Special focus: Arab Spring

 
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The Chronikler has devoted considerable attention to the political, social, economic and cultural dimensions of the Arab Spring. Follow our ongoing coverage here.

Gamal Mubarak’s get-rich-quick scheme

November 2016 – How can you make a return that is 12,000 times greater than the initial “investment” in under a decade? Ask Gamal Mubarak.

Podcast: Egypt’s cartoon villains and heroes

February 2016 – The battle between Egyptian revolutionary and counterrevolutionary forces is being played out in caricature.

The Mubarak enigma

February 2016 – The removal of Hosni Mubarak was likely the proudest moment in Egypt’s recent history, yet, five years on, some Egyptians miss the deposed dictator.

Egypt’s other Tahrirs

February 2016 – Tahrir may have been pacified for now, but the revolution is still playing out in Egypt’s economic and social squares.

Yassin al-Haj Saleh: “Syria is a unique symbol of injustice, apathy and amnesia”

January 2016 – In an exclusive interview, prominent Syrian writer and dissident Yassin al-Haj Saleh talks about Syria’s past, tragic present and uncertain future.

The empire must not strike back

June 2015 – Nostalgia for empire in the Middle East misses two points: we’re not witnessing the “final end of imperialism” and imperialism did not bring order.

The death of sanity in Egypt

May 2015 – The sentencing to death of former president Mohamed Morsi is the latest chapter in Egypt’s comedy of terrors that could push the country over the edge

The self-fulfilling prophesy of the Sunni v Shia myth

March 2015 – Like in Syria and Iraq, the conflict in Yemen is not sectarian. But political profiteers and jihadists  are turning it into a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The language of Arab (dis)unity

January 2015 – The romantic myth that Arabs share “one heart and one spirit” led pan-Arabism to talk unity while walking the path of disunity.

Egypt’s centuries-old leadership vacuum

December 2014 – Decades of authoritarianism and centuries of non-indigenous rule have led to a shortage of effective native leaders in Egypt, derailing the revolution.

The Syrian Kurd who went blind because he’d seen too much

October 2014 – From the man literally blinded by horrors to the girl whose dream is to read books,  we meet the Syrian Kurds fleeing the ISIS onslaught on Kobani.

Save the Nile Delta, President al-Sisi

September 2014 – Egypt would be much better off saving the sinking ship of the Nile Delta instead of building a white elephant Suez Canal II.

The new Arab man: The Middle East’s male awakening

April 2014 – In the first of a Chronikler series on the new Arab man, we meet men who champion women’s rights and challenge traditional ideals of masculinity.

The Arab world’s rebels without a god

March 2014 – In Egypt and other Arab countries, the atheism taboo has been broken. Atheists are rebelling against the status quo and demanding to be seen and heard.

Egypt’s return of the “noble” outlaws

February 2014 – Three years after a revolution against Mubarak-era cronyism, fugitive tycoons are scrambling to buy back their freedom… at knock-down prices.

The square root of the Egyptian revolution

January 2014 – The Egyptian revolution is fatally wounded but it is far too soon to sound the death knells. The dreams it unleashed are impossiblee to contain.

Can Egypt start a new chapter of Middle Eastern history?

January 2014 – The new constitution says Egypt is a “gift” that will “write a new history for humanity”. Should neighbours welcome or fear greater Egyptian influence?

My enemy’s friend is… my ally

January 2014 – In Egypt, both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood accuse each other of being American stooges while discreetly courting Washington.

Is atheism Egypt’s fastest-growing ‘religion’?

October 2013 – Despite the risks, more and more atheists are coming out of the closet in Egypt, emboldened by the revolution’s ethos of freedom and dignity.

Egypt’s revolution in the breaking

October 2013 – Although Egypt has been eclipsed on the Western media radar, it remains caught in a deadly bind between popular jingoism and religious demagoguery.

Remembering the real Raba’a

September 2013 – Competing myths have emerged around the Raba’a protest camp. But it was neither a terrorist den nor a gathering of freedom and democracy lovers.

Syria needs joint Arab action to end violence

September 2013 – It is up to the Arab world to stop the bloodshed in Syria – unlikely as this may sound, and despite Arab League failure so far.

