“We are told the past is unnecessary, that following a few mental exercises we’ll be able to love again in no time, however nobody warns us about the actual cost of shoving shit under the rug. We learn to leave, but not to let go.”

Ioana Cristina Casapu

Letting go

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The Case for Getting Rid of Borders—Completely (The Atlantic)

“To paraphrase Rousseau, man is born free, yet everywhere he is caged”

“No standard moral framework, be it utilitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, Rawlsian, Christian, or any other well-developed perspective, regards people from foreign lands as less entitled to exercise their rights—or as inherently possessing less moral worth—than people lucky to have been born in the right place at the right time”

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/get-rid-borders-completely/409501/?utm_source=SFFB

Al Jazeera Journalist Fahmy Suing Al Jazeera for “negligence” in Egypt Detention

A more detailed explanation by Fahmy on his intention to sue Al Jazeera can be found in the following link: http://www.theguardian.com/media/video/2015/may/11/al-jazeera-journalist-mohamed-fahmy-sue-network-negligence-egypt-video

Al Jazeera journalist, Mohamed Fahmy, filed a lawsuit against Al Jazeera seeking 100m Canadian dollars for “epic negligence” in its conduct towards him. He argued that it was partially responsible for his arrest and imprisonment in Egypt. Last June, Fahmy, along with two other Al Jazeera journalists were jailed on charges of helping the Muslim Brotherhood, which is deemed a terrorist group, and for spreading false news.

Fahmy’s criticism of Al Jazeera is twofold. Firstly, he accuses the network of failing to protect the journalists against the threat of arrest. They failed to provide the English channel’s staff with sufficient security, to clarify to Egyptian officials that it was different from the Arabic channels, and to provide the required press passes and equipment permits. Secondly, he accuses the network of further endangering the journalists when they were seized. The Arabic Al Jazeera channel, along with its Egyptian affiliate, Mubasher Misr, was highly biased and acted as the mouthpiece of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Fahmy argues that the Qatari-based network appeared more concerned with waging a media war against Egypt, which put its journalists in greater harms way.

Although not enough about his case has been made clear to the public, it does raise some important questions. To what extent is Fahmy purging the Egyptian government and authorities of his wrongful arrest and imprisonment? And to what end? In other words, how genuine is his case against Al Jazeera? Is it borne out of a genuine belief of neglect by the network, or out of self interest? It could be that this case is a means to gain compensation for his being jailed or even to win favor with the Egyptian government during his trial.

Despite my current skepticism about his intentions, there is truth to his accusations against the Arabic Al Jazeera channels. Many of its journalists expressed concern and criticism to the network over its increasing bias in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, many resigned for that reason. Moreover, the network did behave negligently with its staff. It put its journalists at risk by failing to provide them with appropriate paperwork. For example, Peter Greste – one of the imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists – along with other visiting correspondents were told to enter Egypt on tourist visas and to work without accreditation. Moreover, the network failed to renew many of the the resident staffers’ accreditations, which were approaching their expiration, including those of the jailed journalists.

The thought I’m left with now is that while Egyptian officials and the judiciary responded unnecessarily harshly with the Al Jazeera journalists, the arrests were not completely unjustified. It is interesting that none of the facts about the AJ staff illegally working in Egypt were made public in western media until now. Any such claims in Egyptian media were viewed by the west as attempts by Egyptian outlets to justify an oppressive system, thereby failing to recognize the complexity of the matter. What is even more baffling to me is how little Fahmy’s lawsuit is being discussed right now! It is such a dramatic and unprecedented turn of events that it deserves greater media attention than it is getting.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32694739

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/feb/20/mohamed-fahmy-al-jazeera-protecting-journalists-cairo-agenda

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Egyptian Minister of Justice Resigns Over Elitist Remarks

The Egyptian Minister of Justice, Mahfouz Saber, heeded to public opinion and decided to resign after making elitist remarks that caused public uproar. In a TV interview, Saber said that the children of garbage men could not grow up to become judges, as they were not raised in the proper environment. These comments were made after the interviewer asked Saber whether there was favoritism in the appointment of judges. He responded by saying that the process was governed by objective standards. However, when the interviewer pushed Saber further and asked him whether “the son of a sanitation worker could be made a judge?”, his response was

“Let’s not go too far. With all due respect to cleaners and those above or beneath them, a judge must hail from an appropriate environment… Thanks are due to a cleaner who raises and educates his children, but there are other jobs that they can take.”

