We can sort it out
Putting the economy first is essential to Egypt's immediate future, writes Samir Sobhi*
Searching for a solution to the current Egyptian crisis is like seeking a needle in a haystack. Egypt's metaphorical haystack is made up of rhetoric -- a lot of conflicting statements mixed with irrational notions and peppered with grandiose posturing.
Everywhere you look, there is a protest, a riot or a strike underway. Everyone wants to stage a million-man march, and everyone wants things to go back to normal -- and somehow this is supposed to happen simultaneously.
Then you get the accusations. Fingers are pointed at imagined saboteurs, enemies of the revolution, foreign funding of a disruptive nature, or the errant media, presumably intent on misleading us all.
Seen from abroad, this must be a curious picture, the exact opposite of what the Arab Spring was supposed to be about. The region is changing no doubt, but the future is still obscure. Shall we follow the dictates of the World Bank? Do we take advice from Freedom House? Shall we protect ourselves against the designs of the world mafia and the arms dealers? Do we need to make new friends? The answer is not clear, but there is a pervasive sense that we're heading in the wrong direction.
Who, I wonder, benefits from the ongoing wars in our streets? Is this situation irreversible? Are we hopelessly heading towards civil war?
If you ask me, our only hope of survival is the economy. We're spending so much on football and television programmes, while breadlines are getting longer. So where do we start?
Some solutions seem too easy. Already some have called for a ban on the importing of luxury goods. Others have spoken of a minimum wage. A considerable portion of society is for a temporary halt to all demonstrations. And many have said that security is the primary task. We cannot allow abductions to go on, nor can we allow public buildings to be torched at will.
Turmoil is not confined to our country. All over the world, change is in the air. People have had enough of socialism and capitalism and now want something else. People are tired of seeing the planet go to hell while governments spend billions on space research. If you ask me, we have no business aspiring to heaven before attending to what's under our feet.
Back to the domestic scene, I wish someone would tell me why prisoners keep breaking out of Al-Marg prison. It has been a year since the first prison break, and yet we don't seem to do anything about it.
Also, why was the Port Said chief of police replaced 10 days before the tragic match between Al-Ahli and Al-Masri? Who ordered the replacement, and why? The answer may be relevant to the current mess.
* The writer is a veteran columnist with Al-Ahram