The Sectarian Incident That Won't Go Away

by Mariz Tadros | published March 5, 2010

When violence breaks out between Egypt’s Muslim majority and Coptic Christian minority, the Egyptian government is normally quick to deny that the motive could be sectarian. Spokesmen point to “foreign fingers” that are supposedly stirring up sedition, in hopes that the file on the incident can be closed as quickly as possible and the state can resume displaying an image of Egypt as typified by “national unity.” This rhetorical device has been useful in the past for deflecting demands from Copts, who compose roughly 10 percent of the population, that their underlying grievances be redressed. But the government’s act has worn thin.

Egypt: An Emerging "Market" of Double Repression

by Fareed Ezzedine | published November 18, 1999

Recently, Egyptians have entertained dreams of political reform only to be crushed in October by a cosmetic ministerial reshuffle. President Hosni Mubarak ordered this reshuffle following a plebiscite approving him for a fourth presidential term; a massive wave of pre-election propaganda predictably failed to alter the electorate's persistent apathy.

Mubarak in Washington

Assessing the US-Egyptian Bilateral Relationship

by Fareed Ezzedine | published June 30, 1999

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visits Washington this week at a time when US-Egyptian relations appear to be harmonious. Yet beneath the surface, relations may not be as cordial as they seem. Particularly discordant notes in the current US-Egyptian relationship concern free trade, regional economic integration and Egypt's human rights record. These issues will be high on the agenda during meetings between US and Egyptian officials this week.

Demographic Surprises Foreshadow Change in Neoliberal Egypt

by Eric Denis
published in MER246

In the Egypt of 2008, half the population has known only one president, Husni Mubarak. And the rate of population growth, at its peak when Mubarak assumed office in 1981, has stopped declining as it had been in the 1990s. A new kind of population increase has begun. Such are the lessons of the provisional results of the Egyptian general population and housing census, conducted in November 2006 in accordance with the regular ten-year cycle. These demographic surprises have important implications for the stability of Egypt and the regime’s economic liberalization and structural adjustment program.

Rhetorical Acrobatics and Reputations

Egypt's National Council for Human Rights

by Joshua Stacher
published in MER235

The inaugural report of Egypt's state-sponsored National Council for Human Rights raised eyebrows when it was released in April 2005. The 358-page document acknowledged claims of torture in the country's police stations and called for an end to the emergency laws that have effectively suspended the Egyptian constitution since the assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat on October 6, 1981. It was tempting to believe that the report was more evidence that President Husni Mubarak's regime is beginning to bow to popular pressure for reform.

The Brotherhood Goes to Parliament

by Samer Shehata , Joshua Stacher
published in MER240

Sitting on a comfortable fake leather couch in the lobby of Cairo’s four-star Ma‘adi Hotel on a spring evening, we watch tourists mill around. Asian, European and Sudanese businessmen and holidaymakers casually eat a buffet dinner or browse in the souvenir shop selling knockoff pharaonic trinkets. The hotel staff is neatly dressed in cheap, white button-down shirts and black trousers. The manager is cordial and chain-smoking. Bored-looking tourist police sit beside the metal detector at the entrance.

Comrades and Brothers

by Hossam El-Hamalawy
published in MER242

Emad Mubarak is a busy man. Director of the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, and a lawyer with the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, the leftist Mubarak cannot hold a meeting without being interrupted by the ring of his cell phone. The calls these days come from student members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the officially outlawed Islamist group that is Egypt’s largest political movement. The students call to report security service abuses against them on campuses, or to request his legal counsel while they undergo interrogation by university administrators.

Normalization Politics on the Nile

by Ursula Lindsey
published in MER253

On September 23, Farouq Husni lost a close vote for the post of head of the UN cultural and educational body, UNESCO, to the Bulgarian Irina Bokova. Husni, the sitting minister of culture in Egypt, had become the “controversial” contender for the position, his candidacy marred by accusations of anti-Semitism. His narrow defeat came after months of high-level negotiations, sparring in the international press and an intense debate in Egypt and the Arab world over the emotionally loaded subject of “normalization” with Israel.

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