Tag Archives: egypt

A postcard from Egypt

 

Whilst I write this, I sit in a classroom near central Cairo along with a group of 25 mostly Egyptian students. As part of a Model United Nations conference, they are discussing terrorism in Central and Western Africa. They do so not in their native Arabic, but in English – and across the corridor, there is a similar discussion being conducted in French. They have researched the countries they are representating, they are speaking confidently and knowledgeably about the topic, and they show more respect for each other in their debating skills than many of their adult counterparts. Their ages range from 12 to 18.

Many people here are finding the UK’s decision on Sharm el-Sheikh airport a difficult one to follow. They understand the need to protect the UK’s citizens, but are confused by a need to protect their own. Egypt’s economy depends on tourism to a massive extent – from sun seekers in Sharm and Hurghada, to historical voyages to Luxor, Aswan and Cairo itself. The country also has a young population, with an average age of 25, and youth unemployment as high as 1 in 3.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…Britain should not be rolling out the red carpet to President al-Sisi

Today, in the House of Commons our Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Tom Brake, asked an Urgent Question highlighting the appalling human rights record of the Egyptian Government – led by President al-Sisi, who has arrived in the UK for a state visit. While David Cameron was rolling out the red carpet for a human rights abuser in Downing Street, in parliament it was yet again Liberal Democrats who stood up for his victims.

The Egyptian President heads a government with a poor and deteriorating human rights record. The imprisonment and torture of political prisoners and an increasing use of the death penalty are at the heart of its suppression of dissent. Since January 2014 438 people have been sentenced to death – shooting up a league table on which no civilised government should want to feature. 63% of these sentences were handed down for involvement in political protests.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Opinion: In every conflict, there is always more than one side to the story

Protests in UkraineIt is always tempting to view the world in black and white. When Good is pitted against Evil, who in their right minds would want Evil to succeed? We can all happily unite behind Good and therefore feel Good about that ourselves.

Sadly, the world isn’t like this. This may seem like an outrageously obvious statement, but it is not intended to be patronising. Reactions from various politicians to recent events have given the impression that many political conflicts are indeed black and white.

When the Arab Spring began over 3 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: Protecting journalists and foreign correspondents – it’s about time

What is currently happening in Egypt in my view is a very sad and violent transformation. Yet as a native of this country, I believe this to be an internal process and should be shaped only by Egyptians living in Egypt.

However, what should not be accepted as an internal matter is the level of intimidation and violence against journalists and foreign correspondents, particularly foreign journalists and those working for foreign media organisations.

They are unwittingly being sucked into a political turmoil they do not control. They are seasoned professionals caught in the line of fire while doing their …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

The Independent View: The crisis in Egypt is not in anyone’s interest

egypt fistsThe reaction of the US and EU governments to the crackdown on protestors in Ukraine has been swift. EU governments seem to be considering possible sanctions on Ukrainian officials, the US warned the Ukrainian Government of “consequences” on relations, and the Prime Minister of Ukraine was not allowed to speak at the World Economic Forum at Davos. This stern reaction comes as up to five protestors have been killed in clashes with the police in Kiev over the past week.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Opinion: The Egypt crisis and the role of the UK

For the benefit of Lib Dem members who read LDV I thought it useful to offer up a perspective on the current crisis as a contribution to understanding on the topic – especially important from a Coalition perspective given the UK Foreign Secretary’s recent highly controversial pronouncements.

Historically the military has had a major role in Egyptian society and its age-old pursuit of autonomy & independence – from the centuries of Mamluks to the post-independence military governments, and President Mubarak’s Western-backed thirty-year de facto military rule. The state, whilst strong on ‘security’, is generally incompetent and corrupt, such that it is …

Posted in Op-eds | 9 Comments

Sir Menzies Campbell says Egypt violence must end after “barbaric” events

In an interview with the BBC News Channel, Sir Menzies Campbell said that the international community, led by the US, should work to bring an end to the violence in Egypt. He described yesterday’s events as barbaric.

He said that the US was best placed to use its leverage, based on its funding to the Egyptian army, to initiate the process towards a sustainable political settlement. While in the long term there were strong arguments for those funds to be reduced, doing so at the moment might do more harm than good as it would remove the ability to set conditions.

He …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

Opinion: The Arab Spring – a liberal paradox?

What should a liberal make of the Arab Spring as it becomes a bloody winter? The recent wave of violent protest at a mindlessly Islamophobic YouTube video is not an isolated incident. In Tunisia in June, hardline Salafists attacked an art gallery and a trade union office. Since Egypt’s revolution there have been regular attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority. An Islamist-dominated panel reviewing Egypt’s constitution is likely to water down women’s rights, making child marriage easier and withdrawing from international conventions protecting women and children(£). Husni Mubarak, Egypt’s former President, must be wailing “I told you so” …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 20 Comments

Opinion: Postcards to Political Prisoners and the disturbing case of Mikael Nabil

On 14th December, the decision of Egyptian student and pro-democracy activist Mikael Nabil’s retrial was announced; his sentence was reduced from three years to two. The result of this retrial, leaving little room for further appeal, shows a serious miscarriage of justice, particularly when considering that despite being a civilian, Mikael was sentenced by military tribunal.

