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Mideast in turmoil

Published February 04. 2011 05:00PM

As you plop down to watch the game and that steady flow of multimillion commercials on Sunday - a Super Bowl happening - be aware that most of the world could care less about who wins or loses the game.

People in the Middle East are facing a game-changing event that determines their very existence. Although a number of Arab states are experiencing upheaval, headlines have been centered on Egypt, the largest Arab state.

Not too long ago, Hosni Mubarak was thought to be invincible in the ancient land of the pharaohs, as formidable as The Sphinx. That was until the squeeze on the masses became too much to bear.

A person will usually tolerate a regime until it becomes impossible to put bread on the table. That became the case in Egypt, where the unemployment rate has soared.

Education can become a very dangerous obstacle for a ruler like Mubarak and this uprising seems to be led by college students and graduates. Among the young people, the jobless rate is around 40 percent.

It's also remarkable to see the number of women among the protesters who have been pouring into Tahir Square this week. The women of Egypt seem better educated and have more independence than their Arab neighbors. One teacher I saw interviewed said it was becoming impossible to survive on her $13,000 salary and that she hadn't received a raise in years.

There's no bigger chasm between the haves and have nots than in the Arab nations, where the rulers share the road with the people they rule. The difference is that the rulers will be driving a Mercedes, and passing the masses, some of whom may be able to afford a camel.

Oil prices jumped immediately after the massive protests began in Egypt. There is nothing more threatening to the U.S. and other consuming nations than to have the flow of oil impaired from the Persian Gulf.

The Middle East, the cradle of civilization, still drives the global economy. When that vehicle has a breakdown, get ready to pay the bill.

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