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A still from the video of Mohamed Ali, a former contractor, which first sparked attention
A still from the video of Mohamed Ali, a former contractor, which first sparked attention
Omar Said and Rana Mamdouh

CAIRO — Something big — that we do not yet fully understand — is happening in Egypt's halls of power. Maybe we know some of it, and will get to know more with time. Perhaps we won't learn more at any time in the near future. What we do know is that the build-up to last Friday's protests began with a video of an Egyptian residing abroad, filming himself with a phone in a room overlooking the sea, accusing the country's rulers of corruption and squandering billions on vanity real estate projects. His name is Mohamed Ali.

The first video by Ali, a former contractor who also had a brief stint as an actor, stirred the pot. Others soon followed suit, posting similar videos accusing the current authorities of corruption and political mismanagement. No response from the authorities has matched the videos' intensity or consistency in terms of their form or content. Last week, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave an address at a hastily organized youth conference where he dismissed the accusations as "lies' — marking the only official high-level response to Ali's claims. This response, however, only provoked even more videos, with more accusations and more people in power implicated in acts of corruption.

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May 21-22

  • A liberated Ukrainian village
  • Long COVID limbo
  • TikToker under fire
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