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Unsustainable solutions to unsustainability

Subsidy reform was inevitable. That’s what President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his supporters said this week when fuel prices were raised and taxes on some consumer goods were hiked. And they aren’t wrong. The “social contract” between the government and its people has clearly become unsustainable as deficits increased, especially over the past three years. …

Basil El-Dabh

Facts are stubborn things

On 5 March 1770, British soldiers killed five civilians in Boston, Massachusetts in what Americans would call the “Boston Massacre”. The incident happened within the larger context of escalating polarisation between factions calling for American independence and those loyal to the British Crown. Leading up to the trial of eight British soldiers, the polarisation was …

Basil El-Dabh

The first step to solving a problem

You don’t need to read the United Nations report saying 99.3% of Egyptian women have been sexually harassed (and worse) to know how serious of a problem the issue is in Egypt. Half of Egyptian society is under constant threat in the public space — studies, reported cases, and anecdotes all make this very clear. …

Basil El-Dabh

The EU, Bassem Youssef, and reinforcing criticism

On Saturday night, a video of a National Council for Women (NCW) press conference went viral. The footage shows representatives of the European Union Electoral Observer Mission (EUEOM) leaving the press conference after being berated and criticised for the mission’s preliminary report by attendees at the press conference, including head of the NCW Mervat Tellawy. …

Basil El-Dabh

A not so good omen

Music is a powerful means to stimulate the memory. Certain songs take me back to specific moments in my childhood, university years, and adulthood. The song Bushrat Kheir (“Good Omen”), recently released by Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jasmi for Egyptians in celebration of these presidential elections, will always remind me of Monday and Tuesday of this …

Basil El-Dabh

Fighting lies with lies

False narratives continue to play a dangerous role in the turmoil in Egypt. No group knows that better than the Muslim Brotherhood. Unsubstantiated claims of the group’s role in violence in Sinai and other parts of the country, along with rumours surrounding the Brotherhood’s links to foreign and domestic actors have made their way to …

Basil El-Dabh

Collective punishment and competing collateral

Blood and burned churches. These are the lasting images in Egypt over the past week. Out of context, each are abhorred and condemned by most. However, the unprecedented levels of violence in the country have not only desensitised many Egyptians to such images, but have sparked arguments as observers take parts of the images to …

Basil El-Dabh

No one is going anywhere

The 30th of June was a coup that wasn’t popularly supported. Police sent a few thousand plain-clothed personnel to Tahrir Square on that day to demonstrate. The media, decidedly against President Mohamed Morsi, hyped up the demonstrations by showing footage from the 18 days in 2011 in an effort to exaggerate Morsi’s opposition and deceive …

Basil El-Dabh

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