December 06, 2005

Update from Egypt

By Michael J. Totten

I’ve been in Egypt for four days and I only technically have time to blog. It isn’t easy, or even possible really, to cram everything I want to see and do here into a single week. If I add blogging into my schedule I’ll have even less time for everything that I must get done while I have the chance.

So far I have a huge amount of material that I’m saving for articles and blog posts. I’ll be back in Beirut in a couple of days, and then I’ll have time to write everything up with the time and care I need to do it properly.

In the meantime, I will briefly say this: I am not at all optimistic about Egypt’s future in the medium term. I have yet to meet a single Egyptian who is. Their pessimism isn’t merely contagious…it’s convincing. The ruling party, supposedly America’s “ally,” is hideously corrupt to the core. It is not ideological, just venal, well-armed, and criminal. Liberalism (broadly defined) barely exists here. The democratic opposition parties have been oppressed so long by the state they have no more hope of taking power than the Green Party has in the United States. The Muslim Brotherhood is by far the most potent political force in the country, and millions of people who under better conditions would have little or nothing to do with them are supporting them.

At least people are willing and able to talk to me freely and openly in public. This is the one bit of good news out of Egypt right now, and it’s a recent development. This is not Libya here, and it is not Syria.

Thanks to Lebanon.Profile for filling in for me while I’m away. Enjoy his posts while he’s around, and be sure to visit his Lebanese Political Journal if you want more.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 6, 2005 01:55 PM
Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member


"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere

Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com

News Feeds


Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button


Tip Jar


Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn