Egypt seems to be headed back toward the 1960s, when Gamal Abdel Nasser set a precedent for the whole Arab world by creating a police state that brutally suppressed dissidents and instilled fear among its citizens.
Last week, on what seemed a calm Tuesday afternoon, I witnessed firsthand what it means to live in a hypernationalist atmosphere where ordinary citizens, encouraged by the state and allied media, snitch on fellow Egyptians.
I was sitting at a Cairo café with my sister and Le Monde Diplomatique’s editor, Alain Gresh, discussing the situation in Egypt when another customer at the café got up and yelled at us: “You are ruining the country!” We tried to ignore her.… Seguir leyendo »
Egyptians who frequently take the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road have lately noticed that the fee they usually pay to toll collectors now goes to the Ministry of Defense.
In a press conference in November, the Minister of Transportation announced one of the armed forces’ companies had been granted legal rights, for 50 years, to develop the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road.
The army, a state within a state that used to protect its interests from the shadows, is now taking bolder steps to cement its power and asserting, increasingly overtly, that it is accountable to no one.
The party is over for the democratization drive that was heralded by the January 2011 uprising — none of the revolution’s demands have been achieved; none of the Interior Ministry’s notorious practices have stopped; and the ministry seems to be on a mission to silence all dissent.… Seguir leyendo »
I took part in the June 30 protests, marched on the presidential palace and chanted that Mohamed Morsi must step down as president and that the Muslim Brotherhood’s yearlong rule of Egypt must come to an end. And on Wednesday I got what I wanted. But I cannot fully celebrate.
As fellow anti-Morsi protesters roam the streets cheering his ouster, I feel alienated — not sad, but not really happy. And as I recall the glorious moments of the 2011 revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak, I know that today’s triumph cannot resemble them. Back then, I had not yet lived through the transitional military rule that would follow.… Seguir leyendo »
President Mohamed Morsi’s decision to reconvene the lower chamber of Egypt’s parliament, in defiance of a decision by the generals to dissolve it, brings to the fore once again an issue that has been much contested since the start of the revolution: legitimacy and the rule of law, as opposed to revolutionary legitimacy.
On the grounds of revolutionary legitimacy, the revolutionaries of 25 January insisted that the then president Hosni Mubarak step down, despite warnings from his aides that his ouster would violate the constitution and create a legal vacuum. In a country where “the revolution continues” till its goals are met – as Morsi stated in his first speech after being elected president – revolutionary legitimacy replaces long established laws and legal institutions.… Seguir leyendo »
Preliminary election results show that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi is likely to become Egypt’s next president. But even if Mr. Morsi is declared the official winner later this week, Egypt’s first popular presidential election will not have been a democratic milestone.
With the Supreme Court’s ruling dissolving Parliament and the military’s declaration curtailing the presidency’s authority, Mr. Morsi will be a toothless figurehead under the thumb of an authoritarian military council that doesn’t seem likely to relinquish power anytime soon.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has tightened its grasp on power, giving itself control of legislation and the national budget, the right to appoint a panel to draft a new constitution, immunity from democratic oversight, and the power to veto a declaration of war.… Seguir leyendo »