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PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Why Are We Giving Money to Egypt -- a Country That Jails Journalists?
On the CNN website I read a story about my fellow journalists -- I say "my fellow journalists" because when one journalist is harmed, the rest of us should line up in solidarity with them -- who've been jailed for months in Egypt, a country that "The Committee to Protect Journalists [has] ranked… as the third deadliest country for journalists in 2013. Reporters Without Borders said 80 journalists were arrested from July to September last year."
According to the story, the "trial" for the jailed Al Jazeera journalists has been adjourned to May 15.
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Egypt gets more than $1 billion in aid -- almost all of it going to the army -- from the U.S. every year. Why?
We send an equivalent amount to Israel -- one the richest countries in the world based on per capita income. Why?
Jordan also benefits from the U.S. taxpayers:
"The United States has provided economic and military aid, respectively, to Jordan since 1951 and 1957. Total U.S. aid to Jordan through FY2013 amounted to approximately $13.83 billion. Levels of aid have fluctuated, increasing in response to threats faced by Jordan and decreasing during periods featuring political differences or reductions of aid worldwide. On September 22, 2008, the U.S. and Jordanian governments reached an agreement whereby the United States agreed to provide a total of $660 million in annual foreign assistance to Jordan over a five-year period, ending with FY2014. In the year ahead, both parties may try to reach a new five-year aid deal."
Let me state right here: I'm against all aid to the Middle East. Yes, I know it's more or less part of peace agreements reached in the past, but I still feel that as long as Americans continue to suffer in terms of unemployment and deferred improvements to our crumbling infrastructure, Americans should get the aid -- not countries in the Middle East -- or anywhere else, for that matter.
I repeat, we should not reward the dictatorial regime of Egypt with foreign aid. Especially when they jail journalists for doing their jobs. As one of the protest signs reads: "Journalism is not a crime."