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Decoding Egypt: Egypt and Israel: Can Deep Contradictions be Settled?

By Nael Shama “In reading a text, one must open it out both to what went into it and to what its author excluded.” Edward Said On May 30, Daily News Egypt printed an article in its commentaries page entitled “In Defense of Reason, Not Israel” in which commentator Amr Yossef aimed at refuting three …


Decoding Egypt: How Mubarak’s mindset contributed to his downfall

By Nael Shama If political regimes can be compared to movies, then Mubarak’s Egypt was like an uneventful long one whose unanticipated thrilling end offered a delayed consolation to its disgruntled audience. After three decades of lifeless politics, the final, dramatic 18 days of Mubarak’s rule was a breathtaking saga of hope, fear, tears and jubilation. …


Decoding Egypt: A vindication of the right to revolt

By Nael Shama “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.” (Victor Hugo) In politics, industry, trade, sports and even fashion, a “revolution” is loosely defined as sudden or dramatic change. In the popular consciousness, there are two common ways of looking at the notion of political revolution. First, a revolution could be seen as …


Decoding Egypt: Mubarak’s regime against the Washington Post

By Nael Shama CAIRO: Egyptians feel so bitter today as they see their country, an ancient civilization and a political powerhouse in the Middle East, sink into poverty and underdevelopment at home and nearly recede into irrelevance regionally and internationally. After decades of authoritarian rule, the ambitions of the regime are now limited to maintaining its …


Decoding Egypt: A forecast of Egyptian parliamentary elections

By Nael Shama CAIRO: Political scientists usually refrain from being drawn into the notoriously slippery forecasting game. Politics is a multi-faceted process, and the various types of interactions among the different players and variables in any historical setting produce a complex situation, that is prone to quick changes and is thus highly unpredictable. To cite just …


Decoding Egypt: 1967, 2010: The annals of defeat

By Nael Shama It was the summer of 1967, immediately following the Six Day War when an Egyptian PhD student was having coffee with a friend, also Egyptian, at a café in Kurfurstendamm, Berlin’s main boulevard. The tightly packed café allowed for casual chit-chats among strangers, and so the Egyptian friend was caught in a conversation …


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