Sunday, March 20, 2011

Letters from Egypt: Controversial Outcome to Saturday’s Elections

One of the latest murals cropping up throughout Egypt showing support for a secular Egypt, Christians and Muslims: One Hope, One Pain
Saturday was the first “democratically-held” elections that Egypt has seen in a long time, if ever. Egyptians, at least 16 years of age with identification cards, went to local high schools to vote on constitutional referendums which included a quick presidential election to be held within six months.

Many voters said “no” to this proposal as it does not give enough time for opposition parties to organize their campaigns. However, Referendum Chairman Mohamed Attiya said that Egyptians voted more than three to one in favor of the amendments with 41% of eligible voters turning out.

I suppose the three-to-one ration includes a majority of people whom I do not know since everyone I spoke to voted no. My own poll: three-to-zero in favor of postponing presidential elections. In fact, I only heard of a friend of a friend that actually said yes. And now everyone is in a frenzy.

This video is one of many that went viral inspiring computer-savvy Egyptians to vote no while giving background as to why, and I think that there should be stock in the use of multi-media since that was proven to be the main backbone of the revolution.

And yet, the outcome came to a resounding "yes" followed by concerns of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Egypt's best organized political forces, the Muslim Brotherhood and members of the former ruling party, campaigned for passage,” according to NPR. So ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to get your panties in a wad and get geared for another al-Qaeda/Hamas faction…

No. Not really.

For the 1000th time, why is so much stock being placed in the Muslim Brotherhood? The Muslim Brotherhood constitutes a very small percentage of Egypt. They had nothing to do with the revolution, only took part after it gained speed. The younger Egyptians called on the revolution and the younger Egyptians will NEVER support the Muslim Brotherhood.

NPR continued: “The Brotherhood, which has strongly campaigned for the adoption of the changes, advocates the installment of an Islamic government in Egypt. The ambivalence of its position on what role women and minority Christians play under their hoped-for Islamic government — like whether they could run for president or be judges — worry large segments of society.”

Oh for the love of God, STOP THE PRESS ON THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ALREADY!!! CAN’T YOU SEE IT ONLY SERVES AS A RECRUITMENT TOOL (as I blog about this – pot, kettle, black).

If the election outcome was rigged, it isn’t to back the Muslim Brotherhood. It is only to put the military at a greater advantage to install yet another military ruler. Don’t believe me, look at the history in Egypt and throughout Africa.

I was getting my hair done a few weeks ago and my hairdresser, Ahmed, began discussing the most viable presidential options as he saw it. He discussed the Muslim Brotherhood and said, “We will never let them control our country.” Ahmed is not a young Egyptian, but rather a mid-40 year-old from a poor area outside of Maadi.

Were the elections “free and fair”? I’m sure that isn’t the case, but it is an uneducated fool that would think such progress could be made overnight. However, it is hoped that with each new election, it will get better.

Who are most Egyptians gunning for? Ahmed said, “I don’t know who will be our president. I can’t say. I just hope that he leads with a good heart.”

Another message painted on a school wall with the Christian symbol (cross) and Muslim symbol (moon)

This Week's Eat of the Week:
It's been awhile, but long overdue - a new eatery that you have to try. While also located in the Nile Mall on the Maadi Corniche, a new branch has made its way to Maadi's uber expat friendly Road 9. The service is excellent, ambiance is definitely great for a date or just to have a casual lunch. Three flat screen tvs are on display running the Discovery Channel and the music is a good mix of jazzy yet relaxing. It is a lot bigger inside than it seems and the food - well, if you can eat a whole plate you must be in training for a food contest or sumo wrestler. 

I had the Garlic Mushrooms, panseared garlic in a soy mustard cream sauce. Delish! Then I had the Auckland Salad with chunks of grilled chicken breast and mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, colored peppers (could've done without personally), olives and corn. My friend had the Italian Sausage sandwich which comes with a small salad served in a taco shell and french fries. If you haven't tried it yet and are looking for something while doing the typical Road 9 shopping, I suggest walking in. it's across from Massoud's grocery and beside Alef bookstore and Abu Zekry's.


  1. Hmm...if I remember correctly from reading a Wall Street Journal article they had stated that the Muslim Brotherhood was fractured in Egypt with some of it's youth being responsible for engineering the protests. Also that these same youth were frustrated by the hardliner leadership sections of the group and had even held office a few years ago as representatives before being purged by the government. Also that these youth believed pretty much in the tenets of liberal western democracy, ie rights for women, etc. On the one hand it is a western media source and they have shown themselves to be questionable in Middle East reporting yet on the other hand they are the Wall Street Journal so...

    Glad to hear elections are happening though. Really hope everything goes well for Egypt and they get anybody BUT another military dictator in as the new president.

  2. The WSJ was also taken over by Rupert Murdoch, the demise of American media and founder of entertainment news/yellow journalism, in 2007.

    The MB had absolutely NOTHING to do with the protests coming about, even saying in the beginning that it would not join. It did not join protests on Jan. 25 which is the first day of the revolution. Then as everyone (at least on the ground in Egypt) predicted, they would undoubtedly jump on the bandwagon. Blogger Wael Abbas and another writer were the main sources behind the revolution via the use of multimedia outlets.

  3. Yeah I figured that on the Wall Street Journal. It's sad that someone like Rupert Murdoch is allowed to buy such a pretigious paper in this country and put it's accuracy in question. It's sad when you think about how bad American media has gotten. Guess I'll try to look at the AP more and hope they won't lead me astray....

    Thanks for the insight on that. It's nice to have a voice on the ground there to tell me what's really going on. The major news networks/western news media can talk about how they're the,"most trusted news organizations..." but often they're reporting is coming into question more and more these days. Still, I think American reporting beats British reporting at least, as I noted working on British newspapers a few years ago.

  4. The best way to get information is to read all news sources: BBC, Al Jazeera and WSJ/NYT (for example). Take the commonalities among all three and then look at local news sources (make sure it isn't government owned). Then judge for yourself. I think Al Jazeera is wonderful, unless discussing Palestine, then it's completely lopsided.

    When Murdoch took over the WSJ, many of their best reporters left and went to Conde Nast's Portfolio (which has since folded). Murdoch claimed he wouldn't change it too much and now this Jewish guy Nick Saban wants to buy the LA Times and NYT in order to make them pro-Israeli.

    What I realized throughout this revolution and watching/reading the various news outlets was that I thought American media was bad but I realized that it far extended past the US. I even questioned my passion to continue journalism and wrote to my very first executive editor about my dismay. Thankfully he offered some profound advice and now I'm still disgruntled, but able to cope. The AP is still good though - for the most part.