Friday, February 17, 2012

Solidarity in Port Said

Activists are trying to support the Coastal City of Port Said today with a massive march. The Nour party, is in attendance, as are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. There are reports of an economic blockade of the city.

There have been reports that police failed to act to stop the football riots in Port Said which resulted in so many deaths. Further, the riots may not have been caused by the ultras themselves, but by the thugs, which some argue are a tool of the SCAF to keep the country destabilized so that they can stay in power. The Attorney General of Egypt is planning to release a report soon on the causes of the deaths.

How A Tragic Football Riot May have Revived the Egyptian Revolution.

Attorney General to Charge Security Officials in Port Said Violence

Raucous Soccer Fans Make Ideal Egyptian Protesters

Policing Reform and Reforming Police

Homage to Anthony Shadid

A great voice for freedom died yesterday. Anthony Shadid, one of the most important correspondents of the Egyptian Revolution, died of an asthma attack while on assignment in Syria. He was only 43 years old. He reported from the Middle East for two decades and had received two Pulitzer Prizes for his work. His voice brought us news from Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. A Lebanese American, fluent in Arabic, his briliant, culturally contextualized reporting will be sorely missed.

Rest in Peace, brother.

New York Times article on Anthony Shadid

Al Jazeera article on Anthony Shadid

Friday, February 10, 2012

Egypt's shameful prosecution of Americans working for democracy

The New York times published an interesting piece two days ago about Egypt's prosecution of 19 Americans for "manipulating the Egyptian political process, and "improperly collecting information to send home to the United States." (David D. Kirkpatrick, "Egypt's Premier Vows Not to Yield in Prosecuting 19 Americans," The New York Times, February 8, 2012.) The piece sparked my interest because it made me recall some experiences of mine in Egypt that could help put it in context.

Some of the groups involved include the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, and Freedom House, venerable democratic organizations all. As many as 10 foreigners including six Americans have been barred from traveling as part of a prosecution which alleges that these groups used "foreign funds to foment unrest in the country. There is a lot to say about this prosecution. Let me focus on three ideas raised by this story: paranoia and xenophobia about foreigners, the SCAF construction of an alternate reality, and active work against democratization.

First, there is a real strain of strong anti-American sentiment in the popular psyche among some Egyptians. Some view America as an imperial power allied with Israel.  This prosecution plays on that fear.  The SCAF loves to reference "foreign powers," who are responsible for everything from starting the July 25th Revolution, to provoking violence between Muslims and Christians, to now manipulating the political process. At a minimum, this incident should be viewed as a smokescreen to distract from public anger about military rule.

Second, the military junta has borrowed a page from the Mubarak Regime. They put an enormous amount of energy into creating an alternate political reality. Like the fictional Big Brother of George Orwell, or the real Soviet Union, the SCAF creates counter-narratives in the state owned press and the state owned TV. In these stories, the SCAF is protecting the beleaguered country from Israelis, spies, Qataris, thugs or other meddling powers intent on fomenting unrest. For example, according to the SCAF these foreign hands were the real murderers of civilians in Maspero, not the military.  Although prominent journalists such as Sarah Carr and groups like Amnesty International placed blame for the incident squarely at the military's feet, according the fictional SCAF narrative, it was the Christians who attacked the soldiers in Maspero, not the other way around. One of the most distressing aspects of teaching in Egypt was seeing that some of my students, who were very educated and generally thoughtful, found the SCAF narrative persuasive.

Finally, I would put this incident into the category of a systematic attempt by the SCAF to stay in power. The SCAF does not want to relinquish power, and it does not want the government to be run by civilians. The military has significant financial interests in staying in power. Further, many argue that although Mubarak is now gone, the body of the many headed hydra remains, run by the head named SCAF. This prosecution should be seen as an effort to harass, intimidate, prosecute, jail and oppress persons or groups, whether Egyptian or foreign committed to the democratization of Egypt.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Names of women in Egyptian parliament

Dear readers

My beloved graduate student Heba Galal has gotten me the names of women in parliament.

