April 16, 2014

Op-ed: Listen to the women, Morsi

The assertive women's vote may well tip the balance towards a more liberal democracy in Egypt in the future.

BY WAFAA WALI I volunteered as a civil proctor in the second round of the referendum on Egypt’s new constitution. I had been part of the revolution since the beginning, have done the walks, cheering, dangerous bits and pieces, contributions, distribution of flyers and collection of data.  But I have not become a member of any political or social group. I still somehow value my position as an officially non-aligned member of the community. I attended the crash training session on the rights and role of a civil proctor the night before the event. Early next day, a bus drove…

Op-ed: The absurdity of ideology

Screen grab in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace shows an Egypt that is literally splint in half as army erects concrete barriers to contain the violence between pro and anti-Morsi protesters.

BY REHAM BARAKAT One of the most common phrases I’ve been hearing recently is “Egypt has plunged into chaos” followed by a nod by everybody around the table. Next comes the unanimous admission that “the country is now polarized,” substantiated by a statement that “the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters are pitted against everyone else.” Again everyone nods their head. The grand finale is “Mubarak was right when he said it is either me or chaos,” which is when the nodding of head actually stops and very bitter arguments ensue. There are those who agree with the fact that Mubarak…

The Arab Spring’s crowd psychology

Thousands of anti-Morsi protesters besieged the presidential palace Tuesday night.

BY SAMI MAHROUM Abu Dhabi In 1896, the social psychologist Gustave Le Bon warned his contemporaries of the dangers of crowds, writing that, “It is necessary to arrive at a solution to the problems offered by [crowds’] psychology, or to resign ourselves to being devoured by them.” As spontaneous protest overtakes organized political movements across the Arab world, the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya’s nascent democracies should heed Le Bon’s warning. Since crowds took to the streets of Tunis, Cairo, Benghazi, and other Arab cities, toppling decades-old regimes, spectators and analysts have wondered where the Arab world is headed….

Op-ed: Egypt’s democratic dictator?

Screen capture shows anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square in a sit-in against the president's recent constitutional declaration.

BY OMAR ASHOUR CAIRO Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first-ever elected civilian president, recently granted himself sweeping temporary powers in order, he claims, to attain the objectives of the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship. But the decrees incited strong opposition from many of the revolutionary forces that helped to overthrow Mubarak (as well as from forces loyal to him), with protests erupting anew in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Morsi has thus been put in the odd position of having to defend his decision against the protesters while simultaneously making common cause with them. “I share your dream of a constitution for all…