Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dear Egypt ...

Personally, I don't give a damn what government you elect. You want to live under Islamic law, fine. You want to subjugate your women, fine. It's your country and you threw out your dictator so you could have the government you want. I applaud that. Thing is, though, since a great portion of your national wealth is derived from the tourist industry, if you go 'full Sharia' on us, I, and whole buncha other tourists sure as hell ain't gonna spend their money in your country. As I said, I really don't give a shit what you do in your own country but if you don't want to end up as some 12th Century throwback (see: Afghanistan), you'll practice the basic human rights the rest of us all take for granted.

Ultraconservative Islamists, known as Salafists, have emerged from the first stage of Egypt's parliamentary election as a powerful political force.

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However, since the revolution that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in February, they have turned to electoral politics as a way to try to further incorporate Islamic law, or Sharia, into legislation.

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In parliament, al-Nour is expected to press a socially conservative agenda, including plans to phase out non-Islamic banking, alcohol sales and revealing swimming costumes on beaches.

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So, if I go there on vacation to see the wonders of the Cradle of Civilization, my wife and I would not be allowed together on the same beach? I would not be able to get a beer in that hot ass climate of yours? My wife would not be allowed out in public without a head covering? Fine.

Guess what? I'll spend my money somewhere else and so will a couple million other people. Enjoy the 12th Century.

Cross-posted at Worlds.

3 comments:

Opti said...

Haha! I appreciate your perspective but I think it's a little more complicated than that.

The Muslim Brotherhood was really the only institution providing social services under Mubarak. The US aid Egypt received (second only to Israel, which has some serious 12th century issues itself) rarely made it to the people. And the MB was there with bread, medicines, education, and blankets. Because of this, they were really the only group that had any kind of infrastructure on the ground ready to go when the government fell. The old men in the MB are ascendant now, but they are in power by virtue of elimination. There isn't an alternative. The youth has no interest in all that and they will eventually push them out.

Sharia is many different things to many different people. Very few Egyptians have any desire to adopt the kind of hard-core laws and public strictures found in say, the Saudi Kingdom. They want tourists, they want discos, and they ain't foolin' around. They just need some time to organize.

The worst thing the West could do right now is to walk away. Please go back, spend some dollars, and give the moderates something to point to as evidence that Egypt should become the open, tolerant, and delightful country it deserves to be.

Gordon said...

Egypt's pretty secular. I don't think they'd stand for that Sharia shit very long. We have states right here that would love it if they called it something a little different, like "God's Law".

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