Why do things look different?

Because the site has moved its hosting system. This is a work in progress and some recent comments may have been lost in transition. The site will be further changed over the course of the new few weeks and new features introduced. Stay tuned.

For those of you who subscribe via RSS, things should be fine as long as you used the RSS address used for several years — this one. Likewise, those who are subscribed to the site's Feedburner mailing list should have little interruption in service (see sidebar).

One advantage of this new system is that the site should be rendering much better on mobile devices.

And yes, I will be blogging more next week than I have in recent weeks — when burn-out, work and travel took all my time. But be patient with the site as I work out the kinks of this transition.

New Book: The Journey to Tahrir

A new collection of articles about Egypt that appeared in Middle East Report in the last decade or so is now out. It's edited by Chris Toensing and Jeannie Sowers, and includes a piece by me as well as other blog contributors, friends, and leading Egypt experts (Mona El-Ghobashy, Tim Mitchell, Joel Beinin, etc.). It's a great way to review late Mubarak Egypt and the January 2011 uprising, as well support the excellent MERIP.

Get your copy now.


Meet Ashraf Khalil, get "Liberation Square"

Come meet Ashraf Khalil, author of  Liberation Square and contributor to the Arabist Podcast at these AUC events:

► On Thursday, May 3, 2012, at 1:00 pm in Mary Cross Lecture Hall, AUC New Cairo Campus. 

► On Monday, May 7, 2012, at 6:00 pm at the AUC Press Tahrir Bookstore, AUC Tahrir Campus (entrance from Mohammed Mahmoud gate).

► Both events will include a book signing and a question-and-answer session.

► For more about Ashraf Khalil's Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation (AUC Press, 2012), click here. For a recent interview with the author, click here.

► "Tear gas still lingered acridly in the air, and blood spattered the asphalt, which had been gouged and broken up to create fresh projectiles." To read the complete prologue of Khalil's book, click here.

(If you're not in Egypt, you should pick up a copy of Liberation Square on Amazon or your local bookshop.)

The Arabist to go dark on Jan 18 to fight SOPA/PIPA

The Arabist will be going dark on January 18 (Egypt time) to protest the SOPA and PIPA, two bills promoted by the American entertainment and publishing industries currently making their way through Congress. The bills are so bad that even the White House opposes them. Some major sites, including Wikipedia, Reddit, Boingboing and others will be goinb black on this day, but there’s a special reason for us to join in: in a SOPA world, the Arab Spring’s inventive use of the internet would have been much more difficult, if not impossible.

The problem with SOPA and PIPA is that they break the internet. They add all sorts of liability problems when a site links to another: we have to be sure that this site has the right to display the media it contains. They would give power to companies to decide to block sites they feel infringe of copyright laws. They would stop the wonderful culture of remixing cultural production to give it a new message, a subsersive act widely used throughout the Arab Spring and before. Check out the video below that explains much more.

In addition to this, I think this industry cannot be trusted to censor the internet (no one can be trusted to do that) but also that it does not deserve to be. This is the same industry that lets you buy digital books on one device but won’t let you read them on another. Or that would not let you play a US DVD on a European DVD player. It’s out to maximize profits by setting up new legal liabilities (an already mounting problem in all walks of life in the US) to use and abuse in the future. All of this will make it considerably more difficult for labors of love like this website to continue.

If you want to do something about it, check out americancensorship.org and sopastrike.com.

Update: For example, this is the kind of thing people might not be able to make — or that could get Vimeo censored — if the bills get through:

Hello from ant1mat3rie on Vimeo.


Event: Cairo Divided

Our own Ursula Lindsey will be joining our friend Jack Shenker (of the Guardian) and others at the Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo to discuss Jack and Philip Jason (sorry!) Larkin's text and photo publication on urban planning in the Egyptian capital, Cairo Divided. See below for details.

January 18 2012, 7 pm

Hosted by Megawra and CIC

Jack Shenker presents 'Cairo Divided' together with Wafaa Nadim, Ahmed Zaazaa, Ursula Lindsey and Mohamed El-Shaheed

Amid an uncertain tide of political change, the controversial ‘satellite cities’ project is dramatically transforming peripheries into new urban centres and consigning old focal points to a life on the margins. Against the backdrop of national revolution, photographer Jason Larkin and writer Jack Shenker collaborated for two years to produce ‘Cairo Divided’, a free hard-copy publication exploring the capital’s rapidly-mutating urban landscape.

Please visit the project's website for more details.

On the road...

...till Thursday so don't expect election results here till the weekend, or answers to emails! But I will get back soon.

We have more coming on Salafists and their election strategies, the big picture of what these elections mean for Egypt, and I have meant to write about Morocco's elections too. All this coming soon.

On another note: some readers have complained that I should give the full RSS feed. I understand your pain, they are truncated to get pageviews which gives us ad money. I am considering offering full RSS feeds again, but was wondering if anyone would pay for them?

Your Middle East

We are pleased to announce a new sponsor for this site: Your Middle East, a website that provides breaking news and in-depth analysis from across the region.

Getting tired of scouring the web for the latest news on the uprising in Syria, the elections in Egypt, the transition in Tunisia, succession politics in Saudi Arabia or Qatar’s diplomacy? Your Middle East is a one-stop shop to what’s happening, with breaking news culled from various sources. They also feature analysis from people I really like, like Omar Ashour on Egypt or May Yamani on Saudi Arabia and have cool feature pieces, like this one on a road trip through the Moroccan Atlas. And they have apps for the iPad and iPhone too!

Our special page on Egypt's elections

It seems these days that every newspaper and think tank is launching their no doubt amply funded special Egypt elections websites. Not to be outdone by these upstarts, we are please to announce our own special election page that gathers up our own posts and tweets as well as resources on the elections, third-party news and analysis, and more. Bookmark it!

Plagiarism at al-Ahram Weekly

I am disappointed to see that the current issue of al-Ahram Weekly reproduces the chart of political parties designed by Jacopo Carbonari and published on this site without giving any credit. Not only that, they appaear to have modified the chart by removing his name, and used an older version of the chart that is incorrect. The editors have been contacted, and we hope they will issue an apology in the next issue.
Read More