The purpose of this reaction paper is to analyze a text entitled: The Egyptian Revolution and Post Socio-Economic Impact written by Doaa S. Abdou and Zeinab Zaazou, of the Modern Sciences and Arts University Egypt. During the course of the paper, I evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of the text, as well as whether or not, and how well, the objectives of the text are accomplished.
The text starts out with an abstract which is clear and concise, noting the main objectives of the author’s undertaking, which is to tackle important subjects such as health problems relating to the post socio-economic impact in Egypt since the revolution, and analyze them via descriptive and theoretical study, in the hope that the authors will attain satisfactory solutions and answers (Abdou & Zaazou, 2013). It then goes on to give readers a clear understanding of the points they are trying to address and get across, and backs up what they are implying as facts. For example, they state that the revolution came about due to: “the increased level of poverty [which] was followed with an increase level of food prices, while the gross domestic product per capita increased by 2% (WDI, 2010, as cited in Abdou & Zaazou, 2013). This is a good strength of the text, and it keeps the reader engaged.
When examining the in depth reasons as to why the Egyptian revolution took place, the authors note in the introduction that basing it on the growing disparity between citizens; those who brought on the revolution were a minority group faced with subjugation by a group of business people. They also note the rise in the poverty level that was preceded by higher food prices. They show verifiable research statistics regarding the 2% rise in per capita gross domestic product (WDI, 2010 as cited in Abdou & Zaazou, 2013).
Abdou & Zaazou give a very clear picture of the situation in Egypt. They note: “the young Egyptian revolutionary is marked by a drastic wave of anti-authoritarian movements toward social correction. Egypt is witnessing a transition period marked with uncertainty, characterized by political transition accompanied with economic risks” (Abdou & Zaazou, 2013). They then delve deeper to uncover the multiple grounds that spurred the revolution, noting that Islamist groups were removed during the latest elections, and inform readers that this made citizens give a vote of no-confidence in the regime. They also list the extortionate price of basic services and goods, police cruelty, the unwelcome presence of police, decaying socio-economic conditions, and official corruption. – Yet more grievances which sparked great unrest (Abdou & Zaazou, 2013).
When the authors look at the way in which the outcome of economic growth and political stability are strongly related, they cite examples, and once again, this is another strength, and is something which is expected in a good journal text. For example, they look at the Malaysian model of finance, and suggest that Egypt sets up a National Health Service to provide the citizens treatment which they do not have to pay for. And that there should be an improvement in such things s vaccinations and nursing to help people maintain their health. I think that this suggestion of a National Health Service is excellent, as the post-revolution health problems are enormous. The revolution has made people stressed, and some are suffering from mental health problems as a result. Over 11 million people have been infected with Hepatitis C, there has been substantial food poisoning, and many animals have contracted diseases (Health Problems and the Revolution in Egypt, n.d.).
The authors point out that the country’s subsidies system did not alleviate the poor citizens’ problems caused by world food price hikes. In fact, all the essential food commodities were not included in the system. Moreover, an ordinary family using a ration card would get subsides of approximately 40% off rice, 73% off oil, and 60% off sugar. All other consumables were standard market price with no discount what so ever. This serious state of affairs has not helped the Egyptian people maintain either their physical or mental health and well being (Abdou & Zaazou, 2013).
When discussing poverty, the authors draw readers’ attention to the fact that 40% of citizens have to manage on under $2 a day, with an unknown percentage of these on less than $1 a day. This can generate very serious health crises, and political unease. They substantiate this by referring to the surge in 2008 demonstrations when people were marching against the hike in food prices. They note the large strikes and resistance by countless workers who could no longer tolerate their decreased living standards (Abdou & Zaazou, 2014).
The researchers also examine the political angle, stating that various grounds for bringing on the revolution. They then go on to look at some of the main negative effects during Mubarak’s glad rule which spanned 30 years. They site the fact that elections were not reported to be either fair or free; that civil freedoms and political rights were under the El Watany party’s control; and that emergency law was used for ruling the citizens. They also touch upon other grievances such as massive corruption among politicians, political activists being brutally treated by police, and the engineering of virtual-opposition via social network sites (Abdou & Zaazou, 2013).
The authors also discuss two very relevant matters to get their points about the revolution across. These are: parliamentary election and democracy. They refer to the highly controversial parliamentary election of 2010 which culminated with gross fraud allegations and a backlash against a “legitimacy crisis.” Political disorder ensued as a result of top tier corruption and a very under par political performance. Abdou & Zaazou explain to readers that from their perspective, this 2010 crisis fueled the far-flung 25 January uprising and the mass protesting over social inequity and political reformation. Both at home and internationally, this was welcomed, as the alteration could act as the first step proper Egyptian democracy. The authors underline that fact that a controversial parliament is the first step towards Egypt’s democracy. They also cite the impact that the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood will have on Egypt in terms of political risk, being that they enjoy the position of the most controlling party within in the revised assembly. To that end, they will have far reaching powers on the constitution and the way the country is run. One potentially huge conflict that could arise, they suggest, is the disagreements between the military and parliament (Abdou & Zaazou, 2013).
Referring to their core perspective, Abdou & Zaazou show that: “the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has emerged as the most powerful political force in Egypt following elections to the lower house of parliament” (Abdou & Zaazou, 2013). They back this up with relevant verifiable statistics.
Using statistical references from the world bank, the authors address another important topic relating to the post socio-economic impact in Egypt since the revolution. This is the tourism sector, something which plays a large role Egypt’s revenue. In 2010, the country enjoyed in excess of 14,500,000 tourists, however, the post revolution figure stood at some 60%. The occupancy of hotels decreased in the revolution aftermath by 16% when weighed against 2010. And sectarian sedition, destabilization and tension resulted in a 20% decline in reservations made by tourists. In fact, officials believe that the country lost tourist income close to the tune of $2 billion (World Bank 2011a, as cited in Abdou & Zaazou, 2013).
Throughout the report, Abdou & Zaazou have provided substantial footnotes which help the reader gain a better understanding, and allow them to pursue further research. Tables and figures are shown to make it easy for the reader to look at various economic statistics and data which underlie reasons for the uprising in the revolution which have been sourced from the Central Bank of Egypt.
In summary, I believe that the objectives of the text and the author’s major points and purpose are accomplished. The paper is a very well written, and is concise and easy to understand. The headings that are given split the topics up very well, and act as a good guide when referring back to different sub-topics. They are also essential for a long paper. I did not find any weaknesses at all. The suggestion for ameliorating poor health via a national Health Service is excellent. The footnotes are very helpful, and there is a lot of detail. Also, the substantial number of references that the authors have used, can be looked up for further information.
- Abdou, Doaa, S. & Zaazou , Z. (2013). The Egyptian Revolution and Post Socio-Economic Impact. Topics in Middle Eastern and African Economies Vol. 15, No. 1, May 2013 Health Problems and the Revolution in Egypt (n.d.). Class slides.