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Omar Robert Hamilton

أهلاً بكم في ليسبوس

[إنقاذ لاجئين قبالة جزيرة ليسبوس. الصورة من السفير]

  أرى الشاب من الليلة الماضية، يجلس لوحده، يدخّن، ويبحلق في البحر الأسود الممتد أمامه. هاتفه مُطْفأ في يده. بجانبه أكثر من عشرة شباب ينامون تحت بطانيّات رمادية. وعلاماتها الكبيرة التي تشير إلى المفوضية العليا لشؤون اللاجئين في الأمم المتحدة ترفرف في الريح. «هل أنت بخير؟» «نعم، الحمد لله. وأنت؟» «جيّد. هل يمكن أن أساعدك؟» «تساعدني؟» لم أكن أرتدي السترة المميّزة. هو يظن أنّني هربت معه وقد نزلت من القارب للتو. شرحت له: «أنا متطوّع هنا في ليسبوس. هل أنت بحاجة إلى ...

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Hollow Words: Egypt, Italy, and Justice for Giulio

[Giulio Regeni]

Multiple fractures, cigarette burns, abrasions, fingernails forcibly removed and every finger broken, dozens of lacerations all over the body, on the soles of feet and ears all ending in a broken neck and suffocation. Giulio’s body was found semi-naked by the side of the road.  The marks of Egypt’s security services are instantly recognizable. No one has any doubt about who killed Giulio Regeni. And so Egypt and Italy’s diplomatic and economic relationship has been ...

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Another Promise To Be Fulfilled

[11 July 2011, names of fallen marytrs in the 25 January Revolution written in Arabic on the walls of Suez. Image originally posted to Flickr by Lilian Wagdy.]

The light is different in Zeinhom. The narrow street, arching trees, and gentle slope of one of Cairo’s only hills combine to soften the bright, direct light that casts the city in her familiar monochrome. The light comes at you at an angle. Maybe it is the hill. Or maybe it is because I only go to Zeinhom early in the morning, to go to the city morgue. Today we were there for Bassem Mohsen. He was shot on Friday at a protest in Suez. He was rushed to Cairo, to Qasr al-Aini ...

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Devastation Is Upon Us

[19 November 2013, revolutionaries gather at Tala'at Harb Square before heading to Mohamed Mahmoud St. Image originally posted to Flickr by Hossam el-Hamalawy]

They say that before you drown a calm fills you. A subtle euphoria loosens your last grip on life. Today, two futures lie ahead of us: one known and one unknown. Today, twenty-seven people sit in jail. Alaa Abd El Fattah, Mohamed Al-Rifae, Mohamed Hosny, Taimour, Mamdouh Gamal, Abdalla Zekky, Dr. Yehia and his son Mahmoud, Peter Galal, Abdelhamid, Kougy, Ahmed al-Attar, Mostafa Yousri, Wael Metwally, Ahmed Nabil, Hossam Shawky, Moka, Nubi, Salaheddine, Yassin, Hany, ...

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Everything Was Possible

[On the first anniversay of January 25 Revolution, Egyptians took the streets stating that the demands of the January uprisings still stand, Cairo, Egypt. Image originally posted to Flickr by Sarah Carr]

I sit, for the twelfth hour now, alone and struggling for what to do. For the first time since I got on a plane for Egypt on 29 January 2011, I am at a loss. Worse days than today lie ahead of us. We thought we could change the world. We know now that that feeling was not unique to us that every revolutionary moment courses with the pulse of a manifest destiny. How different things feel today. I will not bury our convictions, but that feeling—youthful optimism? naiveté? ...

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Totalitarian Democracy

[The Arabic reads:

The cover of the current issue of Time Magazine calls Egyptians “the world’s best protestors” and “the world’s worst democrats.” The startling ignorance of this cover highlights a fundamental question that — in the current climate of frenzied analyses of Egypt — is not being asked: Is it more democratic to elect a dictator, or to topple one? Democracy alone was never a fundamental demand of the Egyptian revolution. Bread, freedom and social justice: These are the demands ...

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Selective Memories

[25 January 2012, the road to the Interior Ministry is block by this security checkpoint making impossible for protesters to continue their march. Image originally posted to Flickr by Sarah Carr]

I am neither a supporter of Mohammed Morsi nor of the Egyptian military. To place oneself in either camp is to assert an allegiance to hierarchy, patriarchy, capitalism, secrecy and violence. The military and the Brotherhood are not two poles that encompass Egyptian society; they are two elitist organizations with vast domestic networks, international connections, opaque business interests and legions of foot soldiers. And yet, in the international press, readers are being ...

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