Egypt’s underground sisterhood

September 2013 – Egyptian women are under attack from a failing patriarchy. But what is overlooked is that they are fighting back through grassroots emancipation.

US intervention in Syria: Not kind, but cruel

September 2013 – Punishing a dictator for killing his own people by killing yet more of them is not the answer. It didn’t work in Iraq, and it won’t work in Syria.

Egypt’s rebels who lost their cause

September 2013 – Can the political alliance between Tamarod and the Egyptian military last, especially as the movement turns on the army’s benefactor, Washington?

Egypt’s popular peace front

August 2013 – With the prospect of reconciliation a long way off and to prevent civil war, Egyptians need to form a united front against  all political violence.

Confessions of an Egyptian infidel

August 2013 – Though never officially recognised, atheists and agnostics have always been part of Egypt. Society now needs to grant us our right not to believe.

Islamism is the illusion

August 2013 – Islamism is not the solution but is built on an illusion. Islam’s past strength was actually a secular one based on free thought.

Egypt’s false state of security

August 2013 – Handing Egypt’s security services a licence to repress the Muslim Brotherhood will return us to the police state the revolution worked to overthrow.

Egypt and the West: the liberal-Islamist paradox

August 2013 – Why do some Western liberals committed to democracy, gender equality and minority support a president and movement that respects none of these?

Egyptian rebels with a cause… and effect

August 2013 – The dedication and success of the Tamarod rebellion against President Morsi is awe-inspiring, but the movement’s current trust in the army is worrying.

Democracy is (still) the solution

August 2013 – In Egypt, neither Islamism nor jingoism is the solution. We need is a visionary founding document, and the stillborn 1954 constitution fits the bill.

Egypt explained… in five YouTube videos

July 2013 – A child’s vision of freedom, infamous last words, street democracy, loving men in uniform, and men in hijabs. Seeing Egypt through Egyptian eyes.

Religious freedom from birth

July 2013 – Unlike eye colour and skin tone, religion is not hereditary. This reality must be reflected in Egyptian identity documents and personal status laws.

Egypt’s clash of freedoms

July 2013 – Events in Egypt are not just a conflict between Islamists, secularists and the military. It is a fundamental clash over conflicting ideas of “freedom”.

‘If we go away… but if you stay’ – a duet by the Egyptian army and people

July 2013 – In a classic political duet, General Sisi sings ‘If we go away’, while the Egyptian people respond with ‘If you stay’.

Nawal El Saadawi: “I am against stability. We need revolution.”

July 2013 – Renowned author and feminist Nawal El Saadawi believes that her fellow Egyptians “must pay the price for freedom”.

A manifesto for Egypt’s future

July 2013 – As Egypt risks another disastrous transition, it is time to create a unique model for Egyptian democracy. No president, no parties, direct democracy.

Egypt’s coup de quoi!?

July 2013 – The millions on the streets, not dressed in khaki, democratically ejected Mohamed Morsi. Now it’s time to remove the military from Egypt’s politics.

Syria’s Sunni v Shi’a myth

June 2013 – Insisting falsely that the Syrian conflict is sectarian will tear the country apart once Assad  is gone and place the Alawite minority in grave danger.

The Middle East’s sinking leadership

June 2013 – From Egypt to Turkey, Middle Eastern uprisings have not only been leaderless but have even been a rebellion against the idea of leadership itself.

De paradox van de Egyptische revolutie

April 2013 – De Egyptische revolutie was een geval van collectieve en spontane genialiteit. Maar dit succes in het verkopen van de opstand kwam op een prijs.

كيف يمكن لنجاح  الثورة المصرية أن يُفشِلها؟

مارس ٢٠١٣ – استطاعت الثورة المصرية من خلال قوة الصورة إلغاء الصور النمطية التي كانت قد ترسخت في الأذهان وتكونت عنا، و لكن هناك ثمن لا بد أن يدفع في المقابل

Tahrir Square: For the sake of the forsaken

February 2013 – For ordinary Egyptians, Tahrir is now a terrifying black hole, but for its marginalised occupiers, it is a liberator from political and social tyranny.

