The Week in Egypt [April 21, 2014]

Catch up on the latest out of Egypt every week, with analysis, news updates, photos, videos, and more.
Quote of the Week

“In the minds of many, discrimination has been strictly associated with issues facing Christians, and citizenship has also been associated with the Christian search of equality. The problem is much wider, however . . . It is about this sentiment of a citizen that he or she is not equal to others before the law. This is the case for some Christians, as it is the case for some Nubians, as for some women, and many others. In an incremental way, the accumulated grievances stripped many of their sense of citizenship; people stopped feeling that they belong to this country, or that this country belongs to them.” –Ayman al-Sayyad, Egyptian commentator

Egypt in the News






On EgyptSource


From Cairo to Suez, Egypt workers defy government with labor strikes | by Erin Cunningham, Washington Post

“Strikes staged by thousands of Egyptian workers for higher wages and better working conditions in recent months are setting the stage for a possible confrontation between the impoverished laborers and a new president after elections this spring.

The rallies and sit-ins that have crippled the postal service, textile factories and even public hospitals are still fragmented, largely uncoordinated and lack unified demands. But as the cash-strapped government moves to quash labor unrest in places such as Suez, the strikes underscore a social discontent that is still festering among Egypt’s working class and could evolve into a more solid opposition to the military-backed administration.”

“In Suez province, a critical industrial center and strategic hub of global maritime trade, the military has been particularly involved in suppressing factory workers’ strikes, labor rights activists say. Those actions could indicate how a military-supported Sissi presidency would deal with the ongoing labor unrest.”

Letter to High Representative Ashton concerning Egypt | Marietje Schaake, European Union MP

“…the EU needs to be more vocal and more involved if we are to have an impact. Furthermore, we must focus our efforts on the Egyptian people and their rights, and not limit ourselves to the current regime and its figureheads. Relations between Egypt and Europe should be built on more than government to government relations.

While the organization of the referendum on the new Constitution was welcome, the EU did not sufficiently address the resistance faced by people critical of the referendum, or about the power it gives the armed forces. The finalization of the agreement to set up an EU electoral observation mission for the upcoming presidential elections on 23 and 24 May is welcome. But we must not forget that in moving the Presidential elections ahead of the Parliamentary elections, the Egyptian government has not respected the agreed roadmap. We do welcome the EU Election Observation mission that stands ready to observe the elections.”

“Egypt, as a crucial country for a more stable future for the Middle East and North Africa, with a young population whose rights need to be respected, should be high on the agenda for EU foreign policy. We cannot afford to close our eyes to the fundamental problems in Egypt and we need more clarity on how we will address them. The European Council for Foreign Affairs, under your guidance, needs to formulate a strategy on what our approach will be in the coming months and years. An approach based on our values, but using every instrument we have available to us, to get the result that we want, an open, free and democratic society which can be a partner for the EU and in which the Egyptian people can enjoy a respect for their rights and freedoms. Let us give meaning and substance to the promise of ‘More for More’.”

Cartoon of the Week: Regional Presidential Elections

Source: Hassan Bleibel

Video of the Week: The Story of a Syrian Refugee in Egypt

UNHCR has followed the story of Mahmoud, a nine year old Syrian refugee who fled Aleppo in 2012. After arriving in Cairo, the removal of President Mohamed Morsi was accompanied by a wave of anti-Syrian sentiment, spurred on by the media. The video below gives an insight into the lives of Syrian refugees in Cairo. Mahmoud and his family left Egypt in 2013, settling in Sweden.

On Twitter: A Politicized Easter

As Egypt’s Christians celebrated Easter over the weekend, talk on Twitter focused on the politicization of the religious holiday, between a visit paid by presidential hopeful Abdel Fattah al-Sisi  to the Coptic Orthodox Pope, Tawadros II, the morning before Easter mass, and his rival Hamdeen Sabbahi attending mass that evening. 

Image: Photo of the Week: A journalist with his mouth taped holds a pen during a protest against the Interior Ministry in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo April 17, 2014. Protesters accused the ministry on Thursday of deliberately targeting journalists during their coverage of violence and conflict. The tape reads, "The blood of a journalist is not cheap. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)