Tag Archives: Egypt

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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Pro-Morsi protesters victimising themselves to gain advantage

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“Presidential aide for political affairs Mostafa Hegazi has accused the Islamist supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi of intentionally victimising themselves in order to gain a negotiation advantage. “

“The Egyptian state will never accept the shedding of Egyptian blood, regardless of political affiliations, but it also will not stand silent in the face of blackmail and terrorism of its citizens”

“It is not an exaggeration to say that what is going on now is a war of terrorism against [Egyptian] society. No political disagreement can be solved with violence,” Hegazi said.

Full article: http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/77655.aspx

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The Muslim Brotherhood: Not so peaceful…

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Here are a few recent examples of things that the western media “forgot” to report:

Imagine a group that commits these violent and illegal acts existed in your country. I dare anyone to tell me that this is not terrorism. I am not saying that everyone in the pro-Morsi camp is a terrorist. Some are peaceful political protestors that have the legitimate right to demonstrate and be heard. But the Muslim Brotherhood along with other fundamentalist Islamic groups ARE terrorist groups.

If the Boston bombers, who only killed 3 people are labelled as terrorists, then how is the Muslim Brotherhood, which regularly attacks and kills Copts and Shiites not a terrorist group? Why are individuals and groups only identified as terrorists when they are extremist Muslims in the west. WE HAVE EXTREMIST MUSLIMS TOO. And they are just as willing to kill their own people as they are to kill westerners. Their enemies are not just westerners. They’re Christians and Shiites and Atheists and Jews and basically anyone they consider an infidel. Which, by the way, includes Muslims that don’t share the exact same interpretation of Islam as they do.

This is a terrorist group. So, yes. I am highly critical of claims that they were peaceful demonstrators that were massacred by the army. They were not peaceful. They are a violent and a provocative group. And whenever you hear news about the army attacking peaceful pro-Morsi protestors, think about this: the army gains nothing from attacking peaceful protestors. Only the Muslim Brotherhood benefits from portraying the army in such a demonizing light. And don’t forget, this is a group whose members are willing to sacrifice their lives in the name of God and their cause: to further political Islam.

Interesting how western media is extremely biased to the Muslim Brotherhood and only reports on the allegedly unprovoked violence directed towards them by the Egyptian army. Makes you wonder why…

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Ziad Akl: The Sisi Propaganda

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Excellent article by Ziad Akl

“The wave of Al-Sisi’s glorification and army reverence must make us always aware of a set of questions. To whom is the army accountable now? How could the army’s statements and information be verified from now on? The army-media-intellectuals alliance, would that ever influence how objectively different events are seen and covered?”

“Al-Sisi has not shown himself as a power-hungry General so far, but the unnecessary propaganda unfortunately does not help to support this idea. Those who are not pro-Sisi are not necessarily pro-Brotherhood. It must be understood that a middle ground does exist between both poles and there are plenty of Egyptians who are not represented on either side of the struggle, not because they don’t want the army to fight terrorism, but because they want the army to remain an institution.”

Read the full article here: http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/07/27/the-sisi-propaganda/

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