Torture and Abuse in Egypt: The North Carolina Connection

N227SV plane used in rendition flights.

N227SV plane used in rendition flights.

News that after five days of protests Omar Suleiman has been named vice president of Egypt is a reminder that the abuses that drove the people into the streets there had too much assistance from America, including right here in my home of North Carolina.

According to journalist Stephen Grey, Suleiman was the Egyptian conduit for the US extraordinary rendition flights closely linked to torture.  Many of those flights took off from an airport in Johnston County, NC, less than an hour from my home in Durham.  Grey’s book Ghost Plane starts with the journey of one such Johnston County flight that led to the rendition and torture of two Egyptian men, one of who was later released without ever being charged with a crime.

Grey writes that Suleiman approved these flights, part of a system of torture that Amnesty International calls systematic.  “Egypt then came in for much criticism,” Grey writes.  “Its record both on human rights and on repressing democracy was lambasted annually by both Congress and the State Department.  But in secret, men like Omar Suleiman … did our work, the sort of work that Western countries have no appetite to do themselves.”

I was also reminded of the Johnston County flights when I received reports this week from people in Cairo of the tear gas canisters being used against them.  Made in the USA, the canisters said.

When you are watching the footage of the Egyptian people in the street, showing their frustration of 30 years of tyranny and abuse, it’s safe and appropriate to feel solidarity with them.  But it’s not enough.  To support the people in Cairo trying to change those abuses, we in the US and in North Carolina must end our own policies and acts that have sustained them.

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28 thoughts on “Torture and Abuse in Egypt: The North Carolina Connection

  1. Not just Egypt but also Jordan and Syria too were of course, full active participants in US rendition for torture program. A Canadian government judicial commission of inquiry has ruled that the completely innocent Canadian engineer Maher Arar was illegally renditioned from the US to Jordan where he was tortured by the cruel and corrupt Jordanian tyrant King Husein's brutal secret police and then transferred to Syria where he was almost tortured to death in Assad's torture chambers for more than a year.

    We must support the overthrow not just of Mubarak, but of ALL the cruel corrupt dictators sadistically ruling Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Iran and in fact ALL the more than 40 Muslim majority countries across the world currently living under dictatorships.

  2. Mubarak is in a desperate situation. While his people are pushing him to resign; his 1.4000.000 m. militaries have taken Cairo streets.
    Despite he would like to make continuous efforts of stabilizing relations, eventually reaching peace, stability and security in the Egypt land, his efforts are now useless.
    He has destroyed million People’s hope for decades that finally have raised a storm of protest in his country and thankfully around the world.
    The Egyptian people are known for being peaceful and humble, but after dictatorships decades, now in the era of globalization and communication, like other dictatorships they have said enough, and there is no going back.
    It will not help anything to cut off communication at home in a city where almost live 20,000,000 millions against 1,400,000 military. Most of the population is concentrated in Cairo.
    The government has been overthrown –and Mubarack must cede his domain to civilian and resign with dignity.
    The Egyptian people do not deserve to spill more blood in their streets and military know, they are part of the town.
    The most important thing that certainly the United States and other countries have to understand is to urge that whatever happens, however the dispute is resolved, that it be resolved peacefully
    Our History must change. It’s time to learn from our mistakes and forget the war and violence I believe that in the end the abolition of war, the maintenance of world peace, the adjustment of international questions by pacific means will come through the force of public opinion, which controls nations and peoples.
    The evolution and Peace in Egypt, is now in the hands of the whole world.

  3. From my experience people never ever learn from their mistakes. People do what they do and then when things do not go their way they cry about the good old days and how they are the ones being desciminated against. Most of the time the ones that cry the loudest were the ones that in fact were in charge and pushing everyone around before the new government was put in place.

    I don't think there is a whole lot to do about this. Sometimes you just need to sit back and see how everything plays out. No matter what there is always a winner, and a looser in every situation. So if we went in there and somebody helped over throw the new government, well what then, if would be back to the old dictatorshio that was not working before.

    So what do you do about it? Only time will tell is what I say. Especially considering all phone, cell, and internet access is going to be cut off soon. What can you do anyway with so little time to prepare for the doom that is going to come.

