Home > Campus, Events > Bringing the Turmoil in Egypt Home

Bringing the Turmoil in Egypt Home

Ashley Sequeira

Photo courtesy of AP/Tarek Fawzy

By now, I’m sure most of us have heard at least something about the situation currently going on in Egypt, as it has been all over the news for the past week. In case you haven’t, here’s a run-down of the basics:

The protests in Egypt began last week over the Internet, through which anti-government protesters called for “freedom, dignity, and democracy.” This uprising came in response to the nearly 30 years of power that the country’s president, Hosni Mubarak, has abused. Currently, 40% of Egypt’s population lives below the poverty line, on less than $2 a day. Egypt is the most populous Arab state, and it suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in the world among its educated youth. The protesters are demanding that Mubarak step down from his position as president and that he not pass his power to his son, Gamal. It is important for the freedom of Egypt’s people that Mubarak does not simply transfer his position of power to his son, because doing so would be more of a sign of monarchy than of democracy, which is what the protesters are calling for. In addition to this, the anti-government protesters also want Egypt’s constitution to be rewritten and for there to be free and fair elections for a new president and parliament.

How do these protests affect Egypt and the world? Well, Egypt will be hardest hit financially, as tourism, which is a major source of employment and revenue for the country, is basically non-existent at the moment since tourists are trying to escape the chaos. This will put a serious strain on the nation’s budget. Since Egypt has control over the Suez Canal, which is used to transport oil from the Persian Gulf, it plays an important role in global trade. If this political crisis affects the transportation of oil via the Suez Canal, oil prices could spike. If these political uprisings continue to spread throughout the Middle East as they have been doing, major oil exporters like Saudi Arabia could find themselves in a similar situation, which might drive up oil prices even further.

Israel is also keeping a watchful eye on the protests because the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt has been preserved by President Mubarak throughout his leadership. A change in this regime could negatively impact this treaty and the relationship between the nations.

As Americans, it can be difficult to imagine what it would be like to have to fight for the rights that we have so readily been given. In an effort to help better understand the situation in Egypt, the Middle Eastern Students Association is holding a discussion called “Egypt: An Open Dialogue,” which will take place this afternoon at 1 p.m. in room 424. Questions such as: what does democracy mean in the Middle East?, how are these events influencing America’s view of the Middle East? and, what’s next for Egypt and the rest of the Middle East? will be discussed. This dialogue is a chance for Fordham students to react to the current events in Egypt and all are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Categories: Campus, Events
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