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Signs Of Iran-Egypt Thaw At Al-Sisi Inauguration

Signs Of Iran-Egypt Thaw At Al-Sisi Inauguration

There is a more than three-decade-long clash of cultures between Egypt's secular establishment and Iran's post-revolution clerical regime. The brief interlude following the election of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi was, alas, too brief to notice any significant change.

But all eyes in Tehran were back on Egypt this past weekend for the inauguration of General Abdulfattah al-Sisi after his election as president. Iran sent Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir'abdollahian to the investiture ceremony.

For a sense of the deep skepticism in some Iranian quarters, the conservative daily Jomhuri-e Eslami called Sisi the man "who considers himself president of Egypt," noted Iran's ISNA news agency.

The paper deplored Iran's decision to acknowledge Sisi's election, observed that as the event broadcast on Egyptian television showed, "Sisi practically exchanged more courtesies and diplomatic conversation with Amir'abdollahian than other state heads and representatives."

The reason, it stated, "was that Sisi wanted to show the cameras he had Iran's approval." It concluded that Sisi was the great beneficiary of these images, while Iran had made a "blatant strategic mistake" by recognizing a "coup leader" as president.

It is never entirely sure what Iran could have wanted from Egypt in the past 30 years — except possibly its good offices with the West and Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Presidents Hosni Mubarak and al-Sisi.

— Ahmed Shayegan

Photo: Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua/ZUMA

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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