I have to admit that I’m transfixed by the events in Egypt. I never thought I’d live to see the Soviet Union break up, or the Berlin Wall come down, or the World Trade Center topple over, or a revolution in a major country aided by Twitter and Facebook. The latter event seems so rosy on the surface, especially when you see the jubilant faces in the crowds in Cairo, but it’s a little bit disconcerting at the same time.
For one thing, no one has a crystal ball to tell us how all of this will turn out. Will those tanks turn against the people and roll through Tarhir Square like they did in Tiananmen Square years ago. Just how free are the people of Egypt? We don’t know yet.
And one other nagging problem scarcely mentioned by any of the news mavens is the fact that there are food shortages in Egypt and other countries in the mid-east, and this is at least partly the cause of so much discontent. Today, the people in Algeria are out in force, demonstrating in the streets. The reasons for the food shortages throughout the mid-east seem to be pretty complex and not altogether easy to fix. What happens after the dust settles and the shortages persist? More revolutions?
The food situation worries me a bit because just maybe we’re reaching the maximum carrying capacity for this planet. You can say all you want to about climate change, political corruption, or even making ethanol instead of animal feed out of corn, but the fact remains that there seems not to be enough food to go around.
Does this have any effect on us? Unfortunately, yes. Food prices here are already rising, and they’re almost certain to keep on doing so. And all we can do about it right now is watch events as they unfold and wonder what the heck we’re seeing. Are we seeing the start of a new peaceful era of democracy in Egypt and elsewhere, or are we seeing the beginning of strife and turmoil throughout the area? Does anyone have a crystal ball? Stay tuned.