Insufficiency, a disease that afflicts Egypt

Insufficiency means the lack of something you need, and extreme insufficiency can become a synonym of poverty and misery

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

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Insufficiency means the lack of something you need, and extreme insufficiency can become a synonym of poverty and misery.
Insufficiency is an Egyptian disease. and it has been afflicting us for decades. We are needy at the level of the government and needy at the individual level, to the extent that the main concern of every person, and everyone responsible for this country, is to find a way out of this critical situation. Some try to walk away from it, while others try to adapt to it. One thing is for sure: this country will not witness any progress unless it moves out of this condition in which it seems we are bound by chains that limit our movement. The situation is very similar to the bread winner of the house’s, who sacrifices all of his or her monthly salary to pay the instalments, settle the debts and purchase the needs for the household, without being able to beautify the home, improve it, change it or develop it.

We may say that this disease started with the setback of 1967, when the government found itself falling into the middle of the war, so it sacrificed all of its economic resources to triumph in that war. The Egyptian government did not find any real support or anyone that valued it as the first defense line for the Arab cause and after the victory of October 1973, the government found itself alone, with drained resources.

Egypt has been bleeding economically, politically and socially

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Ever since that, insufficiency hit the government as well as individuals, and some of them tried to travel to the Gulf region in order to evade misery and poverty. Meanwhile, the government had to take economic measures, labeled later as economic openness, but it didn’t bring about the desired change. This obliged Egypt to take political and economic options, to which it seemed to be pushed by the lack of alternatives, and this insufficiency continued throughout the 1970s during the government’s wars against extremist groups, then against terror in the 1980s and 90s.

This condition cast shadows on daily life and manifested itself in the corruption in society and the rise of bribery, and some other times in the collapse of education and healthcare systems. Economic disparity was coupled with an exponential demographic increase, which locked Egypt in a vicious circle.

The situation has worsened since the January 25 revolution. Egypt has been bleeding economically, politically and socially; rising unemployment and poverty mars society, as does the hike in prices and inflation.

The first goal of the upcoming period is to cure Egypt of this chronic disease, and we should realize that the first and foremost way to exit our condition is to get out of this chronic insufficiency. This won’t be achieved except through hard work and unity for the sake of this country, and then we can realize our dreams of a better future.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on April 17, 2014.


Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of “Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak,” a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy

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