One year later – what is the reality of the “Arab Spring”?  Who has gain what?  Who has lost what?  What is the future for Tunisia?  Egypt?  Libya? Syria? Yemen?  Iran?  Saudi Arabia?  I’m not a political analyst but some things are pretty obvious…..Tunisia?  A year ago one young fruit seller set himself on fire because he had no money, no job.  This week FOUR young men in Tunisia set themselves on fire for the same reason….that suggests to me a worsening of the situation at street level.Libya?  I only know what I see on TV – ok they have got rid of a terrifying dictator – but there seems to be a lot of in-fighting going on among various tribes – I haven’t reached a conclusion on Libya.Syria?  One year on the killing continues.  There has not been a mass uprising there calling an end to the Regime – could it be that the West have it wrong?  Could it be that the majority of Syrians believe they have it better than if they go the road of revolution like Tunisia, Libya and Egypt?  I don’t know.

Yemen?  They are still fighting….is life there any better?

Iran?  You may be wondering why I am including Iran here….well, in the midst of the “Arab Spring” turmoil they are a stable and growing power.  But I have to ask why they are now coming under such attack from the US and UK government.  I like Press TV because it gives me a wider view of the world events than I find on Western media – so because they exist I can hear two sides of a story and then make up my own mind……why this sudden, ill-concealed attempt by the British Government to take Press TV off the air…..while I’m at it …. why the efforts by the US government to take away our internet freedom?  Why would anyone want to bring new wars to Africa and the Middle East?  I’m just asking the question…….

Saudi Arabia?  Well they could soon be finding themselves squeezed between a rock and a hard place!  Will their Western Allies stand by them if times get tough?  Are they burning their bridges in the Arab World?  Just asking!  If push comes to shove…..where will they … and their allies stand?

Egypt?  I’ve saved the best til last because I live here so have more to say about Egypt!  A year ago Egypt had a thriving and improving Tourist Industry, a mainstay of the Egyptian Economy, food subsidies which keeps starvation at bay for those at the lower end of the economic ladder, stability, a growing economy, a well-functioning stock market – oh and yes, it also had corruption and police brutality.

One year later Egypt doesn’t have a Tourist Industry and is being forced into borrowing negotiations with the IMF who are demanding the abolition of food subsidies as one of their pre-conditions to granting the loan.  The economy is stagnant – with workers taking crazy actions such as shutting down ports, temples and trains as a way of forcing the government to grant their demands, taking measures which cost the economy millions per day in further lost revenue in exchange for measures which in the end benefit them little.  There are problems created by shortages of petrol and cylinder gas for homes.

The stock market is volatile, as for stability – well it is and it isn’t!  Police brutality – that’s on hold as they have maintained a low profile but has been replaced by baltagya (thugs or mafia) regularly holding the Egyptian business community to ransom.  Corruption – not so you would notice at the moment but not a single measure has been taken in any government dept to change the working systems that support that corruption.  They can’t because nobody has any power to do anything.  All government employees go to work everyday….but what are they doing?  Investment and growth is at a standstill……

On the political scene..Sherine Tadros has just reported on Aljazeera that the final election results are coming it – with the Freedom & Justice Party (Muslim Brotherhood) taking 47% of the seats, followed by the Noor Party (Salafists) and the revolutionary parties making a very poor showing.  Then Sherine went on to make a statement which I found rather funny – she said the results just went to show how seriously rigged the elections had been in the Mubarak era……when it comes to the revolution it can be easy to see what reporters’ personal views are…….I would draw a different conclusion to the election results.

I would conclude that the majority of Egyptians, by the time the elections gave them a voice, realised that the revolutionary parties had no solutions to their problems, nothing to offer them, not a single idea how to improve the county’s economy.  Not only that, one year on it is painfully obvious that the weekly upsets at Tahrir Sq. have prevented tourists and investment returning – due to the international media coverage which failed to report that outside of Tahrir live was going on peacefully.

I don’t see the support for the Muslim Brotherhood as a religious statement – I see it as support for a well-organised, quietly spoken (for the most part) group of people who have spent years working at grassroots level providing food, help, medicine and health care for their people.  Seriously, which would you choose if given the choice? Would you choose the worker or the talker?

Has there been any gains for the ordinary citizens in the Middle East from the Arab Spring?  I don’t see it.  I see countries – especially Egypt, whose economies have been put back 10 or 20 years in the last year, that is not only not an improvement – it is an economic disaster!  Which begs the age-old question “What price freedom?”

In conclusion – I leave you with a quote from a new friend I made on Google+

The political left (at least here in Germany) has always been criticized for only protesting, fighting and demanding without coming along with visions or ideas. So it is with revolts. The problem behind is: to change political and social structures you need to be well educated and to take responsibility. That’s where the truly hard way begins. All your skills are demanded: emotional intelligence, creativity, ability to face and stand hostility and resistance and so on.
Hannah Arendt, a German-Jewish political philosopher pointed out (in her book »About Revolutions«): Revolts/Revolutions begin, when a system is already broken (not before!) to a point that it can’t keep its promises – that means revolution literally on the street and just needs to be picked up. She also wrote (and that’s as far as I know accepted by historians) there has never been a successful revolution led by the poor (besides by legendary Spartacus). Revolutions always needed the help of responsible, rich and powerful people (I suppose because they don’t need working and are independent enough)” 

When and if – the turmoil the entire world is currently experiences levels off……..I am sure the rich and those at the top of the chain will still be enjoying the good life…………my question – how many of us will have fallen to the bottom by then?…..and those currently “at the bottom”  …… ????  I think I agree, those who suffer most in revolutions are those already at the end of the chain.

Mara

Hi, I'm from Ireland and I built Mara House, a small, family run, unique boutique hotel in Luxor in 2003.....My promise is to deliver quality service, traditional food, comfort, enjoyable experiences, up-front pricing, no hidden extras.....PLUS I answer all your emails personally..... I provide professional, qualified tour guides who do NOT divert you to shops, restaurants etc. for commission.....We are best suited to people who like to be taken care of from airport entry to airport departure, people who want to avoid hassle, scams and tourist traps.....You deal directly with me... Hope you find my travel info helpful -//.. Mara
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