31 Dec 2012
Ten days before the March 2011 constitutional referendum, hundreds of soldiers went on a rampage in Tahrir Square, tearing up protesters’ tents, arresting dozens, and torturing them on the premises of the Egyptian Museum. Protesters were opposing the military’s monopoly of power, the continued presence of old regime figures and the hasty patch-up of the constitution. Blood was spilled...
30 Dec 2012
While I was outside a polling station waiting to bother voters while covering the referendum, a man sidled over to me.
He was unusually tall, his height accentuated by the straight line of his blue galabeya, and was wearing heavy rimmed 1960s-type sunglasses.
“See that man over there?” He whispered conspiratorially, pointing at a middle-aged man entering the polling station unaware...
29 Dec 2012
One night, a Lebanese friend, a professor who emigrated to France, told me of his longing for his homeland, blaming his departure on the sectarian quota system which does not guarantee him a proper status at home. An Iraqi friend carried on from there, sarcastically elaborating on the “progressive” state of democracy in his country.
I do not have a Pakistani friend, but I am aware of...
28 Dec 2012
As year two of the revolution comes to a close, one can scarcely escape the conclusion in media circles that Egypt is polarized. Without question, the result of the referendum has left countless Egyptians, not least the revolutionaries who were the motive force behind the Tahrir sit-in from 25 January 2011 onward, deeply disappointed and cynical about the country’s purported transition to...
27 Dec 2012
Leading up to the January 2011 revolution, labor played a major role in the organization and expression of dissent. The movement has continued to grow since, spilling into the private sector, while the number and size of labor actions have increased.
At the same time, electoral politics have changed the nature of how and why political hopefuls claim representation of different sections of society...
27 Dec 2012
The second year after the breakout of the 25 January uprising has been characterized by mixed developments and confused assessments.
The great hope in mobilizing the masses is accompanied with deep frustration in bringing about immediate change, and in moving forward on the road to a genuine democratic transformation.
This general feeling stems from what we have...
26 Dec 2012
During the painful Ettehadiya battle earlier this month between Brotherhood supporters and youthful opposition, the violence was not just physical. The scene was also a battlefield of chants. We chanted, “horriya” (freedom). They responded, “Sharia.” Then we uttered, “Jika.”
Then they fell into a temporary silence, bedazzled and confused about what the word...
26 Dec 2012
In elections in late 2011, the Brotherhood secured more than 42% of the parliamentary seats and emerged as the single dominant political party in the post-Mubarak order. The Brotherhood, at the time, portrayed its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, as Egypt’s equivalent of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party. A cross-class coalition that encompassed middle classes in...
25 Dec 2012
The paradox is stark. Vice President Mahmoud Mekky, Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky and Constituent Assembly Chief Hossam al-Gheriany — three icons of the Independence Current in the judiciary — are in the executive authority’s camp in the current constitutional crisis. Meanwhile, others who are considered part of the former regime, such as Judges Club head Ahmed al-Zend, are now...
23 Dec 2012
All Egyptians have heard variations of the tale throughout their lives. As far back as the time of Muhammad Ali Pasha, the Bishop of Monufiya, Serapamon, was said to have cured the Pasha’s daughter of illness by making the sign of the cross over a glass of water, sprinkling her face, and then giving her a drink.
More recently, Pope Kirollos VI was said to have restored the health of...