Last update: 00:00 am Friday ,4 May 2012 - Updated daily except Saturday and Sunday

Great walls of Cairo: The politics of segregation

Others | 4 May 2012
The Qasr Al-Aini cement barricade. Half of it was pulled down last month by protesters, while a roughly one-metre-high solid cement-block wall still remains. The scene is surreal... More

To visit or not to visit Jerusalem, why make that the question?

Others | 3 May 2012
In April 2010, the prominent Saudi cleric Mohamed al-Arif announced that he was going to make a trip to Jerusalem, then changed his mind under pressure. Two years later, Egypt’s grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, made good on Arif’s unfulfilled desire. Gomaa’s visit came after influential Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa prohibiting such a visit, equating it with the normalization of relations with Israel. The visit was criticized harshly by nearly all Islamic currents and many secularists who had been staunch opponents of normalizing relations with that state, but defended by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. It is particularly significant because it looks like other Muslim clerics might follow in the mufti’s footsteps. .. More


Others | 2 May 2012
It's been an aeon since Egyptian cyber-activists decided to try grafting the virtual world onto reality. The result was breathtaking at first, surpassing the initial plan to put an end to police brutality and the emergency law—which plan, thoroughly forgotten since then, was never implemented. But with apparently good reasons: the protests and, perhaps more importantly, the regime's idiotic response to them, seemed to have far more important consequences: Mubarak not only became the first president in Egyptian history to leave office in his lifetime, he also stepped down against his will; plans for his son Gamal to succeed him were stopped in their tracks; and a precedent was established for "the people" gaining rights by sheer force of collective will, independently of institutions... More

Abouel Fotouh: The wrong choice for secularists

Others | 1 May 2012
Presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh is a good man and the best product of Egypt’s Islamist currents. His importance lies in that he represents the democratic evolution of the Islamist wave. I still believe, however, that he is not the right candidate for the secular and civil parties, whose existence is the raison d’etre of the 25 January revolution. .. More

Whatever happened to the Egyptian presidential candidates?

Others | 30 April 2012
More important than finding out which presidential candidate someone supports, is knowing why they support him. About three weeks ago, I was riding a taxi to the airport and wasted no time in finding out the cab driver’s opinion about his preferred presidential candidate. Like most, the driver tried to avoid answering the question until he first found out who I supported. I also was evasive and refused to answer the question before he replied first. Finally, he told me either Ahmed Shafiq or Hamdeen Sabbahi... More

Egypt’s democratic gala

Others | 30 April 2012
Every stage of Egypt's supposedly democratic transition has been hailed as part of a bigger democratic gala; from the referendum on constitutional amendments and parliamentary elections, all the way to the announcement of the presidential election and the election of the Constituent Assembly... More

When devils do good things

Others | 27 April 2012
Everybody in this country, including devout Muslims, heaved a deep sigh of relief when Abu-Ismail got disqualified from the race due to his family background. Thanks to the disclosure of his mother’s US citizenship, the competitors for the Egyptian presidency have lost a big and unrepentant liar from their ranks. Abu-Ismail’s mother must be turning in her grave because her son is posthumously disrupting her privacy... More

The Salafi star at the Pyramids

Others | 26 April 2012
The popularity of the Salafi Sheikh Adel was surprising, particularly in the top tourist destination in Egypt, the pyramids. A planned two-hour visit ended up as a mission to uncover the legacy of this man. It started with a casual question about the winners of the latest parliamentary elections with one of the camel owners who constantly harass visitors, inviting them on an overpriced ride around the ancient monuments. I was told that many of those who make a living out from tourism in the pyramids area had voted for the Salafi Nour party and its candidate, Sheikh Adel, in the parliamentary elections. Wondering what made those who earn a living from tourism vote for a Salafi candidate led me to embark on a search for clues and possible answers... More

Hard questions and indecisive answers

Others | 25 April 2012
The supposedly "angry" speech made by Muslim Brotherhood stalwart and former Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater, who was dubbed the "Renaissance's architect" and .. More

The Pharaoh’s return

Others | 24 April 2012
When Moses led his people out of Egypt, he led them away from slavery and oppression. Passing through the Red Sea, they left behind many years of suffering under the tyranny of Pharaoh and they looked forward to peace in a Promised Land. The harsh reality of freedom, though, soon began to make itself felt and things didn’t happen as quickly as the people wanted. Escaping from oppression didn’t bring them everything they wanted all at once... More