  4. Not just Egypt but also Jordan and Syria too were of course, full active participants in US rendition for torture program. A Canadian government judicial commission of inquiry has ruled that the completely innocent Canadian engineer Maher Arar was illegally renditioned from the US to Jordan where he was tortured by the cruel and corrupt Jordanian tyrant King Husein’s brutal secret police and then transferred to Syria where he was almost tortured to death in Assad’s torture chambers for more than a year.

    We must support the overthrow not just of Mubarak, but of ALL the cruel corrupt dictators sadistically ruling Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Iran and in fact ALL the more than 40 Muslim majority countries across the world currently living under dictatorships.

  5. Mubarak is in a desperate situation. While his people are pushing him to resign; his 1.4000.000 m. militaries have taken Cairo streets.
    Despite he would like to make continuous efforts of stabilizing relations, eventually reaching peace, stability and security in the Egypt land, his efforts are now useless.
    He has destroyed million People’s hope for decades that finally have raised a storm of protest in his country and thankfully around the world.
    The Egyptian people are known for being peaceful and humble, but after dictatorships decades, now in the era of globalization and communication, like other dictatorships they have said enough, and there is no going back.
    It will not help anything to cut off communication at home in a city where almost live 20,000,000 millions against 1,400,000 military. Most of the population is concentrated in Cairo.
    The government has been overthrown –and Mubarack must cede his domain to civilian and resign with dignity.
    The Egyptian people do not deserve to spill more blood in their streets and military know, they are part of the town.
    The most important thing that certainly the United States and other countries have to understand is to urge that whatever happens, however the dispute is resolved, that it be resolved peacefully
    Our History must change. It’s time to learn from our mistakes and forget the war and violence I believe that in the end the abolition of war, the maintenance of world peace, the adjustment of international questions by pacific means will come through the force of public opinion, which controls nations and peoples.
    The evolution and Peace in Egypt, is now in the hands of the whole world.

  6. From my experience people never ever learn from their mistakes. People do what they do and then when things do not go their way they cry about the good old days and how they are the ones being desciminated against. Most of the time the ones that cry the loudest were the ones that in fact were in charge and pushing everyone around before the new government was put in place.

    I don’t think there is a whole lot to do about this. Sometimes you just need to sit back and see how everything plays out. No matter what there is always a winner, and a looser in every situation. So if we went in there and somebody helped over throw the new government, well what then, if would be back to the old dictatorshio that was not working before.

    So what do you do about it? Only time will tell is what I say. Especially considering all phone, cell, and internet access is going to be cut off soon. What can you do anyway with so little time to prepare for the doom that is going to come.

  7. What can we do, Phoenix Bird?
    First, prevent more deaths, second pressure Mubarak into withdrawing in order to leave the power with the greatest possible dignity (no one can govern a people who doesn’t loves him) If Mubarak would stay, Social conflict, citizen protests and demonstrations may be a usual and constant event on Cairo Streets, crowd’s violence would be tremendously increasing.
    All of it would seriously harm Country Economy and tourism..
    Now, Egypt can do a lot to prepare for the doom that is going to come.
    It won’t be an easy or quick way. God did not make the world in seven days.
    After decades of oppression human rights and individual freedom are very difficult to assume, but it is the first step to happiness, justice and social balance.
    Even if it costs 30 more years to reach, democracy is definitely the best way to evolution and development.

  8. What can we do, Phoenix Bird?
    First, prevent more deaths, second pressure Mubarak into withdrawing in order to leave the power with the greatest possible dignity (no one can govern a people who doesn’t loves him) If Mubarak would stay, Social conflict, citizen protests and demonstrations may be a usual and constant event on Cairo Streets, crowd’s violence would be tremendously increasing.
    All of it would seriously harm Country Economy and tourism..
    Now, Egypt can do a lot to prepare for the doom that is going to come.
    It won’t be an easy or quick way. God did not make the world in seven days.
    After decades of oppression human rights and individual freedom are very difficult to assume, but it is the first step to happiness, justice and social balance.
    Even if it costs 30 more years to reach, democracy is definitely the best way to evolution and development.

  9. Is it that big of a deal to be a land locked species of animal? We came out of the water to avoid becoming a meal. We would have been better off being the meal and with Mother Nature on continuous duty, it would have felt good.

