Thought of the day: In the past few days, I have been intrigued by the events unfolding in Egypt. In fact, when I was driving back from Lafayette yesterday, I was following the Mubarak speech on NPR so closely - apparently more closely than I was following the route - that I ended up taking a huge detour back to Boulder. My most intimate knowledge of contemporary Egypt came, not too surprisingly, from a book. It's titled "The Yacoubian Building", a popular book written by the Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany. The book painted a pretty bleak portrait of modern day Egypt, where corruption, economic decline, and social despair seemed to be drowning out any signs of fairness, progress, and hope. The book was clearly written by someone who cared deeply about Egypt. One character in the book that left me with a lasting impression was a poor but ambitious young man, who lost his hope after a bitter struggle against the society and finally caved in to religious extremism. Clearly, big changes need to happen in a society like this for people to regain hope. The sweeping events in the past two weeks have now led Egypt to a pivoting moment. With Mubarak finally stepped down, there is now a chance for Egypt to bring in the changes that it desperately needs, but there is also a chance for the opportunity to be squandered or, even worse, for the country to descend into military or clerical rule or chaos. What's unfolding in Egypt will have implications on the entire mid-east, and with the mid-east being the region with the world's biggest oil reserve as well as being the breeding ground of religious extremism, what's unfolding in Egypt may eventually have an impact on all of us. That's why I care so much about what's going on in Egypt even though I have no connection to it, or should I say, no direct connection to it. In this global village, we are all connected, one way or the other, sooner or later.
Photo of the day: