Following a stern warning from Vladimir Putin to stop making threats, North Korea launched a missile attack on Moscow! Havoc reigns … well, not chaos … but April Fool’s Day does. Gotcha last!
Of course, that is about as big a joke as North Korean threats to nuke the USA. Well, we’ve got to have a little levity now and then because so much of the news is dire. Unfortunately, bad news is also the latest from Egypt.
The Egyptians continue their downhill slide. President Morsi has not been able to get the country or himself out of the hot water. And today the steam rises as the water boils. When you start arresting comedians because they are joking about you, matters truly are serious. Bassem Youssef, the Jay Leno of Egyptian TV, has been cracking jokes about the political leaders and the Muslim Brotherhood. Acting like an old fashioned dictator, (or another Mubarak) Morsi sent the public prosecutors after Youssef. When you start using government resources because you think David Letterman’s joke are off base, you are in big time trouble. This year’s Egyptian April Fools Award goes to President Mohamed Morsi for thinking like Kim Jong Un.
However, there’s no joking about the estate of the Egyptian economy. It is bad. Plain bad.
With over two years of rioting in the streets and the controversial election of Morsi and the Brotherhood, the economy is running out of gas (or literally diesel). As many as five people were killed in a recent gas-line brawl. The problem is that Egypt is running out of hard currency needed for fuel imports. Unbelievable as it sounds, Egypt has no refineries and much rely entirely on imports. Most of the economy runs off of diesel fuel and farmers in particular need the energy to run the irrigation pumps that keep their crops producing. The complications continue to fall like tumbling rows of dominos. For example, a driver who runs a bulldozer had to wait in line for half a day to obtain fuel for his tractor. The result is that his pay is cut in half. The ripple effect rolls on through the society.
The United States has already warned that a package of tax increases and subsidy cuts is necessary to obtain a loan from the International Monetary Fund. However, Morsi remains fearful of public reaction. So, the merry-go-round keeps spinning and the country continues to slide toward the bottom.
This week one wheat farmer predicted that if diesel is scare in April and May when the harvest begins, there will be a “revolution of the hungry.” At a local gas station, a truck drive predicted, “People are going to kill each other.”
Sorry. The situation is no laughing matter.