In response to his comments, the Egyptian public responded in a frenzy, denouncing them as contrary to the fundamental principles of justice. Mohamed ElBaradei, the former Vice President, noted that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights claims that everyone has “the right to equal access to public service in his country”. Moreover, many have pointed to the fact that Egypt’s constitution states that no one can be discriminated against based on class or gender.

While on the one hand, there is no doubt that his comments are normatively unjust and that a person who holds such views is not qualified to hold the position of the Minister of Justice, some found his comments to be painful for being a realistic depiction of the way the system works in Egypt. While we may not agree with Saber from a normative perspective, it is true that the son of a garbage man in Egypt cannot become a judge. Therefore the issue is a structural one and it cannot be solved simply by replacing the face of the Minister of Justice. True change will only be achieved if structural changes are achieved and the classist system in Egypt is eroded. This means that everyone must be granted the right to equality of opportunity in all elements of society and career paths must be government by meritocratic rather than patrimonial principles.

Sources:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/150511235911171.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32688825

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The first 100 days of Sisi’s presidency

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A concise account of President Sisi’s first 100 days in office.

http://elsisi100.tumblr.com/

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President Sisi’s address to the United Nations

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http://egyptianstreets.com/2014/09/25/egypts-president-sisi-addresses-the-united-nations/

A good summary and a video of President Sisi’s address to the United Nations (in English).

“Our aim is to build a New Egypt. A state that respects the rights and freedoms, honours its duties, and ensures the co-existence of its citizens without exclusion or discrimination. A state that respects and enforces the rule of law, guarantees freedom of opinion for all and ensures freedom of belief and worship to its people. A state that is determined to achieve growth, prosperity, and a promising future that meets the aspirations of its people”

– President Sisi at the United Nations

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What if president Obama did what Morsi did?

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Despite the name of the article “Putting Egypt in Context”, it has failed to do exactly that. It completely takes Morsi’s actions out of context, not even mentioning how he made most of these dictatorial moves because he felt that he was being conspired against by the anti-Islamists. It’s a completely one sided take on the situation in Egypt.

However I will give this article some points for trying to make what happened in Egypt more relatable to the average American. Also, this article does bring up a very good point: why is it that Americans are criticizing Egyptians when they themselves would’ve never allowed for their president to do a single thing Morsi did? Why is there this belief that they somehow deserve democracy more than we do? This level of arrogance is beyond me.

I admire the Egyptians for not settling for an illiberal democracy. I admire them for recognizing that they deserve democracy just as much as an American or a Canadian or a European does. I am proud that the 25 January revolution has restored Egyptians’ self-worth.

Full article: http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/putting-egypt-in-context-what-if-president-obama-did-what-morsi-did/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=Share+Buttons

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The Dark Tunnel by Mahmoud Salem

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This article by Mahmoud Salem about the current situation in Egypt is a MUST READ. Could not have put it better myself.

“In many articles, social media statuses and private conversations, many people are bemoaning what they deem “the rise of fascism” in Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood. They openly wonder how people could lose their humanity to such a degree that they are indifferent to the deaths of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in clashes. They are very shocked and disturbed by the amount of people who are openly calling for the military to crush them.  They are so surprised and distressed by this, one has to wonder if they were living in the country this past year, because if you have, none of this should be the least bit surprising.

For a year now, a single piece of narrative had found its way on the tongues of many Egyptians and in many conversations: “The Muslim Brotherhood will not leave power without blood”. This sentence was treated as fact, and was aided by the continuous and increasingly authoritarian rhetoric and actions of the MB and their allies, sending their supporters to attack and torture anti-Morsi protesters, utilizing the police and the public prosecutor’s office to oppress, detain and investigate anyone who opposed or criticized them, and going as far as deeming anyone who goes against Morsi “an apostate that should be killed” during an official state conference with Morsi present and not bothered.”

“Thus, it is of no surprise that when the table turned, that same citizen is openly calling for the elimination of those whom he views threatened him with death. The lack of sympathy for their dead is very human, especially in the face of the final speech of Morsi, where he said that “it’s either my legitimacy or blood””.

http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/07/31/the-dark-tunnel/

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Muslim Brotherhood children wearing burial shrouds as they protest

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Muslim Brotherhood children were made to wear burial shrouds as they protest to indicate that they are ready to be martyrs in the name of defending Morsi’s presidency.
This is yet again another disturbing violation of human rights committed by the Muslim Brotherhood. I dare anyone to talk to me about how peaceful and democratic the Muslim Brotherhood is after seeing this photo.

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