Three months have passed since the last post decrying the strong causal link between violence and blog posts. As Egyptian politics calmed, daily life accelerated. An internship was begun at Ashoka Arab World whose understaffed office began to demand increasingly more quantities of time (more on this at a later date;) long-forgotten queries remerged in the forms prompting the continuous revaluation of a worldview; refuge was sought in journaling and books adding further questions to the already troubling queries; a left-wrist was broken making daily-Egyptian life both an adventure and a frustration; college friends came and went leaving behind shared laughter and memories; Morocco was visited, photographed, and pondered (more on this at a later date); and finally summer and fall unknowns caused much panic before becoming tentatively planned. And in the midst of this chaos, the blog was forgotten, neglected, and abandoned. Read More…
For nearly fifty-four hours, Tahrir Square and its surrounding alleys have born witness to sustained clashes between central security forces and protestors (most of which of have been centered around Mohammed Mahmoud Street.) At the time at this posting, an estimated thirty-five people have perished and hundreds more have sustained injuries of varying degrees. In addition to the usual rocks and a new type of tear gas, central security forces have fired buckshot, rubber bullets, and live ammunition in an effort to disperse the protestors. Undeterred these protestors are gathering in increasing larger numbers to demand the dissolution of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and its replacement with a civilian council. SCAF in turn has announced the passaged of a legislation banning former NDP members while insisting the first round of parliamentary elections will be held as scheduled in a week’s time on November 28.
To understand the profound frustration of those gathered in Tahrir Square, it is necessary to review the failures of SCAF and political organizations from all sides of the political spectrum (be they leftist, liberal, or Islamist) to ensure the realization of the promised democratic transition – especially the increased political polarization between the Islamists and the liberal and leftist groups. As each considered that SCAF to be the lesser of two evils, the generals were allowed to manipulate transition process. Keep Reading
The first round of Egyptian parliamentary elections is less than two weeks. Campaign posters are covering street lights, underpasses and some parties have even rented out billboards. Leaflets are being handed out on the metro and the Salafists have discovered how to use modern technology to disseminate a political message. With nearly fifty different political parties bearing similar names – thirty-six of which have been formed in the past eight months – there is considerable confusion about their idealogical stances. Moreover in the internal party-competition around the ordering of party lists, prominent activists and politicians have continued to switch parties or start new ones to ensure their placement at the top of the list. To clear up these increasingly turbid waters, some enterprising souls have graphed the parties on a left-right and religious-secular political axes. Others have formed websites that after testing your stance on the key political issues match you with the political party of “your dreams”. (The tests are available here and here) (For more on these issues read an excellent article by Nate Wright.) Keep Reading