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Street Classes Return to Cairo (and thus AbuTawil returns to the Blogosphere)

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…


A Year Removed…بعد سنة من

A little over a year ago liberal Egyptian activists celebrated National Police Day by organizing a series of protests against police brutality. Ultimately, these small protests in Cairo exploded into massive sit-ins and labor strikes across the country prompting the Egyptian military to defect from the Mubarak family and National Democratic Party in order to protect is substantial economic and political interests – specifically a 25-40% ownership of the Egyptian economy, American military aid, and its role as the supreme political power broker. Satisfied with the resignation of Mubarak, the masses left the squares entrusting the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) with the transitional process.

In brief, the so-called ‘revolution’ was little more than a military coup. The generals have not only left the abusive Central Security Forces of the Interior Ministry and the censorship and propaganda apparatus of the state media intact but also used them to destroy civil society and consolidate their political power. Individual rights and liberties are trampled upon on a daily basis and young protestors are killed on a monthly basis. While (relatively) free and fair elections have elected a representative parliament, it wields no constitutionally defined political power outside of the right to select the members of the constitutional assembly drafting the new constitution. Meanwhile, society itself has fractured into a series of competing interests and identities, grown weary of the continued political instability and come to fear an imminent economic collapse.

Unsurprisingly, January 25, 2012 as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians marched to their local ‘Tahrir Squares’ there was considerable tension about whether the day ought to be one of celebration or protest.  Read More…

Reigniting the Egyptian Revolution…إعادة إشعال الثورة المصرية

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