Pop quiz: Which country, over the last 30 years, has received the second biggest amount of U.S. foreign aid?

If you said Egypt, you should move to the head of the class.

Other than Israel, it’s been at the top of the list, hauling in $2 billion a year, on average.

It’s fallen a little bit as of late. In 2009, it got $1.6 billion, of which $1.3 billion was military aid. And its rank fell to fifth in 2009, behind Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.

But still it gets a ton from the United States, despite Egypt’s a horrendous human rights record. “Torture and other ill-treatment remained widespread in police cells, security police detention centers and prisons, and in most cases were committed with impunity,” according to Amnesty International’s 2010 annual report.

Egyptian authorities managed to highlight this horrendous human rights record over the last week or so.

On June 6th, two plain clothes police officers brutally beat up a 28-year-old Egyptian man named Khaled Said in an Internet café in Alexandria, and then dragged him out into the street and continued to beat him until he died.

Pictures of Said’s pummeled face circulated widely on the Internet. I saw them myself. They’re hideous.

Last Sunday, a couple hundred brave Egyptians gathered to protest Said’s death outside the ministry of justice in Cairo. Some even dared to hold signs that said “Down with Hosni Mubarak,” the strongman who has ruled that country for 29 years now, with the blessings of Washington.

Egyptian security forces, sensitive as always, wailed on these protesters and then rounded up several dozen of them.

It’s an ongoing scandal that we subsidize Egyptian repression.

That subsidy has got to come to an end.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

If you liked this article by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive, check out his article on the Gaza flotilla attack: "Israel Has Lost Its Mind--And Its Soul."


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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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