Strangers in the Crowd

by Vivienne Matthies-Boon | published September 5, 2014 - 6:34pm

“The system of fear is back,” whispers an Egyptian political activist. “It is showing its teeth, saying ‘I’m baaack.’” The protest veteran speaks sotto voce even though he is sitting in his living room. And that, he points out, is the biggest change since the heady days of 2011, after the fall of Husni Mubarak, and even since the more somber times of 2012 and 2013.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER127

This issue examines the political impact of the economic crisis that has wracked Tunisia and Morocco over the first half of this decade. Even as we prepared this issue, the combustible recipe of austerity decrees and popular desperation exploded into violence in neighboring Egypt, in the industrial town of Kafr el-Dawar, near Alexandria. The decision in mid-September to double the government-controlled price of bread touched off the seething resentment of poor and working class Egyptians at the galloping price increases of uncontrolled market items over the last year. The final blow was a three percent increase in payroll deductions for all state workers.

The Massacre One Year Later

by Ahmad Shokr | published August 16, 2014 - 12:12pm

In Cairo this summer, there is scant appetite for anniversaries. The passage of one year since the critical events of the 2013 coup d’état scarcely attracts the public’s attention. There are few official ceremonies or rallies to mark the huge demonstrations on June 30 against Muhammad Mursi, the July 3 military takeover or the July 26 marches summoned by ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi to give himself popular cover in his self-styled fight against terrorism.

Davis, Challenging Colonialism

by Fred H. Lawson
published in MER129

Eric Davis, Challenging Colonialism: Bank Misr and Egyptian Industrialization, 1920-1941 (Princeton: Princeton University Press,

1983).

Eric Davis intends his study to answer a wide range of questions concerning capitalism and industrialization in the Middle East. Two issues in particular are central to his analysis: “what were the social forces behind the formation of the Bank Misr” and “why did the bank experience a period of rapid economic growth only to later face financial collapse?” (p. 5)

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Egypt's Elections, Mubarak's Bind

by Bertus Hendriks
published in MER129

In the May 1984 general elections in Egypt, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) won almost 73 percent of the vote. The new Wafd got just above 15 percent. The other three contenders failed to get the eight percent minimum needed for a seat: the Socialist Labor Party (‘Amal) got just over seven percent; the National Progressive Unionist Party (Tagammu‘) got just over four percent; the Socialist Liberal Party (Ahrar) did not exceed one percent. These “lost” votes accrued to the biggest party, the NDP, which thus took 390 seats to the Wafd’s 58 seats. [1]

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The Cold Peace

by Joel Beinin
published in MER129

March 26, 1985, will mark the sixth anniversary of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, brokered and signed in Washington, the culmination of the “Camp David process.” What have been the consequences of this pact, and where is the peace it was supposed to usher into the region?

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The Campaign Against Coal in Egypt

by Dina Zayed , Jeannie Sowers
published in MER271

A campaign opposing coal imports would seem unlikely to attract much attention given the political upheavals and deepening social polarization that Egyptians have witnessed over the past three years. Yet since 2012, a loose coalition of environmental and human rights activists, government officials and voluntary organizations have led a sustained campaign to contest the government’s decision to import coal to supply Egypt’s cement plants. Making use of new and old media, and drawing upon the “Tahrir networks” forged in street protest, the anti-coal coalition challenged government and business assertions that importing coal was the only way to meet Egypt’s energy needs.

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New President, Old Pattern of Sexual Violence in Egypt

by Vickie Langohr | published July 7, 2014

On June 3, the day that the Elections Commission announced the victory of ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt’s presidential race, television announcer Radwa Ruhayyim covered the festivities in Tahrir Square. Surrounded by ululating revelers, she noted that, amidst the celebrations, several women had been assaulted. [1] Live coverage of the June 8 inauguration festivities also included references to assaults that day. Tragically, the story of mass sexual assaults at large political gatherings is nothing new. Between November 2012 and August 2013, over 200 women were assaulted at political events including celebrations of the second anniversary of the January 25 uprising against Husni Mubarak and protests against President Muhammad Mursi in 2012 and 2013.

Egypt's Government by Baltaga

by Andrea Teti | published July 3, 2014 - 4:57pm

Most reactions to the farcical convictions of Australian journalist Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamad Fadel Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamad express shock and outrage at everything from the ridiculous evidence presented to the sentences that would have made Dra

Sisiphus

by Andrea Teti , Vivienne Matthies-Boon , Gennaro Gervasio | published June 10, 2014

Over three days in late May, ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, the retired field marshal and former head of military intelligence, was elected president of Egypt with 96 percent of the vote. This tally was far higher than the 51.34 percent recorded in 2012 by the man Sisi helped to depose, Muhammad Mursi, and higher than the 88.6 percent racked up by Husni Mubarak in the rigged contest of 2005. Since the only other candidate, Hamdin Sabbahi, scarcely disagreed with Sisi on matters of policy during the campaign, a Sisi victory was a foregone conclusion, even if the margin was not.