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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egyptian Predicament Precludes a Larger Problem

 (Helping to Make Less Sense of it All)
             Will the catalyst in the Middle East be Egypt? Will other countries’ borders suddenly become transparent while Autocratic leaders step aside to enjoy resting in retirement? Other Mid-east countries welcoming freedoms of press and religion is a wonderful, albeit “utopian thought.”  In a region where oil flows freely, certain social freedoms are still unacceptable.  The real question is: what’s the unpredictable, hypothetical x-factor in the end game? A person’s basic necessities, especially in this arid part of the world, are food and water.  Eventually these substances could outweigh all the elements that make up the periodic table.  Thus, a prediction becomes more like…a presumption. When food commodities become luxury items, history tells us that citizens rise to the role of leadership; unfortunately,  a violent civil disturbance is more likely under Autocratic rule because there is only ONE person to blame. Authoritarian leaders tend to be hung upside down, lose their head, or, if lucky, become exiled to a remote island. The Bible “predicts” Armageddon will take place in the Middle East; here are some reasons why a clash of nations (in that area) may indeed happen in the not so distant future. However, the “Final Battle” of “Good vs. Evil” will not happen unless someone has an “Armageddon complex.”  Presented here is a simple prediction/presumption; a violent overthrow of various places and peoples in a natural civil war for resources.
            Our government may poke its nose where is doesn’t belong, but any immediate major battles do not even have to involve the U.S., the E. U., Japan, China, or most other industrialized nations. Unfortunately, we may have to exclude the world’s largest democracy, India, due to population/geography-etc…too hard to explain.  The “end of days” scenarios you’re always reading about on the internet will only happen if organized governments from industrialized nations take it upon themselves to go in with guns blazing!
            Here is an overly simplified version of complicated events. Like the writings of Nostradamus, don’t read too much into it.  It’s just something to ponder.
            First, let’s traverse back to the “inevitable food & water shortage.” Having seen a number of “web-predictions” about the failure to recognize this problem, let’s call it a forgone conclusion. In other words, there are facts to back this up, but we are still not sure how long we have- there, simplified.
            Chaos may follow the impending food shortage not only in the Middle East, but around the world. World hunger is happening now in places like Nigeria, Morocco, Bangladesh, and the list is too long to even fathom. That’s just a simple fact.
            One might assume that this “food shortage” condition is based on a country’s “economic status.” It only affects the “less fortunate,” “poorer” nations of the world. That’s where the proverbial bell tolls.
            The “economic status” argument can be quashed with simple facts. If we “humans” were like locusts, and only came out about once every seven years to consume everything in sight for about a week, then we might not be in this mess. But we are human. Each of us consumes everything in sight for a number of years. That takes quite a toll on our mammal kin and plant friends. And I believe us to be closely related to the “ostrich folklore.” We tend to “stick our head in the sand when a problem arises.” When a large predator (like a tiger) approaches in the middle of the night we refuse to acknowledge the expected attack. 
            What do we do? We close our eyes… lie… shh… real… shh… still… hoping to avoid the inevitable. How can we as a species be so intelligent, and yet ignore reality?  There in lies the quandary. However, ME thinks this genetic reaction might be due to eons and eons of “ignoring the tiger.” It’s “built into our DNA”- as the cliché’ goes.  There’s probably no proof to an “off the wall… tiger theory.”  But one could argue that historical accuracy has so little to do with sequences that chronicle the past. Here is a first hand account of the populace history of “We the People”- the human race, not just the ones mentioned in our Constitution.   
            As we glimpse into the past, numerous reasons would explain why we’ve had a global population explosion in what seems to be the “blink of an eye.”  By most accounts, future historians might use terminology like; “mainly due to a great number of advancements.”  The only problem is… Now, WE reproduce almost as fast as rats or cockroaches. We went from 1-billion (at the beginning of the 19th century) to 3 billion (1960) to 6 billion in 2009. Due to centuries of warfare, smallpox, Black Death and such, between 10,000 B.C. and 1400 A.D. (end of Black Death), the world population was able to weigh in at about 100 to 500 million people tops! And 500 million is a high estimate! 
            Take the numbers mentioned in the above paragraph and transfer them into a line graph. Imagine if you will the number of years (beginning with early agricultural societies in10,000 BC) on the bottom of the chart following it to your right all the way to 2011 AD.  Over that 12,000 year period, visualize where the super population explosion begins. How did we traverse from low to mid millions for 11,400 years (end of Black Death) to 6-billion (closer to 7-billion) people in just over 600 years? Now, the population of “We the People” compared to the rest of the animal kingdom seems way off the mark!  Or one might say: “Those who forget Easter Island are bound to repeat it.”  If you’ve never heard of it, basically the folks who settled the island never imagined they would eventually out-grow their own environment.
