Roland Dürre
Tuesday February 1st, 2011

Kairo, Tunis … – Democracy in the Maghreb?

These days, the focus of news reports is on the tumults in Tunisia and Egypt. And there is quite a lot I read: abolition of dictatorships, on towards democracy, the power of the internet…

Well, there is probably some truth to the last item. Otherwise, I think it is all dangerous wishful thinking and nice writing. The truth is probably something totally different and a lot more banal:

We are currently witnessing the beginning of a development that will soon come to pass in other countries, as well. This is not about democracy or any such. It is simply about survival.

Because there is a world-wide explosion of food prices. This development does not affect the rich people, because in prosperous countries food is cheap – and if the price doubles there, it is not really a problem. But for the poor countries, it is a catastrophe.

There is an Indian proverb that says:

When the price of onions rises, the government will fall.
(In India, onions are the most important basic food)

Most of the uprisings and revolutions took place because the people were starving. It has been so in the past, and it will also be so in the future. And most uprisings will not result in democracy.

We know this and we are also well aware of what is currently happening. And what is our reaction?
We want to increase the ratio of biological material in our gasoline from 5 to 10 % and use potential food for generating heat, energy and packing material!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Now you could remark that in both countries the radical Islamist powers are politically best organized. And that the Egypt regime has been supported by the Western Nations not only financially for many years. Now guess where this all is going to end?

P.S.1
The picture was taken by Keepscases – and copied from the central media archive Wikimedia Commons.

1 Kommentar zu “Kairo, Tunis … – Democracy in the Maghreb?”

  1. Chris Wood (Monday January 31st, 2011)

    I give 5 stars, because Roland covers a vital aspect that has otherwise been sadly neglected. But things are also not as simple as he makes out. The rich nations do very little for the poor ones, but tourism is an important surce of income for Tunisia and Egypt. Of course their regimes have spent too much on maintaining their own power and comfort.
    Their population density is now too high.
    I am not so sure that radical Islamists will win control.
    I am sure that rice is more important than onions for Indian nutrition.

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