Egypt Today … it is a social disaster, and worse is yet to come.


The Guardian has a harrowing set of photos today, Raped, beaten, harassed: women bear scars of Egypt’s radical rule Women stood shoulder to shoulder with men in 2011 in Tahrir Square. Now they are back on the streets, opposing a new constitution that sweeps away their rights and opens the way for girls of 13 to be married. And in Cairo’s slums, life grows harder as the gulf between the sexes widens.

EgyptRasmia Ahmed Emam was 17 when she was married to a 50-year-old stranger. Not an uncommon fate for an Egyptian woman but Rasmia’s family had been conned. She had been married to a Saudi sex tourist who left her and the country after two weeks. “My life is over. Everyone thinks I am a prostitute and my only option in life is to become one. But I will not do that.”

(All Photos are by Gary Calton for the Observer).

Few women are allowed out of their houses without their husband’s permission and behind many doors are dozens of tragic tales of young women whose lives have been destroyed by the effects of early marriage.

EgyptPictured on the right is Karema, 19, who was forced to undergo female genital circumcision aged 13. Her mother bribed a doctor to perform the procedure without anaesthetic. Although both FGM and underage marriage are presently illegal, they are widespread across the country. An estimated three quarters of females aged from 12 upwards have been subjected to FGM. The present government has indicated FGM is a “family matter” and proposes to reduce the legal age of marriage from 18 to 13.

A young girl at the Manial Sheiha Village groupPictured here is a 12-year-old girl at a women’s group in Manial Sheiha, run by the charity Plan Egypt. At the moment she faces a grim future of poverty, underage marriage and female circumcision. Women’s groups in Egypt hoped the 2011 revolution might bring positive changes to women’s rights but now fear the opposite is true

What potentially comes next is even more horrific …

  • Already the Jewish community has been obliterated, once numbering over 80,000, they have now all fled. The Islamic intolerance will move relentlessly on and crush anything not the correct shade of Islam, and that includes other variations of Islam.
  • The government money is running out, fuel and food shortages are already kicking in. Electricity is blacking out even before the summer, and petrol station gunfights have killed at least five people and wounded dozens over the past two weeks.Farmers already lack fuel for the pumps that irrigate their fields, and they say they fear they will not have enough for the tractors to reap their wheat next month before it rots in the fields.

Independent analysts say that the growing shortage of fuel and the fear about wheat imports now pose the gravest threats to Egypt’s fragile stability. “It has the potential to make things very, very bad,” said Yasser el-Shimy, an analyst for the International Crisis Group.”

The next election has now been put off until the fall, and that is quite frankly too late, so now they are stuck with the Morsi government, a band of inept religious thugs who believe that God is on their side and will look after them, while they all sail over the precipice.

Their one source of income, tourism, has been decimated. I can’t imagine why, perhaps it has been kidnappings such as this  or this, that has now resulted in Egypt being declared more dangerous than Yemen.

You and I can choose to walk away from all this madness, the tragedy is that most Egyptians can’t, they are stuck with the religious nutters who have done all this.

All this illustrates why criticism of truly bad ideas actually matters.

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