Podcast #23: The Sandmonkey Episode

In this week's episode, Ursula and I talk to the legendary Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey, a major figure of the online coverage of the uprising. Also known as Mahmoud Salem, Sandmonkey was an unlucky candidate in the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections, standing in a Cairo district. He tells us about his experience there and as an electoral campaign manager in second round in Suez, and how he sees the most recent clashes between protestors and the army in Tahrir.

Show notes:

Podcast #23:

Podcast: Electoral dilemmas

In this episode of the Arabist Podcast, we take a semi-break from the Egyptian elections to look at the bigger picture: the wave of elections bringing Islamists to office parties across the region, what Morocco's pretty tame Islamists might do, the electoral dilemmas of non-Islamists, and more. And we re-examine the issues of Saudi women getting behind the wheels, and the backlash against that from the powerful moron lobby among the Wahhabis.

Show notes:

Arabist Podcast #21

Podcast: Islamic Republic of Egypt?

In this edition of the Arabist Podcast, we introduce a brand new segment, Regional Cliffnotes, and then delve into the initial results from the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections. It's a triumph for the Islamists, with the Muslim Brotherhood getting a comfortable plurality, but the real surprise is that Salafists are the country's second political force.

And that's something that worries us.

Links for this week's episode:

Podcast #20

Podcast: Elections!

So the elections in Egypt are upon us, and they didn't turn out to be a catastrophe. In fact, the turnout is looking good. But should we all be celebrating? Ursula Lindsey and I argue that while Egyptians have shown they're ready for democracy, the process still leaves much to be desired. And in any case, what happens next?

As always, please do send us feedback and requests at podcast@arabist.net and do donate (or advertise) to keep these podcasts going!

Links for this episode: 

Podcast #19:

Podcast: Back to Tahrir

After the last two days' exceptional events in Tahrir Square, Egypt seems to teeter on the brink of another revolution or political chaos. We discuss the recent violence and the scenarios the country faces: more violence and authoritarianism from SCAF, or a new political direction for the transition. Or will Egypt judt muddle through again — if it can?

Podcast #18

Podcast #17: Doom and Gloom

Ashraf, Ursula and I talk about the Arab League's surprisingly tough line on Syria — what what regional games may lie behind it — and then despair about how badly prepared Egypt's elections are, looking at all the things that might go wrong. And we remind you to send in your questions and suggestions at podcast [AT] arabist.net, and donate or advertise to keep this site and the podcast going!

Links for this week's episode:



The Arabist Podcast #17

Podcast #16: %^&* the French!

We were away in Tunisia in late October and never got a chance to do the podcast we had promised from there — we were too busy enjoying the well-organized election, promising democratic prospects and excellent fish. We catch up and talk what we saw there, why Egypt is so much worse off with its own upcoming elections, and agree that the French need to grow up about Islamism.

Links for this week's episode:

Arabist Podcast #16: %^&* the French!

Podcast: Interview with Youssef Sidhoum

Youssef SidhoumLast week, I interviewed prominent Coptic intellectual Youssef Sidhoum about Maspero and the events that led up to it. I wanted to include it in this week's podcast, but since it was already long, I decided to release it separately. You can listen to it below, or get through your iTunes podcast subscription as usual.

The newspaper that Sidhoum publishes and edits, al-Watani, has an English section.

Interview with Youssef Sidhoum

Podcast #15: After Maspero

In this week’s podcast, we turn to the tragic events on October 9 in Downtown Cairo, when at least 25 people (mostly Coptic protestors) were killed at the Maspero state TV building. Ashraf, Ursula and I host New York Review of Books contributor Yasmine El Rashidi, an eyewitness to the massacre, and talk about what happened and its consequences.

Links for this week’s episode:

Arabist Podcast #15

Podcast #14: The Ones That Didn't Make It (Yet)

This week we discuss those Arab revolutions that are still in progress or are being stopped dead in their tracks: Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.

Links referenced in this week's podcast:

Podcast #14

Podcast #12: We regret to inform you that the revolution is cancelled

This week, Ashraf Khalil is back and we talk about the worrying turn Egypt's transition has taken, between the reinstatement of the Emergency Law, restrictions on media, threats against strikers and more. We also discuss Turkish PM Recep Erdogan's visit to Cairo, his reception by the army and Islamists, and which Turkish model is applicable in Egypt — if any.

Links for this week's episode:

The Arabist Podcast #12

Podcast #11: The embassy and the trial

In this week's podcast, AFP reporter Samer Al Atrush and journalist Steve Negus join Ursula Lindsey. We discuss the clashes of Friday 9 September, in which protester defaced the Ministry of Interior, broke into the Israeli embassy and fought the police, and ask: why did the army and police seem to stand back? And has the protest movement let itself in for a crackdown?

