Monday, January 28, 2008


Over two years ago in my very first blog post I wrote:

There is a difference between using rhetoric as a tactical means to achieve political ends, and between inflating rhetoric until it becomes so big, that it develops a life of its own and its own speaker becomes afraid to confront it. And yet the key thing to know here is that, despite appearances, it does not really develop a life of its own: it's only a balloon, inflated further and further only by the authors' fear to confront it. And it becomes so big until it obstructs their vision from seeing what is actually happening on the ground; in this case, the influx of Palestinians into Sinai and the threat to Egyptian national security that this represents.

One of Israel's age-old arguments since its foundation has been that the Arab world is so big that it can afford to settle the occupied and stateless Palestinians in its own territories - in this case among them, the Sinai - and in so doing, ending the 'Palestinian question' and the trouble resulting from its occupation. And perhaps the biggest reason for its withdrawal is its leaders' realistic recognition of its long-term inability to cope with the growing problems of overpopulation and poverty in Gaza. And yet while Israel confronted this situation by cutting its losses and withdrawing, the Egyptian government seems to have incoherently responded by opening its border full swing. Unlike the Israelis, we Egyptians were neither given a referendum to ask our opinion over the details of the matter, nor given a clue about what is going on - even a month after the border was officially inaugurated on the 25th of November. We do not know for sure how many Palestinians crossed into Sinai, and we do not have an idea of how many still remain on this side and have settled with their kin. We do not know what the border deal entails...again, we were told in the news that the Rafah border will be the gate of the Palestinians to the outside world, but we were told nothing about what this for Egypt particularly means.

I am sure Egyptians can only be happy for the new prospects this may entail for Palestinians, from newfound ability to travel abroad, to attracting foreign investment and wealth to the Gaza strip and creating new job opportunities for its inhabitants. But Egypt, whose unemployed population runs at 10.9 % of its labour force (and I think is a moderate estimate), or 2.25 million people, towers over Gaza’s total population of 1.3 million as a whole, and cannot afford to sacrifice critically needed jobs to its neighbours. And our neighbours of the overpopulated Gaza strip, whose borders are now freely open to Egypt, are now geographically closer and may find it easier to make it to the tourist and the less dense population centres in Sinai than can the bulk of the Egyptian population of the Nile Valley, who ironically have to go through a hell of their own of security checkpoints just to make it into Sinai themselves. Will all this in the long term spell a demographic, and even political, change in the future of the Sinai? The opaqueness of the Egyptian political process and the absurdity of both the governmental press and that of the opposition have left us in the dark over matters that are of utmost importance to the country's national security...And I, for one, am dumfounded and confused. There are probably strong immigration laws in place in Egypt to prevent such scenarios from happening, but can the bribery of local officials and Bedouin-facilitated human trafficking find their way around them? It is a tough border to control after all, as Israel failed to locate all the tunnels used to smuggle weapons across the border.

In the end I must say that I reserve my right to be wrong about these speculations, because I am left stumbling in the dark...and this anxiety of opaqueness is the biggest problem after all.
Prophet Seneferu has struck again, but unlike some low-lives this gives me no reason to rejoice.


Memz said...

haha Nice one Seneferu!

Tab Prophet Seneferu, why dont you give me a hand with the islimists and nasserites here

This is horrible whats going on there; pure horse shit. I will try and write something today about it.

Memz said...

btw by low lives did you mean Heikal walla Soleiman Gouda?

Seneferu said...

El Gezeera.

Memz said...

haha. I second that. I am back online btw. My first post is up;