Last update: 00:00 am Tuesday ,15 May 2012 - Updated daily except Saturday and Sunday

The future of the revolution under incumbent powers

Others | 15 May 2012
We are worried that political Islamist forces believe democracy — which they boast about practicing — to be a battle of numbers whereby greater numbers trump courage, wisdom, the principles of democracy themselves, and even protecting public interests. Everything is always resolved through larger numbers. The least that can be said about this reasoning is that it is deficient and superficial, if not deliberately flawed for calculated reasons. But this is not an unusual misnomer because there is no such concept as democracy, let alone the practice of it, in entities based on blind obedience and loyalty, especially military and restricted religious groups. Therefore, religious and military organisations are both the enemies of democracy and the antithesis of a democratic civil state... More

In God we trust

Others | 14 May 2012
Did you know that one of the greatest symbols of the United States was originally intended for Egypt? The Statue of Liberty is as American as baseball and doughnuts, but it might not have been. Many people know that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the American people, but few know that the statue was first commissioned by Egypt’s ruler, Said Pasha (1854 - 1863)... More

Retired generals render election platforms unfeasible

Others | 11 May 2012
Since the Presidential Elections Commission announced its final list of candidates, we have seen discussions of their platforms in various media outlets. Now the candidates, particularly the more revolutionary ones among them, discuss their platforms as if they are competing in a clean electoral race... More

Urban encroachment eats up agricultural land

Others | 10 May 2012
Agriculture is an important economic sector in Egypt, one that depends on the limited resources of the fertile land and water. Fertile arable land is limited to the valley and Delta of the Nile, which does not exceed 4 percent of Egypt’s surface. Arable land faces serious challenges, most important of which is urban encroachment... More

‘Everything will get back to normal’

Others | 9 May 2012
My acquaintance with Samih Sawiris dates back to the first years of his ‘El-Gouna’ Project, which became a landmark in Egypt's tourism. The project shows that comprehensive development can boost tourism by creating tourist centres and resorts... More

Great walls of Cairo: The politics of segregation

Others | 8 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

Red flags surround Abouel Fotouh’s candidacy

Others | 7 May 2012
Recent developments must force liberals to question their support for the presidential candidacy of Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh. These developments center on Abouel Fotouh's shifting position about the ideal balance of power between the military, president, and Parliament, as well as his contradictory statements regarding the importance of selecting a “consensus revolutionary candidate.” This is in addition to his newly announced alliance with Salafi political movements and his changing stances on the politicization of the Muslim Brotherhood... More

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