Reading between the lines of the Middle Eastern media

February 2013- Despite its bottom ranking in the Press Freedom Index, the Middle Eastern media is freer than it appears at first sight.

Egypt’s women of mass destruction

February 2013 – Does a gaff about rural women’s breasts belie the belief among Egypt’s new Islamist leadership that women are the source of all society’s ills?

The naked truth about Egypt’s body politic

January 2013 – One young woman’s daring nude protests are unlikely to emancipate Egyptian women, but will they actually hurt the cause of freedom and equality?

Egypt’s rebels without a pause

December 2012 – The failure of Egypt’s new leaders to address the needs and aspirations of young people means the revolution will not stop until there is real change.

News of revolution (part III): Televising the life and death of an Egyptian president

November 2012 – Anwar Sadat was the first Egyptian leader to exploit television’s propaganda power – and even his assassination was unwittingly televised.

Disempowering Egyptian citizens

October 2012 – Despite its democratic aspirations, Egypt’s draft constitution excludes millions of Egyptians from enjoying full citizenship.

News of revolution (part II): Voice of the Arabs or Nasserist mouthpiece?

October 2012 – The Voice of the Arabs steered Egypt from isolationism and towards a pan-Arabist vision in which Nasser was the anointed leader of the Arab world.

News of revolution (part I): How the nascent print media gave birth to Egyptian nationalism

September 2012 – The spread of print media in the 19th century played a profound role in shaping modern Egyptian nationalism and its quest for full independence.

Minority voices in Upper Egypt

September 2012 – A publisher in Luxor who happens to be Christian shows how Egypt’s majority and minorities, despite growing tension, share similar dreams and fears.

Aanslag op Amerikaans consulaat in Benghazi valt niet uit de lucht

September 2012 – De aanslag op het consulaat in Benghazi was geen verrassing. De voortekens waren al lang zichtbaar.

The Mubarak regime’s legalised robbery

September 2012 – Since the ‘Mubarak mafia’ were not outlaws but were the law, proving that Egypt’s lost billions were ill-gotten is an elusively difficult challenge.

Egypt’s needs are human, social and educational, not religious, says Islamist MP

August 2012 – Member of Parliament for Luxor AbdulMawgoud Dardery believes religion is a “personal issue”, and government’s job is to focus on collective challenges.

Egypt without the hype… and away from Cairo

August 2012 – Contrary to the distorted and Cairo-centric media view of Egypt, Egyptians have an extraordinary breadth of views about  revolutionising their country.

The liberation of exile

July 2012 – My father’s secret police file reveals that my newly wed parents were right to flee Egypt. But I’m grateful for the liberation of “exile”.

Policing the beard

July 2012 – In Egypt, beards have gone from indicating piety to symbolising political affiliation. Police neutrality requires officers to remove their facial hair.

Egypt’s Mursi and the risk of friendly fire

July 2012 – By courting his rivals, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi could turn former allies into foes and bring to the fore the divisions among Islamists.

The paradox of military-backed civilian rule

June 2012 – Supporting a military dictatorship to impose secular ideals is paradoxical and will only perpetuate and entrench the presence of the deep state.

Egypt: from revolution to evolution

June 2012 – Egypt’s next president likely to be against the revolution, so revolutionaries must forge a viable opposition and push for social and economic change.

Egyptian presidential election: Anti-revolution v counterrevolution

June 2012 – Should Egyptians side with the anti-revolutionary military old guard or the counterrevolutionary Islamist vanguard when choosing their next president?

Revolution: the ‘third way’ in Egypt

June 2012 – With little representation in official politics, Egypt’s revolutionary forces must continue to create a political third way on the streets.

Egyptian presidential election: A young revolutionary’s voting dilemma

May 2012 – Should a young revolutionary seize his last chance to vote for a president or is the true struggle for radical change in Egypt on the streets?

From the Chronikles: My plan for a democratic Egypt

May 2012 – With the right president, Egypt could rid itself of nepotism and inequality to become a prosperous and egalitarian society.

Egyptian presidential election: Who should the revolution vote for?

May 2012 – Egyptian revolutionaries dream of electing a president who emerged from Tahrir square, but should they vote for pragmatism or principle?

