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Egypt Crisis

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The crisis in Egypt over the past week has reached alarming levels. Tens of thousands of Egyptian people have taken out to the streets and are demanding nothing less than the ouster of its President Hosni Mubarak. There have been massive protests all over the country with many episodes of violence being reported. The hot bed of it all is in Capital Cairo at the Tahrir Square which has witnessed an incredible number of protestors. The army and the people have been at constant loggerheads over the course of the entire week. Lives are continuing to be lost and scores are being injured on a daily basis. There is a lot of anger in the people which probably is one of the reasons why the protests seem to show no signs of letting down after more than a week. In fact more and more violent incidents are being recorded with each passing day. So much so that, President Hosni Mubarak has finally agreed to step down within six months time, but the opposition and public are unrelenting and are seeking an immediate ouster. Here is a look at some of the main reasons why this situation has come about.

Egypt over the years

Egypt is a large country which is mostly Arab and predominantly Muslim populated. A major part of the country is located North of Africa and part of the country borders with Israel. It other neighbours are Sudan (to the South), Libya (to the West), and Saudi Arabia (across the Gulf of Aqaba to the East. With a population of close to 80 million it is the country with the largest population in the Middle East and also third largest in Africa.

It is currently being ruled by President Hosni Mubarak who has occupied the post for close to thirty years now since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. The 82-year-old Mubarak has often been accused of being an autocratic dictator and has been known to suppress political parties, banning Islamic oppositions groups, using excessive police force to deal with suspects and other voices of dissent like the media. His government is also guilty of massive corruption and widespread poverty.

Why are the protests happening now?

The trigger came about in December when a street fruit vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire, killing himself to protest government corruption. Huge numbers of people took to the streets to protest against rampant unemployment, excessive policing, inflated food prices and the repressive style of governance. It resulted in the ouster of Tunisia’s president of 23 years, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, after many days of violent protests. The ripple of dissent could be felt across Morocco, Jordan, Yemen, Syria and now Egypt.

Furthermore with Egypt’s Presidential elections due in September there was speculation that Mubarak’s son Gamal might contest even if Mubarak didn’t himself. This did not give the people much to hope for.

What are these protestors seeking?

The protestors are seeking an end to the autocratic form of governance. The police state rule and the three decade old emergency state law severely restricts political activity and even peaceful demonstrations. Corruption, unemployment and non affordability of food where others reasons that deeply angered the Egyptian people.

Food also over the years has evolved into a political issue in Egypt. It is the world’s biggest importer and consumer of wheat. Most of the people are poor and constant inflation of food prices was making daily survival difficult.

Egypt is currently ranked 138th of 167 countries on The Economist's Democracy index, a widely accepted measure of political freedom.

Mubarak’s opposition leaders

At this point of time all the leaders with good enough clout is still unclear. One of Mubarak’s main opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood which he had banned earlier. Another popular rival is the high profile and Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei who is riding a wave of popularity after being put under house arrest by Mubarak’s forces. He is being looked upon as someone who could possibly take over the reigns if Mubarak is ousted.

The issue keeps snowballing with every passing day. While other nations are applying diplomatic pressure to bring a logical solution to this entire problem it remains to be seen how this situation would finally turn out.

These two papers are the only changes that have been introduced by the government which will be enforced from next year onwards that is 2011. The rest of the pattern will remain the same as before. The aspirants clearing these two examinations will then be short listed for the main exam and then the interviews which will be followed after giving the main exams. The pattern for the main exam and the interview will remain the same until next year or in other words next year would be more or less a trial basis for a new pattern.

If the government feels that there is a need for change in pattern of the main exam as well as the interview then it will be considered after next year. As of now the two aptitude tests are the only main changes in the civil services examination. These changes are definitely for the better as this pattern will give more people the encouragement and hope that civil services is not next to impossible and there is chance for even the average hard working people. It is hoped that more number of people will be able to clear the papers so that a fair chance is given to all of them to prove themselves.

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