On 8 November 2011, I wrote for Ahram Online about Dr Mona Mina winning a seat on the Doctors' Syndicate board. Now I write as the syndicate is expecting an emergency general assembly meeting 7 February 2014 about strikes demanding better pay and working conditions.
President Adly Mansour will soon be leaving the presidential palace after months of serving as Egypt’s president. He witnessed and endured a great deal. Mansour handled highly sensitive files and worked as hard as he could so that Egypt can overcome its troubles and implement the roadmap.
Will intellectuals always be against authority and the ruling establishment? What if the ruling authority has a national project that would achieve much of what intellectuals demand, like freedom, social justice, and dignity?
Egyptian Copts have been paying a high price for survival in the land of their ancestry. In the seventh century, Arab-Muslim conquerors of the Roman occupiers of Egypt demanded that Copts (Egyptians) convert to Islam or die. Fortunately, there was a third choice that kept the native Copts alive – as a denigrated class of citizens they were mandated to pay exorbitant taxes called Jizya on wages. This lasted through the mid-19th century. Faith in Christ, belief in miracles, reliance on the church body and clergy made and make it possible for Copts to co-exist with Islamic supremacy. Oppression and discrimination against Copts has been normalized over many centuries.
Some readers who commented on my political articles asked me to refocus my attention from ongoing political quarrels to look at creating a renaissance in Egypt. It is a topic that is close to my heart and writing.
I am one of Field Marshal Sisi’s greatest supporters ever since he was General; I dealt with him on many occasions and I respect him and like him. I remember asking former manager of Egyptian Intelligence General Murad Mowafy about those who worked Sisi a few months ago, he replied without any hesitation that Sisi is the best. And that is why I prefer to join the millions of people who support him as president.
Shortly before leaving Cairo on a trip to the US capital, Nader Bakkar, assistant to the president of the Salafist Nour Party, told a Saudi newspaper that his party “has destroyed claims by the Muslim Brotherhood for 80 years that Islam is the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Three years ago, the idea of revolution was under harsh attack in Egypt under the motto, "Egypt isn't Tunisia." The "Jasmine uprising," as it was called at the time, forced Tunisia's dictator to escape to Saudi Arabia. The idea of revolution wasn't an alternative that represented itself except among very few people before Tunisia, even after the rigging of elections in an unprecedented way, even in the light of bequeathing rule of the Egyptian Republic under the umbrella of Al-Adly's (former interior minister) security state. I remember a female colleague, who was covering the goings-on in the ruling party, bursting into tears asserting that the president's son was about to take the presidency by any means, and all arrangements were made with the opposition, foreign countries, business circles and the state apparatus. If any resistance arose, it would be too weak. This meant that blood would be futilely spilt.
“This man deserves to be Egypt’s president,” many whispered on Sunday, referring to President Adly Mansour after his speech that expressed the will of the Egyptian state and its ability to achieve its objectives of a better future.
How easy to blame everyone, and how hard to have no other choices?
Maybe it is our destiny, in each terrorist incident, to face those who fake the truth to make cheap debates and despotisms and those who cleverly come up with excuses to expand suppression under exceptional measures and the state of emergency.
I can understand how some youth forces who believe they have an exclusive right to the January 25 Revolution and that the revolution was hijacked from them decided to stay home and not vote in the referendum to protest or express their rejection and resentment of recent developments and measures.
It is unfortunate that there is a sense of disappointment among the youth of the January 25 and June 30 revolutions at a time when there should be a real partnership between the state and revolutionary youths.
The best comment I heard about Jan. 25 is that we need to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution, which transformed us from tyranny to freedom, with a different mindset. Instead of carrying flags and celebrating in the squares and returning to our homes exhausted as if we fulfilled our duty; let’s make it a day that actually benefits the country. Let’s all volunteer on Jan.25. Let’s collect garbage from the streets, beautify fences, and help organize traffic.
A state of controversy and polarization dominated the Egyptian people for three years since the January 25 Revolution. Many of those people who participated in the revolution did not expect that the country would witness the current state of polarization, fear, controversy and conflict.
“Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said, in his statements during the Cabinet’s meeting, that he completely refuses the return of ‘old faces’ to the political scene, and Egypt will not return to its status before the January 25 Revolution.”
Caught in the grips of revolutionary fervor in 2011, the Egyptian public viewed the young political activists credited with sparking the revolutionary uprising that brought about Mubarak’s downfall as national heroes. Fast forward to today, and we find that this view has distinctly changed.
They have been tumbled on, they have been harassed, they have faced disappointment after another, yet Egyptian women have set the example for positive participation and expressed their opinion in the referendum on the new constitution, defying all challenges that range from bombs to bullets.
I wrote before about the models’ conflict, and I said yes, there is Islamist model; Islam sets a system for life and gives it different meaning from the material and worldly system.
On Tuesday, Egypt votes on the new constitution, which aims to show the world that 30 June has electoral legitimacy, and thus undermine the Muslim Brotherhood’s legitimacy as well. Given that the Yes campaign is on the streets, on TV, in the newspapers, all over the social media and in targeted text messages to phones, and that the few who dare start a No campaign get arrested, it is fair to say that the Yes vote will win handily, since everyone who will go to the polls is planning to vote Yes anyway. The result will be as follows: a constitution that will get a historic turn-out and approval rating, but will not have electoral legitimacy, because, well, it’s hard to claim it is democratic if those who oppose it are getting arrested. Never mind that the state didn’t need to arrest the few No campaigners: historically, there hasn’t been a single referendum that Egyptians have voted No on. Moreover, the majority of Egyptians were planning to vote Yes anyway since they consider it a vote on the return of the MB to power. Instead, here we are, with the means used completely destroying the end desired.
Soft power comes from official institutions that can influence the outside world, in Egypt these institutions are Al-Azhar, the Coptic Church, universities, and grand museums that hold human legacy. One such museum is in Luxor and holds a quarter of all human legacy according to UNESCO’s reports.
UNESCO delegates visit Museum of Islamic Art to assess damage to the building and artefacts following bombing; antiquities minister announces number of destroyed items