Friday, August 16, 2013

Egypt: How I foresaw it all

These were my thoughts on 4th July when I heard about the Egyptian coup: The defenders of the Egyptian coup, and the defenders of Morsi are both wrong. Morsi’s attempt to impose dictatorship cost him legitimacy long ago. But the military coup will be even worse.

In my opinion, the revolutionary leaders who called for a military takeover, and supported the coup are the ones who made the mistake. The longer they continue to support the military the worse that mistake will become, because that continued association will taint them in the public eye with whatever the military does. When the military turns its attention from the Muslim Brotherhood, and begins arresting the secular left, how easy will it be for that secular left to mobilize the people in their own defense?

Image in today's Guardian: Egyptian families bury their dead. Credit: Rex Features/APA
How far-sighted I was! Can I prove this far-sightedness though? Sadly not, as I didn't write it down. In fact you may have noticed from the spelling of the last word that I've actually plagiarised the whole thing. It comes from the E-joussour blog. Which can in fact claim to be far-sighted as it's dated 12th July.  

Read too Tawakkol Karman writing in last Friday’s Guardian (9 August): Egypt's coup has crushed all the freedoms won in the revolution. She says she supported the opposition to President Morsi until the military takeover, which all supporters of human rights should reject.

This morning I've just heard an appalling interview with a representative of Egypt’s National Salvation Front (didn't catch the name) justifying Wednesday morning’s killings when armed police broke up the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins. He justified his support for the police action by allegations that inside their two camps the Muslim Brotherhood were committing torture on their political opponents. These are detailed in a rightwing website called FrontPage. I'm not suggesting it's not true; for this we must wait and see.    

Monday, August 12, 2013

Climate change is here! And it's good for you!

The Financial Times has seen the future, and it works! Today's edition has Chinese cargo ship sets sail for Arctic short-cut on its front page. The 19,000-tonne Yong Sheng is attempting the first ever commercial transit of the Northeast Passage. The vessel set sail on August 8 from Dalian, a port in north-eastern China, bound for Rotterdam. But whereas the traditional route is through the Suez Canal and Mediterranean (red in the diagramme) the vessel will take the blue route via the Bering Strait and across the top of Russia. This is known as the Northern Sea Route.

And it could shave as much as 15 days off the voyage. $$$$ !!!!

“Changing climate opens a short-cut that promises to reduce shipping times between China and Europe” is how the FT characterises this development. “But analysts caution” continues the FT in downbeat mood “that it will be years before the route, which is only passable for a few months, is commercially viable let alone a rival to the Suez Canal, which handled more than 17,000 ships in 2012.”

The other big “economic prospect for the polar region” according to the FT is oil exploration. But this is progressing at a slower pace than the opening up of the Northern Sea Route.  

Such is the language in which the FT frames evidence of the unfolding of a disaster unparalleled in human history.

For more links on this theme see my earler post A result! Ships to sail over North Pole by mid-century.