Thursday, August 15, 2013

So much for democracy in Egypt!


"So much for..." is a sarcastic idiom.  What is sarcasm?  A sarcastic statement is usually meant as an insult but the statement is not, in itself, insulting.  For example, if a politician is very dishonest or corrupt (makes money illegally), someone might say, "Wow, this politician is a saint!" (a saint is a holy or Godly person). 

So a statement becomes a sarcastic statement when everyone knows it is not a true statement - in fact, everyone knows the opposite is true.  For instance, some Americans feel that Vladimir Putin embarrassed President Obama recently by giving Snowden protection (asylum) in Russia.  Someone who doesn't like Obama might say, "What a strong leader Obama is!"

"So much for..." is a sarcastic idiom.  Let's say the most popular baseball player in America gets caught (is discovered) using steroids (drugs that make your muscles illegally develop to be stronger).  Someone might say, "So much for honesty in baseball!"  Meaning: There is no honesty in baseball.  Or let's say that some type of injustice happens.  Someone might say, "So much for justice!"  Meaning: There was no justice in this situation. 

For instance, many people are upset about the fact that George Zimmerman was found 'not guilty' of killing Trayvon Martin. Those people might say, "So much for justice in Florida!" Meaning: There is no justice in Florida.  If someone does something unkind or mean to another person: "So much for kindness!"

So when I say: "So much for democracy in Egypt..." I am saying, "There is, obviously, no democracy in Egypt." 

A president was elected in Egypt but he was felt to be too extreme as a Muslim.  The military in Egypt forced him out of the presidency.  Very few countries in the west seriously complained about this because they did not want an extreme Muslim as president of Egypt (so much for honesty in the west).

You know, in the 1970s President Nixon ordered the CIA (America's spy agency) to arrange the assassination (murder) of the president of Chile (Salvador Allende) because Allende was a socialist.  So in the 70s the USA was happy when socialists were illegally removed from office and killed, and now the USA is, apparently, happy when orthodox Muslims are removed and their followers killed. I don't see any difference between the US attitude then and now.

If Obama had cared about democracy, he would have criticized the removal of an elected president by the military in Egypt.  (Here comes a sarcastic statement): But Obama is a great man peace and a Nobel Prize winner - so he said nothing!

Now the Egyptian military (that the western countries did not complain about) is killing large numbers of people.  Those people have a right to protest.  These murders are a disgrace.

Here is an article about the situation:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/08/15/egypt-violence/2658671/

Here is vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a death toll - the number of people who have died

condemnation widens - the number of people around the world who are criticizing or saying that this attack was wrong is growing.

Wednesday was the deadliest day - I just want to point out that in headlines, newspapers and internet news sources often deliberately (not accidentally) shorten the headline by leaving out some words.  For instance, in this headline, 'the' is left out.  Also it says "Americans urged to leave."  This should be "Americans are being urged to leave."  They leave out (omit) words to save space.

to topple - to overthrow.  If you topple a glass of water, the glass falls over and the water spills out.  If some group topples a government, they eliminate it or get rid of it.

to urge - to encourage.

ousted - if someone has been ousted, he has been gotten rid of; he is no longer there...

stormed and torched - attacked and burned;  to torch something is to burn something

to stage a protest - to stage is the verb often used with 'protest.'  To start a protest.

to condemn - to say that something is wrong.

joint military operations -  Egypt and the USA were supposed to practice fighting together.

unrest - a lack of peace; when something isn't peaceful

sit-in camps - places where protesters were sitting in order to protest what they felt was wrong.

injured/killed -  if you are not killed, but you are harmed, you are injured or wounded.

moved on the camps - attacked the camps

torched - burned

blocked - if obstacles or things are placed in the road to stop traffic from moving, the road is blocked

were keen to -  intended to, they wanted to

a gradual plan - everything was not supposed to happen all at once, things were supposed to happen slowly

appealed to people to leave -  asked the people to leave

to disperse the crowd - to force the crowd to leave; initially the crowd was dense (very tightly packed together) - to disperse the crowd is to make it less dense and to force people to go home

started shooting at the police - the military is saying that the protesters started the trouble.  In a 'riot' (when a protest becomes violent) the police or military often blame the protesters for starting the riot.

iconic pyramids - if an image is iconic, it is very famous.  Indeed, an iconic photo or image is usually associated with someone or something. In this case, the pyramids present an iconic photo usually associated with Egypt.

an encampment - a place where many people are located in temporary housing.

countered - if you 'counter' an argument you claim the first argument was wrong and you make a second argument or statement which you claim is true.

pledged - promised.

robust - strong.

erupted - exploded.  A volcano erupts.  This is a volcano:



bearing little sign of the labyrinth of tents that crammed the area -  showing no evidence or no trace of the large number of tents that used to be in the area.  A labyrinth is a maze.  So there were so many tents packed together it looked like a maze...but now they are all gone and it is hard to tell that they had even been there.



solidarity - when everyone supports each other and everyone sticks together

posters - large pieces of paper that can be glued to walls, in which images or messages are conveyed (given)

coffins - the boxes that dead bodies are out into.

weaved - move in and out of

a mourner - someone who experiences grief or deep sadness over another person's death

a mosque - a place where Muslims go to pray and to worship

burial - when you place a coffin in the ground

scribbled - written quickly

charred - burned

scattered - thrown all over the place

steadfast - unmoving, strong, resolved - if you are steadfast you are not going to give up

underscoring - if you underscore something, you underline it.  So if you find an interesting sentence in a book, you might draw a line under it.  If one event underscores another, it is making the other event seem more important...as if a line is being drawn under it.

sealed - closed

a curfew - a time by which everyone is supposed to be inside of their homes

interim - temporary

prosperous - if someone is prosperous, he is doing well, making a lot of money etc.

to endorse - to say that the removal of the president was ok.

turned its back on Egypt - Sisi is saying that Obama promised to support Egypt but not he is refusing to do that.  If someone turns his back on you, you ask the person for help but he refuses.

unhinged - a door swings open because it is on hinges.  If the door is off its hinges, it falls down - it is unstable.

a resignation - if you resign, you quit your job

assault - an attack

preceded - came before

dodging - avoiding

a stalemate - a situation in which nobody can win and nobody can lose

crushed prospects of mediation - ruined or destroyed opportunities for mediation - mediation is when another person steps in to try to resolve a problem two different sides are having

a glimmer of hope - a glimmer is a faint (weak) light.  A glimmer of hope means there was a little bit of hope that  things could get batter.

moot - if a problem is moot, it no longer matters.

repression - oppression, when something stronger forces something weaker to act in a certain way; when a strong government takes away the rights of its people.

to dismantle - to take apart

a coup - when the military takes over a government

assets frozen - they can't get their money out of the bank

somber - very very serious

hectic - wild, chaotic

shuttered - closed

to regret - to feel bad that something happened

house arrest - if a person is placed under house arrest, he cannot leave his house

undisclosed - not mentioned, not told to anyone

inciting - causing

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Writing/Discussion:

The Obama administration clearly does not like the Muslim Brotherhood - which used to control the Egyptian government.  Do you think Obama should have condemned the military coup and demanded that Morsi be placed back in power?  After all, the USA is a democratic country and claims to support democracy around the world.

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