Friday, 27 July 2012

Watani Newspaper: Coptic youth say Church must withdraw

Coptic youth say Church must withdraw
Nader Shukry

Under the slogan “A constitution for all Egyptians”, Coptic activists joined the Maspero Youth Union (MYU) today in holding a demonstration at the grounds of the St Mark’s Cathedral in Abassiya, Cairo. The purpose was to call upon the Church to withdraw its representatives in the constituent assembly that is currently writing Egypt’s new constitution.

According to the MYU’s Andrawus Eweida, coordinator-general of the union, the efforts within the constituent assembly to write an Islamist constitution give rise to very little hope that Egypt may be getting a democratic constitution. The representatives of Church, Eweida said, have not been able to stand to this tide. Their presence on the assembly panel, he said, would only serve to lend legitimacy to an Islamist constitution.

MYU media committee head, Hany Abu-Leila, said that the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly appears to be seeking to transform Egypt into an Islamist country that would fit within their global project for an Islamic caliphate. The constitution now being written, he said, promises to represent various sectors of Egyptians very poorly or not at all.

For their part, Copts Unfettered and the Coalition of Egypt’s Copts refrained from participation in the demonstration which, according to the Coalition’s Fady Youssef, was a move hostile to the Church. He explained they preferred to talk the matter over with the Church leaders, and that they were already in the process of discussing the matter with the acting patriarch Anba Pachomeus.

WATANI International
27 July 2012

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Egyptian History on Facebook, Part 5

Damanhur Cannon 1899

Khan al-Khalili in Ramadan

Luxor 1918

Suez 1904

Tahrir 1980s

Monday, 23 July 2012

Roundtable on the Language of Revolution in Egypt

A submission I made to Jadaliyya generated a great debate among Robert Springborg, Joshua Stacher, and myself. You can access my contribution here, and the entire roundtable here.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Abdel Halim Hafez: The High Dam

Source: Arabic Song Lyrics and Translation Blog

We said we will build, and indeed we built, the High Dam.
O Colonialism, we built the High Dam with our hands.
We said we will build, and indeed we built, the High Dam.
O Colonialism, we built the High Dam with our hands.
With our money, with our workers’ hands.
With our money, with our workers’ hands.
That’s the word; indeed we built it.
We said we will build, and indeed we built, the High Dam.
O Colonialism, we built the High Dam with our hands.
Excuse me, I’d like to say something.
This isn’t a story about the Dam;
It’s a story about the struggle behind the Dam.
It’s our story, the story of
a people who, for the sacred march, rose and revolted
A people advancing, lighting sparks with each step.
A fighting people for whom victory was written.
Will you hear the story?
Just tell it from the beginning!
It’s the story of a war
Between us and colonialism
Do you remember when the people became Westernized
Inside their country?
Yes, we remember!
And the forceful occupier enjoyed himself
In it – him alone?
We haven’t forgotten!
And the gallows were for whoever was coming and going;
And the blood of the free who passed away in Denshawai.
Here it all started;
The people began the story.
Our struggle,
By the fire of our wounds,
Was written with the blood of the victims.
And we overcame! We overcame! We overcame!
We overcame the day the army rose up and revolted,
The day we lit the fire of its revolution,
The day we expelled corruption,
The day we liberated the country,
The day we made them withdraw!
We overcame! We overcame! We overcame!

The good, beloved land returned
to the hands of its owners.
We took back its glory and the treasures
lost in its soil.
We said, “Let’s go build its future
and return to it its youth.”
”What will we do?”
It was natural that we look to the Nile,
which holds our souls in its hands.
It dies and is lost in the sea,
while the deserts long for it.
We said, “Let’s build a High Dam,
a High Dam, a High Dam.”

But colonialism made it very difficult for us.
Why should we give it back our glory?
What did he do?
He went to the bank which helps and gives.
A clerk told him, told us, “I have nothing for you.”
”What did we say?”
There was a powerful outcry
In the square in Alexandria
A cry given by Gamal
And we nationalized the canal!
We nationalized the canal! We nationalized the canal!
That blow came from an instructorم
who made colonialism surrender.
And the economic blockade:
It brought its weapons and its planes,
Its submarines and its tanks,
And attacked to make us submit.
We were fire that ate their armies.
Fire that says, “Do you want more?”
And we overcame; their disgrace is still memorialized
in the soil of Port Said.
And Pan-Arabism… every home stood with us,
And the free people stood against those who attacked us.
And we overcame! We overcame! We overcame!

This, then, is the people’s story.
a people who, for the sacred march, rose and revolted
A people advancing, lighting sparks with each step.
A people Gamal made victorious.

We said we will build, and indeed we built, the High Dam.
The High Dam!
O Colonialism, we built the High Dam with our hands.
The High Dam!
With our money, with our workers’ hands.
With our money, with our workers’ hands.
That’s the word; indeed we built it.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

English Translation: Mursi Statement on Judiciary

Source: IkhwanWeb

July 11, 2012

The Presidency assures its deep respect for the Constitution and the law, true appreciation of the judiciary and honorable judges of Egypt, sincere commitment to the decisions issued by the Egyptian judiciary, and determination to effectively manage the relationship between State authorities, to prevent any potential clashes.

We assure that our decree No. 11 / 2012 to overrule the decision to dissolve the People’s Assembly (PA), therefore inviting it to reconvene and perform its duties, and to hold early elections within 60 days of the adoption of the new constitution and the law of PA elections, was intended to affirm respect of the judiciary’s decisions and the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC)’s ruling, defining the right time for its implementation, in order to best serve public interest for the benefit of the country, to preserve state authorities, especially the elected PA, so it can carry out its duties so as to avoid a legislation and oversight vacuum at this critical stage.

