Magazine article New Internationalist

Country Profile: Egypt

Magazine article New Internationalist

Country Profile: Egypt

Article excerpt

THE Egyptian Government recently hired Saatchi and Saatchi to burnish the country's image abroad. But even Mrs Thatcher's ad men have not been able to rescue this year's tourist season in the face of attacks on foreign visitors by Muslim extremists.

Meanwhile the Government appears to be operating a 'shoot - to - kill' policy for suspected Islamic militants -- not at all in keeping with Egypt's former reputation of being a country of relative freedom and openness. This, the most populous and militarily powerful Arab nation, was better known as a democratic trend - setter.

During the 1950s and 1960s President Nasser championed socialism and nationalized many Egyptian industries. But economic difficulties mounted, compounded by costs of the wars with Israel, and there was an about - face from socialism towards pro - American capitalism. After Nasser's assassination by Islamic fundamentalists his successors Sadat and Mubarak performed ideological somersaults and received US aid for making peace with Israel.

Many Egyptians are now weary of politicians' rhetoric and long for what only the wealthy can afford: clean water, a house, a job and education for their children. Poverty is worst in the south where peasants and African Nubians receive few of the benefits found in Cairo and Alexandria. …

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