Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Light At The End Of Tunnel…

As we mentioned yesterday, and as you would expect, even while a record winter storm sweeps across the U.S., we've been keeping our eyes on the unfolding drama in Egypt.

A whole host of questions still remain, for both people outside of Egypt, as well as those within the country.

Definitive leadership has yet to emerge, contrary to what might be heard in much of the generic media coverage. Volunteers of all kinds seem to be doing everything they can to help out, including protecting a children's hospital.

There are reports that claim Egyptians have a growing hatred for Americans, but more accurate polling statistics show Americans now are viewed more favorably in that region than they have been in several years.

To say information coming out of Egypt is confusing is an understatement.

After speaking with several experts on Egypt and the Middle East yesterday, there are a few things we've learned from those who are more knowledgeable than we are about Egypt. They all seemed to have some solid - albeit vague - answers, and seemed to have a generally similar forecast about Egypt's immediate future.

Egypt's recent ruling regime has been oppressive for most of its existence. Technically, the country has lived under martial law for most of the last 30 years. According to experts we queried, that situation is likely at an end.

Over the last decade, Egyptians have been exposed to the internet, social networking, and to greater media freedoms. Those fundamental changes are likely to remain - especially after so many from around the world have worked so hard to help keep those lines of communication open.

Because America has given so much foreign aid to Egypt, and continues to do so now, we will be expected to continue rendering that support at current levels - almost regardless of who takes charge, or what kind of government Egyptians decide to choose for themselves. Like it or not, that seems to be the general consensus.

There is another consensus, however.

Even with all of the conflicting reports and stories, and somewhat vague certainties, the experts we spoke with seemed to have a generally positive attitude about what has been happening - and continues to go on - in Egypt. Many Egypt-watchers agree, as with any revolution, there is always the chance things could turn ugly. Most of those we spoke with, however, don't believe the revolt will turn permanently dark.

No one is saying things are easy in Egypt right now. They're not. The most pessimistic are still saying the political light that some are seeing at the end of the proverbial tunnel could prove to be a train wreck for a new regime. Our money is on the optimists.

It may be possible that Egyptians have finally unlocked the key to a more democratic future.

We hope that's the case - for them and for the rest of the world as well.

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