Eye-watering luxury

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

14 March 2013

In the western media the Arab Spring is no longer front-page news these days.

So what’s happening out there?

How’s this for a taster?

A report by Patrick Kingsley in the London Guardian on 23 February 2013 began:

“Egypt spent the equivalent of £1.7 million on 140,000 US-sourced teargas canisters last month, despite the Egyptian government nearing bankruptcy, amid a wave of police brutality that twenty-one human rights groups this week labelled a return to Mubarak-era state repression.”

Of course, we all know the feeling. When money for the essentials has run out, people can usually still find the means to pay for life’s little luxuries.

The report continues:

“Opposition activists questioned the purchase of teargas at a time when Egypt’s foreign reserves have more than halved since 2011, the government has run out money for fuel subsidies, and officials have yet to agree the details of a much-delayed IMF loan of $4.8 billion (£3.1 billion). They also see it as yet another example of the government’s unwillingness to rein in the police force.”

The newspaper quotes Hussein Abdel Ghany, a spokesman for the opposition National Salvation Front, as saying: “It’s the same tactics the Mubarak regime used – spending taxpayers’ money to kill the sons of taxpayers.”

Kingsley says that teargas has been repeatedly used during protests this year against President Mohamed Morsi, his Muslim Brotherhood party, and police malpractice.

According to his account, twenty-one Egyptian rights groups were now claiming that police brutality was as serious as – or worse than – under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Since the start of the unrest, it is claimed that at least 70 protesters have been tortured and hundreds detained without trial.

The report concludes:

“Allies of Morsi say it is unreasonable to blame him, as it will take 15 years to reform institutions as intransigent as the interior ministry and its police force.”

Morsi is obviously someone who believes in the wisdom of the Latin proverb “Festina lente” (Make haste slowly).

It makes sense, too.

After 15 years under the present regime, all the protesters will have been disposed of, one way or another, so there will no longer be any need for the police to resist reform.

A big thanks, too, to Morsi’s international backers.

You will have seen that the teargas is said to be “US-sourced”.

It’s nice when your friends come to your aid when you need a helping hand.

It’s what international solidarity is all about.


 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Capitalism in practice  (4 July 2012) 

5.Ladder  (21 June 2012)

 6. A tale of two cities (1)  (6 June 2012)

 7. A tale of two cities (2)  (7 June 2012)

 8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.





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