steve sailer asks about egypt: “A big question would be what changes in government would be necessary to allow civil society to flourish. And what are the odds it would flourish?”

well, if the cousin-marriage conundrum thesis is correct, then 1) making the country more democratic prolly won’t work and 2) pretty low.

egyptians are, like many middle easterners, inbred – i.e. they married their first and second cousins at a rate of 38.9% in 2000 (click on chart for a LARGER version; source):

thus are they clannish as is evidenced by the number of political parties|organizations in egypt: 24+! that’s a lot of conflicting interests.

urbanites are less inbred than the rural folk, and those in the cairo|delta area (lower egypt) are less inbred than those in upper egypt:

Lower Egypt – Urban = 25.4%
Urban Governorates = 28.7%
Lower Egypt – Rural = 36.7%
Upper Egypt – Urban = 37.7%
Frontier Governorates = 46.3%
Upper Egypt – Rural = 55.2%
Total = 38.9%

added to the inbreeding that causes clannishness, there are also different peoples in egypt.

there are the egyptians in lower egypt and then there are the sa’idi in upper egypt — they’re egyptians, too, but they tend to be copts rather than muslims, afaict. then there are some nubians in upper egypt. they’re muslims. there are bedouins and arabs, also muslim, hanging around in different areas. greeks, italians, armenians mostly in lower, urban egypt. all christians. (and, note, that none of these — except for some arabs — are arabs. egyptians are not arabs.)

between all the inbreeding and all the different ethnic groups i doubt if much of a civil society can be built in egypt. not without some serious changes in reproductive patterns anyway.

i mean, apart from their dislike of mubarak, what can these people…

…possibly have in common with these people…?

my new, fave egyptian sub-group, btw, has got to be the magyarab. magyarab as in “magyar”:

“According to legend, Christian Hungarians who had only recently been brought under the control of the Ottoman Empire formed a part of the Ottoman army that was fighting in southern Egypt. Evidently, a portion or the entirety of the fighting unit remained there and intermarried with the local Nubian women.

“According to local Magyarabs, their ancestor was Ibrahim el-Magyar, a general who came from Buda (present-day Budapest) in 1517, he married with a local Nubian woman, they had a son called Ali, Ali had five sons: Selabi, Mustafa, Djelaleddin, Musa and Iksa. Ali’s five sons were the ancestor of all Magyarabs. Magyarabs are the members of the World Federation of Hungarians (Magyarok Világszövetsége) since 1992 and still consider themselves as Hungarians.

“They were not discovered by Europeans until 1935, when László Almásy, himself a Magyar, and his co-worker, the German engineer and explorer Hansjoachim von der Esch, happened upon their tribe in the Nubian region. Representatives of the tribes had attempted to make contact with Hungarian officials, but were unable to do so because of the outbreak of World War II.

“These people now have a Middle Eastern appearance due to the intermarriage with the local Nubian population and no longer speak the Hungarian language. Around 1934, however, Esch, who spent several weeks with the population of the Magyarab island at Wadi Halfa, put together a list of non-Arabic words used only on that island and which, according to him, were recognized by Almasy as similar to Hungarian words. His notes show that all Magyarab in Wadi Halfa were convinced that their ancestors came from ‘Nemsa’ (the Arabic word for Austria), which might refer to any region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was told by the chief of the Magarab island village that the their ancestors arrived in Egypt/Sudan as a group of ‘Austrian’ soldiers led by a man called Shenghal Sendjer, which Esch assumes to be originally General Sendjer or Senger.”

heh! who knew?!

update: see also What Regime Change Will Not Change In Egypt from parapundit.

update 02/21: see also cousin marriage conundrum addendum

update 03/04: the egypt demographic and health surveys for 2000 and 2008 show that the consanguinity rate for egyptians has dropped from 37.8% in 2000 to 29.7% in 2008. probably good news for the egyptians!

update 05/23/12: see also family type in egypt and mating patterns in egypt and corporations and collectivities

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