News headlines of late are dominated by the political upheaval in places like Tunisia and Egypt. Even so in Bahrain, Iran, and Jordan. Stories like the of New York Rep. Christopher Lee have gone a bit by the wayside (unless you’ve watched Jon Stewart lately, as he does not let these kinds of things go). Even with all of this media attention, many of my peers (outside of my minor in Middle Eastern Studies) seem to care little about the outcome in these countries. The most conversation I hear is “Wow, you see that stuff going on in Egypt? Crazy stuff, man. Crazy stuff.” Let me tell you why you should care.
As I see it there are two main reasons it should be a topic of interest to Quinnipiac students. One, as American citizens it is important to see our role in the world. A regime change with one of our few allies in the region is sure to pose some serious policy questions. There was a dictator who oppressed his people, gave too few job opportunities to his young population, and swindled the country out of millions upon millions of dollars. Now there is a power vacuum in the country, which can result in a democratically elected party (possibly the Muslim Brotherhood) with whom the United States is not keen on dealing. Would we rather deal with a malevolent dictator who listens to us, or a democratically elected leader with whom we do not see eye to eye? We are supposed to be the purveyors of democracy around the world, so our answer may not look too flattering to the world at large.
The second reason lies in the roots of the protests in Egypt. It was the youth. Young and talented people without jobs who were sick and tired of a lack of future. Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, was in power for 30 years. That is longer than many of the people protesting have been alive. The people were sick of the way things were, so they took to the streets to riot in a mostly peaceful way. On a campus accused of having apathy running rampant, a cue or two may be able to be taken from the young Egyptians.
That is not to say there should be protests on the Quad. There are plenty of things we see that are wrong with our little community Dining options at North Haven are severely lacking. AT&T barely gets service at York Hill. Security patrols our hallways instead of the perimeters of campus. On-campus food prices are too high and choices too low. Get in touch with the Student Awareness Committee of SGA, and do something about these things on campus. Participate in the Big Event (April 9). Do something in our community.