- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
I noted back in January that Egypt’s stability might be in danger from rising wheat prices. Egypt is the world’s second-largest importer of wheat, and some 14 million Egyptians depend on subsidized bread. Prices for non-subsidized bread have risen by 26 percent already this year, and corruption is rampant within the state distribution system. Given that the Egyptian Arabic word for “bread,” aish, is the same as the word for “life,” this is a huge problem.
Hosni Mubarak is worried, too. Government daily Al-Ahram reported Monday that the Egyptian president has ordered the Army to boost its own bread production to addess worsening shortages. Mubarak appeared to blame the shortages on population growth, not on market distortions and forces. But the problem is likely to get worse unless global wheat prices suddenly ease — something that is not likely to happen for another few months, if at all. Four people have reportedly been killed thus far in social unrest related to the bread crisis, and there will likely be more deaths to come. With the government already cracking heads in advance of municipal elections coming up on April 8, it’s going to be an ugly couple of weeks in the Arab world’s most populous country.