Building Egyptian pyramids without the Fifth Column

It is, of course, absurd to expect a detailed explanation for every single thing that I’ve read. More often than not, I breeze through something as quickly as possible and note a few sentences here and there which serve to augment my existing understanding of a topic. I will attempt to recreate the context through which I observe such things in as little time as seems necessary to communicate my takeaway. The point, after all, is that there are too many things happening every day for us to examine them all in a detailed and scholarly fashion. This is why we subscribe to periodicals so that persons better positioned and compensated for doing so are able to ply their trade. All we really need to do is consume so that we can place their insights into a broader framework. Frameworks, especially theoretical ones, are very popular amongst international relations scholars.

It’s a framework crafted from theory, and not one that theoretically exists, duh. Although, if it only exists based on the theories from which it is constructed, it has not really been manifested apart from its adherence to the underlying theoretical theories. #dafuq

Consume, then, this snippet examining the “souring” of relations between Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and those journalists who would presume to report on affairs of state. A state without an independent media quickly loses track of itself, and authoritarianism can become insurmountable just as quickly.

Uncertainty over where the limits lie is frustrating even the governing class itself. Any reporting on the military already exposes journalists to military tribunals, and a presidential decree ratified January 17 by parliament further attempts to assert clear, top-down directives for media coverage on terrorism by prohibiting media from reporting on issues dealing with terrorism unless to relay the official government narrative. However, murkier red lines have also appeared as the state issues gag orders at will. Over the past seven months, numerous gag orders have been issued on topics such as corruption investigations, the murder of Mexican tourists, and Egypt’s nuclear energy plans, among others. As the state keeps an eye — and a hand — on public expression, the media, and information sharing, the president’s view of the media and the arbitrary application of “security measures” will only contribute to what is increasingly becoming a dystopian state regime.

I recently read an excellent book describing the events leading up to the Arab Spring/Awakening in Egypt, Syria, and [probably] Lebanon (although who can remember such things in a time like this?). Titled A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS and written by Robert Worth, this book was just splendid. The individual stories, which range from experiences in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Libya (yes, I consulted Amazon’s description before finishing this paragraph), are woven together in such a way that they are clearly distinct, yet just as clearly built upon similar themes. This cunning text was recommended as Fareed Zakaria’s “book of the week” during a CNN broadcast, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I’ll get around to posting a list of BOOKS READ RECENTLY AND ONES THAT I WILL SOON BE READING soon. I’m slowly gathering contributors from my excellent circle of friends, and my hope will be that I can convince them to do the same. This way, you’ll be able to understand why their views and reading interests are as fucked up as they are.

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