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The 2012 Election
The Muslim Brotherhood/Sectarian Issues
One and a half years after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian revolutionaries returned to the streets in the first half of June 2012. The huge crowds that filled public squares throughout Egypt defy those accounts that reduce the revolutionary uprising to a naïve effort that is inadvertently paving the way for the usurpation of power by “Islamic autocrats.” While the polarization of Egypt’s political community across Islamist-secularist divide is evident, interpreting the dynamics of Egyptian politics through the prism of this divide proves highly limiting. More than just a spat between Islamists and secularists, the new Egypt reflects a three-fold division between partisans of the revolution, counter-revolutionaries, and “passive revolutionaries”—self-proclaimed revolutionaries whose commitment to advancing revolutionary objectives is tenuous.
It was in the early morning hours of 13 March 2012 that Egyptians on Twitter were alerted by a message sent from fellow tweep Mostafa Sheshtawy’s phone. He had been picketing at the German University in Cairo’s (GUC) strike. In the SMS, the activist said he was being arrested. Startled by the news, fellow activists passed the message around.
A new dawn was heralded following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, but has anything changed for Egypt’s fourth estate? Freedom of the press is frequently cited as a just cause for popular protest and an ideal cherished by those attempting to speak truth to power. Egypt’s revolution demanded no less, but are Cairo’s newspapers and media outlets any better off under the Military Council? A protester in Tahrir square holds up a newspaper that declares 'The flower blooms in Egypt', in February 2011
Egypt Unwrapped As Egyptians celebrate their own battle for democracy, another bygone conflict slides deeper into history. Cairo War Memorial Cemetery Deep in the heart of Cairo’s Heliopolis, an old colonial suburb of sugar loaf domes and neo-Arabian town houses, is an oasis of calm inhabited only by the dead.. “Here lies H.E Fisher, former private in the East Kent Regiment.” He died on June 14, 1943, at the age of 29.
The only trial that has taken place against one of the fallen dictators of the Arab revolutions ended today. The verdicts in former President Hosni Mubarak's trial may have symbolic importance for the region, but many feel they have mocked the hundreds of martyrs who died fighting against a thirty-year-old repressive and corrupt regime, analysts said. Conducted in a transitional period that has been presided over by an unaccountable military body, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Saturday's verdicts highlight the trial's lack of transparency and will have a regressive impact on security sector reform.
Hosni Mubarak is dead, or very close to it. The Egyptian state news agency MENA reported that the former president was pronounced clinically dead after having a stroke on the evening of June 19 -- a statement that was quickly denied by a member of the ruling military junta, who clarified that Mubarak was nevertheless in critical condition. Whatever the case, Mubarak's final moments in a military hospital in Cairo would not be what many Egyptians had in mind when they sought justice and revenge for those who suffered at his hands. No doubt, his supporters would have preferred the pomp and circumstance of a state funeral honoring a man they believe was a transitional figure who had placed Egypt on the path of prosperity and even democracy. For better or worse, Mubarak's predecessors, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat were larger-than-life figures who accomplished big things, whether it was nationalization of the Suez Canal or negotiating peace with Israel.
Egypt Unwrapped This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of El-Alamein. But for many of Egypt’s Bedouin Arabs, the celebrations will be somewhat muted.
In the years leading up to January 2011, Egypt’s past often appeared as an admonishment to the present. While their invocations of history assumed many forms, critics of the Mubarak regime became particularly enthralled with the so-called “liberal era” that followed the revolution of 1919. Secularist liberals saw the interwar decades as a golden age of political freedom, religious tolerance and cultural efflorescence. Political conservatives reinvented the Egyptian monarchy as a model of strong leadership not marred by the moral decrepitude and corruption of Mubarak’s presidency. And even some Islamist groups recognized these years as their own moment of emergence before Nasser’s brutal crackdown. It is thanks in no small part to these rosy depictions that various political actors have in recent weeks pointed to the 1923 Constitution as a possible source of guidance for the current drafting process.
On May 17 , the Egyptian Parliamentary Commission for Transport and Communications discussed a report prepared by one of its delegations to evaluate the UAE’s system for blocking pornographic sites. Engineer Walid Zakaria, director of the Computer Emergency Response Team at the National Telecom Regulatory Authority, said that the best system available to Egypt for blocking pornographic sites is the one used by the Emirati company Du. Its estimated cost is between $7 million and $8 million. Users can circumvent the block by using either an encrypted proxy service or satellite system. This would make it difficult for authorities to trace potential criminals in the event of an investigation.
Will Egypt’s first free elections be a total sham? The upcoming parliamentary elections in Egypt are facing the first major obstacles to accomplishing their high aims. The parliamentary vote will hopefully be the first free and fair elections in Egypt since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak. Political groups including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) are threatening to boycott the election—reminiscent of the Ikhwan’s November 2010 boycott, in which they lost the bulk of their representation in parliament—unless a disputed law is amended immediately. A protester peers through a gash in a poster in Cairo A contested law aims to ensure broader representation in the parliament by restricting large parties like the Muslim Brotherhood to only two thirds of all possible seats and reserving one third for independents.
THE last time Egypt's army seized power, in 1952, it promised a swift return to civilian rule. Instead, Egyptians got six decades of autocracy, with generals manning the machinery of state behind a patchy sham of democracy. Even so most people were overjoyed last February when the generals, responding to weeks of massive protests, stepped out from behind their veil, fired the president-for-life, Hosni Mubarak, sent his rubber-stamp parliament packing and promised a swift transition to proper democracy.
The Egyptian military produces a staggering array of manufactured goods: kitchen cutlery, flat-screen televisions, agricultural and household chemicals, refrigerators, industrial machinery, railway cars, and election booths. And while many of the military’s factory webpages make a concerted attempt to promote their wares, the careful observer gets the feeling that the production of air conditioners and gas stoves has superseded the production of guns and ammo. Although the military has been co-producing weapons systems in its factories under license from Western arms manufacturers for decades, the production lines and maintenance facilities constructing and modifying American M1A1 tanks, British armored vehicles, French Alpha Jets, and Chinese versions of Soviet MiGs are remnants of agreements originally signed in the mid-1980s and early-1990s, initiated by the now-deceased former Field Marshal (and staunch US ally) Mohamed Abdel Halim Abu Ghazala.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph CAIRO – “The man who taught me to sacrifice my heart for Egypt is dead,” said Vivian Magdi, mourning her fiancé.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph MADRID – How revolutions unfold depends on many factors, including a country’s socio-economic structure, its particular historical traditions, and sometimes the role of foreign powers. So the Arab Spring was never expected to be a linear process, or a Middle Eastern version of Central Europe’s non-violent democratic revolutions of 1989.
The death toll grows in Egypt as anti-Junta protests continue The Egyptian health ministry believes that almost 2,000 people have been injured in the violence, a figure that is likely to rise as protests continue in the face of extreme force. An Egyptian protester forwards a tear gas canister fired by riot police that landed near by during clashes at Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square on November 20, 2011 A third day of protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square has been met with continued force from the Egyptian Army. The governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is attempting to quell mounting outrage from a population that appears to have rediscovered the revolutionary zeal that saw to former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.