To Honor the Consent of the Governed


Today, the pro-democracy protest movement that began to put down roots in Egypt’s public life on January 25, 2011, at Midan Tahrir (or Liberation Square) in central Cairo, not only continued its expansion across the capital and throughout the nation, but achieved one of its major political aims: the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled as an authoritarian strongman for thirty years, without ever lifting the emergency laws that allowed him to crush dissent and marginalize political opposition.

February 11, 2011, must be remembered as a day when human decency and justice won out over the arbitrary acts of autocrats and torturers. Today must be remembered as a day when the idea that the only legitimate government is one that is formed with the consent of the governed was again affirmed by a diverse and impassioned political center demanding basic respect for fundamental values and the ethical treatment of all people.

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Egypt Pig Cull Suggests Ethical Risks of DNA-based Public Policy

The Egyptian government has ordered a 100% blanket cull of its entire pig stock in response to the outbreak of “swine flu” in Mexico and the US. The problem is, the new strain of the virus, technically influenza A H1N1, has not been found in pigs. The H1N1 strain is a flu virus that affects the human population and is spread by person to person contact. It contains genetic material showing it is a hybrid flu containing genetic segments linking it to avian-borne, swine-borne and human-borne flu viruses.

It is believed the initial infection may have some link to a particular pig farm in rural Oaxaca state, in southern Mexico. But as yet, this has not been confirmed, nor has it been confirmed that any livestock were responsible for transmission of the virus to the first affected individual. Egypt’s culling of pigs has been declared unnecessary by the World Health Organization, and the nature of Egypt’s apparent severe overreaction to the theoretical threat of a flu pandemic is made more clear by the fact that no one in Egypt has contracted the H1N1 flu infection.

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