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Egypt’s Dystopia Is a Lesson for the World

Article written by Jack Shenker and published in Vice on 25 January 2021 Ten years after the revolution, Tahrir Square is sanitised, the dictatorship in place harsher than the one it replaced. But while the revolutionary generation came from ruins, it is not ruined. “Is this intensive care?” someone shouts, as the hospital corridor convulses with panic. Medics rush from room to room; crowds of concerned relatives begin to gather; an equipment trolley has spilled to the floor. Amid the commotion, some patients are bent over, seemingly gasping for breath. Others are surrounded by hospital staff, who are desperately attempting…

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MESSAGGIO COLLETTIVO DELL’UNIVERSITÀ DI CAMBRIDGE SULLA LIBERTÀ ACCADEMICA, IN MEMORIA DI GIULIO REGENI, 25 GENNAIO 2021

Cinque anni fa, Giulio Regeni veniva sequestrato, torturato e brutalmente ucciso al Cairo mentre faceva ricerca sul campo per il dottorato che avrebbe conseguito presso l’Università di Cambridge. La morte di Giulio è stata una tragedia. Un colpo terribile per i suoi familiari e i suoi amici. Un evento orribile per i suoi colleghi universitari a Cambridge, al Cairo, e per l’intera comunità accademica globale. Si è trattato anche di un assalto al principio di libertà di ricerca accademica che contraddistingue il lavoro di tutte le università, e che Giulio incarnava. Questa settimana ci fermiamo, nel ricordare le qualità di…

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Hosni Mubarak

Entry in the Oxford Companion to Comparative Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, c2013), Joel Krieger, editor in chief. Born on 4 May 1928 in the Nile delta village of Kafr al-Mouseilha, Hosni Mubarak received his education in small schools in his home village. Upon finishing high school, he joined the Egyptian Military Academy, from which he graduated on 2 February 1949. He then joined the air force and received his commission as a pilot officer on 13 March 1950. Throughout his education, and unlike many of the young cadets of his generation, he did not develop any political interests…

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“State paradox”: Adam Sabra’s review of In Quest of Justice

Adam Sabra published the following review of In Quest of Justice in al-Ahram Weekly, issue 1437, 4-10 April 2019. Khaled Fahmy’s fascinating and important new book addresses fundamental questions about the nature of Egypt’s modernity. Tracing the origins of forensic medicine to the middle of the 19th century (1830-1880), Fahmy offers a revisionist account of the origins of the modern Egyptian state and its relationship to Islamic law. Critical of modernisation theories of both the right and left as well as of Islamist critiques of the legitimacy of Egypt’s path to modernity, Fahmy suggests that Egypt under the descendants of…

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Adventures in the Archives (5): a murder case from 1863

The following is a homicide case adjudicated by Majlis al-Ahkam in 1280 AH / 1863 CE   You can download it as a pdf here: Ibrahim al Saidi qisas case And the following is a transcription: ١. مضبطة صورتها مجلس بني سويف كان أرسل للأحكام قرار وأوراق بإفادة رقم ٢٦ صفر سنة ٨٠ نمرة ١٣٢ تبين منهم أن شيخ ناحية القضابي بمديرية المنيا المسما ٢. علي عبد الهادي توجه في يوم ١٥ محرم سنة ٨٠ للمديرية مع أشخاص حاملين نفر مقتول يدعى قمح حسن من الناحية المذكورة وقرر بأنه كان بمنزله في ظهر ذاك اليوم ٣. ولما سمع عن قتل النفر…

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Adventures in the Archives (7): Hamama the foul-mouthed woman

This is a case from 1054 AH / 1644 CE And this is how it appears on the entire page of the register (the uppermost case): and this is a transcription of the case:     And this is a pdf of the transcription: Hamama the foul-mouthed woman-transcription

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Adventures in the archives (4)

In spring 2017, I taught a class at Harvard on Arabic paleography and archival skills. Each week, we’d read a couple of Arabic, hand-written archival documents that I had culled from the Egyptian National Archives. The documents were mostly from the 19th century, although some dated from the 16th and 17th centuries. I’d have the documents transcribed and the quaint and odd words explained in advance. On their part, the students were supposed to a. translate the document,  and b. practice reading it at home and be prepared to read it in class from the original, hand-written text. The documents ranged…

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