The Wretched Revolution

by Yasmin Moll
published in MER273

“We live in a country where liberals renege on democracy, Islamists harm Islam and human rights activists champion oppression,” an Islamic television producer cynically remarked three months after Muhammad Mursi was ousted from Egypt’s presidency in July 2013. That summer, the televised images of multitudes of flag-waving protesters were uncanny in their resemblance to those of the 2011 revolution that forced Husni Mubarak from power. The arc of the unfolding political drama, it seemed, was also strikingly similar: The people took to the streets peacefully; the president was unmoved, vowing to complete his term and threatening chaos if removed; the military decided to side with the people; the revolution was saved.

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The Battle of Egyptian Football Fans Against Dullness

by Dalia Abd El-Hameed | published December 3, 2014 - 2:56pm

Ultras, or organized groups of football fans, represented an influential faction of the Egyptian revolutionary multitude in 2011. The ultras’ long experience of street fights with police at stadiums aided the revolutionaries in achieving many victories over riot cops in the early days of the January 25 uprising and subsequently. And the ultras’ combat prowess was not their only contribution to the uprising. More important was the carnivalesque character of their resistance, which transformed the protest scene into something more colorful, vital, choreographed and performative.

Mutiny in Cairo

by Ann Lesch
published in MER139

Wednesday, February 26. The story was on BBC at eight this morning. Central Security Forces (al-amn al-markazi) mutinied last night at the big camp at Dahshour and at two camps in Giza, on the road to Alexandria. Thousands of conscripts burst out of the camps and burned nearby luxury hotels. The government says that the mutiny was sparked by a false rumor that the conscripts’ tours of duty would be extended from three to four years. Many people believe the rumor was accurate.

Losing Hope in Iran and Egypt

by Parastou Hassouri | published November 10, 2014 - 1:31pm

The decision to leave your country, especially when you leave for political or ideological reasons, can be gut-wrenching. My parents made that decision for me when they left Iran in my early adolescence. Unlike some Iranians forced to flee, my parents were not members of a persecuted religious minority. Nor were they high-profile political activists at immediate risk of arrest. But as people who had demonstrated against the Shah’s dictatorship, and had hoped that the 1979 revolution would bring democracy and social justice to Iran, witnessing their country plunge into authoritarianism and turn into a theocracy was more than they could bear. It was like the country they knew and hoped for no longer existed.

An Interview with Mohamed Elshahed

by The Editors | published November 7, 2014 - 1:48pm

Mohamed Elshahed is a young, dynamic architect and researcher who is documenting changes to urban space in Egypt at his highly popular blog Cairobserver. Elshahed completed a doctorate in Middle East studies at New York University and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien. He also holds a MA in architecture studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His dissertation is titled, “Revolutionary Modernism?

Taking Back the Village

Rural Youth in a Moral Revolution

by Lila Abu-Lughod
published in MER272

On January 25, 2011, like most of the rest of the world I watched the uprisings in Egypt on television. I was struck by the consistent vantage point: a reporter speaking from a balcony or rooftop overlooking the masses in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. There was an occasional interview with a member of the crowd. Sporadic reports appeared from the streets of other cities -- Alexandria, Suez or Port Said -- where people were demonstrating.

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Small Farmer Uprisings and Rural Neglect in Egypt and Tunisia

by Habib Ayeb , Ray Bush
published in MER272

“We should make it up to the peasants,” Muhsin al-Batran, erstwhile head of the economic affairs unit in Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture, told the official daily al-Ahram two months after the toppling of Husni Mubarak in 2011. “Make it up” -- why? And what is it that needs to be made up?

Sisi at the UN

by The Editors | published September 25, 2014 - 9:44am

This week ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi paid his inaugural visit to the United States as president of Egypt. The occasion was the annual meetings of the UN General Assembly. We asked some veteran Egypt watchers and MERIP authors for their reactions.

Mona El-Ghobashy

Strangers in the Crowd

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

“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.