Why is Egypt revolting?

 We know that there are massive protests in Egypt for the current Egyptian President to step down. However, President Hosni Mubarak has been in power for 30 years, so why are people revolting only now? Many are saying that the Egyptian people were inspired by similar events in Tunisia that resulted in the ousting of their dictator. It is true that Tunisia played a role in these protests, but that was just a trigger.

The real reasons behind the uprising in Egypt and in other Middle Eastern countries are food and money. Many millions in Egypt live in poverty. This has been the case even as the Egyptian economy has increased and grown a lot over the last 10 years. The economic growth in Egypt only enlarged the gap between the rich and the poor. Just as importantly, food prices have increased recently due to various global issues such as drought in Russia (which affected crops) and high oil costs (which makes shipping more expensive), among other issues. Things like freedom and democracy are not enough to cause such massive protests in the Arab world.

These protests are also not connected to Egypt’s peace deal with Israel or with more religious opposition groups (Muslim Brotherhood) that want a larger role. That doesn’t mean that a more religious leader won’t emerge in Egypt, it is too soon to tell. However, this is not the reason for the protests and if Egypt becomes more religious it will likely not be helpful for the actual problem of food and money in Egypt.

Food and money are often behind uprisings throughout history. Unfortunately, the results of the uprisings are not always as good as those that revolted would have hoped for. There are many examples of this, so many that the list would be too long to type, but in this case it is critical that only food and money are addressed and not other, unnecessary changes. It is essential that Egypt remain a secular country and maintains its peace treaty with Israel and good relations with the West. If Egypt does this while it becomes a real democracy, then the food and money issues will be more easily fixed.