Ziad A. Akl

96 Articles

Ziad A. Akl is a political analyst and sociologist. He is a senior researcher at the Egyptian Studies Unit in Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

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Latest by Ziad A. Akl


Ziad A. Akl

Ramadan: individuality and conformity

This piece might be uncomfortable for some people. Over the years, we have grown accustomed to celebrating the holy month of Ramadan as one of the most festive occasions of the year. Undoubtedly, the religious value of the month in the Islamic faith and its spiritual purposes are unquestionable. In Egyptian society in particular, Ramadan …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Egypt in a monopoly of information

Day after day, there are more signs demonstrating the lack of any willingness on the Egyptian state’s part to even remotely apply the principles of freedom of information that are stipulated in Egypt’s Constitution. Between measures like media gags, cracking down on civil society organisations, delegitimising international human rights reports and official statements that ask …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

25 April: Egypt’s paradox of repression

State repression has been one of the main characteristics of Egypt’s post-30 June regime. Repression in the post-30 June era has taken on various forms and has been carried out through multiple means, such as direct state violence, despotic legislation, random mass arrests and constitutional violations. The resurrection of the state’s repressive apparatus on the …

Ziad A. Akl

Student Giulio Regeni's body repatriated to Italy

Unanswered questions in Giulio Regeni’s case

I wrote about Regeni’s case almost two months ago when his body was found dumped near one of Cairo’s highways. What I wrote back then was more of an inquiry on what researchers, academics, journalists, and anyone else interested in the social and political research industry should do after Regeni’s dramatic death. Although the death …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

The revolution’s ghetto

This is an uncomfortable topic. Over the past five years, the meaning, significance, and purpose of the 25 January Revolution has been constantly debated and revised. Egypt has transformed from a country festering with mass celebrations in February 2011 to one plagued with fear and uncertainty in February 2016. Sometimes, I think  we ought to …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Ahmed Naji: Creativity and morality in Egypt

Naji’s recent sentence is not the first and will not be the last. Egypt’s history of prosecuting writers and thinkers dates back thousands of years. Our track record in this matter is no better than the Catholic Church’s. During the past few months and in the last couple of weeks, several cases like Naji’s took …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

The death of Giulio Regeni, a fellow researcher

I will try my best to be as brief and as concise as possible in this piece for more than one reason. First, the whole issue surrounding Giulio Regeni’s death is incredibly distressing, to the extent that I’m incredibly uncomfortable writing about it. Second, this is a newspaper, after all, and its readers are not …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

The fear of sarcasm

Among the various traits that characterise the period after the 30 June uprising in Egypt is an obvious fear of sarcasm and satire. The incident that took place last week on the anniversary of the 25 January, and the amount of anger it stirred up, were not isolated events. In the past two years, the …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

25 January 2016

Over the course of the past five years, we have grown accustomed to reading an article, a column, a feature, or a piece about the revolution’s anniversary. The majority of those articles and pieces are either caught up in nostalgia and speculations of further change following a great event in Egyptian modern history. Others are …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Whatever happened to social movements?

Three weeks from now, the fifth anniversary of the January revolution will be upon us. Once again, we will sit down and reflect upon an experience that was painful as well as glorious, bitter yet formative and enriching though commonly misunderstood and wrongfully accused. Five years ago, when we were caught up between revolutionary enthusiasm …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

The Muslim Brotherhood once more

The Muslim Brotherhood remains caught at the centre of the problems that dominate Egyptian politics. Regime hardliners believe that all the ills of Egypt could somehow be traced to an elaborate conspiracy by the Muslim Brotherhood to destabilise the country. Muslim Brotherhood members or supporters believe that former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi will one day …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

The state’s religious politics

While I was considering what to write in this week’s article, and as I started doing some research on the ongoing controversy about the appointed and the elected members of parliament, I was shocked by the content of the Friday prayer address to the extent that I lost all interest in any election-related issue. Although …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Egypt: End of democracy

Finally the parliamentary elections are over, and in a couple of weeks, we will witness the very first session of the first post-30 June uprising parliament. Concluding the parliamentary elections is one more step in the realisation of the transitional roadmap announced after the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013. It …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Police brutality over and over again

A new incident involving police brutality takes place in Egypt once more. This time, the venue was Luxor and the victim was Talaat Rashidi, who died in the Luxor police station last Wednesday morning after his arrest. Now, despite how unfortunate and sad this specific incident is, and with all condolences to the family of …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Honouring Mohamed Mahmoud