            As you’ve known since 3rd grade (that’s 5th grade to you Davis) an island is a “land mass surrounded by a body of water.” The inhabitants of Easter Island literally “grew out” of the island’s natural food-making capabilities. They sort of lost their cooking utensils, their “Zippos” for making fire (AKA –wood). Animal harvesting food supplements disappeared and as the natural resources became depleted from over population, the tenants went the way of a dodo bird.  The “Dodo” was indigenous to an Indian Ocean Island, but unfortunately the bird could not fly and its extinction was directly related to human activity on the island and these events were recorded in “human time.”  As Metallica would scream, “Sad But True.”
            OK, in all this “explosion of population talk,” I did exclude micro-organisms. There’s no telling the kinds of mutations those critters have undergone.  And what kind of havoc will those little super bugs one day impose on our immune systems, lungs, tissue, our poor… temperate life forms; again forcing a mass extinction like the Black Plague that took out half the population of Europe.
            Follow along with me now and we’ll delve into what governments and media around the world should be discussing instead of the color of a national leader’s tie. Even though this information comes to us by committee from the United Nations’ sanctioned FAO, we prefer to ignore it. It’s more way better and very really cooler and neat-o-ier if we just label these folks as something like, “extreme alarmists.”  But for reading purposes, we’ll call them “scientists.” They’ve distinguished areas where the Middle East could improve; thereby helping humans in that area. Areas or zones have also been designated as “good” for the survival of people in the not too distant future.
            I’m rambling again, and a brief explanation is in order. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the United Nations agency concerned with the international organization of food and agriculture. They basically make predictions based on annual worldwide food production and distribution. For instance, in the past the FAO has said that Sudan, Canada, and Australia are the future Bread Baskets of the world.
            The Republic of Sudan lies on the southern border of Egypt and is best known for its terribly underrated human-rights abuses and violations. There is enough stupid political crap; oops, I’m sorry corruption in the Sudan for the whole of Africa. One thing is obvious to that area and that is, the future (of money) is now! 
            Being simplistic in thought and without particularizing here’s the deal. Basically the majority of Sudanese people are just trying to survive. The big corporations, corrupt bureaucrats, and large bands of gangs controlling certain areas of the country are getting wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. The Sudan is mineral rich.  They’re mining gold, copper, asbestos, nickel, zinc, petroleum; chromite (forgot that one in school?? – It’s a substitute for iron to help make big buildings--- big, big buildings)… AND they’re digging up anything else a person needs to survive in a “monetary system.” 
            That’s right; you can’t eat chromite, have your kaolin for dessert, and wash it down with petro. But you sure can sell it!  There are massive problems with deforestation leading to lowered soil fertility, corrosion, and hence, lowered water tables. This also angers fresh water fish.
            Many of “the powers that be” could care less about these problems; yet the future of the entire Middle East may lie in the hands of Sudan.  Its millions of acres of fertile plains are being stripped and mined for more minerals daily.  The Agriculture Industry still remains its most important sector, but recently the country has started importing more food. A nation, given the proper modern technology, which could feed the whole of the Middle East, is starting to rely on its mining operations to buy food from other places. That would be considered… a superfluous use of funds for something you already have.
            You know the old saying: “A country that fails to plan… plans to fail.”  Let’s take the U.S. out of that equation. And so it is now written, “All responsible ‘parties’ (leaders in the North African region) are now officially allowed to feel ashamed.” The fact is Sudan has the most fertile soil in the Middle East.  So take note, gold may not corrode, but soil does. From 2007 to the present, world food markets have been in turmoil and it has impacted the agricultural sectors worldwide. Those countries that rely on food imports may be digging a deeper hole than they can mine.
            How will the recent massive flooding, in an area the size of Texas and New Mexico combined, affect Australia’s crop production?  The forecast is not good. The hottest seawater in recorded history equals “big twirly” oceanic activity. Following the floods that hit Queensland, the country just got hit by the largest cyclone in history! AND is it a coincidence that the cyclone was named “Yasi” while Egyptian’s President is named “Hosni?”  Ahh!!! Use your imagination, now we can start some kind of crazy internet rumor!
            And as for Russia’s wheat harvest, were you aware that the country banned exports (Oct. 2010) due to last summers fires that destroyed a bulk of the crop?  But who can blame them for taking care of their own?  Wouldn’t we do the same… or would we? We’re SO darn generous to give and sometimes impose our will on others. And in the words of Colonel Jessep and sort of an excerpt from the movie, A Few Good Men, our nation hasn’t “the time nor the inclination to explain (itself to someone, plus tax-) for the freedom (we) provide, and then questions the manner in which (we) provide it! (We’d) rather you just said ‘Thank you,’ and went on your way.” 
