Egypt’s new interim prime minister broke into tears in front of journalists on Sunday as he spoke about the state of the country’s economy, saying it was “worse than anyone imagines.”
Egypt’s transition in the months since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster has been rocky, with protests against the military council leading the process, an increase in crime and the battering of the tourism industrythat was once a pillar of the economy.
Kamal el-Ganzouri, the third temporary prime minister since Mubarak’s ouster in February, said his priorities were the restoration of security and economic progress.
At one point in his news conference, el-Ganzouri became teary eyed as he recalled seeing “an Egyptian man on TV saying I want security, not bread.”
That’s ridiculous. What I imagine is worse than el-Ganzouri imagines, by a long shot. I’ve been predicting a Somalia-on-the-Nile for months, with millions of deaths by starvation–a humanitarian catastrophe of biblical proportions. There never was a liberal revolution in Egypt, as the credulous left and Pollyannish right proclaimed earlier this year. Today’s absolutely must-read Middle East story is at the Jewish website The Tablet. Amr Bargisi and Samuel Tadros write, “Boosters insisted the Egyptian revolution would yield a liberal democracy. Islamists’ electoral success vindicates the pessimists.” I agree completely; my only caveat is that Egypt, which imports half its caloric consumption and is about to go dead flat broke, will dissolve into starvation-driven chaos. The story of Egypt’s supposedly democratic revolution will end like the Buendia family at the end of Garcia Marquez’ Hundred Years of Solitude. A great wind will blow the whole place away, like the biblical plagues, except entirely man-made and self-inflicted.