When I saw the crowds gathering in Tahrir Square to overthrow the 30 year reign of “president” Mubarack, I knew I had to start a painting on the revolution. This was the first revolution started on Twitter and Facebook.
How did the social media make a difference?
Social media allowed the citizens to organize its protest groups and outwit the state police sent to disperse the gathering people. The police literally could not stay ahead of the breaking news via social media.
What were the triggers to this revolution?
I believe strongly that the historic election of Obama and making his speech in Cairo sent a shock wave across the muslim world where no black man had ever risen to power. Here was a man of the people overthrowing the established powers that be in a visible way.
Why did the Mursi, the recently elected president go wrong?
First, I would say that it was a shame that they didn’t use democratic means to overthrow Mursi. Second, the Supreme Court prepared the way for chaos by completely dismissing the recently elected Parliament. That election was not totally clean, but was very important to frame the new Presidency of Egypt and curtail any abuse. Once Mursi was completely in power he made the mistake of overstepping his power and not seeking consolation from all parties in moving forward. Additionally, the current mess is mainly due to overly bureacratic government that was there before Mursi came to power.
What were the underlying problems in Egypt?
Besides the dictators posing as Presidents in Egypt, there are several out-of-control issues. One of the major issues is real estate with 92% of property held without title or basically most of the countries private wealth. Without title, no financing can be done, so the property is severly underdeveloped. This is also why most cars are bought with cash, so only 10-20 year cars are imported since citizens can only come up with $2000 – $3000 to buy a car in cash. Another major issue is that 6.8 million people work in the black market or one in every 12 people in Egypt due to lack of paperwork to make the work or the business legal. This leads to major frustration as small shops can never become chains or large corporations. So inefficient large businesses remain in power; there is no positive destruction of bad business like in the West.
Is there a book on this economic tragedy?
Yes, Hernando de Soto wrote an excellent book on the economic problems of Egypt and other 3rd world countries called, “The Mystery of Capital”
Is the painting available?
I actually sold it a few months after the revolution in Egypt started.