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What Have Italy and Egypt Got in Common?

Both nations share the same assets: Brilliant people, and both suffer from the same problem: a rotten system.

“Brilliant people, rotten system,” was the poignant observation of Ben Wedeman, CNN’s senior correspondent in Cairo, Egypt via Twitter.

I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with Wedeman’s observations so far as it applies to Italy – very apt indeed.  Journalist Wedeman has spent many years in Egypt, and so he knows the country, its system and people very well.

Wedeman also knows Italy rather well too, as you will discover from my update below.

What sparked Wedeman’s observation was a chat we had on Twitter the other day.  Yes, you get to meet (Tweet?!) some very interesting people on Twitter, and Wedeman follows my @newsfromitaly Twitter handle too.

Although I’ve yet to discover exactly why, Wedeman seems to have an interest in Italy – we started our Twitter chat after he’d retweeted this about Italy:

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Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.

UPDATE: 23 October, 2012: I have learned from Wedeman himself, that he is married to an Italian and is currently based in Rome.  Not only does he know Egypt very well, he also knows more than a thing or two about Italy.

Aside from his “Brilliant people, rotten system” comment, Wedeman provided insight into how Egyptians view Italians:

I thought “Italians are Egyptians with nice shoes” was lovely!

Something else these two Mediterranean nations have in common is that both are in the midst of transitional phases.  While Egypt’s attempts to sort out its rotten system have been, alas, marred by pain, violence, and death, Italy’s rot-removal process has, so far, remained largely non-violent.

Roll on the day when both nations have the systems their populations’ merit.

One sign of progress might be when Egyptians start wearing nice shoes.  Italian shoes, maybe.

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