Mubarak propaganda & Kifaya

Pro-Mubarak banners have been spreading across the city for the last month at least. I have seen them in Garden City, near Abdeen Square, in Bab Sharia and in plenty of other arease. It seems like many local NDP officials are taking the initiative (oh wait they don't do that) and putting up "Nam Mubarak" messages. I think we can clearly expect an orchestrated campaign to "convince" Mubarak to run.

As far as the Kifaya demo. I was there too (I did a radio piece for yesterday's The World program . I think we need to be honest about the extent of these events. It was probably 300 people tops, and many of them are very familiar faces from the activist circuit. That said, they are on to something: make a real grassroots movement, unconnected to parties, with a simple slogan and goal, and that can include all Egyptians. The most important development is obviously the spread outside of Cairo. People can demonstratre on the steps of the Journalists Syndicate for the next 20 years, I don't think the authorities would care, but coordinated demos across the country send and entirely different and more powerful message. This is what lead to the arrests, which the Kifaya people should actually take as a "compliment." If the government is arresting them, it means it sees them as a real threat.

Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.