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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

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

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

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

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

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

From January to June: Egypt’s ‘elite’ question

By virtue of my studies, my work and my own individual perversions, I happen to be one of those who enjoy reading political theory. However, I do not intend to actually write about political or social theory. I simply wanted to point out to how in different political and social theories from different times, perspectives …

Ziad A. Akl

Sisi come, Sisi go!

If somehow we managed to research the words used most frequently by Egyptians in the past three months, I’m sure “Al-Sisi” would come high up on that list. You can easily recognise the kind of political atmosphere you’re caught in the middle of simply by noticing the reactions of people to the  General’s name. Al-Sisi …

Ziad A. Akl

Manufacturing Fear

There was a taste lost between bitterness, anger and shock last Thursday when the news about the attempt to assassinate the Minister of Interior was out. I don’t know how many of you lived in Egypt in the early 90s, but there was a time that I most clearly remember where such acts of terror …

Ziad A. Akl

Lies my teacher told me

The title is originally sociologist James Loewen’s. In 1995, Loewen published his book Lies My Teacher Told Me, closely and carefully chasing historical inaccuracies that the high school educational system is so full of. Issues like slavery, the relationship with the natives and how national heroes are sort of custom tailored.  To make a long …

Ziad A. Akl

Talking Box by Ziad Akl

So the ridiculous bipolarity continues; the army-Muslim Brotherhood conflict still very much shapes the perceptions of Egyptians. But what’s been happening this last week is beyond ridiculous, beyond inhuman and beyond sad. Suddenly, all standing political actors stopped representing humanity. Both the army and the Brotherhood are locked in a hatred-fuelled circle that springs out …

Ziad A. Akl

Brotherhood and violence

The Muslim Brotherhood refuses to be anything but a problematic “existence”. Trying to identify what kind of political entity the Brotherhood is has always been problematic. Trying to work with the Brotherhood during Mubarak’s late years hasn’t been an easy process either. Adapting to the Brotherhood’s repeated administrative failures during former president Mohamed Morsi’s presidency …

Ziad A. Akl

The Sisi Propaganda

So the day is done and as expected millions took to the streets in response to General Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi’s call to authorise the army to “fight terrorism.” Scenes from yesterday’s different marches and demonstrations show how confusing things were. It was indeed more of a pro-army and pro-Sisi mobilisation than an anti-terrorism event. I …

Ziad A. Akl

How we create Gods

Three weeks have passed since the Egyptian army’s commander-in-chief Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi made his very impressive and deservingly historic speech announcing the ouster of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency. Those three weeks saw many developments: politically, economically and even socially. Among these developments is an unmistakable and blatantly obvious increase in the army’s popularity. It …

Ziad A. Akl

Thus spoke the Egyptians: Why is it not a coup?

When we celebrated the end of Mubarak’s rule on 11 February 2011, we did not expect to do it again two and a half years later. This is not one of the articles that talk about how great the Egyptian people are, and start taking you in an endless journey through historical achievements that date …

Ziad A. Akl

The old regime strikes back

I haven’t thought about the “old regime” in quite a while. In fact, I think the Muslim Brotherhood’s unique act over the past year has made most of us realise the new lows that we have reached with Morsi and his people. Mubarak’s regime always mixed corruption with inefficiency. Morsi’s regime maintained the same formula, …

Ziad A. Akl

30 June: Once upon a time in a Brotherhood

A big day awaits the Muslim Brotherhood on 30 June. Sometimes when I look back at the events of the past two years, I realise how well-prepared the Muslim Brotherhood was. Since the Brotherhood was certain Hosni Mubarak’s regime would not compensate it for refraining from joining demonstrations, the Islamist group moved on to their …

Ziad A. Akl

What’s really wrong with Morsi

The one year anniversary of Mohamed Morsi’s election is approaching fast. From a substitute candidate to a very controversial president; Morsi remains one of the revolution’s big surprises. During the 18 days back at the square, we had a strange sense of certainty that there could be no president from the Muslim Brotherhood. I even …

Ziad A. Akl

A personal story with the police

On my way back home from a friend’s house on Friday night I was wondering what I would write my article about in a few hours, since I usually write on Saturday mornings. Well, I was handed the topic out of the blue. What I am about to tell you took place between Friday night …

Ziad A. Akl

The truth about Sinai

Last August I wrote a column titled “Sinai: unanswered questions”, the column was a few days after the attack on the Egyptian soldiers in Sinai at the beginning of Ramadan last year. In case people had forgotten what happened, or got mixed up between the August attack and any other attack on Sinai, the one …

Ziad A. Akl

Egypt: Re-thinking political parties

There are specific signs that differentiate political revolutions from social ones. Both types and patterns of revolution do entail a series of changes and transformations although on different levels. Social revolutions change property relations and redistribute wealth. There is an obvious and tangible class-based empowerment within social revolutions. The pace of change in social revolutions …

Ziad A. Akl

Talking Box By Ziad Akl

When you walk down the streets of Cairo, you will see all kinds and ages of Egyptians complaining about the Muslim Brotherhood and how they’re governing (probably including yourself). Next time you see or speak to one of these people please ask them, “what is it did you personally do about it”? Those who can’t …

Ziad A. Akl

Talking Box By Ziad Akl

On my way home last Friday I saw 5 boys, couldn’t be more than 14. They were running between cars in one of Zamalek’s busy streets trying to catch a look at women driving in short skirts or low-cut tops. They regrouped after the raid ended next to my car, I opened up my window …

Ziad A. Akl

The Brotherhood’s democratic failures

Congratulations everyone, the Muslim Brotherhood is back, this time bigger and better, reaching further and deeper into everything. This absurd statement is unfortunately the overall meaning of the chain of events starting with the Cabinet reshuffle and ending last night with the arrest of Ahmad Maher. First of all, the issue is not one of …

Ziad A. Akl

Talking Box By Ziad Akl

The scientific definition of insanity is making the same mistakes and expecting different results. There is a structural problem in the government that requires a fundamental reform of policies and change of personnel. The first step in this reform process is relieving Prime Minister Hesham Qandil of his duties because he clearly cannot deliver. However, …

Ziad A. Akl

Talking Box By Ziad Akl

There is an old joke about an important minister who had an interview on national television. As they were rehearsing, the host asked the minister “what is the thing that you love most” and the minister says “Sex”, the host explains to him that when they’re on air he can’t say sex; he should say …

Ziad A. Akl

Easter and Islamists

Sometimes I have to go through excruciating pain to try and write in English about the basic rationale of Egyptian folk wisdom. While I always manage to convey the basic points behind such statements, there is a specific sense conveyed by these statements in Arabic. I say this because the amount of debate that took …

Ziad A. Akl

Copts in Egypt: roots of discrimination

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article right here on sectarianism in Egypt. The feedback I got was a wave of phone calls and emails all acknowledging the existence of sectarianism. In fact, there are some who called me and expressed their relief that finally we are talking about our sectarian problems without …

Ziad A. Akl

The Revolutionary Connection

Unfortunately, revolutions come at a price. The whole idea of revolting is to destroy the connection with the status quo, and this connection can be broken in two main ways. You either break the connection, celebrate its destruction, propose a different status quo, implement it and build a new connection; or simply break the connection, …

Ziad A. Akl