American media coverage to Egypt’s turmoil is maybe 20 times more than that of Tunisia during their revolution that led Bin Ali, the former president of Tunisia, to flee the country. Although, there are more than 20 Arab countries spread throughout West Asia and North Africa only two the majority of the world are aware of; Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Every Arab country insists on its importance on the political map (border to Israel) or on its tallest European architecture built towers (Burj Khalifa) but the reality is Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the heart and mind of the Arab world, respectively.
Egypt makes quarter of the Arab population dominating 90% (if not more) of the film industry in the Arab world. It is like Hollywood of Arabia. Hence, the Egyptian dialect is the only dialect among the other 20 plus Arab dialects that is almost fully recognizable and understandable by all Arabs. Through their films we learned their culture and tradition. Egyptian films are not the only thing we grow accustomed to but also Egypt’s stream of knowledge. Egypt didn’t just provide entertainment to the Arab world but an ooze of scholars, writers, and thinkers. And when it comes to religion, Egypt becomes one of the most influential in the Muslim world giving us Al-Azhar religious school and one of the most controversial Muslim-political groups the Muslim Brotherhood, both have millions of devoted Muslim followers not just in the Arab world but worldwide.
Yesterday while covering Egypt’s riot the American mediae mentioned repeatedly the tear gas canisters labeled ‘Made in U.S.A.’ I applaud them for that. Americans need to be educated about their government’s, republic or democrat, foreign affair which sadly most of them believe it is all about going after the bad people. The FACT is it is not. America supported Sadam, the Ba’ath dictator ruler, during his war with Iran and went after him when he won the war. The Talibans were good while fighting against communist Russians but became bad after winning their war. I wonder when Husni Mubarak will be a bad guy? Even after the bloody Egyptian riot and being a president for close to 30 year, Obama called Mubarak to tell him “you still a good man to us, you can stay”. This is how I imagine the conversation went. And you don’t need a Harvard or a Princeton Political or Law Analyst Professor to tell you why Mubarak, at 82 year old, is still good for the US. The fear of Islamists up rising and Israel’s border, am I right?
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NBC’s Richard Engel, reporting from the streets of Cairo, holds up a used tear gas canister, labeled “Made in the USA.”
Egypt is no Tunisia, Yemen or Jordan. Any decision the US makes regarding Egypt will affect the entire Arab world. Siding with Mubarak against Egyptians means siding against the entire Arab world. As I mentioned earlier Egypt is the brain of the Arabs. Knowing that the US sends yearly 1.5 Billion in Aid to Egypt including these tear gas canisters makes the US look very bad. An image that is already destroyed by the never ending “war on terror “ in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the first time in decades news about the Arab world are no longer about the conflict in the Middle East (Israel-Palestine). The conflict has risen to a new level now. I wonder what the end of 2011 would be to the Arabs.