This week's editor

James Ron

James Ron hosts this week's openGlobalRights theme: public opinion and human rights.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

North Sinai and Egyptian media

Early on 1 July, an Islamic State affiliate started a massive and unprecedented attack in Egypt. Once again, the media is failing to verify the information it spreads.

Moving beyond the squares: anticipating the debate

On July 3-4, the LSE will jointly host a seminar with openDemocracy on the impact of the movements in the squares from 2011 onwards. Do they contribute to the democratic renewal of our democracies and if so how? A conversation.

Middle East mix of feudal and dictatorial systems

The political future of the region is unclear, because it depends on the evolution of different political systems. What degree of secularisation/Islamism will these societies allow?

If democracy in Egypt cannot be stimulated directly, it can be promoted by example

It seems that the accusations of hypocrisy towards western actors, often heard in the Arab world, are not completely wrong.

Window on the Middle East - June 22, 2015

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. 

Has Sisi lost control over state repression?

Maged Mandour

The Egyptian state has fallen prey to the internal struggles of its security apparatus. Repression has become an end in itself rather than a tool for maintaining the regime’s stability.

What Louis Armstrong taught Egypt and the Middle East about itself

Armstrong’s encounter with the Middle East was a reflection of the wider socio-political disease of denial and scapegoating in the region—one that just festers with time.

Far from Tahrir

Anna Roussillon’s I am the People intimately documents the Egyptian revolution’s effect on a rural family. At the Open City Documentary Festival on 20 June 2015.

Jailed over a T-shirt: freedom for Mahmoud

A letter from Tarek to his brother Mahmoud Hussein, jailed in Egypt for 500 days for wearing an anti-torture T-shirt. Sign the petition calling for his release.

Whatever is happening to the Egyptians? (part two)

Public spaces in Cairo have evaporated in the last decade. Could this be why the social gap has evolved into alarming segregation accompanied with ignorance, ‘othering’ and disdain?

The age of 'white men in suits'

Maged Mandour

White men in suits support Arab autocrats while the suffering many are vilified as dangerous to the fabric of western societies: external threats or worse, immigrants attempting to infiltrate.

Out of the Middle East

It is time for Arab Gulf countries to stop being on the defensive and to accept their responsibility for what is happening in the region.

On power in the Arab World

Maged Mandour

Arab autocrats’ power depends on more than physical coercion or the rise of Islamist extremism: it has deeper roots in the role of civil society, orientalism, and identity politics.

Whatever is happening to the Egyptians?

The socio-economic gap is widening, and taking an ideological and cultural form. This comes as no surprise, because unity makes people a threat to power.

Palestinian unity: a dream buried deep?

Neither Fatah nor Hamas are willing to accept power sharing, and the division between them is no longer merely ideological in nature.

The Arab World: towards bi-polarity?

Maged Mandour

In Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain, it will be very difficult for revolutionary democratic movements to succeed in such a bi-polar order.

Our otherness: imagining Balkan and mid-Eastern identities

Rayna Stamboliyska

The original quote by Orwell is “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past”. In just two sentences, he has embraced our fate.

Arab autocracy & revolution

Maged Mandour

Until now, the struggle between autocrats and revolutionaries has been confined within national boundaries. But as the trend shifts towards a pooling of autocratic regimes’ resources, any future confrontation must be regional. 

‘Your face now looks permanently in pain’—awaiting sentence in Egypt

The sister of a US-Egyptian activist on hunger strike in a Cairo jail, whose cause has been taken up by Amnesty International, issues a cri de coeur on the eve of a critical court appearance.

Further notes on the evolution of the jihadi international movement

The Islamic State project is finding some consensus in countries where political deadlock reduces our social lives to a primordial level. Social and economic frustration stays at an all-time high level, even in a country like Tunisia.

Women and the Arab Spring: a dream turned nightmare

Change must start from within each individual. As quoted in the Quran, “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”  

Egypt: scattered thoughts on a counter-revolutionary moment

The euphoric, Bakhtinian, carnivalesque and dramaturgical moment of January 2011, which caught the attention of numerous observers and which lasted for almost four years, seems to have withered away. 

Egyptian women's rights: no time for dissent

The act of dissent should match the need for equality, rather than the time for equality. In the fight for a right, there are no divisions.

The madame's story: renegotiating Cairo’s informal service sector

The Egyptian Government’s anti-terrorism measures are causing subtle but significant shifts in Cairo’s vibrant informal service sector - illustrated through the experiences of one middle-class resident and her long-serving part-time cleaner. Read part one of this two-part article: The maid's story.

The maid's story: renegotiating Cairo’s informal service sector

The Egyptian Government’s anti-terrorism measures are causing subtle but significant shifts in Cairo’s vibrant informal service sector- illustrated through the experiences of one middle-class resident and her long-serving part-time cleaner. Read part two of this two-part article: The madame's story.

In the shadow of an empire

Maged Mandour

The reasons for the involvement of the west in the MENA region are not limited to oil and security. These are the arguments used by both local autocrats and western powers to maintain control. The real threat however is a global revolutionary movement.

Egypt’s political prisoners

Egypt’s president has a simple solution for activists who protest against his draconian laws criminalising public assembly. Jail them.

Remembering, contesting and forgetting: the aftermath of the Cairo massacres

The Egyptian Government’s anti-terrorism measures in the wake of the Rab'aa mosque massacre continue to colour people’s daily lives with the suppressed trauma and memory of these events.

Report thy neighbour: policing Sisi’s Egypt

A regime bereft of legitimacy, save for its promise to guarantee national security, turns citizens into active players in a new culture of surveillance and reporting.

Liberalism without democracy: the case of Egypt

Maged Mandour

The weakness of the urban middle class and their sense of isolation has become a bastion for the support for autocracy. Fear of a social revolution has been the main driver in the alliance between the military and the urban middle class.

There is no such thing as a moderate Syrian opposition

The Syrian Arab Army has multiple charities that go house to house looking after its men in uniform.

On the margins of terror: Daesh and the new geography of hate in Sinai

The systematic neglect of border regions by military-backed governments in the Middle East has enabled the success of extreme terrorist groups in these marginalised areas, resulting in 'geographies of hate'.

The Islamic State's arrival in Gaza

With a never-ending siege on Gaza, the economic capacity of Palestinians has shrunk to an unbearable limit where families struggle to feed their children. A breeding ground is thereby created for extremism and radical ideologies. 

Gendered paradoxes of Egypt’s transition

Four years after the downfall of Mubarak, women face a new patriarchal bargain: abandoning all forms of independent organizing in return for protection of their rights.

EU and the Arab world: 'cooperation' to fight terror is an excuse

Maged Mandour

The EU is following a bizarre logic, where support is given to autocratic regimes who benefit from the rise of extremist groups, instead of seeking reasons for the rise of radicalization among European youth. Why?

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