All's Swill That Ends Swill

The Queen of Links braved the pages of the Formerly Gray Lady to find this tale of woe from Egypt, where bureaucrats unwittingly disrupted a system.

They got rid of their pigs, en masse, thinking thereby to purify society of pig swill and swine flu. It didn't exactly turn out that way --as government officials were amply warned by those closest to the situation.

The pigs used to eat tons of organic waste. Now the pigs are gone and the rotting food piles up on the streets of middle-class neighborhoods like Heliopolis and in the poor streets of communities like Imbaba.

Ramadan Hediya, 35, who makes deliveries for a supermarket, lives in Madinat el Salam, a low-income community on the outskirts of Cairo.

“The whole area is trash,” Mr. Hediya said. “All the pathways are full of trash. When you open up your window to breathe, you find garbage heaps on the ground.”

What started out as an impulsive response to the swine flu threat has turned into a social, environmental and political problem for the Arab world’s most populous nation.

We will nobly leave aside most of the snarky comments that occur to us and simply call this an "adventure in subsidiarity."