“In the name of those who unjustly died in defence of an idea and in pursuit of a dream” Four years have passed since 19 November 2011 when the events of Mohamed Mahmoud Street in downtown Cairo broke out. Perhaps it is too late to wallow in the futility of nostalgia or to merely mourn …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

What we know about the Russian plane crash

    It is almost impossible to write about an incident that involves the loss of human life without first expressing grief and condolences for the lives lost in such unfortunate events. Almost two weeks have now passed since the Russian passenger plane crashed over Sinai and all we know so far from the Egyptian …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Our flooded nation

It’s raining in Egypt! This statement is enough to indicate major catastrophes, significant misfortunes and lately, political conspiracies as well. Over the past 10 days, rain in coastal cities and ones in the Northern Delta has caused problems and disasters, starting from flooded streets and ending with houses collapsing and people losing their lives in …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Justifying sexual harassment in Egypt

I was caught up last week in following up the wave of criticism directed at talk show host Reham Saeed. The anchor disclosed private pictures of a sexual harassment victim and used those pictures to claim that the inappropriate and unethical life styles of women are the reason they are sexually harassed. Saeed’s reasoning was …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

What if we all voted?

Last week, I closely followed, in a combination of shock, sarcasm and cynicism, the parliamentary elections participation rate frenzy. The low rates of participation were neither shocking nor surprising, but the amount of justification and propaganda that surrounded those rates was frightful. The fact that mass media, whether private or state owned, became a platform …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Youth political participation in Egypt

  A new phase of Egypt’s post 30/6 political proceedings begins today with the parliamentary elections of 2015. Whenever formal political procedure takes place, debate about participation rates and levels of civic engagement becomes more vocal. Since 1952, Egypt has witnessed a very weak formal political procedure that was characterised mainly with the absence of …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

On that upcoming parliament

  Over the coming two weeks, a new parliament will be elected in Egypt, the second since January 2011. This forthcoming parliament, which is long overdue, will indeed be celebrated as a tangible step on Egypt’s road to democracy. But before we get caught up in the mechanics of the coming election, before we start …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Reviving religious discourse: Why and how

  Reviving religious discourse has been one of the central issues that occupied public dialogue in Egypt during the past few months. Massive efforts and resources are poured into this subject, whether from state or non-state actors equally. Conferences were organised, workshops were held, publications were issued and research papers were written addressing this one …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

On revolutionary depression

What an anniversary! I am not sure how many are familiar with the term “revolutionary depression”, but it’s a condition that was so common this last week in Egypt. If you did not run into one of those who were complaining about their revolutionary depression, then it is your own fault for keeping such a …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

One more anniversary

Another anniversary passes by, as Egypt remains stuck inside the loop of political transformations that began on January 2011. Much has changed since that Tuesday where a few thousands took to the streets defying Mubarak’s corrupt repressive state. Personally, I was one of those who left Tahrir Square that night with a clear decision in …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

We The People

If things go according to plan, by this time next week, by the time I sit down staring at an empty screen asking myself whether it’s really worth writing about politics in Egypt anymore; by that time, Egypt will be celebrating its new constitution. The document that shall deliver the shiny promises of stability, security, …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

The truth about the constitution

So it is finally out. The date is finally set, the wheels are in motion and things are happening for the post 30 June ruling coalition. The very first product has been finalised and is merely being marketed at the moment. In fact, the idea of being able to deliver what has been promised in …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Morsi’s political trial

Egyptians are fortunate enough to witness two deposed presidents being tried in less than two years. After 30 years of political stagnation Egypt suddenly shows a very high president turnover! Despite the huge difference between both men, Morsi and Mubarak, their presidential pattern has been very similar with exception to the difference in resilience, of …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Morsi and Sisi: Against both!

On 30 June I was suffering from a dislocated shoulder, which is quite painful by the way. However, I managed to make it to Kasr El Nile Bridge and join an anti-Morsi demonstration. Getting rid of Morsi and everything that he represented was certainly a pleasant thought that I was willing to do anything to …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Another church down: The progression of terrorism

I was bitterly shocked by the news of the machine gun attack on the church in Warraq. This does not mean that I was unaware of terrorist attacks in Sinai, and it does not make the victims of the church attack more important than those of other attacks on security institutions. But whether we like …

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Have a cheesy 6 October

I am almost 34 years old. Out of those 34 years, I have lived 32 in Egypt. Throughout these 32 years I never told anyone or was told by anyone “kol sana wenta tayeb” on 6 October, which is what we usually say to each other on special occasions, whether they’re religious, like Ramadan, civic, …

Ziad A. Akl