Liberty and Today’s Egypt


We just returned from a vacation to Egypt, and I must say that it was a staggering experience to see the historical places that I had heard and had read about all my life. For example, I stood about three feet away from the exposed face and feet of the mummified body of Ramses II at the Cairo Museum. Just imagine, this famous and highly successful pharaoh reigned over 3300 years ago – and he himself was Right Here! And, although our tour included an armed guard on our bus and often a police escort, we never felt that this security was actually necessary. Our comfort was increased by numerous Egyptians who thanked us for being there, and fervently made me promise to pass along the word that Egypt is a wonderful and safe place to visit. (I am fulfilling my promise in part by writing this column.)

But Egypt is also a bundle of contradictions, as their people are literally living in two separate and diverse worlds. For example, it is quite common to see men wearing their native galabia, which is like a long men’s nightgown, along with Nike shoes and caps. In addition, many of the decorations on the windows in the mosques contain Stars of David. Of course, in many ways this is logical because Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God of Abraham. And, in that regard, I feel compelled to pass along my conclusion that the vast majority of Muslims are among the biggest victims of the terrorist acts being perpetrated around the world by, as the Egyptians call them, “the crazy ones.”

Finally, and regretfully, Egypt is an example of a country that is not yet ready for democracy. Many people I spoke with told me that after the 2011 revolution threw out the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was elected as a direct result of the blatant monetary bribing of large numbers of poor voters. But once the Muslim Brotherhood was in power it was not at all prepared to govern. And this threw the country into such chaos that the military ousted Morsi and set up new but controlled elections in which Abdel Fallah el-Sisi, the former chief of the Egyptian armed forces, was elected president. And all people I spoke with, including tour guides, hotel staff, waitresses, merchants and farmers, said they were grateful for that change. So some Liberty can be found in today’s Egypt, but at least it is much safer there than most people realize. I recommend a visit.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President