Early April [2-4, 2017], the Egyptian president visited the US and his visit included Egyptians standing on both sides of the street, waving flags and greeting him as his convoy passed in Washington DC. He was in the States to ask for the US president’s financial and military support for which he only received promises of cooperation. Social media made fun of some of the images that surfaced of his infamous meeting with the US president in which they spoke of collaboration against terrorism. One image in particular showed the US president sitting at his desk in the Oval Office with the Egyptian president standing by his side – contrary to all protocols where both presidents should either be seated or standing up. The US president himself tweeted the pictures.
In the Oval Office
The Coptic Church also, prior to the explosions of the two churches in Tanta and Alexandria, asked the Copts to mobilize and greet him. Even though it was not the Copts alone who went to greet him, many still accused the Church of being hypocritical.
Lawyer wearing T-shirt saying ‘sell yourself for Egypt’ mobilized to greet Sisi.
Greeting Sisi in 2016 and then again in 2017
Anba Karas, Coptic Bishop of North America asked people to mobilize
Parliament Continue reading
Egyptian Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zoweil’s death was a point of much discussion among Egyptians. While the majority mourned him, there were the few – primarily Ikhwan – who gloated about his death because he was pro-Sisi. At least one newspaper published a post by a man named George Kelada – president of the ‘Egyptians in Italy’ group – where he claimed that the US had most likely ‘assassinated’ Zoweil by ‘cancer’ because he was so knowledgeable and they did not want his knowledge and science to go to Egyptians. Of course it’s a pathetic conspiratorial mentality as usual. It should be mentioned that Zoweil is a US citizen and has lived all his life in the US and won the Prize for his work in the US. His prize was for a 1996 team work in chemistry.
The anticipated $12.9 billion loan from the IMF to Egypt has also been the subject of much news, analysis and interest. Egypt said that it will improve the Egyptian pound devaluation through the IMF loan that is being negotiated. The president of the Central Bank – who happens to be the liaison between IMF and the Egyptian government said that they had asked for no money from the IMF! Justice Tahani Al Gibali stated that the conditions are ‘significantly dangerous’. Parliamentarian Haytham Al Hariri said that the loan is just relief pills and that his 25-30 coalition in parliament has rejected the IMF loan. The IMF on the other hand stated that “the scale of IMF financing will depend on the [two-week] mission team’s assessment during the visit of the financing needs and the strength of the authority’s reform program”. Defending the loan, Parliamentarian Gamal Abbas stated that the economic situation in Egypt is extremely dire and that there has to be a change in its economic policies. However he said he approved of the IMF loan because it ‘shows Egypt was in a correct economic path.’ [A good article to read on the Egyptian economy and the IMF loan is in the Economist]. Continue reading
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ― Rob Siltanen
This post is a celebration of the lives of two young Egyptian activists who have been unjustly imprisoned where they remain to this day. It is a celebration lest we forget – of those two brave young men – the ‘crazy ones’ – who believed in change and tried to change at a very high personal cost. Those are: Alaa Abdel Fattah and Malek Adly. Continue reading
Several events occurred this week, perhaps the most significant and by far the most tragic was the Pulse attack by an alleged Islamist Omar Mateen. This caused Egyptians to begin a discussion on matters pertaining to gays and homosexuality. However the larger discussion was about what leads to the creation of lone wolves, what is fundamentalism, as well as what is and is not Islamic.
But mostly it was the economy that occupied people’s minds, and in particular, the rise in prices of multiple commodities immediately prior to, and during, Ramadan and beyond. It should be mentioned that this follows increase in prices of electricity and medicine over the past few weeks.
Cartoon Shorouk Geneina posted
Finally, a topic that has been at the forefront was that of the continued interrogation of former Auditor General Judge Hisham Geneina, occupied the news, and in particular his statements to his interrogators. But the most outrageous of it all was the firing of Geneina’s daughter, Shorouk, from her position as prosecutor administrator for posting on her Facebook account a cartoon criticizing former minister of justice, Judge Al Zend in February of this year. It simply showed a regime that would stoop as low as firing the family members of whomever it perceives as a threat to it.
Arrests/detention/human rights Continue reading
Several serious issues made the news this week. Although the Sisi interview with journalist Osama Kamal was during this week, it did not occupy the usual space nor attention in either the media or among tweeps. As usual, he mentioned the ‘evil people’ and conspiracies against Egypt and Egyptians. He did, however, make a few interesting statements, like when he stated that they had been planning the June 30th day long before the revolution. He also said “if the State does not fall during my presidency, I will consider this an accomplishment.” He also said that the Suez Canal branch project was not to increase revenues but to ‘raise people’s morales’. [It should be noted that the government had taken 64 billion Egyptian pounds donations from Egyptians to dig the branch].
But by far what most occupied people were three things: Continue reading