The Week in Egypt – May 26, 2014

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

Quote of the Week

“The political environment under Mubarak was tough because there was no real political will to seriously go after corrupt officials, I thought all of this would change with Mubarak’s ouster but the revolution was not given a chance to govern.”  –Moattsem Fathi, Egyptian anti-corruption investigator

Egypt in the News





On EgyptSource

On Tutelage and Abolishing the Right of Citizens to Choose by Amr Hamzawy
Ideological Distinction in the Coming Parliament by Jayson Casper
Short-Term Stability in Sinai Will Exacerbate Tensions for Egypt’s Next President by Zack Gold
Party Positions on Presidential Elections: Inside the Decision-Making Process by Sarah Sirghany
Sisi: A New Nasser or a New Sadat? by Tom Dale
Egypt’s Lopsided Presidential Elections and Then What? by EgyptSource
Egypt’s Fight against a Boycott by Nervana Mahmoud
Why Monitor an Election with a Forgone Conclusion? by Joel Gulhane
The Driving Force Behind Hamdeen Sabbahi’s Presidential Bid by Khaled Dawoud
The Islamist Stance on the Coming Elections by Nader Bakkar

In-depth: Looking at Egypt’s Next President

Our Man, Sisi | Sherene Seikaly, Mada Masr

“For the next two days, some Egyptians will take to the streets to perform yet another hollow electoral rendition of national will. They will “choose” between Egypt’s present ruler and soon to be president, former Field Marshall Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and his unconvincing opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi. Some will take to the streets to vote for the “good omen”: “Sisi and only Sisi.” In the face of the ongoing and violent destruction of politics, others will take shelter at home or work.

But whatever they do over the next two days, most Egyptians will have experienced a new cult of personality over the past year. For some, it has been a perceptual carnival. It promises to deliver the watchwords of the right: the ever-illusive “security” and “stability.” For others, it is a low-grade visual and aural assault.”

“There are many differences between these two opposing figures of manliness: Morsi and Sisi. But there is one common thread. Both men relied on identity as a substitute for politics. Both men focused on defining the category of the Egyptian as an exclusionary one. Under both men, the core issues of state brutality and economic injustice fell comfortably to the wayside.

But even amidst the relentless attempts to substitute identity for politics, courageous people challenge and shape what it means to be a woman; what it means to be a man; what it means to be free. We learn from women, who fought against the state’s authority to puncture and define their flesh. We learn from countless people who offered body parts and lives in the struggle against state brutality. We learn from academics, falsely accused of treason, from students sentenced for five years in prison for protesting. We learn from journalists, activists, and bloggers suffering solitary confinement and extended detention as they hunger, write, and think for freedom.”

Egypt’s Next President | Ursula Lyndsey, The Arabist

“El Sisi prefers to wax poetic about the extraordinary personal qualities of the Egyptian people, and his boundless love for them, rather than to address specific policy questions. He is clearly well-aware of his popularity with women, which he constantly plays to (although he seems incapable of imagining working women — his idealized Egyptian Woman is adamantly domestic, anxiously watching over her home and wisely encouraging her man to action outside it).

El Sisi is charismatic; he is also terribly aware of it. He radiates self-regard. His soft-spoken delivery is that of a man never used to being interrupted. But his veneer of kindliness and patience rubs off awfully quickly, the moment he is challenged. The unspoken message of his entire campaign is that he is actually above competing for the position — it is already rightfully his, and he is accepting it as a patriotic sacrifice.”

On Twitter: Mubarak convicted of embezzlement           

An Egyptian court convicted former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and two of his sons of embezzlement on Wednesday. The long-time Egyptian president who was ousted during a wave of popular demonstrations in 2011 received a three year sentence for using state funds to renovate a number of his private residences. Egyptians and Egypt watchers reacted on twitter following the news.

Video of the Week: What are Egyptians’ Dreams (Arabic)

As Egyptians take to the polls this week to elect their next president, many will do so with hopes and dreams of a better future for Egypt. This week’s video features Egyptians from all walks of life responding to the question: What are your dreams? The video features school children, merchants, fishermen, doctors, etc all responding to the question interspersed with stunning shots of Egypt’s sights and the sounds of the country’s musicians.


Cartoon of the Week: The Status Quo


“It isn’t important who rules the nation . . . it is important that our position doesn’t change”