Geopolitics

How Egypt's Revolution Was Hijacked By The Free Elections It Had Fought For

Essay: The old guard and Islamists are both manipulating the ideas and events of the Egyptian revolution. Revolutionaries themselves are squandering it with meaningless protests disconnected from the general population.

Tahrir square, June 2, 2012 (glichfield)
Tahrir square, June 2, 2012 (glichfield)
Issandr El Amrani*

CAIRO - Political discourse in Egypt at the best of times can be strange and full of empty talk. But some of the statements recently made by presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik and the media that support him are rather odd. In the lead-up to the runoff, we were treated to Shafik presenting himself as the candidate of the revolution who would usher Egypt into a bright future, while his rival represented "a return to the dark ages' and chaos.

He continued to present the Muslim Brotherhood as not just a group of religious fanatics that would take individual freedoms back decades — that attack is fairly standard — but as having been a part of the old regime. The irony appears to have been lost on the man who served the Hosni Mubarak regime for many years and was appointed prime minister in the last days of his presidency. Shafik now presents himself as the candidate of "national reconciliation."

Around a week ago, Al-Dostour — the once-feisty newspaper run by the courageous journalist Ibrahim Eissa until its owner, Wafd Party leader Al-Sayed al-Badawy, kicked him out — joined in the Brotherhood-bashing. The real murderers of the more than 853 protesters killed during the 2011 uprising, it said, were not security forces but Brotherhood death squads. That certainly seems to answer the question of who was actually responsible for the murders, since the court that sentenced Mubarak and ex-Interior Minister Habib al-Adly to prison for 25 years only found that they had failed to prevent the deaths, not that they had ordered them (and consequently let off all of the other security chiefs involved).

Shafik's rival, Mohamed Morsi of the Freedom and Justice Party (and, much more importantly, the Brotherhood candidate who has since claimed victory), has been having something of a makeover. Having been dubbed by the Brotherhood's supreme guide as a new Abu Bakr, the first caliph after the death of Prophet Mohamed, he recently tried to rally those who did not vote for him by saying he is the candidate of the revolution. This is certainly more credible than Shafik's claims, but one may ask where Morsi and his Brothers were last year when they remained largely silent as protesters were killed in Mohamed Mahmoud Street and cabinet clashes in November and December. The Brotherhood was largely happy to work with the ruling military council and other politically conservative forces.

Defining the Egyptian revolution

What's at stake in this back-and-forth — the political attacks, the outright lies, the wooing of the majority of the electorate that voted neither for Shafik nor Morsi — is nothing less than the privilege to define what the revolution was. The word has been cheapened in the last year, in more than one way, and means different things to different people now. The counter-revolutionary establishment Shafik represents wants the revolution to end with the overthrow of Mubarak. The Brotherhood sees the revolution's goal as implementing its "Renaissance Project." Without a doubt, there are many different versions of the revolution and many attempts to subvert it.

This may be unpopular to say, but a good part of the blame for the lack of a clear idea of what the revolution is lies with the revolutionaries themselves. ...

Read the full story at Al Masry Al Youm.

*Issandr El Amrani is a writer on Middle East affairs and a blogger at The Arabist.

Photo - glichfield

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Spencer Tunick Nude Installation in Israel

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Salam!*

Welcome to Monday, where the UK pays homage to slain MP David Amess, Myanmar frees thousands of prisoners, and Facebook gets ready to build its "metaverse." Please fasten your seatbelts: Worldcrunch also takes stock of the long-lasting effects — good and bad — the pandemic has had on the air travel industry.

[*Azeri - Azerbaijan]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

Myanmar to free political prisoners: Myanmar's junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has announced the release of 5,636 prisoners who had been jailed for protesting the coup that ousted the civilian government in February 2021.

• Powerful Haiti gang behind the kidnapping of U.S. missionaries: The notorious 400 Mawozo gang is believed to be behind the kidnapping in Haiti of a group of Christian missionaries, including 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. The brazen kidnapping on Saturday comes as crime is spiking since the killing of President Jovenel Moise in July.

• UK to pay tribute to David Amess: British lawmakers will pay homage in parliament to colleague David Amess, who was stabbed to death Friday in what was described by the police as a "terrorist incident." Officers arrested a 25-year-old suspect whose father, Harbi Ali Kullane, worked as a media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia.

• COVID update: Russia has registered more than 34,000 cases of new infections in the past 24 hours, a new record since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, police in the northeast Italian city of Trieste used water cannons to clear striking dockworkers protesting Italy's new requirements that all employees be vaccinated.

