Fear Makes Everything Possible

by Wael Eskandar | published April 28, 2015 - 10:43am

It is a time in Egypt when it is not welcome to write something serious that addresses serious issues. Everything borders on the ridiculous. Rhetoric has shifted to a medieval or primal state where basic values are being revisited. Is it OK to discard human rights because of the violence of non-state actors? Is it OK for the police to kill innocent civilians in the supposed act of protecting these same people from terrorism? Is it OK that we have a country without fair trials? Most of the time, in the state media, the answer is yes.

Egyptian Labor Abroad

Mass Participation and Modest Returns

by Robert LaTowsky
published in MER123

Hardly more than a decade has passed since Egypt’s pioneering emigrants first offered their skills to the nascent development of neighboring Arab countries. Measured against the volume and impact of its labor contributions, this seems a short time indeed. In that time, the limited opportunities once available only to Egypt’s most educated elite have mushroomed to require the talents and energies of tens of thousands of urban craftsmen, public employees and rural unskilled laborers. From these masses of temporary sojourners have come massive transfers of wages and remittances to Egypt’s thirsty economy.

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"No to the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty"

by
published in MER80

The Progressive Assembly of National Unionists was established in 1977 as the official “left” party of Egypt. One of three legal national parties, its leadership was drawn from the ranks of leftist intellectuals, some former communists, who had chosen during the Nasser era to work within the Arab Socialist Union in uneasy alliance with the dominant Nasserist forces. As an official party, its relationship to the Nasserists has remained tenuous, while its relations with the Sadat regime have grown increasingly acrimonious.

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The Everyday in Ramlat Bulaq

by Omnia Khalil
published in MER274

Walking through the alleys of Ramlat Bulaq, an old working-class neighborhood in northern Cairo close to the banks of the Nile, I encountered an 11-year old girl playing in front of her house with other children her age. She stopped me and said, “Do you know ‘Amr, the man who was killed? He used to get us candies. They said he was a criminal but he was not. He was angry because of ‘Ammar’s death.” I knew she was referring to ‘Amr al-Buni, a local youth shot by police in the course of this district’s long struggle against the encroachment of wealthy developers backed by the Egyptian state.

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Reexamining Human Rights Change in Egypt

by Heba Morayef
published in MER274

Over five tumultuous years in Egypt, the independent human rights community moved from a fairly parochial role chipping away at the Mubarak regime’s legitimacy, one torture case at a time, to media stardom in 2011, and from fielding a presidential candidate, who won over 134,000 votes, in 2012 to facing closure and the risk of prosecution two years later.

Rebels, Reformers and Empire

Alternative Economic Programs for Egypt and Tunisia

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER274

For 20 years leading up to the uprisings of 2010-2011, Egypt and Tunisia suffered the ill effects of neoliberal economic reform, even as the international financial institutions and most economists hailed them as beacons of progress in the Arab world. For ten years preceding the revolts, workers and civil society organizations led a burgeoning protest movement against the liberalizing and privatizing trajectories of the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes. Then came the uprisings, which brokered the possibility of not only new political beginnings but also alternative economic programs that would put the needs of the struggling middle, working and poorer classes first and at least constrain, if not abolish, the privileges of a deposed ruling class.

The Politics of Egyptian Migration to Libya

by Gerasimos Tsourapas | published March 17, 2015

The beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts working in Libya, as shown in video footage released by the Islamic State on February 12, 2015, made headlines across the world. The story was variously framed as one more vicious murder of Middle Eastern Christians by militant Islamists, one more index of chaos in post-Qaddafi Libya and one more opportunity for an Arab state, in this case Egypt, to enlist in the latest phase of the war on terror. What was left unaddressed was the deep and long-standing enmeshment of the Libyan and Egyptian economies, embodied in the tens of thousands of Egyptian workers who remain in Libya despite the civil war raging there.

European Leaders Unhappy with Sadat-Begin Treaty

by Pamela Ann Smith
published in MER80

In the view of leading European politicians, statesmen and journalists, the “peace” treaty signed between Egypt and Israel in March is more of a liability than a promising asset in their governments’ attempts to forge better relations with the Arab world. Many see it as a prelude to further conflict in the Middle East, and diplomats for the nine member states of the European Economic Community (EEC) have been quietly urging the United States either to extract more concessions from Begin or to make a new initiative -- unilaterally if necessary -- to widen the Treaty to include other Arab states and possibly the Palestine Liberation Organization as well.

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Sadat's "New Democracy"

by A Special Correspondent
published in MER80

On April 5 the president of Egypt spoke for two and a half hours before the People’s Assembly, explaining and defending his peace treaty with Israel. Such was the “public debate” on the treaty. Sadat gratuitously added that “as of today” there would be no restrictions on political parties, and pledged a “bill of rights” which would be “the start of a new life in Egypt.”

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Gran, Islamic Roots of Capitalism

by Eric Davis
published in MER82

Peter Gran, Islamic Roots of Capitalism: Egypt, 1760-1840 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979).

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