Egypt: Searching for a dignified exit

The popular uprising against President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt’s cities continued last week.Only this time there were a few twists in the tale. The first was the appearance of Mubarak’s camel-borne “supporters” wrecking painful devastation on the crowds asking for his departure.

The popular uprising against President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt’s cities continued last week.

 Only this time there were a few twists in the tale. The first was the appearance of Mubarak’s camel-borne “supporters” wrecking painful devastation on the crowds asking for his departure.

This was in addition to the President’s pledge not to stand for re-election in Presidential elections in September.

Last week also saw a US diplomat speak out of turn when he suggested that Mubarak should stay in power to implement the reforms that Egyptians are demanding for.

That is all reforms demanded other than the President leaving office.
Then on Sunday, it was reported that President Mubarak had engaged in talks with Egypt’s much battered opposition parties including the Muslim Brotherhood, which has suffered the brunt of Mubarak’s political oppression [it was banned from participating in Egypt’s politics] due to fears that it would bring about Islamic Extremism.

All in all, it looks like Mubarak may have bought himself an extra week or two as he searches for a dignified exit from the Presidential Palace.

Or maybe he’s simply waiting for another news story to take the limelight away from Cairo so that he can stay in power a little longer.

An action copied straight from Gbagbo’s template on staying in power despite intense pressure.

Elsewhere, the topic was uncooked and expensive fish over in South Africa. The story was one that involved the opening of a nightclub in Cape Town by a prominent African National Congress [ANC] supporter, Mr. Kenny Kunene.

In attendance was the controversial leader of the ANC Youth League, Mr. Julius Malema, who was reportedly gloating about opening an ANC club in a province governed by the rival Democratic Alliance.

The hitch came in the reports that sushi, an expensive Japanese delicacy of uncooked fish, was being served on scantily dressed women during the opening.

The ANC naturally was quick to distance itself from such vulgar displays of wealth given that they pride themselves in representing poor Black South Africans.

Malema quickly took up the party line and claimed that he had been misquoted, saying that the club was privately owned with no affiliation to the ANC.

 In that small flash in a pan moment last week, the contradictions of appealing to a wealthy Black upper class while remaining true to their revolutionary and working class origins came to the fore for the ruling ANC.

How they manage to resolve this will determine how long they will be able to govern South Africa.
If there was ever another reason for bashers of the Catholic Church to stand up and point at the Church’s inhumanity, which is beside the usual reasons, revelations by the British House of Commons that 3 Million US Dollars drawn from the overseas aid budget was used on the Pope’s visit to the UK was the perfect one.

It was revealed that the during the Pope’s 4-day visit last September, the money had been transferred from the Department for International Development to the Foreign Office for expenses arising out of the visit.

The explanation was later made that this amount was drawn from the Department’s Operating Costs and not overseas development aid budget.

No children would go without vaccines due to the Pope’s travels.
Somewhere in this story is one more reason for why poor countries everywhere should work hard to end dependency on foreign aid.

In case of any event that necessitates extra spending in the donor nation and the poor country could find itself hung out to dry as the aid money is diverted to a new priority in the donor nation.   

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