Headline, April 12 2022/ ''' '' TALES SCREAMING TAMES '' '''


 TAMES '' '''

''I SEE YOU - SISI - I PLEAD TO YOU FOR THE SAKE OF GOD,'' said one man in a video with more than 22, 000 views. ''Whatever you promise, you do not provide. You say we can have a good life, but you made it awful.''

IN TUNISIA AND EGYPT - there have been rumblings of the antigovernment sentiment that led to the overthrow of dictators in both countries.

Tunisian said they are losing patience with President Kais Said's unfulfilled promises of economic rescue. And in Egypt, the hashtags ''revolution of the hungry'' and "leave, Sisi'' trended on social media for several days as the price of bread shot up.

CUPBOARDS ARE SO BARE FOR RAMADAN : Skyrocketing food prices ensure that this Muslim holy month won't be the same this year. Well, in a reasonable assumption, even in the years ahead.

As Ramadan sublimely sails and ethers through, in the most festive of season when people across the Middle East and North Africa normally look forward to gatherings with friends and family, new clothes and feasts that begin after sundown and stretch late into the night.

BUT this year, prices of staples such as oil, sugar, flour and rice have surged across the entire region and the world, thanks to global supply chain snarls and the war between Russia and Ukraine, which export many essential commodities and foods, including wheat, fertilizer and gas.

That threatens to crush household and government budgets in countries that have nothing to spare, raising the possibility of the kind of mass popular unrest not seen since the Arab Spring protests a decade ago. Those stemmed in part from soaring food prices.

Drought is already ravaging Morocco's economy. Tunisia's deeply indebted government was struggling to pay for wheat imports even before the war in Ukraine broke out. Lebanon is shuddering under an economic collapse.

Syria, already raked by war and growing poverty, is now facing prices for tea and dates that have doubled or tripled since last Ramadan, according to Damascus residents.

In Egypt where videos of people venting about food prices have gone viral on social media with the hashtag ''revolution of the hungry.'' the government has moved to soften the blow.

In a clear sign of distress, Egypt last week announced that it had opened talks with the International Monetary Fund about a new financial assistance package, its third in six years, noting in a statement that the shock of the Ukraine war had caused prices to rise to ''unprecedented'' levels and had sent foreign investors fleeing.

The announcement followed other measures to stabilize the economy and ease the pain for citizens among them were a cap on the price of unsubsidized bread, the addition of more Egyptians to welfare rolls, provisions for the Egyptian pound to devalue against the dollar, increases in interest rates and the acceleration of pension and pay increases for government employees.

The I.M.F. director in Egypt, Celine Allard, expressed readiness to help. ''The rapidly changing global environment and spillovers related to war in Ukraine are posing important challenges for countries around the world, including, Egypt'' she said in a statement.

RELIEF cannot come soon enough for a country where about a third of the population lives in poverty, surviving on less than $2 a day.

''No one's buying, because people are afraid of the prices. There's no money,'' said Hisham Ali, 62, who works at a food stand in Cairo's middle-class Abbasiya neighborhood. He could not blame his customers : With his salary of less that $6 a day, he said, he could barely afford to feed his children fruit.

Better-off Egyptians said they would not be saving any money this year or would skip buying new clothes, a cutback akin to going without presents at Christmas. Unlike the situation in Ramadans past, Mr. Ali said, ''Nothing so far gives you a feeling that something good is about to happen.''

In Cairo, Abdelmonem Said Aly, a government aligned political analyst and columnist, said he believed that the government's efforts to stabilize the economy would mollify the public and avert unrest.

''The public degree of support is enough,'' he said. ''It will not happen, because we are a stable country, we are building the country, and people can see the results of the last few years with their own eyes.

But independent analysts said the government had squandered previous opportunities to set Egypt's economy on solid foundation after a $12 billion I.M.F. bailout in 2016. 

Instead of building up industries that could create sustainable, well-paying jobs, such as manufacturing or research and development, the government spent freely on real estate development, including big projects like the new capital city Mr. el-Sisi is constructing in the desert.

The Sadness for Mankind's Trials, Tribulations and Sufferings, continues. The World Students Society thanks author VIvian Lee.

With most respectful dedication to Mankind, Leaders, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - the exclusive ownership of every student in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011.

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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