Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Tunisia and Egypt: We the People

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Tunisia and Egypt: We the People

Article excerpt

Luncheon guests at the Woman's National Democratic Club (WNDC) on Feb. 17 were treated to a panel discussion moderated by former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Elizabeth McKune.

Radia Daoussi, a Tunisian native and president of the Vineeta Foundation, described human rights abuses in Tunisia, including the repression of Muslim imams who couldn't preach freely, and the harassment of women who wanted to wear a headscarf. American military aid supported Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. When it comes to human rights versus stability, what price is too high to support stability? Daoussi asked her audience. For years Linda Likar, an economist at the World Bank, taught sustainable development in North Africa and Asia. Tunisia had a heavily distorted economy where nothing made sense, she stated, and unemployment and underemployment were serious issues in both Tunisia and Egypt. In 2004-2005, Egypt launched reforms, including a huge privatization program, which ended in gross injustice after Mubarak cronies got the companies and only a few benefitted from Egypt's economic growth. …

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