High time for a fly-in to Syria

May 2012 – Though risky, a civilian fly-in to Syria will send out a clear message that the world cannot stand idly by while ordinary people are slaughtered.

The battle for the soul of the Arab man

May 2012 – The polarised debate over Arab women overlooks the fact that men can be victims of the patriarchy too and their identity is a cultural battlefield.

Mustafa Barghouti: “We are heading towards a Palestinian Spring”

May 2012 – Palestinian reformer Mustafa Barghouti on the demise of the peace process, the death of the two-state option and the dawning of the Palestinian Spring.

Confessions of a would-be Egyptian revolutionary

April 2012 – Returning to Egypt for the first time since the revolution, an expat desktop rebel discovers the inspirational, the troubling and the simply bizarre.

Egypt needs fundamental, not fundamentalist rights

April 2012 – Egypt’s new constitution should focus on democracy, equality and human rights, not religious identity or military budgets.

‘Reel’ freedom in East Jerusalem

March 2012 – The reopening of a landmark East Jerusalem cinema could provide local Palestinians with a much-needed dose of ‘reel’ freedom.

Admiring the enemy

February 2012 – Despite the ugly war of words between Israelis and Arabs, Israel does also get some good press in the Arab world and has some surprising admirers.

The Arab media paradox

February 2012 – Despite the general Arab decline in the press freedom rankings, the region’s media have, in many ways, actually become freer.

Detained Egyptian musician vows: “I will not be silenced” about police brutality

February 2012 – Mohammed Jamal, the lead singer of the popular Egyptian indie band Salalem, tells The Chronikler his story about a night of hell in police custody.

Egyptian football violence: Between hooliganism and state thuggery

February 2012 – The deadly battle of Port Said may be another attempt to make a return to a police state the most attractive option for Egypt.

January 2012 – State-sponsored conspiracy theories have been bad for foreigners in Egypt. But Egyptians must not succumb to xenophobia and must be open to the world.

The Egyptian revolution as a historical event

January 2012 – In the social media age, revolutions will no longer be followed by the constructing of a national identity based on just one “universal” truth.

التغلب على الخوف، الخطوة الاولى لنساء مصر

قبل الثورة لم يكن سهلا ان نتخيل نساءا تتحدى سلطة الاب او الزوج وتخرج للتظاهر لكننا وجدنا نساءا واجهن الموت والخوف ,وتلك هى الخطوة الاولى لمواجهة اى غبن

Revolution@1: The Egyptian army’s mutiny against the people

January 2012 – Egypt’s junta and its army of collaborators have betrayed the Egyptian revolution, but the people will rise again.

Revolution@1: Egypt must learn from 1952

January 2012 – Like in 1952, the army is trying to silence opposition with the Muslim Brotherhood’s help. But can the Tahrir mentality stop history from repeating?

Defining Egyptian democracy: “Not like America and not like Iran”

December 2011 – Provincial Egyptians believe that moderate Islamists can construct an Egyptian model of democracy that respects their traditions and identity.

Secular Egypt: dream or delusion?

December 2011 – Is Egypt on the road to theocracy or will it manage to build a secular, pluralist democracy?

Egypt’s general discontent

November 2011 – As millions of Egyptians cast their first democratic vote in decades, recent upheavals confirm that Egypt’s military is the biggest threat to freedom.

Egypt’s middle-class cyberheroes

November 2011 – Social networking and blogging voices the dreams and aspirations of the young and middle-class in Egypt, leaving other groups as marginalised as ever.

Egypt: a country raped by its guardians

November 2011 – Dear generals, you are like a therapist abusing rape victims, so don’t be surprised when Egyptians revolt against your cruelty.

The sacred right to ‘insult’

October 2011 – Jailing Egyptians for insulting religion and the military goes against the revolution’s spirit, and violates people’s secular and sacred rights.

Islamist-driven democracy is not a snowball in hell

October 2011 – Islamists are not all Osama bin Laden and secularists are not all Atatürk . They can work together to achieve democracy.

Law and order in Libya

October 2011 – Muammar Gaddafi once lived above the law, but his killers must not be permitted the same impunity to get away with murder. Justice must be done, even for fallen despots.

