Ghannouchi on HardTalk

The Ennahda leader on the BBC's interview show. A critique of the interview is here. Ghannouchi makes some controversial comments about Chokri Belaid's accusations of Ennahda tolerating violence, made shortly before his assassination.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Rural Egypt's anger

A good report from Kafr al-Sheikh by al-Jazeera's Rawya Rageh. This undermines the notion that unhappiness with the Brothers is mostly urban, some of the current crises — notably shortages in diesel — are actually more deeply felt in the countryside.

Update: This report highlights growing anger elsewhere, mostly in provincial towns rather than strictly rural areas.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Mental health break

To relieve your Gaza / Assiut train disaster / Mustafa Mahmoud / state of the world depression.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

For once, a half decent US debate on Israel/Palestine

Not a bad overview of the Israel-Palestine debate for a US TV channel. Watch out towards the end as David Frum stammers in answer to Noura Erakat's question about the settlements.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

How to open a pomegranate

Excellent technique for the lovely fruit we have this time of the year. The guy looks Iranian so I'm sure he knows what's he's talking about.

Via Shawn Blanc.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

This land is mine

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

 

By Nina Paley who has more info on who the different characters are. And if you haven't seen it yet, watch her Sita Sing The Blues.

[h/t: Moon of Alabama]

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Julia Gillard's awesome speech

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gilliard in a speech yesterday taking on the leader of the opposition in parliament after he raises naughty text messages sent by one of her cabinet's ministers. Really great, brutal speech.

This is the same woman next to which Mohammed Morsi readusted his, erm, package a couple of weeks ago — sparking a wave of jokes in Egypt.

Maybe that incident riled her up? 

Via Andrew Sullivan.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Egypt's filthy canals

This always astounds me when I'm in the countryside — the simply horrendous condition of the canals in a country where government long meant, essentially, the maintenance and upkeeping of irrigation canals. I don't think there's a better illustration of the extent to which Egypt has been badly run for decades.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Ahmed Shafiq: it's worse than you think

I am kicking myself for not watching and publicizing this video, showing Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq being interviewed on a prominent talk show, before. He's either stoned, drunk, or on some very powerful medication. Quite apart from slouching and slurring, the answer he gives to the question about what he has to tell the Egyptian people (1:50) is utterly surreal. 
The odd thing is that at other times Shafiq appears fine in the few other TV interviews he's given.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Mai Iskander's "Words of Witness"

I loved Mai Iskander's film Garbage Dreams and am excited to see that her latest documentary is out, and it's set in the backdrop of the 2011 uprising, focusing on the story of a young journalist.

Words of Witness is premiering this month at LA's FilmFest  — more screening times and locations available here.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Stacher and Brownlee on Democracy Prevention

In connection with our previous post excerpting Josh Stacher's book Adaptable Autocrats, here's Josh interviewing (fellow Egypt expert) Jason Brownlee about his forthcoming book, Democracy Prevention: The Politics of the US-Egyptian Alliance. Look out for their conversation starting at 06:50 on how the Obama administration did not embrace the Egyptian uprising and encouraged as much continuity as possible with the Mubarak regime — "they were trying to minimize the extent of change" says Brownlee.

SCAF's magic ballot box

The latest Aalam Wassef video.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Aboul Fotouh's puppet TV ad

I have some doubts and reservations about the candidate, but this television ad for Aboul Fotouh is super cute.

Once we kissed

It took me almost a year to collect this rare footage from Arab films between the 20's and the 60's. With the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism after the Arab Spring in 2011, extremists have been calling for a rupture with the past and censorship of our heritage. This is a reminder of who we used to be, and that one day we were capable of showing love rather than condemning it...

Inspired by Giuseppe Tornatore's "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" scene finale.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TflvNm22cpk

Music by Ennio Morricone


A wonderful video in the context of calls for strict censorship in state television and cinema in Egypt. More generally speaking, some of these kissing scenes from the 1940s-60s are more passionate than many scenes of the last 20 years.

[Thanks, KK.]

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

The Daily Show on Abu Ismail

Jon Stewart on Abu Ismail's American mama, making parallels with the Obama birther conspiracy.

Might also check out Egypt's own Daily Show, al-Barnameg, on Omar Suleiman serial failures as intelligence chief as well — Sudan split up, Gaza was taken over by Hamas, etc. A few years ago Suleiman was hailed by Foreign Policy as some kind of masterspy, but his record is actually fairly lackluster...

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Video: L'Bassline

L'Bassline is a new hip-hop group from Fes in Morocco — this song, Chayllah Systeme (Down with the system - actually "Chayllah is a kind of holy figure, a reference to the untouchable nature of the regime, a rather subtle play on word that I mistook for something else - thanks Aba!) tackles with a lot of politically sensitive subject, including electoral fraud, the new constitution, the Makhzen's economic stranglehold, and more. It's a fantastic test of one's darija comprehension, too.

Previous Fez rap video: http://arb.st/e03P1W.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Idlib, Syria

This is an excellent report by Al Jazeera in Idlib. I can imagine that this type of city to city fighting will only grow over time.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

The Factory

As part of al-Jazeera's great series on the Arab uprisings, this documentary profile the workers of Egypt's largest textile mill in Mahalla al-Kubra, who took to the streets on April 6, 2008 in the largest protests in decades, presaging the January 2011 uprising. 
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.