Damietta Mobilizes for Its Environment

by Sharif Elmusa , Jeannie Sowers | published October 21, 2009

In 2008, Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Damietta saw escalating protest against EAgrium, a Canadian consortium building a large fertilizer complex in Ra’s al-Barr. Ra’s al-Barr sits at the end of an estuary, where the Damietta branch of the Nile River joins the Mediterranean. It is a prime destination for vacationing Egyptians in the summertime and the location of the year-round residences of the Damiettan elite. Fishermen ply the waters offshore. When plans for the fertilizer complex were announced, a coalition of locals feared that all three sources of income—tourism, real estate and fishing—would be jeopardized by emissions into the air and water.

Boxing In the Brothers

by Samer Shehata , Joshua Stacher | published August 8, 2007

The latest crackdown by the Egyptian state on the Muslim Brotherhood began after a student demonstration at Cairo’s al-Azhar University. Dressed in black, their faces covered with matching hoods whose headbands read samidun, or “steadfast,” on December 10, 2006 several dozen young Muslim Brothers marched from the student center to the university’s main gate. Six of the masked youths, according to video and eyewitnesses, lined up in the middle of a square formed by the others and performed martial arts exercises reminiscent of demonstrations by Hamas and Hizballah.

The Militancy of Mahalla al-Kubra

by Joel Beinin | published September 29, 2007

For the second time in less than a year, in the final week of September the 24,000 workers of the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahalla al-Kubra went on strike—and won. As they did the first time, in December 2006, the workers occupied the Nile Delta town’s mammoth textile mill and rebuffed the initial mediation efforts of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). Yet this strike was even more militant than December’s. Workers established a security force to protect the factory premises, and threatened to occupy the company’s administrative headquarters as well. Their stand belies the wishful claims of the Egyptian government and many media outlets that the strike wave of 2004-2007 has run its course.

Underbelly of Egypt’s Neoliberal Agenda

by Joel Beinin | published April 5, 2008

It was business as usual for Orascom, a gigantic Egyptian conglomerate with major interests in everything from Cairene highway construction to Red Sea luxury resorts to cell phones in Iraq.

Strikes in Egypt Spread from Center of Gravity

by Joel Beinin , Hossam El-Hamalawy | published May 9, 2007

The longest and strongest wave of worker protest since the end of World War II is rolling through Egypt. In March, the liberal daily al-Masri al-Yawm estimated that no fewer than 222 sit-in strikes, work stoppages, hunger strikes and demonstrations had occurred during 2006. In the first five months of 2007, the paper has reported a new labor action nearly every day. The citizen group Egyptian Workers and Trade Union Watch documented 56 incidents during the month of April, and another 15 during the first week of May alone. [1]

Egyptian Textile Workers Confront the New Economic Order

by Joel Beinin , Hossam El-Hamalawy | published March 25, 2007

For the last ten years Muhammad ‘Attar, 36, has worked in the finishing department at the gigantic Misr Spinning and Weaving Company complex at Mahalla al-Kubra in the middle of the Nile Delta. He takes home a basic wage of about $30. With profit sharing and incentives, his net pay is about $75 a month. His 33-year-old wife, Nasra ‘Abd al-Maqsoud al-Suwaydi, makes about $70 a month working in the ready-made clothing division of the same firm.

Egypt's Virtual Protection of Morality

by Hossam Bahgat
published in MER230

Action by states to impose excessive regulations on the use of...the Internet, on the grounds that control, regulation and denial of access are necessary to preserve the moral fabric and cultural identity of societies, is paternalistic. These regulations presume to protect people from themselves and, as such, they are inherently incompatible with the principles of the worth and dignity of each individual. These arguments deny the fundamental wisdom of individuals and societies and ignore the capacity and resilience of citizens, whether on a national, state, municipal, community or even neighborhood level, often to take self-correcting measures to re-establish equilibrium without excessive interference or regulation by the state.

Egyptian Advocacy NGOs

Catalysts for Social and Political Change?

by Krista Masonis El-Gawhary
published in MER214

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The Emergence of a “Coptic Question” in Egypt

by Issandr El Amrani | published April 28, 2006

In the early morning of April 14, 2006, Mahmoud Salah al-Din Abd al-Raziq, a Muslim, entered the church of Mar Girgis (Saint George) in Alexandria’s al-Hadra district and stabbed three parishioners who had gathered for a service. Abd al-Raziq then proceeded to attack worshippers at two other churches, according to police accounts, before being arrested en route to a fourth. Nushi Atta Girgis, 78, died from his stab wounds, while several others were injured, some severely.