Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One year ago today...

...Egyptians said "enough" and took to the streets to unravel a dictatorship.

Because the media love anniversaries, there is substantial coverage today of how Egypt has -- and has not -- changed in 12 months.

As you might expect, Egyptians protested again today, acknowledging they have more to do. But as TIME magazine noted in its lead-up to today's anniversary, what exactly they have to do is not clear.
The crowded halls of Egypt's courts represent both the country's unrelenting woes — inefficiency, corruption, opacity and even the irrelevance of laws without accountable governance — and also the revolution's hopes. Justice was the most widely shared goal of the diverse array of Egyptians who joined the uprising, and yet most would concur that it remains elusive. The security men and regime officials accused of killing hundreds of protesters during the rebellion, and in demonstrations since, have mostly gone unpunished. Activists claim that in the year since the uprising, more than 12,000 civilians have appeared before closed military courts, but the trial of the ousted President has dragged on since August.
Another drag is the economy, and the New York Times notes that issue poses an immediate challenge to the new Parliament.
With mounting debts, negligible economic growth and dwindling foreign reserves, the military rulers and the new Islamist-led Parliament now confront some difficult choices, beginning with an all but inevitable further devaluation of Egypt’s currency that could send the prices of food and other goods soaring.
The government may also soon be forced to overhaul the vast system of energy subsidies that now account for a fifth of government spending. Increases in food prices and reductions of subsidies have provoked riots here in the past.
“The situation is dire,” said Magda Kandil, executive director of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies, who called some of the recent indicators “alarming."
And speaking of the military, the Los Angeles Times took a look at the powerful role the military continues to play in Egyptian society.
It has killed protesters and stifled civil liberties even as the nation votes for a new parliament. Security forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad gun down protesters daily. Yemen is beset by warring tribes, Al Qaeda militants and deadly political intrigue. Bahrain is an island of royal repression and rifle shots in the night. Moammar Kadafi met a brutal, surreal demise, but Libya is torn by clan animosities and militias.

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