    The dolphin came out of the water and evolved a suitable defense then returned to their prime area. Who wants to give up swimming? What became human remained on dry land.

    That was our first big mistake.

    Venturing out of Africa following a herd, who led us to strange new territory where it was cold and the Sun appeared to be leaving from time to time.

    The herd we followed did not have thumbs and consequently evolved a warm coat in the harsh north. We had thumbs and wore their furry hide after cutting them off. That was our second big mistake. We had 2 opportunities to evolve that we blew.

    Today we are ignorant dry land dwellers who are basically greedy and ready to go to war against our blood relatives of which all are. We are like a store and everything has a price, we evict and repossess whoever falls down. Then go to church on Sunday.

    Those of us who are white/pink lost our original dark pigment from wearing skins pressed up against us to keep warm. Mother Nature decided.

    We invented gods galore with of course the one true god thrown in for good measure out of the fear of freezing, starving and watching the northern lights dance around. 6 months of light, 6 of dark, fresh food from late spring to late summer then 8 months of freezing and starving other than flesh from the animals we consumed.

    No matter what we did to entice the Sun to come back and give us warmth and food, no matter how ridiculous or insane the act, it worked. This is the root of religion.

    While the ignorant count the number of times they have orbited the sun to get their age, they pollute themselves to death by pumping out from the ground a substance that when burned kills healthy oxygen molecules.

    And you really want to be human?

  10. We should not let ourselves be enveloped by the pessimism of historical memory or the conflict of skepticism with faith.
    To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity.
    If history teaches anything about the causes of revolution, it is that a disintegration of political systems precedes revolutions, which the telling symptom of disintegration is progressive erosion of governmental authority, and that this erosion is caused by the government's inability to function properly, from which prevail the citizens' doubts about its legitimacy.
    This is exactly what is happening in Tunis and Egypt and what will happen in a few Middle Eastern countries in a short future.
    Despite everything is going on about the same thing, nothing is strictly organized or powerfully disciplined, but all events have a conscious social purpose.
    Men make their own revolutions, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly found, given and transmitted from the past.
    History does never repeat itself, and that's the crux of the matter. It is the nation’s fate or people's will, that things turned out this way. Egypt does not have a program for the future, but the revolutions can give a fuller understanding of themselves, and of their common humanity, so that they can better face the future.
    Without passion and Actions there might be no errors, but there would certainly be no evolution. In history there are no real beginnings
    The events itself touches only a small part of a nation's life. Most of the activities and sufferings of the people … have been and will remain without written record; even so, the supreme purpose of history is a better world.
    And in this purpose all countries are involved especially U.S., that at the moment are taking a responsible and prudent attitude by the facts.
    .If at this crucial time, U.S. and Europe could make a reconstruction of life in its wholeness, not of the superficial aspects, but of the deeper, inner organic processes and precedence over fundamental rights of people to their political and economic interests,the result of the social uprising in the Middle East would benefit their peoples.
    We must not forget we belong to each other. And in a distant future the world will be one without east or west.

  11. Is it that big of a deal to be a land locked species of animal? We came out of the water to avoid becoming a meal. We would have been better off being the meal and with Mother Nature on continuous duty, it would have felt good.

    The dolphin came out of the water and evolved a suitable defense then returned to their prime area. Who wants to give up swimming? What became human remained on dry land.

    That was our first big mistake.

    Venturing out of Africa following a herd, who led us to strange new territory where it was cold and the Sun appeared to be leaving from time to time.

    The herd we followed did not have thumbs and consequently evolved a warm coat in the harsh north. We had thumbs and wore their furry hide after cutting them off. That was our second big mistake. We had 2 opportunities to evolve that we blew.

    Today we are ignorant dry land dwellers who are basically greedy and ready to go to war against our blood relatives of which all are. We are like a store and everything has a price, we evict and repossess whoever falls down. Then go to church on Sunday.

    Those of us who are white/pink lost our original dark pigment from wearing skins pressed up against us to keep warm. Mother Nature decided.

    We invented gods galore with of course the one true god thrown in for good measure out of the fear of freezing, starving and watching the northern lights dance around. 6 months of light, 6 of dark, fresh food from late spring to late summer then 8 months of freezing and starving other than flesh from the animals we consumed.