            And the good Yoda said, “Back on track, we must get.”
            Russia’s decision to hold food exports and feed its own people based on an cataclysmic environmental events in its own country is only one reason food prices soared in the Middle East; supply and demand. Russia is one of that region’s major wheat suppliers. Perhaps the Mid-East needs to start thinking about its own food supply much like we (the U.S.) need to start creating/producing our own energy reserves.
            Remaining on course and sticking to the “scary future” theme; since I mentioned beastly insects earlier, let’s not forget 2004.  Think back to almost 7 years ago, and recall a time when locusts’ swarms devastated North African crops in August of 2004. Yup, add 7 to 4 and you get eleven! There’s no way of knowing if the forecast calls for African locusts in 2011; however, locusts are predisposed to divulge that information at some point.
            Having proven my case that I’ll never be a rocket scientist, I do believe Egypt doesn’t really need rocket fuel- just body fuel – in the form of food.   That’s why predicting how, when, where, or even why food crops do well is such a difficult task.  Facts do not lie. Honestly, more people than ever inhabit earth and the planet doesn’t appear to have grown any larger over the last several hundred years. No one can predict the future, but with some simple facts it sure is easy to scare the crap out of people.  
            In the short time we have to spin around and poke holes in the crust of this oval rock with a molten center, let’s at least support the groups who are promoting equality & freedom in some form.
            I’m of the opinion that Egypt is the least likely place in the Middle-East to be “taken hostage” by extremist groups. Reporters are more likely to be “taken hostage” by Egypt’s current government. The general public is fed up with the Aristocracy and of course, unaffordable sustenance! Give folks access to information, and believe in your fellow human being to make the right choices.
            And on that note, let’s go back to words previously written; “the hypothetical x-factor.” A food shortage is only one problem (x-factor) facing the region and the world. The reason all eyes are on Egypt is because Cairo is the birthplace of the six member Arab League of States. It’s headquartered in Cairo and the main goal of the League, put simply, is to set the economic activities in the region. It also exerts the cultural, scientific, and social agenda for the Arab region.  The six original members were: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria.  ME thinks Iraq has been forced into “freedom” --it Happens! And the other four (Member Nations) are truly worried about “which one of these is doing his own thing.”
            Overwhelming, in the scheme of history, another ponderance (made up word) to consider is a fact I’ve created that the Arab League is partly responsible for me being able to see some of my favorite shows on the History Channel.  I have to watch when the Discovery &/or History Channel features famous Egyptian Archeologist, Zahi Hawas, go off on a bunch wimpy interns who are afraid to walk up a narrow hallway into a dark tomb that used to house a 4,000 year old mummy!!!  WE need this to go well for Egypt!!!  After all, a free and open society is the key to planning a dig to find out what is under the Sphinx’s paw. And what about the Great Pyramid where they found a small door made out of marble that has a handle on the door and reads, “Opener of the way.”  Hawas has now been named Supreme Councilor of Antiquities and if all goes well, he might actually let a robot go in to see what lies behind the door---   Dude!-  that would be Sacred-Awesome!
To summarize (or something)…
We all have the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We can’t say with any certainty what makes people “happy.” Some spend their whole lives “searching” for happiness only to be let down at the end by unfulfilled accomplishments – (sorry ‘bout that, little double speak for ya) –
Others enjoy helping those in need, or making people laugh, or creating family memories. But does your “pursuit of happiness” ever end?  Somewhere along the way, somehow, in some other dimension, in some distant crevasse of the mind that would seem unrecognizable to most who just want to be happy; that line in our Constitution, “pursuit of happiness,” seems to have morphed into a new idea. It seems to have been hijacked! That original idea has now become the “Pursuit of Stuff”- ONLY to replace that “Stuff” with the “Stuff” you just bought a week ago. Our own Supreme Court has declared a Corporation (Corporate ENTITY) as a person… not going there now… maybe later…

Anyway, peace out and henceforth may we all talk about the scary things. Don’t worry; we will encounter more social and economic evils and problems stemming from environmental issues that have been ignored for years in favor of short term gains. Let’s all put our collective brains in motion and find solutions to life’s toughest problems. And let’s lend our support to the Egyptians who are dealing with tough times, tough issues, and even more importantly questions about the nation’s future.
I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Simon And Garfunkel

Footnote: Latest reports from Cairo (State TV) around 1,000 wounded and 5 dead-
High Noon Central time, U.S.-Feb. 3, 2011

1 comment:

  1. I'm still the #1 follower. You need exposure! Get to work on it!

    :) love ya!