Libya needs true people power

October 2011 – Gaddafi and his corrupt ‘jamahiriya’ may be gone, but Libyans should not give up on the dream of a direct democracy for the masses.

Opposing the Egyptian opposition

October 2011 – The ornamental ‘official opposition’ in Egypt is as dangerous as the authoritarian regime itself.

Should Arabs treat Erdoğan as a hero?

September 2011 – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received a hero’s welcome across the Arab world. But should Arabs welcome or be weary of Turkey’s greater engagement in the Middle East?

Are we now ‘friends’ of al-Qaeda in Libya?

September 2011 – Belgium was one of the ‘Friends of Libya’ in Paris. But does the prime minister realise that these Libyan ‘friends’ include a former al-Qaeda fighter?

9/12: Turning over a new leaf in the Middle East

September 2011 – On the 10th anniversary of the day after 9/11, it is high time to trash the ‘clash of civilisations’ theory and the ‘war on terror’ and start a new chapter in the West’s relationship with the new Middle East.

The danger of an elected dictatorship in Egypt

September 2011 – The army is giving Egyptians a stark choice: choose freedom and endure anarchy, or choose stability and put up with us.

Lessons in revolt

September 2011 – Although designed to instil loyalty to the regime, Egyptian schools have been breeding grounds for rebellion and revolt.

Egypt and Israel: cold peace or cold war?

September 2011 – Relations between Israel and post-revolution Egypt are proving tetchy – but ordinary people hold the keys to peace.

Egyptian in the holy land

September 2011 – As a rare Egyptian in Jerusalem, I have felt something akin to being a B-list celebrity.

A tale of two media

August 2011 – Egypt’s independent media have earned their revolutionary stripes, while the state’s mouthpieces have simply switched allegiance to the ‘new emperor’. But which model will endure?

The Arab Spring’s bottom line

August 2011 – The Arab uprisings are not just about democracy and dignity. But with domestic and global economic crises, how likely are they to deliver on bread and butter issues?

Egypt, Israel and Palestine: towards the promised land of peace?

August 2011 – It is high time for Israelis and Palestinians – with grassroots support from Egyptians – to unlock their latent people’s power and forge a popular peace.

Indiana Hawass and the pharaoh’s curse

August 2011 – Zahi Hawass may liken himself to Indiana Jones, but the minister of antiquities is one artifact of the old regime Egyptians want to live without.

David Miliband: revolution v extremism

July 2011 – Britain’s former foreign minister David Miliband has high hopes for the Arab revolutions.

From Arab spring to summer of love in Egypt?

July 2011 – The Egyptian revolution awoke hopes of a new era of gender equality and of greater sexual liberty. But how likely is Egypt to have its own summer of love?

No revolution for Egyptian women

July 2011 – Despite the political earthquake that has rid Egypt of its patriarch-in-chief, attitudes to gender remain largely the same. Now women must stand up for their rights.

Atheists: Egypt’s forgotten minority

July 2011 – Egyptian atheists and religious sceptics are a minority that exists in reality but not in official statistics.

Hostility to the West may shape Egyptian politics

June 2011 – Islamists and Arab Socialists share a history of clashing with foreign influences.

I was harassed and I’m stupefied!

June 2011 – Until the revolution in social attitudes comes, women should face their harassers with a loud voice and a shebsheb (a slipper).

18-day social revolutions do not exist

June 2011 – Tackling harassment requires much more than a political revolution: it needs a social movement that restores people’s dignity and promotes equality.

Which comes first: Palestine or the Palestinians?

June 2011 – Rather than grant them statehood, Palestinian plans to go to the UN could backfire. Instead, come September, the Palestinians should formally hand over control of the Occupied Territories to Israel and demand full citizenship.

Diversity without adversity

June 2011 – Can Israelis and Palestinians learn something about building bridges between divided communities from the Egyptian revolution?

The fall of Egypt’s symbol of progressive Islam

May 2011 – Joining itself with an authoritarian regime caused harm to the millennium-long history of al-Azhar University.

