Sunday, June 5, 2011

Crime in Egypt

Sarah Carr ( has a refreshing take on crime in Egypt, an issue that the Western media has become preoccupied with as of late.  The first paragraph of this NYTimes article in particular makes Egypt sound like a freak show/death trap.  Avoiding the "democracy is messy" paradigm, Carr points out that official crime rates were so low in Egypt under Mubarak partly because state-sponsored crime was a powerful deterrent to social disobedience of any kind.  

"Crime is expressed differently these days. Before January 25 it was committed in: parliament; polling stations; police stations; during demonstrations against protestors who disappeared quickly and silently; in slum areas against nothing people who only mattered at election time... And now that regime is slowly being disassembled and the police are adrift. There is more opportunity for both petty crime and the flagrant armed attacks hospitals are experiencing (despite pledges by Essam Sharaf of a permanent and armed police presence in every hospital).

But even more importantly the police’s absence has, for example, allowed the appearance of street peddlers in areas they formerly would have been beaten away from (downtown Cairo for example), has given microbus drivers the freedom to stop in places that block traffic and has led to the appearance of armed men in some informal areas who perhaps formerly would not have been so brazen in imposing their authority (or were perhaps in league with the police whose interest it was to keep them in check)."

Read the rest here

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