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This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is submissions editor at openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Cognitive dissonance in Egypt

Mina Fayek

The Egyptian regime tries to show the world an image of respect for freedoms and rights while widely violating them.


Your fatwa does not apply here

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed Karima Bennoune as Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights. Read articles by Karima on openDemocracy 50.50's platform, Frontline voices against Muslim fundamentalism.

Egypt: pardon evokes frustration rather than celebration

Think about the thousands who are held in prison, with or without charge, with or without trials, who are not getting the exposure necessary to make their release a political win for Sisi. 

Breaking boundaries

Aliyah Tarek

The youth of Egypt are changing, but are these new attitudes temporary, or have they penetrated on a deeper level that can transform the next generation?

'Something wicked this way comes': the Arab transitions (part 1)

An excerpt from a NOREF report on the background to the current situation in the Middle East, focusing on the aftermath of the 'Arab Spring'. Part one: North Africa, Egypt and the Gulf.

Arms sales to Egypt: when rhetoric overtakes reality

It is impossible to show solidarity with the people of Egypt while arming and supporting the tyranny oppressing them, but this is the hypocrisy at the heart of western foreign policy.

Terrorist slippery slope

The UK government should look to what is happening to free expression in Egypt and Turkey before broadening terrorist laws to include those who "spread hate".

European values and the Arab world

Maged Mandour

EU politicians can promote 'European' values by stopping their support for autocratic regimes, and by starting to ask tough questions about radicalisation.

Persecution lurks for converts from Islam in Egypt

The story of Bishoy Armeya stands in stark contrast to the Egyptian regime’s public discourse on religious unity, and to the "absolute" freedom of religion guaranteed by the constitution.

Egypt's military economy

The army, now in government with international support, is increasing its economic power and is free to impose the conditions it deems suitable.

Window on the Middle East - July 28, 2015

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

Falling apart: a glimpse of life in Cairo

Maged Mandour

A personal account of returning to a profoundly changed city, and of worrying trends under military dictatorship.


Gaza's dark night

Palestinians want to leave. Nothing else. All Palestinians. Because there is not even drinking water anymore in Gaza. Even the Hamas guys in charge just want to leave.

Those who believe in freedom: Yara Sallam

Yara Sallam is starting the second year of her sentence in Qanater Women's prison outside Cairo. She says, "I do not feel any regret or self-defeat, the prison is not inside me." 

Whatever is happening to the Egyptians? (Part three)

A response to questions raised by Hesham Shafick and Radwa Saad's piece, 'Whatever is happening to the Egyptians - part 2'.

Seven trends dominating Egyptian media

Egypt’s media outlets are trapped in a web of biases. Seven trends have dominated the country's media landscape over the past two years.

A frightening vision: on plans to rebuild the Alexandria Lighthouse

If modern Alexandrian history is any indicator, rebuilding the lighthouse will become a symbol not of communal spirit but of excess, and a visible target of rage. 

Bleak prospects for the Muslim Brotherhood

Maged MandourThe main obstacle facing Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is arguably not physical repression, but the urgent need for self-rehabilitation.


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.

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