>Fanning the Flames of North African Discontent!


It only takes one small spark to light a fire, and it only takes one small fire to ignite a revolution. Inspired by the uprising in Tunisia a few weeks ago, the tinderbox of Egyptian discontent has been set aflame. On January 25th massive protests broke out in Egypt on the country’s National Police Day. It could not have been a more fitting day for a popular uprising. The arrogance of Egypt’s state security apparatus was met with tenacious, passionate and bold opposition. In today’s real time social media environment it was easy to watch as the people gradually became more defiant and heroic. The police upped the ante but it only provoked more resistance by the people.

As the resistance gained momentum so did the efforts to organize. People in the streets, acting in unison as one solid force, began to realize how empowered they truly were, and on Friday the shit hit the proverbial fan. Hosni Mubarak, the autocratic president for 30 years, enacted curfews that the people defied. In Alexandria and other places the presence of the police became virtually nonexistent. After all, would you continue to be a cop in Egypt after the populace that loathes you so much became unafraid of you? I think not. The firestorm of hatred and frustration for the government continued to coalesce and buildings began to go up in flames, armored personal carriers were flipped, and the streets were brimming with revolution. The belly of tyranny had been officially cut open.

Just as the revolutionaries and mythical petroleuses of the Paris Commune  set fire the the Hotel de Ville in 1871 as they retreated from the onslaught carried out by the soldiers from Versailles, the Egyptian resisters set fire to the governing party’s national headquarters. Only the Egyptians were advancing on the government, not retreating from it in a desperate final measure.

Egypt is a very important strategic ally to the United States, therefore it only seems natural that the Obama administration has been reluctant to side with the protesters and call for the resignation of the President. This is to say the least,lamentable. The U.S. claims to be the beacon of democracy and freedom in the world. Time and time again we are continually force fed ideas of U.S. benevolence and respect for human rights. The position of the U.S. government on the issue of the Egyptian cause is therefore extremely hypocritical. History has demonstrated that time and time again the U.S. only approves of democracy when it is reeks of Uncle Sam’s influence and approval.

And to think all of this started when a 26 year old fruit vender in Tunisia by the name of Mohamad Bouazizi, was slapped in the face by a municipal inspector for “illegally” selling fruit so his family could survive on the meager incomeArticle. He then preceded to light himself on fire in a desperate attempt to protest the poverty, unemployment, misery, and authoritarian rule of the Tunisian government. The Tunisian government has since fled and the flames of revolution have jumped across national borders to ignite the sentiments of people all over North African and the Middle East. One can only hope that these events inspire others to take to the streets and take up arms to put an end to the poverty and injustice that their governments spew at every corner.