More candidates for the presidency

I have a bizarre love for American small town newspaper articles. Anyone who regularly types "Egypt" in Google News will come across thee latest Little League results for New Egypt, NJ, which I never fail to read if only for their Capraesque take on American life. Today, it's Elk Grove Times of Illinois that reports on yet another candidate for the Egyptian presidency:

Even though he's running for president of Egypt, Hoffman Estates writer Aladdin Elaasar does not consider himself political.


"My life is an open book. I just like to talk about people's issues," Elaasar said. "If there is someone who can provide services better, then they should. It's not partisan, it's not religious, it's just about public service."


And public service, Elaasar says, is what Egypt desperately needs. The country suffers from high rates of poverty, inequality, illiteracy, human rights violations and unemployment. The country's infrastructure and public transportation are falling apart, and it's polluted.


"People say there is a black cloud over Cairo," Elaasar said. "The city of Cairo is literally choking."


It's interesting what the Egyptian expat community is doing, but meanwhile, back home there are more candidates coming out of the woodworks, including a nephew of Anwar Al Sadat. Looks like he has his uncle's sense of panache.
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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.