Showing posts from December, 2012

Divided Egypt

Tomorrow (Friday), we can expect a series of demonstrations - pro-Morsi/pro-Constitution and anti-Morsi/"just say No" to the Constitution.  These will occur in Alexandria and elsewhere outside Cairo, plus here - especially in Tahrir and perhaps even more so in the square outside the Presidential Palace (known here these days as the Qasr al-Ittihadiya, Federation Palace).  (See the grandeur that this used to be, before "Hosni" turned it into his private "White House.")

If last Saturday's results from round 1 of the referendum continue, it is nearly certain that round 2 (this Saturday) will confirm a "yes" vote - but not by a great majority.  The expectations are about 55-58% yes, to 45-42% no. 

So - not really a huge mandate to create an Islamist-oriented Constitution for all 85 million Egyptians!

Even without the statistics of a vote (and who knows if these are even true results? Nearly all Egyptians I speak to don't believe them), it i…

Tahrir & AUC

We took a stroll through Tahrir, and past AUC, on 16 December.  Afterwards, I kept asking myself: "what the hell were we thinking?!"

There were no demonstrations, no tear gas, no protests.  Yet, we were clearly in the wrong place (even if at the "right time" - i.e., a time of no imminent danger).  Still, when a fight did break out on the street, a fight that "in normal times" would be handled easily, and ended peacefully - this one started boiling over and getting more heated.  We simply got out of there before it got worse.  And we were being "nudged" (firmly!) to get a move-on by an elderly gent who was pushing us down a side street, where he was headed also.

So, we moved back through the side streets, past McDonald's and AUC-of-old, and as we did so, a very young boy started pulling the barbed wire across the street.  (The next morning we learned from the newspapers that Tahrir was "shut off" from what few streets still had tra…

Results of Referendum, round ONE

The pro-Muslim Brotherhood press, and the Brotherhood itself, claim that 56% of Egyptians voting in Round One of the Referendum process voted YES.  Opposition press and parties and individuals who are against the "new regime" say that votes were stolen, the process was rigged, ballots were "stuffed" into boxes with "YES" already marked. 

In short - nothing terribly new for Egyptian election politics. 

But then again ... Egypt is indeed striking out in fundamentally new directions.  a new Constitution is being presented to the public; there are splits between a seeming majority of Islamists or pro-Islamists and "the rest of Egypt."  And the polls that I saw were filled with "real voters" - people of all "walks of life" coming out to express what they feel will be their accurately recorded vote, one way or the other.  That spirit of democracy building seems very real, even if there is pessimism about the end result: an Islami…

Egypt's Referendum Day (part 1)

It's a chilly, smoggy morning in Cairo as Egyptians (how many?  and of what "persuasion"? - these are 2 of the biggest questions) go to the polls today to begin voting on an Islamist-crafted Constitution.  Only about half of Egypt votes today; the other half next Saturday.

My friend Abduh is already out at the polls with reporters.  He (and I) will update things as the day progresses.  Stay tuned!

(above) Cops sharing a cup o' tea - no demonstrators here to worry about...
(below) "NO to the Constitution" on the Egyptian flag
 (below) long lines of men (on left) and women (on right) in our area of Cairo (Zamalek)

 (below) "le" (no) on a waste-basket on a light pole.  Women queuing up to vote.