    No matter what we did to entice the Sun to come back and give us warmth and food, no matter how ridiculous or insane the act, it worked. This is the root of religion.

    While the ignorant count the number of times they have orbited the sun to get their age, they pollute themselves to death by pumping out from the ground a substance that when burned kills healthy oxygen molecules.

    And you really want to be human?

  12. Hello, thanks for the information. I don't need to listen or read to much news I just need to know if my husband is safe. He is an Egyptian who is not protesting, but remembering what everyone who isn't a terrorist is fighting for. We are all fighting for our strength, peace, and rights which come from Allah. Please don't support Egyptian government the reason Egypt has been a peaceful place for centuries is because they have had freedom. The government is taking that away and that is why they are protesting. If you have any information how I can get a hold him, let me know thank you. Please fight for all humanity so we don't fail to coexist. More people want global peace then not, so this the chance for all people to band together . I will write my husband a letter because they can take away our internet and our phones, but they can 't take away our love!

  13. There is no doom that is going to come we have the power as people to choose our own destiny yes, but by choosing our own destiny we have to band together as people not ignore because we want to internalize our own pain, our own pity, our own fear. We should forget the fear and fight for what is right because if we don't we let the terrorism win and continue. By supporting a government that isn't for peace we are allowing terrorism to destroy all chances for all humanity to have peace. Peace isn't just about God I believe he has given us life and he can take it away at any time, but it doesn't matter what I believe if I care about only that I am just being ignorant. It doesn't matter what race you are, what religion you are, or what you believe. The only way we can truly be free of doom, terror, fears, and hatred is if we free our minds and our hearts from it it and just give in to what is next to come because things always get better with time. Empathy is better than sympathy!

  14. We should not let ourselves be enveloped by the pessimism of historical memory or the conflict of skepticism with faith.
    To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity.
    If history teaches anything about the causes of revolution, it is that a disintegration of political systems precedes revolutions, which the telling symptom of disintegration is progressive erosion of governmental authority, and that this erosion is caused by the government’s inability to function properly, from which prevail the citizens’ doubts about its legitimacy.
    This is exactly what is happening in Tunis and Egypt and what will happen in a few Middle Eastern countries in a short future.
    Despite everything is going on about the same thing, nothing is strictly organized or powerfully disciplined, but all events have a conscious social purpose.
    Men make their own revolutions, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly found, given and transmitted from the past.
    History does never repeat itself, and that’s the crux of the matter. It is the nation’s fate or people’s will, that things turned out this way. Egypt does not have a program for the future, but the revolutions can give a fuller understanding of themselves, and of their common humanity, so that they can better face the future.
    Without passion and Actions there might be no errors, but there would certainly be no evolution. In history there are no real beginnings
    The events itself touches only a small part of a nation’s life. Most of the activities and sufferings of the people … have been and will remain without written record; even so, the supreme purpose of history is a better world.
    And in this purpose all countries are involved especially U.S., that at the moment are taking a responsible and prudent attitude by the facts.
    .If at this crucial time, U.S. and Europe could make a reconstruction of life in its wholeness, not of the superficial aspects, but of the deeper, inner organic processes and precedence over fundamental rights of people to their political and economic interests,the result of the social uprising in the Middle East would benefit their peoples.
    We must not forget we belong to each other. And in a distant future the world will be one without east or west.

  15. Hello, thanks for the information. I don’t need to listen or read to much news I just need to know if my husband is safe. He is an Egyptian who is not protesting, but remembering what everyone who isn’t a terrorist is fighting for. We are all fighting for our strength, peace, and rights which come from Allah. Please don’t support Egyptian government the reason Egypt has been a peaceful place for centuries is because they have had freedom. The government is taking that away and that is why they are protesting. If you have any information how I can get a hold him, let me know thank you. Please fight for all humanity so we don’t fail to coexist. More people want global peace then not, so this the chance for all people to band together . I will write my husband a letter because they can take away our internet and our phones, but they can ‘t take away our love!