Even before the Arab Spring began, Mikael was taking an active role in promoting democracy in Egypt. He was part of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) delegation to the 2009 Liberal International congress in Cairo. Since 2006, Mikael has used his blog to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Why Mohamed Al Bouazizi should be the Liberal Voice of 2011

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

So speaks the first few lines of our constitution. They should be enshrined in everything we do – for if we’re not fighting for this, then, as Liberals, what are we fighting for at all?

So when I think about who should be the Liberal Voice of the Year, I think about who has done most to make those values real. …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

New edition of Liberator magazine

The latest issue of Liberator magazine (issue no.350 – January 2012) has just been mailed to subscribers. For those of you who are not yet subscribers, here’s a summary of the contents:

  • The editorial column Commentary examines the electoral consequences of the Autumn Statement for the Liberal Democrats. It also castigates the party’s Federal Executive for deciding against running candidates in next year’s police commissioner elections.
  • The insider gossip column Radical Bulletin begins with a report on the party’s decision not to contest the police commissioner elections.
  • Alice in Wonderland’ – Paul Crossley (leader of Bath

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Egypt – time now for the power of votes in ballot boxes

Egyptians have risked, and continue to risk, so much for their future. Back in February, there was jubilation in Tahrir Square, at the ousting of President Mubarak after forty years of autocratic rule. There was hope for a more democratic future. Nine months on, they are back in Tahrir facing military and police brutality, asking why the ruling military council is denying the people that future.

These are the most sustained protests since Mubarak was ousted. Nearly 40 people have been killed. It is thought that many have been shot dead by the security forces. Many hundreds are injured. There are …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Lessons from two Egyptian revolutions compared

The Egyptian revolution of 1919 helped bring about independence, whilst that of 2011 may well bring about democracy. Events of 2011 took place with heavy use of the internet, yet those of 1919 took place before the electronic computer had even had its début. So is talk of the internet’s role in 2011 over-hyped?

One reason for scepticism is that half-way point that Egypt is even now still at. A dictator may have been ousted, but it was as much military coup as popular uprising, for it was the army’s initial unwillingness to try to stop the protests and then its …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment

The weekend debate: How ethical should our foreign policy be?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The military coup in Egypt was met with widespread international support – because it deposed President Mubarak. Similarly, the sending of troops into Libya by Britain and other countries to help people leave has been met with barely a whisper of concern about whether or not troops should be sent into another country without any UN motion or similar. Yet pragmatism and self-interest is hardly all the rage – for Tony Blair’s attitude to Libya has been coming under much criticism as has …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

When traditional media, the online world and recession meet

Robert Pelletreau, a former American Ambassador in three of the countries very much in the news, Bahrain, Egypt and Tunisia, has highlighted how difficult it is to predict where protests will strike:

Tunisia had not seemed particularly shaky. It was a country that seemed to be doing many things right: universal education for men and women, low military spending, and positive economic growth. A large middle class was developing, and the country had become a popular tourist destination for Europeans. The government was authoritarian but also determinedly secular and pro-Western.

The role of social media has, with some justification, been given …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

PMQs: The Pillsbury Doughboy takes on Motherhood and Apple pie – and loses

For the second time in three weeks, a LibDem asked the first question at Prime Minister’s Question time. Bob Russell asked, first of all, for the PM to list his engagements for the day. As usual, there was the same response as there has been for virtually every week since Noah was in short trousers. “This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others and, in addition to my duties in the House, I shall have further such meetings later today.” Same question, same answer, every blinking week. It is hard not to have a mite of sympathy with …

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , and | 33 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Nov - 6:38pm
    @ Bill le Breton "there now are circumstances in which we would support a Johnson minority government." If that happens that's me gone for good...
  • User AvatarRossMcL 21st Nov - 6:35pm
    Bill - if there is a hung parliament we can vote on things issue by issue. So, if the Tories are the largest party they...
  • User AvatarMartin 21st Nov - 6:35pm
    The policy always was that the Party would support a new referendum if proposed by another party. To me this seemed more obviously aimed at...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 21st Nov - 6:01pm
    David, WA = The withdrawal agreement PD = The Political Declaration on future UK/EU relationship WAB = The Withdrawal Agreement Bill
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 21st Nov - 5:57pm
    It is not 'lofty theorising'. Last night the party 'pivoted' away from Revoke. The pivot is that there now are circumstances in which we would...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Nov - 5:43pm
    @ Bill le Breton " WA/PD – in the WAB". Could we please have a translation of this before I get completely Wabbed. Wabber, wabber...