You can find all the names of candidates in Shorouk News but in Arabic,
Here is the website  :-

Here are the names of the candidates of women in the parliament:-

Lists (332 seats)
1. Margret Azer  (Al-Wafd /workers)
Second district of Cairo Nasr city

2. Sana Ahmed Mohamed Gamal El-Din (workers / Egyptian Social Democratic Party)
Second district of Assuit “Al Fateh”

3. Hanan Saad  Aboul Gheit Hassan (workers / Al-Wafd
Damietta Governorate

4. Azza Mohamed Ibrahim El Gerf (farmer/Freedom and Justice
Second district of Giza (Bulaq)

5. Magda Hassan Alnuichi (workers / Al Wafd)
Ismailia Governorate

6. Huda Muhammad Anwar Abdul Rahman Ghania(Categories / Freedom and Justice
Second district of Qaliubiya ”Shubra Al Khaimah”

Individuals (166 seats)
7. Nehad  Al-Qasim Syed Abdul Wahab Khudair (categories / Freedom and Justice
Benisuef Governorate

10 candidates are being recruited by SCAF in the parliament-- among them 2 women
8. Suzey Adley Nashed
9. Brian Malak Kamal

Three marches planned today

Well, it is Thursday. Most protests take place on Friday. But, this just in from AUC public safety:

Dear Members of the AUC Community,

There are three marches taking place this afternoon at the following locations:
·         El Ahly club to Tahrir Square
·         Ain Shams University to Ministry of Defense
·         Sphinx Square in Mohandeseen to Tahrir Square
The Ministry of Interior deployed 20 battalions and around 10 armored specialized vehicles from central security forces to surround and protect the Ministry of Interior building in Down Town. Other Military forces are located there as well.
 Sounds like today's protest may be big. 

Football violence: why?

The news from Egypt today is very distressing. There has been a horrible riot at a football match in Port Said in which hundreds were injured, and over 70 killed.

Outbreaks of football related violence have been linked to the absence of police on the streets in the post-revolutionary period.

From a psychological standpoint, I wonder why fans are turning to violence around football in this period? Is this an outlet of frustrations on other fronts?

 I just learned the terrible news that an American University in Cairo student was among those killed. President Lisa Anderson issued this statement. 

Dear AUC Community,

I am deeply saddened to report that one of our students, Omar Aly Saad Mohsen, a senior scheduled to graduate this February in economics, was among the 79 people killed in the tragic soccer match that took place yesterday in Port Said.

To mourn the loss of our student and the many other victims who lost their lives, the University will observe a day of mourning on Sunday, February 5. The University will be open but all classes are suspended and a University-wide memorial service will be held at noon in Bartlett Plaza.

We extend our condolences to Omar’s family and friends and all others who feel this terrible loss.

Lisa Anderson
The American University in Cairo

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Recap of Election News for Egypt, February 1, 2012

Dear readers

The Egyptian election has a lot of moving parts. Accordingly, it has been a little bit hard to keep track of it all. To date, I have written 29 separate posts on the Egyptian elections.

So, what do we know?


One thing that I think is very interesting is how few women there are in the Egyptian Parliament. According to the best information I have, there are only 8 (eight) women in the Parliament so far. I assume that most of these women are from the Freedom and Justice Party or the Wafd, but I am trying to get names and specifics on this topic. Here is a good article on the same.

Ibtisam Barakat, Welcome to the New Egyptian Parliament, Jaadaliya,

In some of my previous posts, I had commented on which parties may or may not represent women. The lesson the liberal parties learned (I hope) is that if they really want a diverse party, they need to move minorities closer to the top of the list. It is my educated opinion [which does not make it a fact] that people actually voted for PARTIES, not individuals for the most part in this election. Here are some of my musings on the matter.

Which Egyptian Parties Represent Women?

No women elected to Egypt's parliament in first round

The Elections Aren't Over

Like the Egyptian Revolution, the Egyptian elections just go on, and on, and on, like the Energizer Bunny. The elections for the Egyptian parliament's lower house (People's Assembly) are not even over yet.

There are 498 possible seats. Only 427 have been decided. There are 71 seats remaining. As many as 45 seats will be determined by runoffs. They were supposed to have been held on January 10th, but I will have to look into that.

Shura Council Elections are (were) to be held on January 29th, February 14th, and March 4th in the same sequence as the PA elections were.

The date of the Presidential election has not been decided.

I was Wrong, but not far Wrong

Okay, how did I do on my election predictions?

Well, I predicted the FJP--the political wing of the MB--would win 30%. That was not correct. The FJP has to date won about 45.2%. So I was off by 15%. I predicted El Adl would win 15%. Oops! They only won less than 1%. I predicted that Revolution Continues would win 15%. I was very wrong there. They only won 2.34%. I predicted that the Egyptian Bloc would win 15%. They actually won 7.03%. So, I was wrong, but not crazy on that one. I totally missed the Salafi issue. Some of these errors are due to having lived in Cairo, and teaching at AUC, which is comparatively liberal and secular. Well, now we know.

More soon!~WMB