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Survival and Oblivion: Egyptian Jews after the Second Exodus

23 Jun

Whenever Egypt is mentioned today in conversation, it is often with an assumed Islamic identity in mind. A minority of Christian Copts sometimes creeps into the discussion later on as an afterthought. This assumption is often accompanied by the rather unconscious or indirect presumption that there are few Jews in Egypt today, if any. This is not true.

It is easy to understand however why this is the mainstream account. The Second Exodus from Egypt occurred in 1956, under Colonel Nasser’s orders, stripping all Jews of their Egyptian citizenship and expelling them from Egypt. The vast majority of Egyptian Jews fled to one of three destinations of refuge: Israel, Mediterranean Europe (mainly France and Italy) and the Americas (primarily Argentina). This was, however, neither the beginning of trouble for Egyptian Jews in modern times, nor its end.

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Article published in History Today on 8 May 2017.

The New Egyptian President – whoever it will be

19 Jun

In a former post I mentioned my full convention that the presidential elections in Egypt is choreographed by the SCAF and the coming president is pre-selected. The man I was talking about was of course Ahmad Shafiq, Mubarak’s ex-prime minister, and there are a lot of commonalities between him and Mubarak to support the argument: Both are ex-pilots, ex-military, are in the same age range, have good connections with elite business men. This post however is not going to be about Ahmad Shafiq, but about the concept of a new president in SCAF’s Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Morsy, the only other candidate in the race, is resourceless in comparison to Shafiq. The Muslim Brotherhood’s members are not the majority of the Egyptians, so their votes if counted will not guarantee a victory for Morsy. The only thing and the most important thing in Morsy’s favour is the fact that he is the only other standing candidate, and his victory would mean the saving of the revolution to most Egyptians. The SCAF’s choreography has come in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood, though unintentionally, and a lot of people are voting for them simply for one reason; the lesser of two evils.

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Whether the SCAF’s plan to push Shafiq through as a president succeeds or the public pressure to have true elections prevails, the new president will only be a mere poppet in the hands of the SCAF.  A new president does not mean the dispersion of the military council, or the end of their days in power. A new president means that they will have a civil blind to operate behind and carry on what they are doing, someone in nonuniform clothing to do as he is told. The new Egyptian president will be very far from being a pharoah, he will only be a lame stone sculpture of one.

Mubarak’s EX

18 Jun

After a glorious revolution that toppled Mubarak, most Egyptians and Egyptian news followers were shocked to see Ahmad Shafiq, Mubarak’s ex-prime minister, reap the majority of votes in the presidential elections. It’s as if nothing has happened, and Egyptian politics is reverting two years backwards and instead of Mubarak on the golden chair, his clone. The man himself said it shamelessly on T.V recently “Mubarak is my role model.” The question here is: Who voted for this man? Answer:Apart from some military personnel, government officials and some paid thugs, no body. So how come he managed to become the most voted for candidate in the elections?

It’s not possible that after a nation rises to topple a tyrant, they change their minds 18 months later and vote for his right arm.

If The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) has learned something from Mubarak’s example, it would be this one: fake it but make it look real. In the past Mubarak held farcical presidential elections every six years. He always emerged as the supreme winner with a figure that revolved around 99% votes, taking into consideration that no one ran against him. The only exception to this was the 2005 elections in which he won by only 88.6% votes. It would be quite lengthy to try to explain why the 2005 elections were an exception so I will keep this for a future post.

To preserve their endangered reputation as the care takers of the revolution, the SCAF tried to make this elections as believable as possible. For the first time in Egypt’s history the elections end up with a dead lock between two candidates; one with more votes than the other, but not quite enough to make him a winner. For anyone who looks into these elections further. It would become clear that if the results were real, the deadlock would have been between two very different candidates. But surprisingly, one is Mubarak’s ex-prime minister, someone who fought against the revolution and supported Mubarak all the way through, and the other is the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate who avoided joining the revolution from the beginning.

It is disheartening to see many Egyptians slipping into the SCAF’s trap by not realizing that the elections are not true  and forcing themselves to make the painful choice between the revolution’s murderer and its traitor. I wish the days of Tahrir Square would come back, there is more dignity in dying than making such a choice.