The silt comes down on the annual flood, making the soil fertile. The ancient people began to grow more food than they needed. It was the surplus that made it possible to build the pyramids and the cities that came to follow.
The great city of Alexandria rose at the mouth of the Nile, a center of ancient learning and trade. Learning was possible because with enough food came the leisure to read and write books, and with a surplus of food there was something to trade.
Egyptians traded wheat to the Greeks who would have starved on their soil-poor rocky shores that were only fit for grazing goats.
In later centuries, Egypt became the breadbasket of the Roman Empire.
Trade and knowledge -- it was the farm that made it possible.
Farmers in Egypt and elsewhere tend to be more conservative. The country people, since those early times in Egypt, were very conservative. And in all places and times, in our nation as well, the country people have been more conservative, more old-fashioned, resisting change and clinging to orthodoxy and the ways of their fathers.
The city people work for changes, admire fashion, trends, and ideas, pursue novelties, develop progressive philosophies, concoct startling new theories, and they want to overthrow the established order.
But the city people have always depended on the agricultural surplus from the conservative country side.
That is a curious mutual dependency, which began in Egypt.
So the old Egyptian farmer said, "It would be so much fun to be in a riot and get my fair share of abuse. But I am too old for that now, so I think they should all be arrested."
He did not trust those young upstarts in Tahrir Square, even though he had once felt that way himself.
But everywhere, across Africa, voices rose crying out for change.
In Zimbabwe they heard the call and said, "Dear Mr. Mubarak, When you leave, will you take Robert Mugabe with you?"
In South Africa, they upheld an image counter to the stubborn-ness of Mubarak.
Nelson Mandela was the real hero of African statesmanship. It was not his years in prison, not even his service as a President of a liberated South Africa. No deed was more important than his final choice -- to step down after serving one term. Mandela went home when his job was done, and that made him the best man in Africa.
But Mubarak could not learn that -- he had to be shown the door.
I am glad that Mubarak will stay in the country side, in a resort villa near the Red Sea.. His plea was heartfelt -- "I will die in Egypt."
He may deserve exile or criminal prosecution. Yet it will be a strong testament to the strength of the Egyptian people if they can let him live out his days quietly -- because they no longer fear him.
It's just kind of classy -- if they let him go.
No Jobs for College Graduates in Egypt. They are educated but unemployed, by the millions in Cairo, festering on their Blackberries and iPhones, boiling with knowledge.
This revolution began in Tunisia with a college graduate who got tired of looking for a job that did not exist, an office job where he could wear office casual clothes, like he had seen from videos on YouTube, designing and selling Arabic software.
No jobs existed like that. But he was determined and he borrowed a cart, loaded it with orange and bananas, and began to pursue the noble occupation of fruit peddler.
This man is my hero, I too am a college graduate, I too have sometimes worked peddling fruit.
But this young man was harassed and beaten by the Tunisian police because he had no permit and no money to bribe them.
It was his outrage and self-immolation that sparked the revolution in Egypt.
What this means, and I tell this to the young men and women in Tahrir Square -- you are know free to become fruit peddlers. You can repair shoes, you can open a cafe -- seriously, I'm not kidding.
Because there is no way on earth that any new democratic government in Egypt can provide millions of professional-level jobs to college graduates. It won't happen unless they hire a million more bureaucrats who will then burden the working public with massive taxation and regulation and by doing so, create a government as bad as the one they just got rid of.
No, that won't happen. If the government is good at all, it will stay out of the way, and permit and allow the young people to sell fruit from a cart, and build up the country that way.
That would be a good thing with so many young people wanting to work.
Egypt imports food. Egypt was self-sufficient in food until 1960. And let's not forget the long-term time frame. Egypt was self-sufficient in food for 10,000 years and was often a net exporter. In Roman times Egypt was the most valued province because of the vast wheat crops, harvested for the hungry thousands in Rome.
But not now. Now Egypt imports 40 per cent of its food. The production of food has not kept pace with the increase in population.
Where is the is freedom? Where is the independence, if you can't feed your own people?
So the young college graduates in Egypt had better face this problem squarely. Take your Twitters and your Facebook and your Google and start talking about food independence. That's where the work is.
Grow more food. The future of Egypt depends on better farming.
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