Rabaa, The Day After

rabaa molotovRabaa, the day after a massacre. The devastation at the site of the six-week long Brotherhood sit-in at the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City was all the more jarring given the carnival that was going on there earlier the week. In addition to the main stage for marriages in the afternoon and political speeches in the evening, there were food vendors, guys frying fish and grilling kofta, coffee shops, a kids play park, music corners, cartoon displays, discussion tents and a media centre beside the mosque that gave its name to the protest. Continue reading Rabaa, The Day After

Redemption of a Fallen Ministry

The rehabilitation of Egypt’s police apparatus continues. The interior ministry and its numerous security and intelligence agencies were the backbone of Mubarak’s corrupt police state. But they suffered a severe blow during the uprising against Mubarak two years ago, and the story of their fall from grace and subsequent refusal to properly police the country – the real job of policing, that is, like dealing with crime, traffic and neighbourhood security, as opposed to torturing people – is in many ways the story of Egypt’s descent into chaos since the revolution. Continue reading Redemption of a Fallen Ministry

Outside Rabaa: A morning of tear gas and live fire

The Rabaa al-Adawiya protest in Cairo was pretty festive this week, despite a government threat on Monday to clear it and the smaller one at Nahda square near Cairo University. Nobody there believed that the security forces – who were authorized by the interim government which was authorized by the army – were really going to do anything, not least since a mandated 24 hours had passed without incident. Continue reading Outside Rabaa: A morning of tear gas and live fire

A defence of the coup

photo flags I had an interesting conversation with Egyptian political analyst Hassan Nafaa the other day in which I heard one of the more convincing explanation of the coup against Mursi. His argument was that the Brotherhood presidency was becoming so well-ensconced that 1. getting it out would become impossible (low-key rigging and putting people in key positions overseeing the electoral process) 2. it was better to force them out entirely and then negotiate from a position of strength rather than agree a compromise that would maintain Mursi, giving the Islamists an upper hand they would make the most of and never lose. Continue reading A defence of the coup