The Week in Egypt [April 6, 2014]

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

“The idea that I could have an association with the Muslim Brotherhood is frankly preposterous.” Peter Greste, Al-Jazeera journalist currently being tried for his connection to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The revolution is not politics. Dignity is not politics. This is what we sing about. We didn’t sing about politics, but we sing about basic human rights.”-Amir Eid, lead singer for the Egyptian rock band Cairokee

Egypt in the News






On EgyptSource


Egypt’s Judges Join In | Michele Dunne and Nathan Brown, Foreign Affairs

“But compared to previous eras, there is a fundamental difference in the state’s way of dealing with the Brotherhood. Under Nasser — as well as Sadat and Mubarak — repression was the job of security agencies and special courts. The judiciary sometimes acted as a brake on the government’s most authoritarian impulses. Now, all the instruments of the Egyptian state seem fully on board. Whereas Nasser had to go to the trouble of setting up kangaroo courts, today there is no need. The regular judiciary has led most of the recent crackdown on the Brotherhood, from the Minya convictions to other trials of Brotherhood leaders. Meanwhile, the state media, the religious establishment, civil service, and educational institutions have all joined in the effort. Some political parties and most of the private media have even signed on too, apparently of their own free will.”

“For one, there is the question of what to do with the estimated 19,000 detainees. Even if authorities eventually release many of them (there is no sign of that yet), they will most likely try to find legal grounds for keeping thousands more in prison for years. Individual trials would be more than Egypt’s judicial system could bear, and releasing detainees, many of whom have been tortured, risks providing many more recruits for jihadi groups. The mass trials against Brotherhood members — there are several ongoing — include hundreds who are still at large and dozens demonstrably not involved in the specific incidents in question. Although the verdicts might be overturned on appeal or the sentences lessened, they nevertheless pave the way for an ongoing cycle of fury and retribution.

The path away from such a horror show is political reconciliation, in which the authorities agree to release detainees, drop the terrorism designation, and reintegrate the Brotherhood into political life in exchange for a pledge from the group of nonviolence and its acceptance that Morsi will not be restored as president. But for now, many Egyptians consider the mere mention of the word “reconciliation” to be treason. It will eventually have to happen if Egypt is to reach some sort of political consensus along the lines of Tunisia’s, which is its best hope for stability. There are simply too many Islamists and non-Islamists (nationalists, liberals, leftists) for any one side to dominate. The other option is continued violence and instability. Nasser and Sadat lurched between domestic and foreign policy crises during their presidencies; Sadat was assassinated by an Islamist sympathizer in the military. Mubarak was only able to calm the country once Islamists had alienated Egyptians by causing so many civilian casualties. Today, despite the political divide, there is one point on which most Egyptians will agree: ongoing repression is less likely to work in an Egypt with dire economic problems and a population that has become accustomed to pushing presidents out of office.”

Why the AIDS cure matters | Wael Eskandar, Daily News Egypt

“There can only be two explanations as to why the military has announced the cure. The first is that the army is willingly misleading people by offering false hope to millions of Egyptians infected with hepatitis C as a means of enhancing its image. The second is that the army itself was conned into thinking the cure exists.

Both explanations are damaging to the army’s image. The first would mean that the military is willing to cheat its people in order to establish itself as a saviour based on what it knows to be a false promise. This means that the military, which runs Egypt, is more interested in how it is perceived on the short run rather than how it functions.

The second scenario would imply that the military has no ability to process information efficiently or determine the truth about the projects presented to it. If the Egyptian army can be conned into thinking there is a cure for AIDS, then it is not competent enough to lead a country that requires far greater capabilities, particularly at a time of economic upheaval. It then becomes impossible to decipher the generals’ worldview and how disconnected they are from reality.”

Cartoon of the Week

Source: Shorouk (Waleed Taher)

On Twitter: UK Government to Investigate Brotherhood’s UK Activities

The British government announced last week that it will begin investigating the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood on its soil. The news was met with mixed responses:

Video of the Week

Activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, recently released from prison after four months on charges of breaking the interim government’s restrictive protest law, gives his first extended interview to Democracy Now:

Image: Photo of the Week: People stand near a damaged car after explosions near Cairo University April 2, 2014. Another explosion was heard at Cairo University on Wednesday after a twin bombing killed the police brigadier-general, a Reuters witness said. REUTERS/Al Youm Al Saabi Newspaper