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Plus ça change: Egypt

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The way they have reacted on several issues gives the impression that what they are working to achieve is a pre-revolution Egypt, except with Mubarak’s NDP replaced with a new Islamic NDP.

Refaat Mohamed
9 September 2012

A lot of people have been criticizing the newly elected president Mr. Mohamed Morsi and his administration even before they won the presidential elections,  even before his political party ( Freedom and Justice) won the majority in the parliament elections. The Freedom and Justice political party, closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, has been accused of many things, including profiteering off the Egyptian youth revolution, betraying the people of the Egyptian revolution, and having secret agreements with the former regime and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

These accusations might not be very fair towards the Muslim Brotherhood in general, as they have been the unofficial opposition to the regime for almost 80 years, but I can accuse them with a good conscience of lacking a huge amount of imagination – imagination which is quite essential for the change and reform that Egypt needs. Their definition of the revolution and its desirable outcomes are simply too far removed from the ideas everybody else holds dear.

It is natural for people to have very different hopes and dreams of the revolution. For instance a Salafi would not share the same dreams as a socialist or a liberal, and there is nothing wrong with that. What would be wrong would be for me to exclude everyone else, and go on pursuing my own dreams, and aspirations, regardless of the hopes and demands of the other parties, which I have been observing closely from the moment that the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Salafi Party attained their majority in the parliament. It is all too obvious what they want when you look at their choices for who should be on the committee forming the constitution, for example.

At the beginning of the revolution, I saw for the first time the prospect of a secular, peaceful, embracing, well-developed country in the making, which will have ripe fruits of development, civility, and prosperity in the next 20-30 years. This is no longer the case. The Muslim Brotherhood have their eyes on a different goal. In the beginning I thought they had their eyes on a target that lay somewhere between the Iranian and the Turkish model of a nation, strictly abiding to the teachings of Islam, but of such power that they no longer needed to compromise with the west or any other external forces. But time has kind of proved me wrong. The way they have reacted on several issues gives me the impression that what they are working to achieve, is a pre-revolution Egypt, except for Mubarak’s NDP, replaced with a new Islamic NDP.

Take transparency for instance. We still don’t know what actually happened with the head of Sand the minister of defence, Mohamed Tantawi, and Sami Anan. Was it a soft coup, or was it an agreement for a safe exit? Is Morsi planning on punishing, or at least making them accountable for all the political shortcomings including massacres, that they did during the transitional period?

Another thing that needs to be clear for the masses: we need to know the criteria for picking government officials, for we are seeing random people with random qualities being appointed to random positions and posts.

We haven’t witnessed any change regarding the attitude towards the youth, whether if it is represented in the lack of empowerment and delegation, or the way youth groups like the football ultras, and the university student unions, are handled.

There was a recent incident that showed that the Muslim Brotherhood have no intention on changing the way the government or the state views art. What happened was that there was a crackdown on the “elsawy cultural centre” which is one of the most popular culture centres, famous for its probity regarding performers and performances.  A lawyer appointed by the Muslim Brother hood filed a report against the culture centre, its performers and its audience, accusing them of worshipping Satin, an accusation which had happened once before -  in the Mubarak era in the late 90s.

I was kind of relieved when I heard Khairat al-Shater, considered second in command in the Muslim Brotherhood , saying that there is no solid plan for their campaign; because I know for sure that the Egyptian people won’t tolerate much more chaos, or any more of the messed up ways that were our lot before the revolution, ways that to date, we are still witnessing now.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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