  16. There is no doom that is going to come we have the power as people to choose our own destiny yes, but by choosing our own destiny we have to band together as people not ignore because we want to internalize our own pain, our own pity, our own fear. We should forget the fear and fight for what is right because if we don’t we let the terrorism win and continue. By supporting a government that isn’t for peace we are allowing terrorism to destroy all chances for all humanity to have peace. Peace isn’t just about God I believe he has given us life and he can take it away at any time, but it doesn’t matter what I believe if I care about only that I am just being ignorant. It doesn’t matter what race you are, what religion you are, or what you believe. The only way we can truly be free of doom, terror, fears, and hatred is if we free our minds and our hearts from it it and just give in to what is next to come because things always get better with time. Empathy is better than sympathy!

  17. Danielle,
    if you don't need to listen or read to much news, waht are you doing here
    by giving your opinion?. If you want to fight, why aren't you next to your husband?.anyway if you are concerned and worried about the life of your husband, I recommend that you call directly to the US embassy in Egypt:
    Local (202) 895-5400, internacional: +20.2.2797.3300 you would speak to a real person about the State of Emergency in Egypt
    Do not waste your time here. And do not confuse a veteran politician who heads a dictatorial regime with a terrorist. Mubarak is not precisely Bin Laden.
    If you need any other information, feel free to ask.

  18. USA is still supporting Mubarak The Criminal

    Regardless of all American claims to be the supporter of human democracy and freedom. And although the President of the USA changed from a radical and racist mentality as Bush, to Obama whom everyone was looking highly at him as a representative for neutral and fair approach.Specially when he started his rule with a new speech announcing an open policy away from threatening, terrorizing, racism and radicalism. However now we can see obviously that he and his government support the dictator Mubarak, who isn't just a dictator but also a criminal committing massacres against his own people.It is fair to say that USA or any other country who support Mubarak is supporting terrorism , supporting Nazism and supporting mass killing of civilians.Any country who do that shall not dare to talk about freedom and human rights and will be crucified by history later on . And although Egyptians have no hate to USA or its citizens but it is objective to say that such irresponsible approach from USA leadership to the current situation is inviting Egyptians to hate them and not just Egyptians but all Arabs . We all hope that everyone have learned from the historical events . which showed and still shows that supporting oppression and dictatorial governments lead to terrorism which endanger everyone . It is the moment for USA to gain credibility, It is the moment of truth for everyone, Either to stop the mass killing of that Nazi Mubarak against Egyptians. Either to announce it clearly " we don't support human rights , we don't support freedom, we are not what we claim, we are just liars". And in the end, I really wonder! how any western president can shake hands with Mubarak later on while his hand is covered with the blood of civilian Egyptians and then dare to say they support human rights

  19. Danielle,
    if you don’t need to listen or read to much news, waht are you doing here
    by giving your opinion?. If you want to fight, why aren’t you next to your husband?.anyway if you are concerned and worried about the life of your husband, I recommend that you call directly to the US embassy in Egypt:
    Local (202) 895-5400, internacional: +20.2.2797.3300 you would speak to a real person about the State of Emergency in Egypt
    Do not waste your time here. And do not confuse a veteran politician who heads a dictatorial regime with a terrorist. Mubarak is not precisely Bin Laden.
    If you need any other information, feel free to ask.

  20. Thank you Simon I see your point. I have only been looking at direct news from a paper or radio. I don't need to defend for my husband or what any Egyptian is doing because ultimately it's their business and I should know in my heart that he's okay and be my husband's strength. We just got married, so I'm still finding right ways to handle things. I did try to call those numbers already several times, but haven't gotten through. I'll keeping sending mail and encourage others to do the same! . Other people our going through it too and by freaking out not only am I not seeking independence, but I'm not helping people who actually need mature unbiased support. I just got back home from Egypt two weeks ago, so I need to take it easy cuz it hasn't been that long since I've seen the family I have there. Anyways, thanks again! ^_^

