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Mai Shams El-Din

Two Years Later: Who Is to Blame for Rabea?

[Demonstrations in Sharqiyya commemorating the Rabea al-Adaweya Square massacre. Photo from the official Facebook page of the Freedom and Justice Party]

Two years after the bloody dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya protest camp that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people in August 2013, the Egyptian state insists on one culprit for the violence: the Muslim Brotherhood. On Tuesday, Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and a number of unnamed leaders in the outlawed organization were referred to criminal court on charges of organizing an armed protest camp, illegally possessing weapons, blocking roads, limiting ...

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Grieving Families Face Logistical Nightmare at Morgue

[21 November 2011, an injured protesters receiving first aid following clashes with the security forces, Cairo, Egypt. Image originally posted to Flickr by Al Jazeerah English]

A day after the bloody dispersal of two Islamist sit-ins by security forces left hundreds dead, the Al-Iman Mosque in Nasr City had been converted into a makeshift morgue, where ice and fans were used to cool the bodies of the slain protesters. Amid the chaos, grieving families there and at the Zeinhom morgue had to deal with the logistical nightmare of obtaining burial permits for those killed in the violence. According to the Health Ministry’s latest report on ...

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In Search of The Third Wave

[9 December 2012, caption: “down, down with military-hood. Translation: (the military and the Brotherhood)”. Protester in front of the presidential palace at that time denouncing the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. Image originally posted to Flicker by Hossam El-Hamalawy]

The ouster of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi has left the nation starkly divided down lines popularly described as either “fascist” or “terrorist.” The latter accuse the former of siding with the military in their tour de force against the Islamists, while the former describe Islamists as inherent lovers of violence. In the process, new groups are emerging that hope to create a third wave out of this impasse—but not without difficulty, or divisions of ...

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An Eyewitness Account of the Attack on the Presidential Palace Sit-in

[Protesters marching to the presidential palace on 4 December 2012, carrying banners calling for avenging the martyrs. Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy]

Clashes escalated between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi around the presidential palace in Heliopolis on Wednesday after the sit-in there was attacked.   Tens of protesters staging a sit-in were confronted in the afternoon by a rally of hundreds of pro-Morsi demonstrators in the absence of security forces. The day before, thousands had marched to the palace, denouncing a constitutional declaration issued by Morsi that grants him sweeping ...

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Revolution Protection Law May Fail To Live Up To Its Name

[Tahrir protests on November 23rd against the latest decisions of President Morsi. Image originally posted to Flickr by Zeinab Mohamed.]

After passing a controversial constitutional declaration late Thursday giving himself expansive powers, President Mohamed Morsy later went on to articulate the details of the Revolution Protection Law introduced in the declaration.  Meant to uphold revolutionary demands, the law failed to quell the anger of the thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square, who vociferously called for the downfall of Morsy and the new regime.  Although there have been numerous ...

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Mai Shams El-Din


Mai Shams El-Din graduated from the American University in Cairo with a degree in journalism. She worked mostly for local English-language news outlets but has also been writing in Arabic, particularly when it comes to her home city, Aswan, Upper Egypt. She covers a variety of issues, but is drawn to the student movement, campus politics, human rights journalism among other things. You can find her on Twitter @maishams