Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday of Departure

مظاهرات «جمعة الرحيل» ببورسعيد
Protests of "Friday of Departure" in Port Said, 8 February 2013, demanding toppling of Mohamed Morsy's regime.
Egypt was rocked today by "Friday of Departure" protests.  Train lines near Tahrir were blocked as protesters asked for Morsy's departure. The protests seemed to contain significant bitterness against the Muslim Brotherhood with slogans like "Brothers cannot be trusted." Today's protest demanded the ouster of Mohammed Morsy, and the formation of a National Salvation Government.

Meanwhile, the National Salvation Front states that it is not demanding the overthrow of President Morsy. Rather, they say they support peaceful protests, and clarify that they believe Morsy is elected, but is abusing his powers.

However, not all is well with Egypt's opposition. In a thoughtful editorial, Dina el-Khawaga, a Professor at the University of Cairo argues that the NSF has focused too much on installing a new type of political regime, and not enough on consolidating a revolutionary, social policy-driven agenda. A Crying Need for a New Opposition She also points out that by focusing on an anti-Brotherhood agenda, the opposition polarizes Egyptian society even further, and worsens existing societal divisions.

She states that the opposition

needs to develop a discourse that expresses the demands of broad, disenfranchised social groups, and stresses the need to restructure the political system to serve the aspirations of citizens with regard to dignity, freedom and equity.

Well said Doktora. 

There has been a surge of violence in the recent weeks, with dozens dead from police violence. According to Reuters, the US government condemned violence against protesters, as well as the numerous acts of sexual violence against women which have taken place over the past two weeks. At least 60 persons have been killed. Although the police are part of the upsurge in violence, so are civilians.

One of the most shocking episodes has been a video of a naked middle-aged man being beaten and dragged through the streets by police to their armored vehicle. Saber has alternately blamed protesters and the police for his beating. Egypt Police Beating: The Strange Case of Hamada Saber

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Pope has expressed concerns that the new Egyptian Constitution is discriminatory, and is worried Christians will continue to be treated as an oppressed minority. The Pope called for all laws to be based on the concepts of citizenship, not religion.

In news that may make gender activists happy, early in February, the Supreme Constitutional Court  upheld the criminality of female genital mutilation, and has determined that it violates article 2 of the1971 constitution, and is also inconsistent with the principles of Sharia. 


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