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Month: March 2012

Samira’s honor, the army’s shame

Published in Egypt Independent on March 23, 2012 On 11 March, a military court acquitted a former military doctor accused of conducting the infamous “virginity tests” on a number of women who had been detained by the military in March of last year. The case was brought by a 25-year old woman, Samira Ibrahim, who was among those on whom these degrading and humiliating tests had been conducted. Immediately after hearing the verdict, Ibrahim collapsed in tears, considering it a travesty of justice. Soon thereafter, however, she decided to take her case to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’…

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Boycotting the German University in Cairo

Posted on Facebook on March 21, 2012 The reasons for my call for a boycott of the German University in Cairo and declining to attend the conference on “Downtown Cairo” due to be held at GUC on 24 and March 25, 2012: I believe that the university, any university, must be an open place where everyone has the right to express their opinion without threat or intimidation; this right, furthermore, should not be limited on campus to a certain place or time. Providing a climate that is conducive of intellectual and academic debate at the university is conditional upon the…

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Egypt’s students should play politics

Published in Egypt Independent on March 12, 2012 When I worked as an assistant professor in the department for Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, I often represented my department at the large freshmen fair which was organized at the beginning of each academic year to welcome new students and to walk them through the different departments, disciplines and activities available on campus. What really amazed me at this annual fair was the large number of student clubs and organizations, which reflected an extremely rich and diversified student life. These clubs did not have only artistic, cultural or social goals,…

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The production of knowledge

Published in Egypt Independent on March 6, 2012 During my student years at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in the early 1980s I used to work as an employee at the university library. This was by far one of the most enjoyable jobs I have ever had. On Saturdays, when no classes were held, but when the library itself was open, I used to be the supervisor of the whole library, and in this capacity, I would come at ten in the morning and leave at eight at night. Like many quirky librarians (I suspect), I would spend these…

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