This image came out of my digital tray from late 2009.
Like my hands for instance. No matter how hard I try to keep them warm, dry and happy, they too become victim to the cold water. It takes a little while for the rain to get passed my gore over mitts and thick windproof fleece mittens, but when it does it will remain against my hands for the rest of the day. My face cheeks are rosy red wet popping out from under the hood of my jacket, and I am conscious of my hands as I spin my way down the hill to the courthouse again. But, at least they do not feel as bad as my feet. Once again my feet are telling my brain to please consider anything else at that point.
Coming to my mind this time was Egypt, and a few of the things I learned about the present situation there and how I am connected to it. We have all heard the news, and if you haven't by choice please know that it is still really going down and each of us on the planet, especially here in this fine nation are directly attached to the now in the not so far off Middle East. According to an article I read in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal titled: Cairo, U.S. Blindsided By Revolt, written by Charles Levinson, Margaret Coker and Jay Solomon, on Friday January 28, Mr. Mubarak contacted his his Interior Minister, Habib al-Adly and ordered him to authorize the use of live ammunition to put the rebellion down.
Prior to reading that little nugget, I had understood through other western media, not media sources that the Egyptian military on the very same day had clearly stated that it would not fire on its own people. What I did not get at the time was that the military announcement was a direct response to Mubarak's order to shoot real bullets at real people in real time. Journalism, in all sense of the word is over when I look at it and see it for what it is.
Another interesting thing that I learned about Egypt this week came in the form of a thirty minute transfer I had while sitting in my friend Abdu's cab. His purple mini van was parked first in the stand on Tryon when I climbed into the back bench seat. "Welcome my friend", Abdu said with a smile extending his large dark hand, "I knew you would be looking for me." His soft Arabic voice is older than mine by two decades, the same amount of time that has passed since he first came to this country. Abdu is from the city of Suez Egypt where many members of his family still live.
I asked him for the truth, and he started by saying that he has been in contact with his family every day since the shift started. Abdu explained that the people of Egypt will not back down, even in the face of their own death until Mubarak and his entire government regime are gone. "It is not only Mr. Mubarak that must go, the Egyptian people demand that the entire government from top to bottom must be replaced", Abdu stated. In that wonderful authentic accent Abdu went on with an analogy by picking up the paper coffee cup out of the console in front of him. He pointed to the lower part of the cup and said, "If there is a hole in the bottom of this cup it cannot contain the liquid, it must be replaced, otherwise it is useless."
Hearing him talk about the real situation in Egypt was an education in itself. The people of Egypt are smart and well aware that the United Stated gives the Mubarak government over a billion printed dollars annually. Their question is, where is it? What has happened to all of that money over the years as the majority of the Egyptian people cannot find work or afford the basics like food and education. Mubarak has been running the show since Anwar El Sadat was assassinated by fundamentalists in October of 1981. I was twelve years old that day and I can clearly remember the film footage of that event and how it made me feel.
Over the past weeks, the governments of Lebanon and Tunisia have fallen from their status as strict allies to the American-Israeli led west. King Abdullah of Jordan has denounced his present government and replaced the Jordanian Prime Minister in preparation for what his coming his way. Now the Egyptian Mubarak pro-American government is finished. Israel has remained quiet thus far, as has the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest and oldest political group in many of the Arabic states. These opposing forces seem to be waiting without rhetoric before making their move, as the entire middle east and world prepares for a post Mubarak government in Egypt.
The reasons that I am connected to this problem as a tax paying citizen of the United States are many. From the military industrial complex providing the Mubarak government with armed F-16 fighter jets flying over the heads of their own people to the annual billion dollars in American aid monies that have not helped anyone. The list goes on. But, one of the most basic connections I feel to the middle east region is gas. Liquid petrol and all the freedom it provides with war, death and hate. As these countries leave their alliances with the west I can only imagine that the price per unit will rise because of the potential instability of new governments. Could it cause an effect on all parts of the American economy, such as food, transportation, and so on to the point of civil unrest here? Would our government allow that to happen, and what is their ultimate plan to deal with the loss of allies in the region and control over it?
A shift is upon us yet again, this one is big and that is just the beginning. Cold rain on a Friday is nothing when I actually take the time to consider how it makes me feel.