustworthy corporations. The so called "hidden hand" of the market is far more often the "unhidden hand" of economic, military and political coercion.

    Yet we have the power to use those same governmental resources to change things and create a far better world. I do not know if the people of Egypt will manage to exercise their latent power, as intimated in this excellent article, but I would like to see the people in western democracies, living in much better conditions, with much greater resources and far greater freedoms, getting their heads out of their fundaments and using their political resources to demand - and to effect - radical change.
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    17 Jan '16 21:13
    Is Islam the only religion/culture affected by US colonialism?
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    17 Jan '16 21:14
    Originally posted by whodey
    Is Islam the only religion/culture affected by US colonialism?
    I thought this was going to be about Islam colonizing the Western World.
  5. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Jan '16 21:20
    Originally posted by whodey
    Is Islam the only religion/culture affected by US colonialism?
    I am challenging the prevailing argument that Islam is the source of the current upheavals in the region and pointing the finger to the West.
  6. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Jan '16 21:20
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I thought this was going to be about Islam colonizing the Western World.
    Instead it is about us colonizing the middle east.
  7. Subscribersonhouse
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    17 Jan '16 21:21
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I thought this was going to be about Islam colonizing the Western World.
    It's not about the Islamophobic industry in the US?
  8. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Jan '16 21:272 edits
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    It's not about the Islamophobic industry in the US?
    Islamaphobia is a distraction from the real issues. Racism and extreme nationalism are classic distraction devices to confuse the public about the aggressive nature of their country's foreign interventions. Maybe US voters could start to question their government's truly massive levels of funding for apartheid Israel (which is in fact immensely wealthy in its own right) and for the autocratic regime in Egypt - for heavens sake, in a military dictatorship, why would the USA be funding the Egyptian military??? You are directly funding the tools of oppression against the Egyptian people while smirking about friendship between nations! Really, it is just friendship between arrogant elites.
    “I really consider President and Mrs Mubarak to be friends of my family,” said the then secretary of state Hillary Clinton in 2009. A few months later Barack Obama described Mubarak as “a leader and a counsellor and a friend to the United States”,
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    17 Jan '16 22:17
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Islamaphobia is a distraction from the real issues. Racism and extreme nationalism are classic distraction devices to confuse the public about the aggressive nature of their country's foreign interventions. Maybe US voters could start to question their government's truly massive levels of funding for apartheid Israel (which is in fact immensely wealthy in ...[text shortened]... ama described Mubarak as “a leader and a counsellor and a friend to the United States”, [/quote]
    Islamaphobia , the fear of Islam . The fear of being attacked on your street ,the fear of being blown up whilst travelling to work ,the fear of walking down the high street and a car rams you and people acting in the name of "Islam " cut your throat .
    Can you blame all these things on colonial days ?
    What do you blame these things on Finnegan ?
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    17 Jan '16 22:24
    Originally posted by phil3000
    Islamaphobia , the fear of Islam . The fear of being attacked on your street ,the fear of being blown up whilst travelling to work ,the fear of walking down the high street and a car rams you and people acting in the name of "Islam " cut your throat .
    Can you blame all these things on colonial days ?
    What do you blame these things on Finnegan ?
    Of course not. Islamic fundamentalists need to be held accountable for their actions.
    The Western World needs to do everything in their power to prevent future terrorist attacks like 9/11.
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    17 Jan '16 22:30
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    It's not about the Islamophobic industry in the US?
    No, its about the Political Correctness industry in the West.
  12. The moral highground
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    17 Jan '16 22:351 edit
    The problem is the far left.
  13. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Jan '16 23:15
    Originally posted by Eladar
    No, its about the Political Correctness industry in the West.
    Absurd and empty remark.
  14. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Jan '16 23:15
    Originally posted by Brother Edwin
    The problem is the far left.
    Absurd and hollow. Unable and unwilling to engage.
  15. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Jan '16 23:28
    Originally posted by quackquack
    Of course not. Islamic fundamentalists need to be held accountable for their actions.
    The Western World needs to do everything in their power to prevent future terrorist attacks like 9/11.
    I don't recall questioning that - I am opposed to political violence and abhor the 9-11 attacks as every decent human must - I also abhor the American support of the Egyptian military machine and subordination of foreign policy to the blood sucking greed of its corporations, as outlined in the article cited. I am not convinced that you oppose political violence - unilateral violence by the USA does not seem to be a problem for you.

    But Islamist terrorisim, and the 9-11 attack - do not acount for the issue of what is reducing the Middle East to a wasteland - apart from anything else, the timescales are all wrong - the chicken and the egg appear in the wrong order - and the finger points conclusively at western interference on a massive scale. Consider the evidence I presented and try to make a more considered response that takes it into account, that considers it, that evaluates it, that relates to it in any way. After all, if you are unable or unwilling to debate the information presented then you are just a noise, a rattle, an empty vessel, a recorded message, a looped tape, pointless, empty, futile, absurd, tiresome, irrelevant, typical...
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