Egypt, one of the most important nations in the Middle East, is usually just ignored in the UK. Since Suez in 1956 Egypt has gone it's own way and under Mubarak has been a stable friend of the west for thirty years. The plight of half the nation being under twenty five and having no prospects meant nothing to us in the UK, it was just another 'far away nation about which we know nothing,' so to speak. Robert Fisk in the 'Independent is one of the few who regularly give a worthwhile read on Middle East tales of woe and his books are well worth a look for those who wish to understand this area. While trade continued and thousands travelled up the Nile to be ripped off by vendors while catching sunburn in ancient temples the life of the majority in Egypt just passed us by. Rarely did it get a mention on TV news or indeed anywhere else. Ancient Egypt may have appeared on occasion but the present citizens meant nothing to us. Today however we are all apparently involved in siding with the people as they shake themselves free from Mubarak's repression and seek 'democracy!' Oh yes? We care so much about that, or do we just like watching the riots? Nothing pleases the left wing middle class than a 'revolution' of the people, and nothing pleases the media more than such a revolution producing gunshots and violence. It makes such good pictures for the press and allows the 'Guardian' reader to take sides, albeit at a safe distance!
However where is all this leading? Removing Mubarak may be a victory but then what? The people of Egypt do not know and the removal of this man is less important than other parts of their daily lives. For a start there are too many of them. About half are under twenty five and where do they get jobs, wives and a future? Bread prices have soared and 40% of the wheat stock has been thrown away because of infestation thus increasing prices even more. Political change here as ever is less to do with 'politics' as much as obtaining our 'daily bread.' Few Egyptians I suspect care if the president remains. The majority would accept anyone who provides for their daily bread, creates jobs and ensures a peaceful society. A leaderless revolution always has someone ready to step in and lead, and such people are not always caring folk. The Muslim Brotherhood are often noted as leading opponents, however no other political movements have been allowed to develop in recent times. Men will arise to lead if there is change, can they be trusted by the people, or indeed the west?
A change of leadership has so many repercussions for us in the UK, the politics of the middle east always have an effect on us, the danger of all out war is ever present, vast numbers visit the country each year to boast of their wealth and adventure (What adventure sitting by the Red Sea getting pissed in the sun happens to be I don't understand myself. Why not visit the sights you ignorant slobs?) and if the US is involved they will wish the UK to do their dirty work for them again, as always. Will 'Dave' continue his 'Tony Blair lookalike' image into bowing down before Obama and the American military desires? You betcha!
What off the people? Mubarak will go eventually, a new man will arise, politics will whitewash those who killed during the rioting, and life will go on. Repression will continue, although it may change its hue, prices will always rise, some will become rich and the rest will muddle along as always. History teaches us one thing, human nature never changes! We might however see more news about Egypt on our TV's for a while, then drop it for some other 'important' story.