We also discuss Mubarak's trial (for ordering police to shoot at demonstrators, and for corruption) which so far has offered little in the way of a smoking gun and has been marred by chaos. Samer gives eye-witness accounts of the clashes around the Israeli embassy and of courtroom shenanigans.  

Links for this week's episode:

 (P.S.: we apologize to the poor sound quality of this week's podcast, due to technical problems and a broken microphone these were unavoidable.)

The Arabist Podcast #11

Podcast #10: Libya and its consequences

We delayed this week's podcast to bring you two guests with expert knowledge of the Libyan war and its regional consequences: Steve Negus, who just returned from Tripoli and Benghazi, and Middle East correspondent for The Economist Max Rodenbeck. (Ashraf Khalil is off this week dealing with a looming book deadline.) We talk about why Tripoli fell so fast and how secure it is now, what might happen in Sirte and Sebha, the last Qadhafi strongholds, and what governance might look like in Libya for the foreseable future. We also discuss whether there is a Libyan model for humanitarian intervention, what it might mean for Syria, Qatar's steroid diplomacy, and still more. Finally, we discuss Libyan novelist Hisham Matar's novels and play a song from Libya's reggae-influenced pop music.

Links for this week's show:

As always, do write in to podcast [AT] arabist.net with your comments.

The Arabist Podcast #10

The Arabist Podcast #8: What's up in Sohag?

In this week's podcast, we give an update on the Tahrir Square sit-in, wonder if the never-ending cabinet shuffle will ever happen, talk about the politics in Upper Egypt with our guest Steve Negus, remember the movies that defined the late Mubarak era, and review the new Arabic comic Tok-Tok.

Sorry for the exclusive focus on Egypt lately — we want to talk about things we can bring added value to, and these days we're pretty Egypt focused. Please do let us know what you think at podcast@arabist.net.

We'll be taking a break for the next few weeks, so both blog posting and podcasting will be light. But we should be back up to speed in mid-August.

Links for this episode: 

The Arabist Podcast #8

Podcast #7: No Satisfaction

In this week’s podcast, Ashraf Khalil is given time off and we host the not-street-artist Ganzeer, one of the brains behind Rolling Bulb and a series of murals honoring the martyrs of the revolution across Cairo. We discuss the current standoff between protestors camping in Tahrir Square and elsewhere, and review David Wolman’s The Instigators.

Link for this week’s episode:

The Arabist Podcast #7

Podcast: Lunch with the Arabist #3

A few weeks ago, I met up with the Council of Foreign Relations resident Egypt expert, Steve Cook (who blogs at From the Potomac to the Euphrates) and his colleague Jonathan Tepperman, managing editor of Foreign Affairs. After downing a few plates of calamari and bottles of Stellas at the Greek Club, we talked about the future of the US-Egypt relationship and how the Arab Spring has changed foreign policy thinking in Washington.

On a technical note: I am changing the server hosting the feeds and files for the podcasts. The new feed for MP3 is here and the new feed for M4A is here. (This has also been updated in the sidebar). Please update your podcatcher software accordingly — the old feed will continue to work for a while and will eventually redirect you to the new one.

As always, click the play button to stream or right-click to download.

Lunch with the Arabist #3

Police firings

The announcement by Minister of Interior El Essawy that he will fire over 600 police generals and officers has gotten quite a bit of attention. I did a piece about it for the radio show The World (featuring our good friend, activist Hossam el-Hamalawy) that you can listen to here. While the announcement is a positive step in the sense that it's an obvious response to the pressure of the protests, it begs the question: Who are these officers? Were they on their way to retirement anyway? Are they the ones accused of shooting protesters and of torture? 

I have a better idea for starting a purge of the Ministry of Interior. Every officer who, as happened earlier this week, doesn't show up to work -- to protest the total unfairness of demands that police officers actually be tried, and that those accused of murder be suspended from work -- should be sacked. That way you don't even need to spend a lot of time figuring out who the most dangerous psychopaths and troublesome assholes in the police force are -- they identify themselves. And anyway, as we keep being told, isn't striking illegal? 

Podcast #6: It's hot out there

On this week's podcast, we discuss the July 8 protests in Egypt, the raid on the second Gaza flotilla and Morocco's recent constitutional referendum.

Links for this week's episode:

As always, click the play button below to listen, right-click and save to download MP3, or subscribe to the RSS feed (see top right sidebar). For iTunes, we're still waiting to be listed — so follow the instructions here.

The Arabist Podcast #6