Live From Egypt: Elections, Democracy, and the Man Who Still Lives In a Tent

by Jon L. Denby

First off, I apologize for the long break because I had exams in college. Second, in response to the comment from my last entry about my status, I'm a born-and-raised New Yorker, but just recently moved out here to attend college.

On to more important things: Egypt just recently had its first organized elections regarding the Egyptian constitution. Basically, the current "government" presented several amendments regarding the presidential powers, including limitations in their power and time in power. Egyptians came out in astronomical numbers to vote yes or no. “Yes” means that they approved of the new amendments, and Egypt would begin constructing the new parliament; “No” meant the army would remain in control with military law in place until the next elections, after which the newly elected powers would remake the ENTIRE constitution.

There was a reported 41 percent (28 million voters out of a population of 80 million) that voted in this referendum. That number may not seem large but there are also millions of Egyptians unaccounted for because they are not registered. Approximately 77 percent voted “Yes” to the amendments.

Currently, the new parties in this recent election are using this time to get together and become established in hopes of winning seats in the parliament or the presidency. Meanwhile, other problems persist, such as with thugs robbing pedestrians and kidnappings. Many universities had student protests, and there was even military involvement in the German University in Cairo. Things are steadily transitioning back to the way they were despite the occasional military checkpoint.

With the way things are going in Libya, the Egyptian militia needs to be prepared for whatever may happen since Libya is so close to Egypt. Qaddafi has turned into the Dave Chappelle of the Middle East with his antics! (Interesting little fact about Qaddafi: he still sleeps in a tent!) Plenty of people here are expecting the death of Qaddafi, either by murder, or a Hitler-style suicide (since he is military and his ego won't allow him to go down in humiliation).

Here's a topic I'd like to get your opinions about in the comment section: Several prominent businessmen/politicians who were arrested for fraud and corruption, and all that fun stuff, are in jail and awaiting trial. Now comes the question of morality. Some argue that they should be tried and stripped of all of their assets, while others think they should just pay back the billions they stole. Those who present the latter argument say that their businesses employ thousands of people and a trial could leave them jobless; the opposition argues that they should be tried and not given leniency because they took advantage of the people, and negatively affected those who purchased their monopolized products. What do you think?

I will leave you all with not a question but an interesting fact: Kuwait gave away 1000 dinar (equivalent of approximately 20000 USD) to every citizen (approximately 1000000 citizens) and Saudi Arabia set up a program where unemployed graduates receive 2000 riyals a month (about 600 USD). I don't think that's possible here, but at least we got Oprah! Boo-ya!