Even more on the opposition

I just want to add a few links to Issandr's detailed breakdrown of the Egyptian anti-MB opposition's quandaries and inconsistencies.

In a recent column in Al Youm Al Sabaa by Ahmad Maher, the April 6 leader, he summarized the reactive attitude of the oppositoin as "Act now, decide later" and its clinging to the methods of the revolution, two years on, as "eating soup with a fork." He ends thus:

Marches, sit-ins and demonstrations are important means, despite the presence of tens and perhaps hundreds of other means, but they miss the decisive factor for the equation: “the people."
The January 25 revolution did not succeed without the people, people are the decisive factor [...]. The battle to overthrow the regime is not only the departure of Mubarak or the departure of the military power or even the departure of Morsi, but it is a long-term battle that will not be resolved in one round, but in fact it is waves and battle points, a battle primarily with the forces of the past and the forces of tyranny in various forms. A long-term battle against the ideas of the past, methods of the past, rules of the past, parties of the past and behaviors of the past.
The people are crucial in that battle, as they were crucial in the beginning of the revolution, and we have to look around a little and ask ourselves: Is Tahrir Square the same Tahrir Square ? Are the marches still marches ? Are the sit-ins the same ? Is the “violence and chaos followed by army rule scenario” the revolution?
People are a crucial element, a maker of change, and in order to move forward they must be reached, talked to and convinced of the importance of defeating the forces of the past for a new future. But the “act first, decide later” approach will only cause further loss of time, effort, and the lives of young people .

It's worth noting that April 6 has not yet decided whether to support a boycott.

To boycott or not to boycott, that is the opposition's question. Elections were used, almost from the start and quite explicitly, to contain the revolution, not to advance it. The suspicion of the "democratic" process is not unjustified. And it is evident in writing such as this column, in which activist Amr Ezzat notes that these days "the broad public conversation around the 'value of democracy' and the 'choice' of army intervention seems very 'democratic,' to the point that one can imagine 'military coup' as one of the available choices in the upcoming elections. Why not? Doesn't democracy just mean letting the ballot box decide?" Ezzat goes on to argue, tongue in cheek, that since Islamist feel free to redefine democracy to match their own concept of cultural identity and "Islamist authoritarianism," then supporters of a military coup can certainly manage to find a way to similarly stretch the concept of democracy far enough to fit army rule. Ezzat coins a clever new word,  sunduqratiya ("boxocracy") to describe many non-Islamists' view of democracy in Egypt so far: purely electoral competition, where victory gives the winner the right to excercise power in the same old authoritarian ways. 

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Links for 08.30.09 to 09.01.09

BlackRock divests from Leviev, an ‘NYT’ advertiser (and guess who doesn’t report it) | "Note that the NYT’s op-ed page has run more than a dozen jewelry ads by now from Lev Leviev, and they’ve never mentioned anything about the campaign against him." ✪ Why Barack Obama's energy-dependence talk is just demagoguery - By Prince Turki al-Faisal | Foreign Policy | A warning from Saudi's Prince Turki against "energy independence"? ✪ In Egypt's Desert, an Oasis Blooms Anew - WSJ.com | Yet another article focusing on Siwa's ecolodges, owned by Mounir Neamatalla of EQI. No mention of the talk in Siwa of how Neamatalla has acquired much prime land in the area, though. ✪ Memo From Cairo - Hints of Pluralism in Egyptian Religious Debates - NYTimes.com | Slackman on the perennial "what is permissible in a conservative society" debate. I think what's important here is to recognize the role of private media (several owned and at times run by outright secularists) is offering platforms that is outside the conservative mainstream. This is Naguib Sawiris' explicit project with OTV; but it won't make much of a dent until you liberalize Hertzian (non-satellite) TV and radio. ✪ Morocco and its king: Popular but prickly | The Economist | On 10 years of M6. ✪ Riding the sea at Gaza - The National Newspaper | On surfing in Gaza. ✪ Untold Stories: Afghanistan: Vetting the Embeds | Nir Rosen on a PR company's report on him when he tried to embed in Afghanistan.
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Links for 08.22.09 to 08.30.09

Eric Hobsbawm's On Empire: when Hobsbawm writes, Angry Arab reads carefully | I just read this book and completely agree with Angry Arab's praise. ✪ Global BDS Movement | Website of the Boycott - Divestment - Sanctions movement. ✪ How settlements in the West Bank are creating a new reality, brick by brick | World news | The Guardian | Good story on the settlements by Rory McCarthy. ✪ Boycott Israel -- latimes.com | An Israeli's call. ✪ Privatization by other means: How the Public Transport sector was “murdered” at 3arabawy | How five years ago, eager to justify the privatization of public sector transport, the government stopped making spare parts available for Cairo's buses. Outrageous and worthy of more digging. ✪ Important Film | A cartoon for children against sexual harassment. ✪ Israeli watchdog sees no settlement freeze | "The construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank is continuing 'as usual', a group reported, despite the Israeli government's announcement that it has stopped initiating new housing projects." ✪ Ramadan under siege « In Gaza | On the pauperization of Gaza: there is food, because of the tunnels, but only for the few who can afford it. ✪ Mehdi Karoubi, un mollah atypique et réformateur, devenu le porte-parole de la contestation en Iran - Asie-Pacifique - Le Monde.fr | On the other reformist candidate in Iran. ✪ مدونة محمد بن عبد الكريم الخطابي | A new blog dedicated to the Moroccan anti-colonial hero Abdel Krim.
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