Stories about Egypt

A Bakistani in Cairo

My Egypt moment wasn’t when the protests started or when they ended. It wasn’t during CNN’s live coverage, and it wasn’t in the 100 or so ‘Can this happen in Pakistan?’ discussions. It was when someone casually yelled out in the school corridor, “Hey Meiryum! Your hometown’s burning!” Cairo was my hometown. Tahrir Square was a 45-minute drive from my apartment. I lived in Cairo from the age of four till eight years – four years of my life. I was old enough to remember and store away memories and young enough to still understand nothing. My first day at the ...

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Where is Ayman Al-Zawahiri?

When I woke up this morning, I was taken aback by the front page of The Express Tribune, with shining white letters reading “Deliverance” which announced that the revolution had succeeded at last. When I think of Egypt, images of the 2007 drone attack that struck a seminary and killed 80, mostly minors, come to my mind. The prime target of that attack was Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the long lost al Qaeda leader who hails from Egypt and was reported to be in Pakistan. Zawahiri has sent out audio or video messages regarding almost everything that Qaeda has ever considered as ...

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What does the future hold for Egypt?

While I do not want to detract from the amazing achievement of the Egyptian people, their future is still uncertain. Who will fill the power vacuum? Omar Suleiman is not a favourite Touted as a replacement by Mubarak and tacitly supported by the US, Omar Suleiman clearly isn’t popular. This is hardly a surprise, given that he was head of Egypt’s intelligence agency (you know, the one that allegedly tortures lots of people) and, according to Wikileaks, told Israel (who love him very much) that he’d like “Gaza to go hungry, but not starve”. Not exactly a hero. Who is Mohamed ElBaradei? ...

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Mubarak’s departure: Triumph of the citizen

Three Fridays, eighteen days. There is no greater testament to the power of people, ordinary people that is, than what the Egyptians have achieved yesterday. Overthrowing Mubarak is historical, not just for the overthrowing of a deeply entrenched dictator, but because the revolution straddles both, the present and the future of the idea of social aggregation. Present in its ability to rid a society of autocracy and futuristic in its ability to do so without revolutionary leaders, this, and the Tunisian revolution, has shown the world that age-old notion of heroes rescuing troubled damsels in distress is just that – ...

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After Mubarak: Will Egypt survive democracy?

As dissidence swept the Middle East, events in Egypt turned sour. Hosni Mubarak was rumored to step down in a press conference yesterday but he disappointed many with his attempts to prolong his rule. Things in Egypt could have gotten really ugly. My guess was that crowds would march towards the Presidential Palace pressuring him to step down – and they did. What does democracy mean to Egyptians This movement is  based on political ideas as opposed to personalities. ElBaradei should draw an agreement with the consensus of leaders of the brotherhood, and the Ghad party among others, mapping demands for ...

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Egypt unrest: Where now from here?

As we go into the twelfth day of protests in Egypt, the only authority left in the country seems to be the people themselves. They have spoken and they will not be silenced till their demands are met. However, the fundamental changes to Egypt and the region’s political landscape are yet to be determined. Who will take over and where do we go from here? Similar to Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pehalvi, President Hosni Mubarak served as a friendly arbitrator of US relations and strained Israeli relations in the Middle East. To establish the future direction, ignoring US interests would ...

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Dissent is not undemocratic: A case for change

The events in Egypt have created a stir and caused Arab rulers to assess their respective roles. President Obama is withdrawing American support for President Mubarak’s teetering regime and Prime Minister Gilani is sending a special plane to airlift his stranded compatriots out of Cairo. Dreaming about revolution Many Pakistanis have developed a voyeuristic fascination with uprisings in other countries. But others feel that talk about a similar movement erupting locally is irksome and the product of a disconnect with the complicated reality. Those who believe that Pakistanis are wasting time by fantasising about street protests feel that too many have been influenced ...

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Uncle Sam on Egypt: The truth in the rhetoric

The Egyptians are unhappy with Mubarak and the Tunisians have already rid themselves of Ben Ali; the Jordanians succeeded in pushing their monarch and the Yemenis are demonstrating against their long-standing ruler. There finally is some life in the corpse that has been the Muslim middle-eastern polity. Nonetheless, none of these ‘revolutions’ would have been possible without the tacit approval of the US, that bi-polar policeman of a uni-polar world. Uncle Sam tells you what you want to hear Uncle Sam has a long history of supporting regime change in various parts of the world from Cuba to Iran, Iraq and Pakistan ...

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Smells like revolution, but not in Pakistan

I recently visited Egypt with friends. Our trip started in Luxor (once known as the city of Thebes) where we gazed in awe at some of the wonders of the ancient world. We munched on falafels, sipped on mint tea, smoked shisha, and sailed along the Nile. We drove along the Sinai coast, snorkelled in the Red Sea, and sunbathed in Sharm el Sheikh. In the metropolis of Cairo we shopped at the Khan el Khalili market, visited the Egyptian Museum, and made difficult dinner choices from an array of international cuisines. We had a fantastic time – good ...

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Be rational, let Hosni Mubarak stay

Egypt doesn’t seem like the best holiday destination at the moment. As thousands of energetic and idealistic youths throng the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, yearning for change and a better tomorrow, one would think Hosni Mubarak’s 30 years in power are coming to an end. And while this is a momentous opportunity to observe the vagaries of people’s power and mass demonstrations, of idealism and political change in the struggle for democracy, let’s not be fooled. Hosni Mubarak stepping down from the Egyptian presidency may just be the worst thing that could happen in these precarious times. Forget idealism, do ...

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