LAGOS, NIGERIA—Because of my work in digital communications (social media, less fancifully) for the federal government, I have in the last four years divided my time between Lagos, which I consider home, and Abuja, the federal capital. It’s now clear, however, that I will spend the next few weeks in Lagos—my longest stretch here in years—obeying the #StayAtHome message that now seems to encapsulate the fastest and surest way to defeat this stubborn virus.
That message has been the eureka! for me in Lagos in the last couple of days. It’s where all the public information energy should go, for a viral disease for which there is really no treatment, only the management of symptoms.… Seguir leyendo »
We woke to the news last Friday: The 37-year-old software-developer and pro-democracy activist Alaa Abd El Fattah had finally been released from prison, after completing a five-year sentence for having called for street protests in defiance of the law. “Alaa is out. Yes, I swear,” tweeted his sister, Mona Seif, in Arabic. Not long after, she shared a blurry photo of him, sitting on a rattan chair at their family home, playing with their dog. Next came a photo of Alaa sitting with his now seven-year-old-son and holding the boy’s little feet.
It wasn’t Alaa’s first arrest, but his seventh, and longest, under four governments.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s been eight years since we took to the streets in the protests that led to the ouster of our longest-ruling president, Hosni Mubarak, a.k.a. “the pharaoh,” after his 30-year rule. Since then, we have gone from being first-time voters to seasoned ones, heading to the polls nine times to cast ballots for Parliaments, presidents or the Constitution. Our current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, was re-elected in April to serve another four-year term — his second and, under the 2014 Constitution, his last. Or so we thought.
Earlier this month, Egypt’s Parliament speed-presented, -debated and -approved a package of amendments to the Constitution.… Seguir leyendo »
To write in Egypt and about Egypt has long meant being under the scrutiny of an authoritarian state — starting in the 1950s with President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who nationalized the press, and extending to the present. If you didn’t approve of the government’s activities, your only option, you quickly learned, was to be noncommittal.
My first encounter with the red lines of authority was in the early 2000s, as a young writer at a weekly paper in Cairo. One day my editor, a well-respected journalist who stood apart from his submissive state-appointed colleagues for his outspokenness and professional rigor, called me into his office after an editorial meeting.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week, The New York Times Magazine devoted a special issue to a report on the historic tumult and turmoil in the Middle East. Here, three Arab writers respond, and reflect on the legacy of the Arab Spring revolutions.
VOICES FOR FREEDOM.
It isn’t very smart to be smart after the fact, and perhaps it isn’t very smart to judge the course of the Arab world’s revolutions when I’m sitting in an air-conditioned room not in the Middle East but in the American Midwest. The last boat I sailed in with my family was a pirate ship in an amusement park, not a dinghy full of refugees endangering their lives and those of their families in the hope that their children will one day savor the taste of freedom.… Seguir leyendo »