Tag Archives: Egypt

From Waguih Ghali to Edward Said

25 Nov

Both Waguih Ghali and Edward Said spent much of their lives unable to return to their countries of birth due to religio-political reasons. Even though the former was Egyptian and the latter was Palestinian, their lives, as international as they were, had a lot in common. Ultimately, however, there was one fundamental difference between them: Ghali let his creativity consume him, whereas Said allowed academia to nurture his. In the end, they both fell victims to their heredities, respectively. The question remains on whether a fine balance between both approaches is possible and if so how could it be defined?!



Waguih Gahli (192?-1969)


Edward Said (1935-2003)



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.


Read more here

Article published in History Today on 8 May 2017.

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.

On Egypt’s Presidential Elections

15 Jun

When the Egypytian Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) announced in January that the presidential elections will be held as scheduled in June, many people viewed the announcement as suspicious and thought the SCAF was lying as usual. The SCAF managed in a very short time after heading the country to gain the mass distrust of the majority of Egyptians because of adopting Mubarak’s governing methods and making no attempts at improving the political or economic situation and cracking down on demonstrators with the same ruthlessness and brutality of Mubarak’s reign. A lot of activists and political demonstrators were sentenced to prison in staged military courts. Torture was executed like before, but even worse; there were so-called virginity checks on girls, and major incidents of stripping female demonstrators in the streets.

June came, the elections started, and the hunger for democracy blinded a lot of people to a lot of things and the masses took to voting. Local and international media called it Egypt’s first ever free presidential elections, knowing that there has never been one before in Egypt’s seven thousand years of history and contribution to civilisation. The shock came when the results of the elections were announced; a deadlock between Mubarak’s ex-prime minister and the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate. Voters found themselves having to make a hard choice between two candidates who have never been widely popular or even tolerated.

The Muslim Brotherhood did not support the revolution when it started and stood watching behind the neutral line to see whose side to take, the people or the regime they had stricken a deal with. Even when the people toppled Mubarak, and demonstrated against the autocracy and non-change policy of the SCAF, the Muslim Brotherhood sychophantically supported the SCAF and stayed away from trouble. The bullets of the SCAF and the blood of the thousands that died and got injured never swayed them from their power-seeking determination. So it was hard for many to see the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate in the top 2. It was even harder to most to see Mubarak’s ex-prime minister as the candidate with the most votes. Afterall he is the man who administered the battle of the camel and sent thugs to disperse the protesters in Tahrir Square.

It is time for the Egyptians to realize that the elections were not as true as declared to be. The SCAF are Mubarak’s men, they followed his lead in every aspect of governance and policing, why would they change now and provide the country with true elections. How  come those who had about them enough criminality to send snipers to assassinate and blind as many as they could of peaceful protesters would develop the nobility to save a revolution they never believed in by providing the country with its first ever true elections?