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Month: August 2013

The threat to Egypt’s mighty state

Published in Ahram Online on August 25, 2013 Even in exceptional times, legitimate violence as embodied by the state — its army and police — is based on popular consent, which means oversight and asking questions. Without this, the state itself is at risk It is often said that Egypt saw the first centralised state in world history. That may be very well true. However, the modern Egyptian state cannot be said to be more than 200 years old. It has nothing to do with the Pharaohs or the Ptolemy. Two pivotal events contributed to the foundation of this modern…

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General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a profile

“General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi“: a profile by BBC Radio 4’s Edward Stourton in which I am interviewed, August 25, 2013 (at 1:24, 9:22, 12:10, 13:18). Edward Stourton profiles the Commander of Egypt’s Armed Forces, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, now the most powerful man in Egypt. General al-Sisi was appointed Defence Minister and Head of the Army by President Morsi in August 2012, and he was thought by many to be sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. But he was instrumental in Morsi’s downfall in July and oversaw the subsequent violent suppression of Muslim Brotherhood supporters. His former teacher from the US Army…

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Opera in Seattle

Posted on Facebook on August 12, 2013 Yesterday I had the following conversation with a cab driver in Seattle, WA: Driver: so where have you come from? Me: New York. It’s been a long flight, and I am dead tired. Driver: Do you live in New York? Me: Not any more, I used to. I lived there for 12 years teaching in a university . Driver: We’ll soon be in your hotel. But tell me, where are you originally from? Me: Egypt. Driver: Well, that’s a beautiful country. But tell me, do you still have these pyramids? Me: Last time…

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