When Gouda Abdel Khalek was Minister of Supply in March of 2012 he made a very “novel” suggestion— not the good kind of novel. At the time, Egypt’s food subsidy programme supplies were woefully insufficient to feed the millions of Egyptians benefitting (in theory) from the assistance. With some governorates having no rice for distribution for many months in a row, Abdel Khalek suggested that Egyptians begin making mahshy, the rice-stuffed vegetable dish, with the orzo-like pasta, lissan asfor (sparrow’s tongue in Arabic), instead of rice. He proposed distributing pasta to make up for the food programme’s inability to secure and distribute rice.
The only logical explanation for the massacres against Copts in the Arab Ruin (Spring) states and the imposition of Jizya, a protection fee, on them is that there is a heinous conspiracy to stir a sectarian war, not only between Christians and Muslims, but also between all sects.
A few hours before starting to write this article, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi’s cabinet resigned. This was expected even if the government was pushed into the resignation. However, El-Beblawi’s — even if it was delayed — was a much better option than being dismissed from his position.
In late 2013, Thomson Reuters conducted a poll ranking Egypt the worst country among 22 Arab League states for women’s rights. The poll measured women’s status in six different categories. First, “Women in politics” calculated women’s civil representation and presence in high public positions. “Women in society” measured tradition and cultural expectations and limitations of women within the society. “Women in the economy” measured their participation and equal pay in the workforce. “Women in the family” assessed women’s right to refuse or accept marriage, at what age, and their rights when separated. “Reproductive rights” evaluated access to healthcare and rights in childbearing. Finally, “Violence against women” assesses the levels of sexual assault and physical violence women suffer from and whether the offender is punished.
I believe Hesham Geneina, director of the Central Auditing Agency (CAA), is fighting on several fronts and dimensions. Under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, he was a key figure in the independent judiciary movement, and under deposed president Mohamed Morsi he was appointed CAA director by presidential decree.
Because of the first, he is subject to fierce attacks by anti-revolution forces who want to sabotage and punish anyone who paved the way for the January 25 Revolution, including the independent judiciary movement and its leaders.
Egyptians recently concluded their second attempt at passing a constitution that conveys the aspirations of the 25 January 2011 uprising. However, the 2014 constitution is not much different than the now maligned “Morsi constitution” of 2012 — whether in content or process.
Why would the regime arrest and torture someone if they didn’t do anything wrong or if they can prove their innocence?
Such a question seems to be a common logical retort by many Egyptians in response to accusations that the regime, personified in its security and judiciary bodies, carries out gross injustices such as random arrests, assault, torture, beatings, illegitimate detention, sexual assault and killing. At first glance it seems to cast a shadow over irrefutable evidence that the regime is indeed torturing many of its citizens, including the innocent. That is why we must remind ourselves of reality and attempt to answer that question: Why would the regime torture the innocent?
At the start of the new year, major think tanks in the United States' capital presented key policy recommendations to the American president. One of these recommendations was a policy memo that advised President Obama on how to address the potential radicalisation of the Muslim Brotherhood with respect to recent and ongoing political developments in Egypt.
How can we understand the recent statements made about Egypt by Iran’s assistant foreign minister? The recent statements issued by Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister for African and Arab Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian reflect a notable change in the Iranian position towards Egypt, after months of strained relations, when Iranians were being biased towards the Muslim Brotherhood after the June 30 Revolution.
Earlier this week, a bomb attack on an Egyptian tourist bus took place in Sinai, taking the lives of three South Korean tourists, and one Egyptian driver. More were wounded in the attack, which was claimed the following day by the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (ABM) group as part of an “economic war” against Egypt’s military-backed government. A line, it would appear, has been crossed. But will that change the perspective of anyone involved in Egypt’s sordid story? Or will it merely entrench them in their own worldviews?
In an interview two years ago, a French journalist asked me the tired question of whether the pitfall of the 25 January Revolution was the lack of a clear unifying leader. With exasperated breath, I explained to her that this was impossible for two very logical reasons: (1) If such a leader existed, he would have to be appealing to the Islamists, the MB, the communists, the liberals, the anarchists, the socialists (revolutionary and otherwise) and the reformists, which is impossible, and (2) It is incredibly unfair to demand that we find a leader when the whole world suffers from a leadership crisis. When she asked what I meant, I asked her if she considered either Sarkozy or Hollande to be her leaders, or if she knows any British person who believes in the leadership of David Cameron or an American that still considers Obama their leader. When she said “no” on all accounts, and asked me why that is, I simply responded: social media. Social media killed leadership.
Two decades after Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed an interim peace agreement in Washington, DC, the task of achieving a final resolution to the conflict has become significantly more difficult. Not only have the physical impediments to peace grown – for example, the number of Israeli settlers living on occupied Palestinian lands has increased three-fold to more than a half-million – but the political ground today is less fertile than it was back then.
Ten years ago, I warned against exchanging state hegemony for the hegemony of businessmen and advertisers over Egyptian media. It seems that warning went unheeded. Regression occurred in media freedoms and codes of ethics. The irony lies in that this took place after the incomplete January 25 Revolution and its second wave on 30 June 2013.
Egyptian activist Hamdeen Sabbahi has faced a number of challenges and crises in his life due to his opposite to the former regimes of President Anwar Al-Sadat and his successor Hosni Mubarak. However, what Sabbahi currently faces could be the most complicated and dangerous in the 59-year-old’s life. The current challenges could undermine Sabbahi’s future in Egypt’s political life.
What the revolution do to us? After three years since the sudden January 25 Revolution, this is the most important question at this time. The people who are depressed over the unexpected changes do not recognize what really happened, and may be those who lived through the past three eras of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and former President Hosni Mubarak. They will realize that even the dream of a change is quite impossible.
“To better serve farmers.” The goals are a more productive agricultural sector and improved food security for Egypt’s population. Key is improving the services of the Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit (PBDAC), said Minister of Agriculture Ayman Abu Hadid, speaking on the sidelines of the 10th Ministerial Meeting of the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) in Algeria a few days ago.
I see bitterness and agony. I can see it in people’s eyes during my walks in the streets of Cairo. I can smell the blood everywhere. Every day there is a dead person and they are all young people.
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.
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