The United States approved a massive arms deal worth USD 2.5 billion with Egypt on Wednesday, January 26. The deal includes the sale of 12 Super Hercules C-130 aircraft and other related equipment worth USD 2.2 billion, along with an air defense radar system worth USD 355 million. The deal was cleared despite concerns raised by human rights groups and members of the US Congress about the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt. Several US politicians and rights groups have repeatedly urged the US government to take a tougher stance on the human rights abuses being perpetrated by the Egyptian government under president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. According to reports, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the US congress about the possible sale on Tuesday.
For over a decade, Alaa Abd el-Fattah has been in and out of Egypt’s prisons, never free of the harassment of the military state apparatus. In 2011, during the high point of the revolution, Alaa emerged as an important voice of his generation and since then has been a steady moral compass despite his country’s attempts to suffocate his voice. On 25 January 2014, to commemorate the third anniversary of the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s government, Alaa and the poet Ahmed Douma wrote a moving epistle from their dungeon in Tora Prison, Cairo. This prison, which houses Alaa and other political prisoners, is not far from the beautiful Nile and – depending on Cairo’s traffic – not too far from the Garden City office of Mada Masr, where the epistle was published.
The Egyptian revolution, which flared from early 2011 to mid-2013, is usually presented in the media (and some academic circles) as a “Facebook Revolution” or at least as one gigantic event that was ignited and organized online. The truth is slightly different. The 2011 uprising was the product of a decade-long complicated political process, in which dissent was accumulating, organizing skills were honed, small victories were achieved and fear of the regime’s repressive apparatus was gradually eroding. One central element in this process that would in 2011 culminate in a full-blown revolution was the visualization of dissent.
Egypt today opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip until further notice, Egyptian and Palestinian sources said, a move described as an incentive for reconciliation between the main Palestinian factions meeting in Cairo, Reuters reported. Leaders of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, which controls the West Bank, and of Hamas, which governs the besieged Gaza Strip, began Egyptian-brokered talks yesterday to address long-standing divisions ahead of elections planned for later this year. The 365 square kilometre (141 square mile) Gaza Strip is home to around two million Palestinians. An Israeli-led, Egyptian backed, the blockade has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods since 2007.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to author Naomi Wolf about the bitter legacy of the British and Western colonialism of rampant homophobia, so virulent that people to this day are murdered for being gay in countries such as Egypt or Uganda. Naomi Wolf in her new book, 'Outrages, Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love', examines through the life of the British poet and gay activist John Addington Symonds how imperial power used, and uses, rigid sexual stereotypes as tools for repression and social control.
Protests have broken out in parts of Egypt with demonstrators calling for the departure of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi amid a high security alert. Following Friday prayers in the Warraq area in Giza governorate, demonstrators chanted slogans calling for the resignation of el-Sisi and raised slogans condemning the deterioration of living conditions in the country as well as the spread of corruption. Witnesses and security sources said police fired tear gas to disperse up to 1,000 protesters that were shouting "Leave Sisi", reported Reuters news agency.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the latest attempts by the Egyptian authorities to gag the media, in which at least six journalists have been detained in a week-old wave of anti-government protests. The reporters detained since the protests began on 20 September, in response to the actor Mohamed Ali’s accusations of governmental corruption, have brought the total number journalists imprisoned in Egypt to 31. One of the first reporters to be arrested was Engy Abdel Wahab, who began working as a trainee with the newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm just weeks ago.
Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Greg Wilpert in Baltimore. Over the weekend, in the middle of the night, thousands of Egyptians took to the streets in Tahrir Square, Cairo and were soon joined by other protestors in other cities all across Egypt. It all started when Mohamed Ali, a former actor and contractor for the Egyptian government who was living in Spain, recorded a video and spread it on Facebook, calling on Egyptians to protest against the SAC government.
By Staff of Reprieve and The Hill - This is the state of human rights in Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who meet President Trump at the White House on April 3, 2017. Weeks after overthrowing Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013, Sisi's security forces stormed pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, killing at least 817 people in one day, the worst peacetime massacre of Egypt's modern history. Since then, the right to protest has all but vanished in Egypt. Police routinely suppress anti-government demonstrations with violence. The authorities have imprisoned tens of thousands of political opponents of Sisi's government, often in appalling conditions, with lack of access to medical care that in some cases has led to death. Police and National Security agents routinely use torture and enforced disappearances against criminal suspects and political opponents alike with near impunity. In North Sinai, the military commits egregious abuses including extrajudicial executions and unjustified home demolitions in its fight with the local franchise of the extremist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
By Neil Ketchley and Thoraya El-Rayyes for MERIP - On March 6, 2017, hundreds of local residents took to the streets of towns and cities in Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta after the Ministry of Supply cut their daily ration of subsidized baladi bread. By the following day, thousands were protesting in 17 districts across the country. In Alexandria, protestors blockaded a main road at the entrance of a major port for over four hours, while residents in the working class Giza suburb of Imbaba blocked the airport road. Elsewhere, women in the Nile Delta city of Dissuq staged a noisy sit-in on the tracks of the local train station, where they chanted, “One, two, where is the bread?” and called for the overthrow of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s government.
By Staff of Egypt Solidarity - Leading Egyptian trade unionists have launched an open letter calling on the global labour movement to mobilise solidarity for the Alexandria Shipyard workers, as the military court postponed the verdict in their trial for a second time until 18 September. The workers will face another month in horrific detention conditions without knowing whether they will face a jail term for organising to improve their pay and conditions at work.
By Abdullah Al-Arian for MEE - Had it been allowed to continue, last Thursday would have seen Mohamed Morsi’s four-year term as president of a post-authoritarian Egypt draw to a close. Instead, last week marked the third anniversary of Morsi’s forced removal by a military coup that has reimposed a perpetual dictatorship upon 90 million citizens. The calamity of Egypt continues to unfold daily, with mounting human rights abuses, stifling of dissent, widespread corruption, economic crisis, and the consolidation of power in the hands of a new authoritarian ruler, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
By Staff of The New Arab - Labour activist Kamal al-Fayoumi has lost none of his swagger since being fired from the sprawling Egyptian textile plant where he worked for three decades and was known as an agitator. Striding through a gritty industrial town in the Nile Delta, he proudly points to workers' clubs, cooperative grocery stores, cinemas, a pool and a hospital – all of which have seen better days – and brushes off threats from management and the police.
By Ayah Aman for AL-Monitor - CAIRO — On May 1, just two days before World Press Freedom day, Egyptian police raided the Press Syndicate in Cairo and randomly detained a number of journalists as they were working. This measure against media workers represents a dangerous escalation in the security services’ campaign targeting journalists in a country that the Committee to Protect Journalists describes as “among the world’s worst jailers of journalists.”