Others | 2 July 2012
Dear reader, How many times did you say or hear others say that Egyptians are not fit for democracy? How often did you lend an ear to those who claim Egyptians need to be taught how to exercise their political rights, or say so yourself?..
Others | 29 June 2012
Why did the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) rule Egypt during the transitional period in such tragic fashion, leading to such a bitter harvest? ..
Others | 28 June 2012
Over the last weeks, the presidential election has dominated Egypt’s political conversation, eclipsing a topic of far greater importance: the drafting of a new constitution. Since this foundational legal document will govern the lives of citizens, determining their rights and responsibilities and shaping the government’s ability to advance society’s interests, Egyptians ought to consider their options carefully. This overview attempts to help the process. It describes two basic types of democracy — parliamentary and presidential — and explains what each can offer to Egypt. ..
Others | 27 June 2012
I look at this morning’s front page: “Arab Spring spawns new generation of UK terrorists”. Are we supposed to be surprised by this? I was called all the rude names under the sun for mocking these velvet revolutions in Egypt and Libya. All those bright Westernised kids on their mobile phones preaching the gospel of “democracy”, while the serious revolutionaries – the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Salafists, Sunni fundamentalists and other armed-to-the-teeth totalitarians – were biding their time. ..
Others | 26 June 2012
In one week, Egypt held its first genuine presidential elections that – for the first time ever – ushered in a civilian president from outside the state’s security agencies. It also witnessed three interventions by the state apparatus to abort the democratic transformation. No doubt, the coming phase will see more battles to be rid of Mubarak’s regime, and here is what needs to be done to win that battle. ..
Others | 25 June 2012
Millions of people in Egypt who have supported the January 25 revolution savored in the last year or so invaluable moments of hope for the future of a country that has been devastated by decades of greed by a small group of crony capitalists and utterly corrupt politicians. Perhaps, more importantly, ordinary people who succumbed to poverty, ignorance, disease for so long because of the rotten system have rediscovered their human potential in the past 16 months in a way they never dreamed of. ..
Others | 22 June 2012
The Muslim Brotherhood have made several mistakes since the January 25 Revolution. This article will highlight the seven great "sins" that have contributed to the present situation – the dissolving of the People’s Assembly (the lower house of parliament) and the presidential elections, which have narrowed down the presidential candidates to two, neither of which are wanted by many Egyptians. ..
Others | 21 June 2012
I was not hazarding an uneducated guess when I called for holding a democratic election as a first step in the transition and emphasized that the result of the vote was not known in advance; recognizing at the same time that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy had a strong chance of winning. ..
Others | 20 June 2012
The Cairo Criminal Court chose to open the session in which it delivered the verdicts against ousted president Hosni Mubarak, former interior minister Habib El-Adly, and six aides, by delivering a political tract. The twenty-minute statement had no bearing on the court's actual function, which is to arbitrate disputes and state the justifications for its rulings. ..
Others | 19 June 2012
In a few days, Egypt will officially have a new president. As it stands, the unofficial vote count indicates that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy has won the presidency with a mere 51 percent of votes. This tight competition between Morsy and Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, shows the frustration of the Egyptian electorate who had to choose between these two candidates. ..
Others | 18 June 2012
Like many others, I am alarmed by the spirit of vengeance that is spreading among Egyptians lately. I do not doubt that it is an expected reaction to long years of political oppression, economic corruption, and cultural decline over the past decades. ..
Others | 15 June 2012
For many Egyptians it is the worst case scenario. Coming to work this morning my cab driver is seething: "They're as bad as each other, I won't be voting," he pledged, referring to the final runoff election between the two front-runners, due to take place in mid-June. He lamented the relatively slim-margin defeat of leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, "he got Cairo and Alexandria and, God bless the Prophet, Port Said." ..
Others | 14 June 2012
All of a sudden, “the man in the pullover,” or Ahmed Shafiq — who is satirically described as such due to his initial media appearance in casual attire — has come back into the spotlight. Once disdained by friends and foes alike, Shafiq is now widely acclaimed as the country’s savior from the ludicrousness of “traders of religion” and the frivolity of the “immature revolutionaries.” How did Omar Suleiman's "substitute" and Amr Moussa's "distorted replica" become the right man for the current stage? ..
Others | 13 June 2012
Following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's chances of undergoing meaningful democratisation considerably depend on the restructuring of the state bureaucracy. A functioning democratic system requires an autonomous, professional and accountable state apparatus that abides by the rule of law and protects human rights. Autonomy refers to the protection of the state administrative apparatus from the whims of political leadership, so it can preserve its political neutrality. Professionalisation indicates the formulation and observing of rational rules and regulations that guarantee institutional competence, efficiency and cohesion. ..
