egypt: “democracy, social justice and human dignity” – but when, and how?

Tali Janner-Klausner reports from Cairo on the unfolding Egyptian revolution, including the recent international solidarity conference

Hosni Mubarak was a hated despot, and became a symbol of the many, varied and interlinked hardships that Egyptians face. At this month’s “First Forum of Solidarity with the Arab Revolutions” there were no doubts that though the symbol has come crashing down, the root causes of these hardships remain and must be confronted.

the establishment sacrificed Mubarak, but want to hold back further change

The intense popular anger that came into its own so spectacularly in Tahrir Square festered through decades of oppression under a corrupt and restrictive dictatorship. Economic and social issues cannot be separated from the political concerns that the ‘great and the good’, from Obama to the world’s media, choose to focus on. Egypt is a country of staggering exploitation and inequality. Half the population is struggling under the poverty line of $2 a day while Mubarak may have stolen up to $70 billion for himself and his family. Unemployment and food prices rose while lucrative industrial monopolies or powerful ministerial portfolios were given to loyal and often incompetent cronies who wrecked what they didn’t steal.   Continue reading “egypt: “democracy, social justice and human dignity” – but when, and how?”