From the Editors
On 24 January 2011 – a day before the arc of Egyptian history would be altered – the film Microphone was screened. Microphone documents Alexandria’s pre-revolution underground scene of artists and musicians fighting a passive oppression that suffocates their ability to nurture their creativity. Khaled (played by Khaled Abol Naga), who has returned to Egypt from the US, wishes to aid the youth by providing them with a venue and funding for nurturing their talents. ...Keep Reading »
A Salafist Muslim intellectual, overlooking an Alexandrian beach last summer, tells me over coffee: “The cosmopolitanism of our city [Alexandria] may look like it has died, but the skeletal structure of cosmopolitanism is still there. It is this structure that underpins the spread and acceptance of ideas, including Salafist ones, that makes this city a formidable force.” This “force” also makes Alexandria the vanguard city of Egypt's socio-political developments. A glimpse ...Keep Reading »
A Jordanian Islamist recently expressed his disappointment: “Egyptians are not giving President Mohammed Morsi a chance!” I responded, “Would you be this forgiving had Hamdeen Sabahi, a secular Nasserist, issued a decree that gave himself exceptional powers?” Silence. Irrespective of Morsi “rescinding” those powers, the continuing theatrics matters to a larger, if at times unacknowledged, constituency. Across the Middle East, Islamist offshoots are carefully watching the ...Keep Reading »
In 2007, Mohammed Morsi, then chairman of the Brotherhood’s political department and member of the Executive Bureau, complained of the inability of Washington to match its rhetoric on promoting democracy in Egypt. He said that Israel had no interest in a democratic Egypt as it “would do more to support the Palestinians.” Now Morsi, having brokered a Gaza ceasefire, has shown that his policy on the Palestinians is no more imaginative than Mubarak-era policies and, partly as a ...Keep Reading »
No other library in the world today courts as much international awe and controversy as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina – the resurrected library of Alexandria that was unveiled ten years ago to commemorate its forebear lost in antiquity to a fire. A UNESCO project that started off as an idea by Alexandrian academics in the 1970s quickly gained pace with the aim of becoming “the fourth pyramid,” as the toppled president Hosni Mubarak put it, and endowing the “Mediterranean ...Keep Reading »
On 6 June 2012, I will join countless others in commemorating the second anniversary of the death of Khaled Saeed, the twenty-eight-year-old Alexandrian who was beaten to death by plain-clothed policemen. The screams of Khaled echoed through Egypt and sparked the rapid countdown to the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Khaled was the neighbor down the street to whom I, admittedly, paid little attention. Yet his posthumous transformation from another face in the neighborhood to ...Keep Reading »
Amro Ali is a Middle East analyst, stand-up comedian, and PhD scholar in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. His research examines the changing nature of power relations between Egypt and the Arab world, particularly in regards to the role of soft power and non-state actors. He has a Master of Arts with Honors in Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies and a Master of Diplomacy from the Australian National University. He administers the Facebook group "Alexandria Scholars". He also blogs at www.amroali.com and Tweets @_amroali.