Others | 12 June 2012
As for the social and economic elites, after they had succeeded in regrouping from within the state institutions in the mid-19th century, they tried hard to curb the power of the modern Egyptian state. However, three factors stood in the way of controlling this leviathan. First was the British occupation, which dissipated nationalist efforts between struggling for independence and striving for constitutionalism. Then there was the Arab-Israeli conflict, used by some to postpone necessary domestic political reforms. Third was the curse of oil-bolstered reactionary regimes in the region, including Mubarak’s regime, and allowed them ample breathing space and extended their lives far beyond their expiry dates. ..
Others | 11 June 2012
The first round of the Egyptian presidential election resulted in a runoff between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy, who won 25 percent of the votes (about 5.8 million), and Ahmed Shafiq — a former prime minister and symbol of the Hosni Mubarak regime — who won 24 percent (about 5.5 million votes). The question now is how Egyptian Coptic Christians will vote in the upcoming runoff between these two candidates. ..
Others | 8 June 2012
The wisdom of the Tao has been demonstrated time and again in post-25 Jan Egypt. Doing something about a seemingly sticky situation isn't always going to make it less sticky. This was especially relevant to the supposed urgent need for a president but few realised that until it was too late. The error began with the referendum on constitutional amendments. The yes vote ignored the deeper implications of the triumph of the revolution for the military core of the incompetent regime overthrown in the course of it. It also ignored the hyena-like readiness of the Muslim Brotherhood — nee the opposition — to pounce on the opportunity thus presented for replacing said regime, not through offering up the kind of sacrifices that eventually forced Mubarak to step down, but by fondling the selfsame military core. It was disgusting. ..
Others | 7 June 2012
When it comes to delivering justice, authorities should not underestimate the Egyptian public. Responses to the Hosni Mubarak trial verdicts demonstrate that people’s understanding of what constitutes justice is varied, nuanced and sophisticated. Of course, Egyptians want to see guilty verdicts for those who abused power over the past 30 years, violently attacked peaceful protesters or lined their pockets with public money. But if accountability is not achieved through trials that meet reasonable legal standards and expose deeper truths about the past, many Egyptians will remain unsatisfied. ..
Others | 6 June 2012
As Egypt’s presidential election enters its run-off phase, the campaign of Mohamed Morsy has adopted a new slogan: “Our Strength is in Our Unity.” There is great irony in this rhetorical turn, as Morsy’s Muslim Brotherhood is one of the major culprits responsible for this political fragmentation that has haunted Egypt’s transition and doomed ambitious designs for revolutionary change. Much of this fragmentation reflects divergent beliefs. Equally important, however, has been the spectacular failure of political leadership since the fall of the former regime. With all sides excessively focused on short-term electoral outcomes, the country’s political leaders eschewed the complicated task of forging unified demands, advocating for change in concerted fashion, and creating a political system before fighting over its control. This inability to prioritize essential steps obscured the shared challenges that faced the various political forces that participated and propelled the Egyptian uprising. ..
Others | 5 June 2012
People wanted elections for the sake of stability. Yet there is nothing vaguer than the word “stability." It is in all fascist leaders’ vocabulary, specifically in order to maintain control of the people. The economy and security are the predicates that define this so-called stability. Progress in these two areas is said to bring more comfort to some people, and the bare minimum to others: bread. I remember that during the 18 days of the uprising in Egypt, an outraged friend said, “Some people in the square are screaming ‘Awzeen aysh!' (We want bread), but this is not why we are there, we want freedom!” The rest would follow, I imagine he meant. In 1977, under Sadat, a revolt for “bread” occurred in Egypt when subsidies for certain foods were cancelled. The country suffered another bread crisis in 2008. But when bread is given to people, it acts as a sleeping pill. Bread is not enough to satisfy people’s needs; it is just enough to calm their passions, at least for a while. ..
Others | 4 June 2012
Concerning the debate about boycotting the runoffs of the presidential elections, I would like to share here what I have decided after continuous deliberation and discussion with a large number of colleagues. This is in addition to following the news and statements made by the various political Islamist currents. And most importantly, I base my thoughts on discussions with a number of my neighbors and relatives who voted for Hamdeen Sabbahi and who are not affiliated with any political currents, not to mention my colleagues’ notes in which they reminded us of the moments in which the Muslim Brotherhood turned their back on us. ..