Will political satire survive in Egypt? Since January 2011, satirist Bassem Youssef has become Egypt’s most popular comedian. He has poked fun at nearly every one of Egypt’s political elite, and his merciless, biting jokes about ex-president Morsi’s poor performance and bad English have earned him million of fans – and many enemies. Last April, he was briefly arrested for “insulting the president, denigrating Islam and disturbing the peace,” a move that created a global outcry, and even a tense Twitter exchange between the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the Egyptian presidency.
Our talk this week is about the 2012 Egyptian presidential debate, the first ever presidential debate in Egyptian history. It was held between presidential candidates Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and Amr Moussa, broadcasted live on May 10, 2012 and moderated by famed TV personalities Yousri Fouda and Mona El Shazly. We take a quick stroll down memory’s lane to shed some much needed light on this debate and how did it contribute to the outcome of the elections if ever!
On 30 June I was suffering from a dislocated shoulder, which is quite painful by the way. However, I managed to make it to Kasr El Nile Bridge and join an anti-Morsi demonstration. Getting rid of Morsi and everything that he represented was certainly a pleasant thought that I was willing to do anything to see it happen.
If 30 years from now historians study Egyptian-US relations in the wake of the 30 June revolution in Egypt, they will be hard pressed not to use the three words in the title of this article to describe the course the Barack Obama administration has taken in this period. Many observers have accused the Obama administration of confusion in dealing with the situation in Cairo after the overthrow of the former regime.
Last week, the Egyptian interim cabinet passed a draft law to regulate protests. As per procedure, it sent it to the interim president, Adly Mansour, for approval. The new law gives the right to cancel, postpone or forcibly break up any protest to the Ministry of Interior (rather than the judiciary), and further restricts freedom of assembly, peaceful strikes and sit-ins, even if they do not constitute a threat to the security of citizens, or to private or public properties. It was then placed under review, in light of opposition from different political forces — even those that supported the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi — and is likely to be shelved until the election of a new parliament. But the law itself is interesting, as is the reaction to it.
Guests were waiting outside the church for the arrival of the bride when two gunmen riding a motorcycle drove by and opened fire on them. Four people died in the attack, including two young girls aged eight and twelve. Eighteen others were injured.
In the previous two articles, we surveyed the map of parties and groups inside the Egyptian democratic movement. There were four major directions inside the movement, three of which were already established: liberals, national Nasserites, and leftists. The fourth group is newly-established: the social democrats.
Mediation between the Brotherhood and the interim regime in this second transitional phase has become a huge construct and a popular trade for those who have nothing better to do, and are unrelated to the issue. I understand that some have good intentions, but there are also others who, seeking a place for themselves that they do not deserve on the political stage, pander to the regime – irrespective of who is in power. They chase after rewards from one party or another.
On 23 March 2011, under the rule of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and two months after the 25 January Revolution, the then-cabinet of Essam Sharaf approved a protest law that criminalised strikes, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins that “interrupt private or state owned businesses or affect the economy in any way”. The law stipulates a prison sentence and a fine of up to EGP 50,000 for anyone who “takes part in or encourages others” to join a sit-in or any other activity that prevents, delays or disrupts the work of public institutions or public authorities. If there is any violence or if protests damage public or private property, or lead to the “destruction of means of production” or cause harm to “national unity and public security and order”, the fine rises to EGP 500,000 with at least a year’s imprisonment.
I was bitterly shocked by the news of the machine gun attack on the church in Warraq. This does not mean that I was unaware of terrorist attacks in Sinai, and it does not make the victims of the church attack more important than those of other attacks on security institutions. But whether we like it or not, there is a definite symbolism in attacking churches and an alarming sense of jeopardy when the attacks are in the heart of Cairo. However, interpreting the attack on the church as mere discrimination against Copts reflects an extremely narrow vision. The attack on the Church last night presents us with two facts: first, the terrorism threat Egypt is facing is certainly progressing very rapidly and second, the strategies put forth to counter this threat are clearly not effective.
Nothing reflects the essence of Islam better than the pilgrimage to Mecca. It sums up the faith in a nutshell: humility, reflection and most importantly, equality. In the haj, women stand side by side with men; the rich stand alongside the poor; brown people alongside white. All are equal in the journey toward redemption. All pilgrims have to perform the same rituals and endure the same suffering. Arguments, bickering, hatred, resentment, and revenge are aspects Muslims must abandon to avoid spoiling their pilgrimage.
The U.S. State Department announced on Wednesday that it would halt the delivery of large-scale military systems and cash assistance to Egypt’s government. It said “credible progress” must be made towards free and fair elections. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States is “recalibrating” its military aid to Egypt. While State Department did not provide a dollar amount, officials said the freeze amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars. According to officials, the US is halting the delivery of F-16s, Apache helicopters, Harpoon missiles as well as Abrams tank kits.
The current structure of the student government with its three branches; the student union, the student senate and the student court (previously known as student judicial board) is greatly inspired by the Madisonian design of the US government that is named after the famous James Madison who was the architect behind the form of government in the American constitution,
Morale in Egypt's tourism industry is at rock bottom; a summer of bloodshed has frightened away all but the bravest foreign visitors from Cairo and the pyramids, and things are little better in the Red Sea beach resorts.
The decision of Egypt, announced 19 September, to return to Qatar $2 billion that was deposited in the Egyptian Central Bank, coming after the failure of negotiations to turn them into treasury bonds, is another indication of the deterioration of bilateral relations between the two countries after the dismissal 3 July of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood.
I believe a thank you to the presidency is in order, after it issued a clear and definitive statement denying the release of a new constitutional declaration that would change the nature of work of the Committee of 50, as was incorrectly rumoured by prominent members of this committee.
A group of peaceful protesters marched, and were set upon by official state forces – at the end of the violence, 28 people were dead, and more than 200 people were injured. At the time, human rights activists insisted that not only should an investigation take place into the killings: but that it should be an independent one, that the armed forces and security establishment could not influence or control, leading to the prosecution of those responsible.
Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in the Middle East were the focal point of the speeches delivered by regional leaders at the United Nations’ 68th General Assembly opening session in September. From Rouhani of Iran to Netanyahu of Israel, from Syria to Egypt, the meaning was clear: the Arab Spring is turning into the WMDs' autumn of struggle for survival in the region.
On behalf of the Egyptian Women’s Union, I flew to Sweden to give a speech about Egyptian women’s plight in Egypt after the “spring”. I was a keynote speaker on a panel in the very heart of Swedish parliament. My audience included representatives from every political party in Sweden as well as a number of representatives from women’s movements from Libya and Yemen. But that pleasant experience was later overshadowed by my encounters with a few (very few) Egyptian and Arab women who were seriously questioning me: what else do you women want?
Activists take to the streets in downtown Cairo on Wednesday against a new protest law enforced with a string of arrests and the use teargas against crowds a day earlier