January 17, 2019

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  • Op-ed: How Egypt conviction has changed my life

    BY NATASHA TYNES Washington, DC – It’s not easy being a convicted felon. The fact that if I ever step foot in Egypt, or visit any of the countries with which it has extradition treaties (a long list by the way), I might be shoved in prison for five years is daunting, to say the least. What was my crime? Teaching Egyptian journalists and citizen journalists how to use social media as part of my job as a program director for the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), a non-profit organisation (NGO) that focuses on media development around the world. Most of…

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    Op-ed: Democracy in Arabia?

    BY SAMI MAHROUM Paris  – In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville argued that the public’s trust alleviates pressure on the state, allowing it to function more effectively. This should give some comfort to governments in the Arab world, where a 2012 survey of young people showed 72% of the respondents expressing greater trust in their governments. But what, then, accounts for the continuing civil turmoil and government paralysis in the Arab-Spring countries? A more recent version of the survey provides some clues. A large majority of Arab youths, around 70%, say that they are most influenced by parents, family,…

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    The Egypt-Israel peace test

    BY ITAMAR RABINOVICH and TAMARA WITTES  Washington, DC – The rocket strikes that a militant Islamist group recently fired from the Egyptian Sinai into the Israeli city of Eilat served as yet another reminder of how delicate bilateral relations remain two years after Egypt’s revolution. Terrorist activity could easily cause a crisis on the border, with the potential to trigger an unwanted confrontation that would threaten the peace treaty that normalized bilateral relations in 1979. To avoid such an outcome, Israel and Egypt must take convincing action now to uphold the treaty. Last November, when hostilities erupted in Gaza, Egyptian…

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    Egypt’s Salafyo Costa bring Christians, Muslims together

    BY SOPHIE ANMUTH and MARWA NASSER Cairo Clashes in Egypt between Muslims and Copts earlier this month have sparked fears of further sectarian violence for the Egyptian Copt minority, which makes up approximately 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 90 million. As a foreigner and a native Egyptian living in Cairo, we have both heard first-hand the stereotypes about faith relations in Egypt. For example, the one of us who grew up here remembers being five, in a middle-class neighbourhood in Cairo, and overhearing two schoolmates whispering and pointing at another girl: “She’s Christian”. They probably didn’t even understand what…

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    The decline of knowledge in Egypt

    BY NAEL M. SHAMA Cairo Scant budgets, fanaticism, encroachments on freedom of expression and a growing isolationist, inward-looking attitude to the world have undermined the quality and reach of Egypt’s cultural production. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The real misfortune is that knowledge in Egypt has been deformed and  commodified. Like a Pepsi can or a bag of chips, products with fine packaging and generous marketing campaigns win the race, leaving little room to any real transmission of knowledge. From a historical perspective, the “commodification of culture” is certainly not a new phenomenon, but lately it has…

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    Op-ed: Egyptian Democracy’s Last Chance?

    BY ALVARO DE VASCONCELOS Cairo Egypt’s upcoming general election could help to consolidate its nascent democracy and provide legitimacy to the government’s efforts to address the social, political, economic, and security challenges facing the country. But no election, however successfully conducted, will be enough: Unless Egypt overcomes its current political polarization and builds a broad consensus that includes ruling Islamists and the secular opposition, its problems will persist, jeopardizing the prospect of a democratic future. Egypt’s lack of strong democratic institutions and its ongoing economic crisis are fueling social unrest and crisis, division, and hostility within the political system. At…

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    Op-ed: Egypt’s economic siren

    BY MOHAMED A. EL-ERIAN Newport Beach Facing a turbulent political situation and recurrent street protests, Egypt’s political elite would be well advised to focus on the economic implications of the current turmoil, whether they are in government or in opposition. Doing so would lead them to recognize seven compelling reasons why a more collaborative approach to solving Egypt’s problems is in the country’s collective interest, as well as in their own individual interests. First, if the social and political disorder persists, Egypt’s economy will end up with crippling inflation, severe balance-of-payments problems, and a budgetary crisis. The risk of a…

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    Op-ed: Rape of a nation

    BY REHAM BARAKAT Last December India witnessed a horrifying gang rape crime in Delhi. A 23-year-old woman was raped by five men on a bus. I won’t get into the morbid details, but suffice it to say that the victim of this barbaric act has died of her injuries. We have been brought up naively and falsely to believe that incidents of this kind do not happen in Egypt. But I remember thinking that when news of the Delhi rape broke that surely similar crimes are committed in our nation but are hardly ever reported or covered by the media….

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    Op-ed: Listen to the women, Morsi

    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…

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    Op-ed: The absurdity of ideology

    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…

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