Thursday, May 01, 2008


I read this story today and I had some mixed feelings about it:
  1. I was happy that environmental awareness is alive and well in Egypt.
  2. I was sad that a chemical plant was 'discovered' after the construction already started? I am sure in Egypt's bureaucracy that there's a billion and one documents to be signed, didn't anyone discover that this plant can't be built that close to the city?
  3. I was also sad of this selective environmental awareness, 90% of the cars in Damietta (I know, I was there once) leave behind them this black smoke cloud becuase their exhaust system was last checked in 1968. Why is it so easy to come out and protest others with a 'noble' message such as protecting the environment and not care about your car's impact?
  4. I was deeply disturbed that for any issue to be resolved, the head of the Egyptian Parliament (and I assume the President too) need to get involved?! Isn't there a hierarchy of 13 trillion bureaucrats under the head of the Egyptian Parliament who could defuse such issue? Has the government turned into a crying baby who has to run to mummy whenever there's an issue?
  5. I couldn't help my skepticism. Really? so Egyptians left the fact that Egypt's cities are one of the most polluted, the sectarian violence that is tearing us apart, the messed up economy, the skyrocketing unemployment, the "democratic kingdom" we have, the fact that ordinary people can't afford bread anymore and decided to marched against a petrochemical factory that's being built by a Canadian industry leader?
I'm not saying they shouldn't have come out to protest that factory, they should, they stood up for what they believe for and that's great. I'm just skeptic that the first protest I hear about from Damietta is about that and not the ever-increasing list of horrible things Egypt is facing.


Munqy said...

When I was flying over Cairo on my way back from England, the pollution was an actual, physical, very obvious entity. It was a grey mist hanging over the city, with a very obvious boundary above which the air was clear. They should clear that before claiming any sort of environmental high ground.

Also, Damietta has other factories of the exact same industry in the industrial zone, but because this one was built on land taken from a corrupt businessman currently in jail, he hired some thugs to stir trouble. The company that built this had an external environmental study group to research the site and actually gave it the all clear.

As for government involvement, that site was actually one of three proposed by the government to the company constructing it, and they selected the Damietta site. It wasn't discovered or shit, but the company was stupid and tried to solve the issue without going through the governor, which is why he's so up in arms and all indignant.

The problem here is that this company has the license to build this factory, is well within Egyptian environmental regulations, has already paid a hefty sum to the Egyptian government to work here, and their factory equipment is already being constructed and the specs can't change now without costing them a bundle. If they get kicked out, you can wave goodbye to any form of significant investment in Egypt.

Feshfesh said...

ouuuuuu the corrupt businessman twist is very interesting... I knew there was something fishy about it...

And I kept wondering so the folks who can't afford bread (or fuel as of yesterday) are printing banners to rally against a possible long-term impact on the environment?!

Jade said...

Where is Egypt heading?

Jade said...

So everybody's doing comment approval now??
What's up with that?

Feshfesh said...

I don't know how I didn't enable moderation earlier... it totally fits with my "I'm God in here" theme for the blog...

...and it tickles my ego too.

Munqy said...

And we all KNOW how much Fesh likes tickling, right?

*Munqy approaches with an Ostrich feather.

Feshfesh said...

No! Nooooooooooooooo!

*Fesh prances around "trying" not to get caught.