Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

What Do the Salafists Want? On Egypt, Sharia and Israel

Translation: "The Salafi movement invites you to pray Eid prayer with us. First prize is a surprise. There will be space for females and gifts for children."

Today is the second day of voting in Egypt for the People's Assembly, which has 508 seats. All told, 24 days of polling will take place over the next few months. In January, elections will begin for Egypt's upper house, the Shura Council, which has 264 seats. After that election concludes, voting will take place to choose a president.

Before the revolution, Islamic parties were banned from public office in Egypt. Now the Al-Nour party claims to have 300,000 active members, each [...]


The Youth of the Egyptian Revolution

A week ago one of my eleventh-grade students approached me after class. “It will be starting again,” he began. “This time the target will be against the military government. The first set of demonstrations will be this Friday, but they will continue until a second wave of the uprising will begin. This time it will demand the resignation of the SCAF"—the Supreme Council of Armed Forces. "It will be bloody and you should not go to the demonstrations. Maybe once all of the people come out, then you can come. For now there is widespread fear of Israeli spies and you will not be safe in these places for the [...]


The Strangely Carnival Atmosphere Outside The Israeli Embassy In Cairo

Back in April, Egyptians received a violent reminder that their post-revolutionary freedom to assemble in protest was a conditional one. That night was the first time activists moved demonstrations from Tahrir Square to the Israeli embassy in protest the Gaza occupation. By 2 a.m., the Egyptian army (known as the SCAF) had received orders to attack the group. Soldiers fired rubber bullets into the crowds and tear-gassed the corridor, killing one and taking hundreds into custody.

The message from the SCAF was clear: “You may gather in protest with our blessing—but Israel is off limits.”

But last Friday, five Egyptian border security guards were accidentally killed by [...]


Photos and Video from Election Day in Cairo

Over the weekend, beneath the hot sun, a bit more than 18 million Egyptians—41% of eligible voters—waited in same-sex lines to vote in a constitutional referendum that will shape the country’s transition from military rule.


Here Are the Thousands Who Gathered to Thank Mubarak

"It may be a small group," said Sharif, a 29-year-old Coptic Egyptian, looking out the windshield of his BMW into the line of traffic that streamed down the highway in the mid-afternoon sun. “No station on television talk about this. I don’t know why—it’s not fair. All the stations are afraid of Tahrir."

On this dusty highway, celebration was in the air. A flood of Egyptians were packed into flat bed trucks and traditional third world, go-cart passenger cars. Horns honked. Hands flashed victory signs out car windows. Alongside Sharif, three teenagers on a motorcycle sped between lanes. The center passenger held an eight-foot Egyptian flag high in the [...]


Photos from the Protest at the Libyan Embassy in Cairo


On Returning to Cairo

“This country will never be the same,” my driver said when he picked me up at the Cairo International Airport two nights ago. This much Egyptians can agree upon, but this much only.

For the time being, order has been restored. The military is in control. Tahrir Square is clear. Tanks line the streets of downtown Cairo and there are no longer gunshots sounding through the night.

But this country, one that draws something like $10 billion each year in tourism, has been depicted as a war zone for the past three weeks. For now, until Egyptians (and the rest of us) know what happened down in Tahrir Square, [...]


Friday in Cairo: The "Day of Rage"

Gordon Reynolds—the pseudonym of a teacher in Cairo, dictated this over the phone to a friend not in Egypt. (For real-time dispatches on today's demonstrations, follow him here.)

“Mister, Are you going to the protests tomorrow?” a student asked me on Thursday.

“No,” I said.

“It’s going to be worse than Thursday. Everything begins after Friday prayers, around twelve-thirty.”

“If I were going,” I said, “What part of town would I go to?”

“If you were going,” he said with a grin, “Then you should go to the mosque in Khan el-Khalili on Al-Azhar Street.”


Scenes From The Protest In Cairo

Gordon Reynolds, our man in Cairo, sends along photos from yesterday's protest. (For real-time dispatches, follow him here.)

Egyptian police blocked both sides of Tahrir Square, pressing the protesters.


Tonight in Cairo, the Parliament is Surrounded

Tonight, protesters have surrounded the parliament building in downtown Cairo. There have been two deaths of protestors in Suez; one policeman has died in Cairo, hit by a rock. The protestors in Tahrir Square have been tear-gassed, and Twitter has been blocked within the borders of Egypt.

But this morning, as the sun burned a smoky haze off the face of this city, the streets were open and clear as I rode downtown at 8 a.m.

There had been tweets that protests would be staged in Tahrir Square and in the downtown neighborhood of Mohandeseen. These tweets were received by Egyptian authorities monitoring the hashtag #jan25, and they deployed [...]


Hushed and Growing Dissent in Cairo: "It Is Going to Happen Here"

In Egypt, the most popular topics are also the most discouraged. Yesterday, what is thought to be the ninth person to attempt self-immolation in the last month in Egypt was arrested before he could light himself on fire. These protest-suicides—often attempted suicides; of the