DENIAL AND DEMOCRACY IN EGYPT - Editorial (New York Times): "In recent weeks, Egypt's government has further trampled the rights of its citizens, closing several branches of the Centre for Trade Union and Workers' Services, which provides much needed legal assistance to workers. This comes at a time when a growing number of government critics have been thrown in jail and on the heels of constitutional amendments that restrict rights and weaken standards for arrest and detention.

After crackdowns weakened or destroyed so many of Egypt's independent political organizations, democratic activists are hoping the burgeoning trade union movement will pick up the fight for democratic change. Which is why Mr. Mubarak has ordered the shuttering of the trade union centres.

With so many other things to worry about in the Middle East, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President Bush also seem to have lost their earlier fervour for Egyptian democracy. Washington must warn Mr. Mubarak clearly about the costs - for Egypt's long-term stability and its relationship with the United States - of such anti-democratic moves. Happy talk and denial just damage America's credibility and enable more repression."

In the Law of Moses it is written: "You shall not rob nor oppress anyone, and you shall pay your hired workers promptly. If something is due to them, donít even keep it overnight (Leviticus 19:13).