The Mideast and Abroad
- Published on Thursday, 14 June 2012 07:07
When I began to write this article, there were many attempts to escape the obvious subject staring every Egyptian straight in the face at this particular point in history: the Presidential Elections. It had all the markings of an historic and dramatic race: a truly unknown outcome due to wildly inaccurate and fluctuating opinion polls, the first televised presidential debate in Arab world history, ballots being counted in front of live cameras and third party witnesses. Regardless of who came out on top after the results poured in overnight on the 24th of May, there could only be cause for celebration, and optimism.
- Published on Thursday, 07 June 2012 03:40
Like many others who open their eyes to life outside of our relatively comfortable existence in the United States, I am always deeply disturbed by violence against the defenseless that takes place around the world. One of my first impressionable moments was when, as an undergraduate, I began to research the disturbing denial of basic rights of female victims of violence in South Asia. Although there was not much I could do from my position in the United States at the time, I did what I could do – I talked to anyone that would listen, and tried to understand how and why such injustices can take place.
- Published on Sunday, 03 June 2012 08:02
Last month, the Pentagon finally approved charges brought against five Guantanamo Bay prisoners accused of playing a part in the terrorist attacks that rocked America on September 11th. Amongst these five prisoners is Khaled Sheikh Mohammed who admitted during a military hearing to being the “mastermind” behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They were originally expected to stand trial in a U.S base in Cuba in front of a military Judge in May but the trial date has now been pushed to August. If convicted of the charges of murder and terrorism, they may face the same fate they brought to so many: death.
- Published on Sunday, 03 June 2012 06:25
The headlines in the West will read, “Mubarak sentenced to life imprisonment.” They may also say, “Egyptians take to the street in protest.” Confused?
Unless one reads more deeply the obvious connection must be that protesters wanted his head, literally. The reality is rather simple, just not within the headlines.
Mubarak and the former Minster of the Interior Habib al-Adly were convicted, but the chiefs of the Ministry of the Interior were declared innocent. The statement says there was insufficient evidence to link them to the charge of killing protesters during the revolution.
- Published on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 06:56
The Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) announced the results of the first round of presidential elections a day early. The announcement was made at 3pm on Monday, finalizing the anticipation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi and former Prime Minister under the Mubarak era Ahmed Shafiq as the two frontrunners. The SPEC declared Morsi had 5.76 million votes and Shafiq had 5.5 million. Here are the unofficial numbers from Friday of the top five candidates, according to Ahram Online:
- Published on Sunday, 27 May 2012 09:40
The Carter Center, an American-based NGO for promoting democracy, was one of three international NGOs allowed to monitor the first round of Egypt’s presidential elections. Given the recent controversy over the presence of American NGOs which put several dozen Egyptian democracy activists and sixteen Americans on trial, this was rather surprising. Nevertheless, the Carter Center did not receive their credentials until the last week before the elections. Given the circumstances, former President Jimmy Carter accepted the limited role they would have since it had an important significance to him in terms of historical ties and interests. President Carter told of how it was a dream to be in Egypt during such an “exciting and uncertain time”.
- Published on Friday, 25 May 2012 08:37
On the second day of Egypt’s first presidential elections, the polling stations were a lot quieter than expected. Some blamed it on the heat, while others took it as a sign that people just did not see their vote being meaningful. Asking around, Egyptians who claimed they had not voted said they intended to later in the day.
Early on Thursday, Ahmed Shafiq’s Facebook page told of how Amr Moussa was pulling out of the race. When I spoke to the Moussa camp, they claimed it was actually Shafiq’s camp attempting to steal his votes. Similarly, since the Moussa camp had declared Morsi in the lead, it was deemed that he was declaring defeat. According to Moussa’s campaign office, their exit polls from 13,000 polling stations in 27 governorates determined the following numbers: Mohamed Morsi 26%, Amr Moussa 25.3%, Ahmed Shafiq 17.6%, Hamdeen Sahbahi 12.2%, and Aboul Fotouh 10%.
- Published on Thursday, 24 May 2012 06:53
The streets of Cairo were more quiet than usual, yet everything seemed ordinary except for a sense of anticipation in the air. Half of the Egyptian public sector was allowed to take a day off, divided between Wednesday and Thursday to participate in Egypt’s first presidential elections.
Polling stations at local schools opened as early as seven in the morning, where Egyptians lined up to be a part of history in the making. Some were seen to be emotional, even teary eyed, as they are able to freely make a choice for who would be president of the new Egypt. Not everyone chose to vote early in the morning, some even resorted to voting later in the afternoon because of the heat. Others opted until tomorrow to decide the fate of their country’s future.
- Published on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 11:59
It seems that the Iranian government will stop at nothing in its attempts to control and dominate its own citizens. Beyond detainment, torture, lengthy prison sentences and executions-- often for "crimes" more merciful states would consider no crime at all-- the Islamic Republic of Iran has used denial to attend university as a weapon against those whose ideological or religious beliefs are considered less than welcome.