The embattled Brothers

Others | 23 April 2012
“Never gamble to increase your comp credits,” is a rule that the Muslim Brotherhood should have learned before playing politics. For decades, the Brotherhood has presented itself as a socio-religious movement that seeks to reform society to be more Islamic, whatever that means, but the movement has been struggling to make sense of its new character since the ousting of Mubarak last year... More

Lessons of autism

Others | 20 April 2012
“Ca.” That was the first time I got cold shivers all over my body. After three months of saying “cat,” Nadeem couldn't say the whole word anymore. He was 2 years and 7 months old. September 2009. I was seven months pregnant with my second boy, Ramy. Then came Halloween. Nadeem had a mouse costume, which he refused to wear. After much cajoling,.. More

The junta and the dilemma of a macho president

Others | 19 April 2012
With a stroke of a pen, the Presidential Elections Commission managed to disappoint and deeply frustrate many Egyptians. For after the revolution, there has been an increasing demand in the street for a “macho” president, one who can get a firm grip on the country... More

The motives and consequences of legislative intrusion

Others | 18 April 2012
A few weeks before the first session of the elected parliament on 23 January, soon before Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) handed over legislative powers to the People’s Assembly, the ruling military council issued several laws by decree concerning non-urgent issues. Other, more pressing matters, meanwhile, were ignored for months... More


J.M Fahmy | 17 April 2012
Few days ago after lots of rumors Ex-Chief of Egyptian Intelligence Stepped In for Presidential Elections Lot of reasons makes a lot of 25th January Revolution youth supporters for Omar Suleiman who on January 29 become for a short while for the first time in his long service the vice president of former president Hosni Mubarak. .. More

Our responsibility toward the revolution

Others | 17 April 2012
Many Egyptians now stand unsure of what to do next, while more are frustrated by the outcome of the revolution — a regime that is still in place, a movement that hijacked power leaving those who sparked the revolution empty-handed, a turbulent transition period — it all seems to most people like a catastrophic outcome to a very hopeful revolution. I, on the other hand, believe it is the best course for the revolution, if we as revolutionaries become aware of our reality and take advantage of the recent turn of events... More

Sinai: The paradox of security

Others | 13 April 2012
Amid Egypt's troubled transition, news from Sinai is emerging again, albeit in its old familiar form. Lawlessness is the story of the arid peninsula, which is home to an intricate set of historic, political, social and economic conditions that have transformed it into a frontier where the state has ceased to exist... More

Who do Egypt’s villagers vote for? And why?

Others | 12 April 2012
As of yesterday, 23 candidates, who belong to different parties and political orientations, have applied to run for the presidency. Many now wonder who will people vote for and why, particularly after the takeover of Islamic parties, namely the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (42 percent) and the Salafi Nour Party (24.2 percent), in the parliamentary elections that took place earlier this year... More

Suleiman for president: Old battle lines redrawn

Others | 11 April 2012
The launch at the eleventh hour of Omar Suleiman’s candidacy shows extraordinary disregard for Egypt’s popular revolution — that it happened at all, that it had clear positions against torture, normalization of relations with Israel, and America’s Middle East policy, and that former Head of General Intelligence Omar Suleiman was crucial to all of these. Suleiman’s nomination represents a bid to restore the old regime, down to its most maligned characters. More specifically, it is an attempt to entirely erase the new politics that the revolution introduced, replacing them with the classic political confrontation of the Mubarak era: that of the authoritarian regime and the Islamist opposition... More

Ethics in politics

Ahmed Sobh | 10 April 2012
Once we accept the necessity of separating ethics and politics, it is safe to assume that battles over the referendum, the constitution and elections were all prime examples of politicking. If we believe that ignoring conscience results in successful politics and so benefits the nation, then perhaps we should accept that what we have seen as politics played out among the people. This raises a fundamental issue about the connection between morality and political success. More importantly, it raises a fundamental question: Can the nation’s interests be served by disregarding principles, even if tangible achievements are made?.. More

The myth of Egypt’s liberal constitution

Others | 9 April 2012
In the years leading up to January 2011, Egypt’s past often appeared as an admonishment to the present. While their invocations of history assumed many forms, critics of the Mubarak regime became particularly enthralled with the so-called “liberal era” that followed the revolution of 1919. Secularist liberals saw the interwar decades as a golden age of political freedom, religious tolerance and cultural efflorescence. Political conservatives reinvented the Egyptian monarchy as a model of strong leadership not marred by the moral decrepitude and corruption of Mubarak’s presidency. And even some Islamist groups recognized these years as their own moment of emergence before Nasser’s brutal crackdown. It is thanks in no small part to these rosy depictions that various political actors have in recent weeks pointed to the 1923 Constitution as a possible source of guidance for the current drafting process... More