Egypt’s counter-revolutionary bogeyman

May 2011 – Fear of retaliation from the old regime shouldn’t be used to limit Egyptians’ hard-won freedoms and attack peaceful protesters.

Reinventing the Palestinian struggle

May 2011 – Inspired by the Arab spring, a new generation of Palestinians plan to fight the occupation with olive branches.

How African is the Arab revolution?

April 2011 – Though the ‘Arab’ revolution started in North Africa, most debate has focused on the Arab world, but what about the rest of Africa?

Defiantly delusional

March 2011 – Muammar Gaddafi and Silvio Berlusconi have something in common: delusions of grandeur that keep them desperately holding on to the reins of power.

Mobile revolution in the Middle East

March 2011 – “You won’t fool the children of the revolution.” Especially not if they’re Twittering away on their mobile phones.

New Egypt, new media

March 2011 – Egyptians will no longer tolerate paying for the state-run newspapers that peddled Hosni Mubarak’s propaganda.

Should Egypt’s next president be old guard or vanguard?

March 2011 – Amr Moussa is very popular with Egyptians, but should Egyptians play it safe with the best of the old guard or choose someone from the vanguard.

No country for old generals

March 2011 – In addition to withdrawing from the political front line, the army must also leave justice to the legal system.

The Muslim Brotherhood: empowered by its weakness

March 2011 – The revolution in Egypt succeeded because it had no Islamist face, and the Muslim Brotherhood has benefited from maintaining a soft presence.

An Arab model for democracy

February 2011 – The time is ripe to crystallise a creative vision for Egyptian democracy, one that can perhaps be used as a model by other Arab countries.

Mazel tov Egypt

February 2011 – There are Jews who refuse to succumb to fear and would like to extend their warm congratulations to Egyptians on the occasion of their revolution of hope.

Freedom from fear

February 2011 – The Egyptian revolution could usher in freedom to the Middle East, but Arabs and Israelis must break free of the chains of prejudice, history and fear.

Diary of Dictator M, aged 82¾: fight, not flight

February 2011 – In the second leaked extract from his secret diaries, President M is enraged by what he sees as an unpresidented act of cowardice and treachery.

From political revolution to social evolution

February 2011 – To truly succeed, Egypt’s revolution needs to trigger a profound evolution in every strata of society.

Political idealism triumphs over Egypt’s cruel political reality

February 2011 – The power of an idea proved stronger than tanks, water cannons and bullets.

The Arabic for freedom

February 2011 – By toppling their dictator, Egyptians have made history, but now they need to ensure that this revolution does not become a footnote in their history.

Open letter: Mubarak, we loathe you

February 2011 – Mr Mubarak, you have the extraordinary knack for snatching mediocrity from the jaws of greatness. But the Egyptian people will write their own future.

Dispatch from Tahrir: Fighting Egypt’s petty dictators

February 2011 – Outside the utopian bubble of Tahrir, petty dictators are filling the security void.

Why Mubarak shouldn’t stay until September

February 2011 – If Mubarak’s security apparatus tightens its grip on power, Egypt will turn into a North Korean-style dictatorship.

When the revolution comes…

February 2011 – A democratic Egypt will not go to war with Israel, but for the cold peace to thaw, Israel must ends its occupation.

Diary of Dictator M, aged 82¾: a panicked call for Tunisia

February 2011 – In the first leaked extract from President M’s diaries, he calms an alarmed fellow dictator in Tunisia.

The death throes of Arab dictatorships

February 2011 – Will the unfolding popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt lead to the region’s dictators falling one after the other like dominos?

The Jasmine Revolution

February 2011 – Tunisia’s revolution will spread the scent of its jasmine to oppressed nations all over the region.

America’s missed opportunity in Egypt

1 February 2011 – There’s no reason to believe that the uprising will bring radical Islamists to power – so why isn’t the US supporting it?

Mubarak: the life and times of a dictator

February 2011 – To grasp the enormity of the change undergoing Egyptian society, it is well worth considering that the majority of Egyptians have never known another president than Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s other Mubaraks

February 2011 – The imminent fall of Egypt’s dictator should embolden Egyptians, especially the young, to deal with the mini-Mubaraks holding Egyptian society back.

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