  21. USA is still supporting Mubarak The Criminal

    Regardless of all American claims to be the supporter of human democracy and freedom. And although the President of the USA changed from a radical and racist mentality as Bush, to Obama whom everyone was looking highly at him as a representative for neutral and fair approach.Specially when he started his rule with a new speech announcing an open policy away from threatening, terrorizing, racism and radicalism. However now we can see obviously that he and his government support the dictator Mubarak, who isn’t just a dictator but also a criminal committing massacres against his own people.It is fair to say that USA or any other country who support Mubarak is supporting terrorism , supporting Nazism and supporting mass killing of civilians.Any country who do that shall not dare to talk about freedom and human rights and will be crucified by history later on . And although Egyptians have no hate to USA or its citizens but it is objective to say that such irresponsible approach from USA leadership to the current situation is inviting Egyptians to hate them and not just Egyptians but all Arabs . We all hope that everyone have learned from the historical events . which showed and still shows that supporting oppression and dictatorial governments lead to terrorism which endanger everyone . It is the moment for USA to gain credibility, It is the moment of truth for everyone, Either to stop the mass killing of that Nazi Mubarak against Egyptians. Either to announce it clearly ” we don’t support human rights , we don’t support freedom, we are not what we claim, we are just liars”. And in the end, I really wonder! how any western president can shake hands with Mubarak later on while his hand is covered with the blood of civilian Egyptians and then dare to say they support human rights

  22. Ahmed Gamal,
    The topic of looking to the U.S. as a threat to some Middle East countries will end very soon. Despite your visceral style of expression, you are right to denounce the attitude that EU has had for many years supporting dictatorial governments and attacking human rights. But now, the historic moment we're living in your country, Egypt, with this revolution will serve to break the topic that most Islamic countries have on Barak's Obama politics.
    President Obama is not supporting Mubarak, but on the contrary,he is trying to influence the transition to a democracy in your country.
    There is a great social discouragement and frustration on much part of the world, no one has to suffer oppression, lack of freedom and poverty and this has led society to change their values about ambition, selfishness and patriotism by new values of equality, cooperation and empathy.
    Nobody in the West will support a dictatorship, when countries such Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Sudan, Mauritania etc…, are a social time bomb, ready to explode.
    I truly believe that individuals can make a difference in society. Since periods of change such as the present, one come so rarely in human history, it is up to each of us to make the best use of our values and political ideals to help create a better world.
    Everything will turn out as is expected. the Egyptian army will support to the people.
    President Mubarak must relinquish power and give up this absurd pulse against his own people if he doesn't want his death to be an new more event of this revolution.
    Personally I wish the best for Egypt and its people and also for the rest of the world.

  23. Thank you Simon I see your point. I have only been looking at direct news from a paper or radio. I don’t need to defend for my husband or what any Egyptian is doing because ultimately it’s their business and I should know in my heart that he’s okay and be my husband’s strength. We just got married, so I’m still finding right ways to handle things. I did try to call those numbers already several times, but haven’t gotten through. I’ll keeping sending mail and encourage others to do the same! . Other people our going through it too and by freaking out not only am I not seeking independence, but I’m not helping people who actually need mature unbiased support. I just got back home from Egypt two weeks ago, so I need to take it easy cuz it hasn’t been that long since I’ve seen the family I have there. Anyways, thanks again! ^_^

  24. Ahmed Gamal,
    The topic of looking to the U.S. as a threat to some Middle East countries will end very soon. Despite your visceral style of expression, you are right to denounce the attitude that EU has had for many years supporting dictatorial governments and attacking human rights. But now, the historic moment we’re living in your country, Egypt, with this revolution will serve to break the topic that most Islamic countries have on Barak’s Obama politics.
    President Obama is not supporting Mubarak, but on the contrary,he is trying to influence the transition to a democracy in your country.
    There is a great social discouragement and frustration on much part of the world, no one has to suffer oppression, lack of freedom and poverty and this has led society to change their values about ambition, selfishness and patriotism by new values of equality, cooperation and empathy.
    Nobody in the West will support a dictatorship, when countries such Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Sudan, Mauritania etc…, are a social time bomb, ready to explode.
    I truly believe that individuals can make a difference in society. Since periods of change such as the present, one come so rarely in human history, it is up to each of us to make the best use of our values and political ideals to help create a better world.
    Everything will turn out as is expected. the Egyptian army will support to the people.
    President Mubarak must relinquish power and give up this absurd pulse against his own people if he doesn’t want his death to be an new more event of this revolution.
    Personally I wish the best for Egypt and its people and also for the rest of the world.