Although the SCC’s ruling issued yesterday has prevented the PA from completing its duties, we will honor this decision because we respect the law, are governed by the rule of law, and respect institutions. We will, in consultation with all political forces and the Supreme Council of Judicial Bodies, seek the best way to get out of this situation, in order to steer this country beyond this crucial stage, and to address all the issues the country is facing today and may face in the coming period and until the adoption of the new constitution.

Star Gazing on Facebook

[Ahmad Shawqi and Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab]

Friday, 13 July 2012

Watani Newspaper: Baha’is in trouble with new constitution

Baha’is in trouble with new constitution

Nader Shukry

As work proceeds full speed at drafting Egypt’s new constitution, vociferous calls for maintaining rights and freedoms are raised. And even though Egypt’s population is composed of mainly Muslims and a relatively large minority of Christians, this does not mean small minorities of other religions—or even non-believers—do not exist.

The new constitution has, so far, acknowledged only the “three heavenly religions”, meaning the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Other religions are simply not acknowledged; their members have no rights under the new constitution. This has been a source of severe concern for rights activists who insist that full freedom of belief should be recognised.

Among the prime victims of the new constitution’s concept of freedom of belief are the Shia, Baha’is, Sufis, and others. The Baha’is especially feel threatened, since they had gone through several battles in court during the years before the 25 January 2011 Revolution, according to which they had gained significant rights. Major among them was that they were able to have the religion box in their IDs vacant, instead of having to choose between one of the three heavenly religions.

Saïd Abdel-Messih, the lawyer who represents the Baha’is says that the new constitution, as such, curtails freedoms and threatens the civil character of the State. In comparison with other constitutions of civil States, he says, in which the freedom of the individual is the basis of all freedoms, Egypt’s new constitution places the Baha’is in a position where they are prime targets for discrimination. It also defies all the court rulings that were issued in their favour, he says.

According to Ishaq Ibrahim, a rights activist and researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the new constitution violates the basic principle of freedom of belief, and violates international treaties to which Egypt is signatory. Freedom of belief, Ibrahim reminds, secures the freedom to adopt whichever faith an individual chooses, as well as the freedom to move from one faith to another, and not be forced into a certain faith.

The new constitution, Ibrahim says, not only threatens freedom of belief; it is also a potential cause for land disputes. This relates to a general confusion in Egypt between freedom of belief and the freedom to practice religious rites, which in turn implies the right to build places of worship. It is important, he points out, to make a distinction between freedom of worship, which can be practised at any time and in any place; and the right to build places of worship, which is regulated according to rules and laws.

For his part, the head of Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination calls upon all the national forces to stand up to the curtailed freedoms in the new constitution which, if passed as such, threatens the entire community and its social peace on account of the discrimination it is bound to foster.
“Religious belief is, in the first place, a relation between an individual and his or her god,” says Baha’i activist Basma Moussa. “And the new constitution should represent every sector, no matter how small, in the Egyptian community.”

WATANI International
13 July 2012

Monday, 9 July 2012

English Translation: SCAF Response to Presidential Decree

Source: Ahram Online

Given recent developments, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces stresses the following:
  • The SCAF since assuming responsibility [power] has always been on the side of the people, and has never resorted to any exceptional measures, and has improved the institutional work of all state institutions, stressing the importance of the legitimacy of law and the constitution to preserve the status of the Egyptian state, and out of respect for its great people.
  • Decree number 350 for the year 2012, issued by the SCAF, came in accordance with the council's authority and represented the implementation of a verdict delivered by the High Constitutional Court, which declared the People's Assembly null and void since its election.
  • The Constitutional Deceleration issued on 17 June 2012 came as a result of the political, legal and constitutional circumstances that the country was facing. It ensures the continuity of state institutions and the SCAF until a new constitution is drafted. We are confident that all state institutions will respect all constitutional declarations.
  • The malicious accusation that the SCAF cut a deal [with the presidency] is an important issue that shakes the pillars of patriotism that we have always stuck to and respected.
The Armed Forces belongs to Egypt's great people, and will always fulfil its promises and be on the side of legitimacy, the constitution and the law for the sake of the people.

English Translation: Presidential Decree Restoring Parliament

Source: Ahram Online

Official Gazette

Decree of the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
No. 11 of 2012

The President of the Republic

and the international treaties that the Arab Republic of Egypt,
and as law 73 of 1956 on the organization of political participation,

and law 38 of 1972 about Parliament and its amendments,

and the judgment of the Supreme Constitutional Court in the case No. 20 of the judicial constitutional year number 34,

and the President of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces's Decision 350 of 08-07-2012,
has decreed:

Article 1: The withdrawal of Decree No. 350 ordering the dissolution of the People’s Assembly as of Friday 15 July 2012.

Article 2: The return of the elected People’s Assembly to hold its meetings and exercise its powers as provided for in Article 33 of the Constitutional Declaration issued on March 30, 2011.

Article 3: The need to hold early parliamentary elections, within 60 days from the date of approval by Parliament of the new Constitution and the completion of the People’s Assembly law.

Article 4: Publication of the present decision in the Official Gazette.

This decision of the presidency was issued on 8 July 2012, 1433 AH.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Egyptian History on Facebook, Part 1

Battle of Abu Qir

Grand Continental Hotel, Cairo

Sporting Beach, Alexandria, 1934

Tanta Postcard

Tram in Sharia Fuad