• At least 26 killed in floods in India: Torrential rain has triggered floods and landslides in India's southern coastal state of Kerala, killing at least 26 people.

• Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to develop "metaverse": The U.S. social media giant plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to build a "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet that the company touts as the future.

Punishing parents for children's bad behavior: After limiting gaming hours for minors, China is now considering legislation to reprimand parents if their children exhibit "very bad behavior" or commit crimes.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Colombian daily El Espectador dedicates its front page to Alex Saab, "owner of the secrets" of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Colombian businessman, wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly laundering money on behalf of Venezuela's government, has been extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. where he is scheduled to appear in court today.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

4.9%

China's economy registered its slowest pace in a year as the country faces a looming energy crisis with power shortages and increasing pressure on its property sector. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period between July-September rose 4.9%, the weakest numbers since the third quarter of 2020 and significantly lower than forecasts. The world's second-largest economy faces a debt crisis linked to the China Evergrande Group debt crisis, while energy shortfalls have dropped factory output to its weakest since early 2020, when heavy COVID-19 curbs were in place.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

7 ways the pandemic may change the airline industry for good

Will flying be greener? More comfortable? Less frequent? As the world eyes a post-COVID reality, we look at ways the airline industry has been changing through a pandemic that has devastated air travel.

⛽ Cleaner aviation fuel: With air travel responsible for roughly 12% of all CO2 emissions from transport, and stricter international regulation on the horizon, the industry is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuel. In Germany, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that the world's first factory producing CO2-neutral kerosene recently started operations in the town of Wertle, in Lower Saxony. The plant, for which Lufthansa is set to become the pilot customer, will produce CO2-neutral kerosene through a circular production cycle incorporating sustainable and green energy sources and raw materials

.🛃 Smoother check-in: The pandemic has also accelerated the shift towards contactless traveling, with more airports harnessing the power of biometrics — such as facial recognition or fever screening — to reduce touchpoints and human contact. Similar technology can also be used to more efficiently scan physical objects, such as explosive detection. Ultimately, passengers will be able to "check-in" and go through a security screening anywhere at the airports, removing queues and bottlenecks.

✈️ The billion-dollar question: Will we fly less? At the end of the day, even with all these (mostly positive) changes that we've seen take shape over the past 18 months, the industry faces major uncertainty about whether air travel will ever return to the pre-COVID levels. Not only are people wary about being in crowded and closed airplanes, but the worth of long-distance business travel, in particular, is being questioned as many have seen that meetings can function remotely, via Zoom and other online apps.


➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

"The crimes committed that night are unforgivable for the Republic."

— Emmanuel Macron became the first French president to commemorate the killing of as many as 200 Algerian independence protesters by Parisian police in 1961. For 40 years, French officials ignored the massacre, which took place a year before Algeria gained its independence from France after an eight-year war. In 2012, French President François Hollande acknowledged the killings for the first time on a visit to Algeria, and Macron took it further by attending Sunday's commemoration at the site where the events happened in the French capital. Still, many had hoped the French President would go further and take responsibility for a "state massacre," for a crime many historians consider the most violent repression of a peaceful demonstration in post-War Europe.

📈💥  IN OTHER NEWS

​Low trust, high risk: The global rise of violence targeting politicians

The deadly stabbing of British Parliament Member David Amess confirms an ongoing study on trust and governance in democracies around the world: It's bad. In The Conversation, James Weinberg — the study's author and a lecturer in Political Behavior at the University of Sheffield — writes:

⏪ The assassination of Amess, who was stabbed to death in his constituency on Friday, is a tragic moment for democracy. What makes it even more devastating is that such a catastrophic failure is not without precedent or predictability. Labour MP Jo Cox was shot at her constituency surgery in 2016. Before her, another Labour MP, Stephen Timms, survived a stabbing in 2010. And Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councilor, died in a frenzied attack in 2001 while trying to protect local Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones.

☝️ Beyond these critical junctures in the public debate about politicians' safety, elected representatives must live with an increasingly insidious level of popular cynicism that threatens violence on an almost daily basis.

🇬🇧🇳🇿🇿🇦 Not only are these experiences of abuse or threats of physical violence felt across both sides of the political aisle in the UK — they also appear to be growing more common in other democratic contexts where the climate of politics has been presumed to be both calmer and more volatile, from New Zealand to South Africa.


Read the full piece from The Conversation, now on Worldcrunch.com

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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