Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wheat Dreams

Food security
The topic of the day raging among the talking pinheads in Egypt is the total output of this year's domestic wheat crop. The nine o-clock news on state television started off with a full twenty minute segment on the issue. A smiling president stood in the midst of waving wheat fields confidently forecasting self-sufficiency. Predictably, the pro-Morsi crowd is pointing to optimistic measurements of record output, whereas the Morsi detractors claim the numbers are exaggerated and hearken to even more fantastic production levels that could be reached but for presidential mismanagement.  Both sides are missing the point: Egypt should not be targeting self-sufficiency in cereals.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

You can't take Egypt out of the Egyptian

Egypt appears a changing place. Beards are growing bushier, head coverings are becoming longer, language is becoming more Arabized, politics are becoming more politicized. There is a niggling sense of uncertainty that unsettles many, if not most, of an ever-stressed population that is tested on everything from their religious beliefs to crossing the street.  Many -- far too many -- have been driven out of the country altogether, whether out of economic desperation, a random judicial system or otherwise.

But through it all, Egyptians have been, are, and will remain, Egyptians. No matter how large the standard zebiba, or stern the airport official or shrill the street demonstration, Egypt will get through it, because Egypt is embedded deep into the hearts, minds and souls of Egyptians anywhere and everywhere. Rational or irrational, it an unshakable truism underpinning Egyptian society. 

You can take the Egyptian out of Egypt, but you can never take Egypt out of the Egyptian.