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Philip Rizk


On 14 August, A Belated Obituary for Bassem Mohsen

[Bassem Mohsen. Photo courtesy of @ghariebS via Twitter]

I met Bassem Mohsen for a few moments in July 2013. He was upbeat and hopeful that the army had taken hold of power from the Muslim Brotherhood. I remember being surprised by his quick optimism. He believed that these generals were different than those who had ruled during the period of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, following former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. After all, they had deposed our most recent nemesis, the Muslim Brotherhood. My only and very ...

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Is the Egyptian Revolution Dead?

[27 November 2012, anti-Morsi protest in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt. Image originally posted to Fllickr by Gigi Ibrahim]

The short answer is “No.” A longer answer follows. What happened in Egypt between 30 June and 3 July was not a coup against an elected government. It was another attempt by the generals to co-opt Egypt’s January 25 Revolution. The situation’s complexity and its globally and ideologically charged nature makes it hard to see the forest for the trees, here is my view on why the revolution is far from over: In the space of a few days, Mohamed Morsi went from being a ruler who ...

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The Necessity of Revolutionary Violence in Egypt

[A (misspelled) message on the wall in a Cairo metro station:

“All politics is a struggle for power; the ultimate kind of power is violence.” - C. Wright Mills Violence is related to notions of justice. In Egypt there are two forms of justice that we have been fighting for since 25 January 2011: social and retributive. Their absence has been compounded by the ongoing application of structural forms of violence against us: primarily economic and judicial. As a result, Egyptians increasingly see the state as having lost its ...

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Revolution’s Cost

[Protesting the constitutional referendum heading from Al-Abbasiya to the Presidential Palace. Image originally posted to Flickr by Moud Barthez.]

He told me to get off at the last kiosk on the highway that connects East with West Cairo. After the driver dropped me off, there was no one to be seen in the area. I walked down the concrete stairs by the side of the road. The stairs led me into the pit of this neighborhood named after a village that never was. There was Mahmoud, sitting in a coffee shop only meters away. He told me he had stood by the road for some time waiting for me but then had gotten cold and came down ...

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الإنتخابات الديموقراطية: إيماء (ما بعد الـ) كولونيالي

[.جبهة شارع محمد محمود في المعارك التي دارت بين ١٤ و١٩ نوفمبر . تصوير حسام الحملاوي]

سعود عمر، هو عضوٌ في نقابة عمال قناة السويس، ترشح للانتخابات البرلمانية كمستقل عن دائرة مدينة السويس الساحلية. لكن قبل أن يتوجه الناخبون إلى صناديق الإقتراع في الدورة الثانية يومي 14 و15ديسمبر(كانون الأول)، تم استبدال الأرقام المخصصة للمرشحين بشكل مفاجئ، رغم أن العديد من الناخبين يعتمدون على هذه الأرقام للتصويت لمرشحهم المفضل، نظراً لطول وتعقيد لوائح الإقتراع. وفي حين أن ملصقات عمر في بعض أنحاء المدينة، تشير الى أن رقمه 62، فإن الرقم الذي ظهر بجانب أسمه على لائحة ...

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Democratic Elections: A (Post-)Colonial Telling

[The front line of the Mohamed Mahmoud Street battles of Nov. 14-19. Image Source: Hossam el-Hamalawy,]

Seoud Omar, a member of the Suez Canal Authority’s workers union, stood for parliamentary election as an independent candidate in Egypt’s port city of Suez. Just a week before the people of Suez went to vote in the second stage of elections on 14 and 15 December, the numbers assigned to each candidate on the ballot were suddenly changed. Many voters rely on these numbers to identify their preferred candidate in a long list of names on a confusing ballot paper. While Omar’s ...

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Tahrir August 1st: Masquerade for a Lost Legitimacy

[Military police personnel run after demonstrators in Tahrir square in Cairo, August 1, 2011. Source: REUTERS]

After a nearly three-week long sit-in, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) sent their forces—the same forces that are reportedly tasked with “defending us from our external enemies”—to violently attack peaceful demonstrators, clear a site of protest, and, with the help of a propaganda media machine, try to win over more support of the Egyptian public. I will map out the logic I see in this violent rampage. From his perch @kikhote captures an important vantage ...

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Effects of Neoliberal Policies on Farmers and the Food Price Crisis in Egypt (Video)

[Image from screen shot of film.]

“Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave, eats a bread it does not harvest, and drinks a wine that flows not from its own wine-press” - Khalil Gibran Since the late 1970s the Egyptian government has steered the country toward economic liberalization. This entails the rolling back of the government's role across all public sectors, the lowering of import tariffs and an increased drive for exports. One of the sectors that were hit hardest by ...

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Philip Rizk


Philip Rizk is a film-maker and activist based in Cairo, Egypt. He is a member of the Mosireen Collective and the Popular Campaign to Drop Egypt's Debt. You can follow him on twitter: @tabulagaza