Friday, February 8, 2008

Egypt - Masr yamma ya bahiyya

What's going on in Egypt? Here's an article by Hashim Safieddine titled: "The economic stick and Egypt's dependency: The forgotten face of the struggle". The author discusses the replacement of US aid to Egypt with trade agreements, which are pushing the country into the neo-liberal camp, a move that only profits Capital. He also discusses linkages between aid and radical economic reforms (this is very common with US aid). He then indicates that the invisible hand of the market did not benefit Egypt as much as it did the US: US imports into Egypt increased but Egyptian exports to the US did not, which caused further trade imbalances. These are evaluated at $1.5 billions, or one and a half times the total value of aid offered by the US since 1998. The author also makes an interesting observation, which is the change of hands of the regime from the military and bureaucrats (Mubarak the elder) to the businessmen (Mubarak the younger).

Another article on the Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris by Dina Hashmat in which she says: "Of course he loves Egypt, which country could have made him richer?" (he is number 62 in Forbes list of billionaires 2007). Worth reading if you are interested in token "good" gestures of cut-throat capital.

And then there is this Washington Post article on the Egyptian government appropriating farmer's land on the Island of Gold, a small island populated with farmers who feed much of Cairo with grain, dairy and vegetables. The purpose: urban development- investments that benefit a precious few. This is what the farmers think of it:

""We will die to protect this land," said Ashraf Kamal, a 46-year-old farmer.

"We will die, and they will die, too," said Um Khaled, 56, a woman with chapped, round cheeks sitting in a reed hut lit by bars of sunlight. "

And you know what the sad thing is? They probably will...

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