Category Archives: Uncategorized

دمياط تواصل معركة أجريوم

يواصل المئات من أهالي دميات اعتصامهم الذي دخل الثلاثاء يومه الثامن بالرغم من وفاة أحدهم في صدامات مع قوات الأمن يوم الأحد. وعلى الجانب الآخر، يبدو أن المصنع سبب الأزمة مستمر في العمل بالرغم من إعلان الحكومة إغلاقه.

ويستمر الاعتصام، والذي تسبب في إغلاق الطريق الرئيسية بدمياط، ضد مصنع مصر لإنتاج الأسمدة «موبكو» وهي الشركة التي يتهمها الأهالي بتلويث مياه النيل في المدينة.

وقد أدت مواجهات الأحد إلى مقتل إسلام أمين أبوعبد الله، 21 عاما، أحد المعتصمين، إثر تلقيه رصاصة في منطقة الصدر، بحسب ما جاء في تقرير رسمي للطبيب الشرعي الذي قام بفحص الجثة. Continue reading

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can alway preview any post or edit you before you share it to the world.

>Brotherhood woman candidate confident about electoral bid

>

BY: Ahmed Zaki Osman
Al-Masry Al-Youm

Bushra al-Samny, the Muslim Brotherhood female candidate in Alexandria, is confident that she is going to win the woman quota seat in Alexandria in the 28 November parliamentary elections.

“I’m not going to speak about other candidates,” al-Samny told Al-Masry Al-Youm. “People in Alexandria know who’s Bushra,” she said, seated in the official headquarters of the Brotherhood parliamentary bloc in Alexandria, surrounded by banners. Some carried the group’s newly adopted slogan, “Together we will change”, while others featured the traditional slogan “Islam is the solution” painted in Islamic calligraphy.

‫ ‬Al-Samny was born in 1960 has been a lifelong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. She was a leading female student activist at the University of Alexandria where she did her undergraduates studies in political sciences. Currently a schoolteacher, she is married to Ahmed al-Sokaily, a local leader of the Brotherhood in Alexandria. She has four daughters, three of whom are married to members of the Brotherhood.
‫ ‬
“I graduated in 1982. At that time the Brotherhood wasn’t very strong. Now, after 30 years, we have succeeded in making the group the most influential political and social force in the city.”
‫ ‬
After graduation, al-Samny got more involved in the Brotherhood’s activities such as supporting candidates in various elections, doing charity work and mobilizing activists in professional syndicates.
‫ ‬
Speaking quietly and maintaining confident eye contact, al-Samny, who tends to quote extensively from the Qur’an, doesn’t see any difference between religious and political duties.
“Elections are a religious duty. I was one of the women who were trained to run for election. When the Brotherhood assigned me to run in this race I agreed because it is a religious and national duty for a Muslim woman.”
Experts argue that the Brotherhood has historically taken a conservative stance against women and their perceived roles in society. In their first political party platform draft, issued in September 2007, women and Christians were denied the right to be president. The platform draft celebrates women as wives who bring up their kids in a good Islamic manner.
However, women affiliated with the group have been raising their voices and pressing for more presence in the group’s structural hierarchy.
In 2007, a female activist affiliated with the group criticized its conservative stance in a letter to the Supreme Guide at the time, Mohamed Mahdi Akef. The move was considered the first of its kind since 1928.
Al-Samny argues that men and women are equal in the eyes of the Brotherhood. “People who speak about discrimination against women in the Brotherhood don’t know the movement very well. We are equal and united around building an Islamic society. There is no difference in this context between men and women.”
Asked about why there isn’t any woman in the higher positions in the group such as in the Guidance Bureau, al-Samny argues, “we (women) will not be safe if we go for posts like that.”
“In such political contexts where the group is subject to systematic intimidation, it is agreed that women are better not to be in positions like that.”
However, the movement has been increasingly encouraging women’s participation, not only in the parliamentary elections but on other matters as well, according to al-Samny.
In the 2000 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood’s first female candidate Jihan al-Halafawy forced the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) to cancel the results of the elections in Alexandria’s al-Raml district after achieving a big victory against her ruling party rival.
In 2005, another female candidate from the Brotherhood, Makarem al-Deiri, a lecturer in Arabic literature at Al-Azhar University, lost an intensely-followed runoff in Nasr City against NDP tycoon Mustafa al-Sallab.
Al-Samny is following suit. Her campaign is fierce and competitive, but may also spur intimidation from ruling party rivals.
Last week, she was prevented from submitting her candidacy application to the Security Directorate of Alexandria. However, authorities accepted the papers the next day after a protest by her supporters in front of the Directorate.
“I am struggling even before the battle kicks off,” al-Samny exclaims.
At the beginning of her campaign, 70 supporters were detained as they started hanging her posters in the streets.
“I know that the restrictions will be huge for any independent candidate and for the Brotherhood in particular,” says al-Samny, “But I trust my popularity in the street,” she says, confidently.
Al-Samny will run for a woman quota seat in Alexandria, which brings the total number of Brotherhood candidates in Alexandria to nine, as opposed to eight in the 2005 elections.
Last year, the People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament, passed a law allocating a quota of 64 seats for women. The quota should raise the presence of women in the assembly to more than 12 percent of the seats in an expanded parliament of 518 seats as opposed to 454.
The Muslim Brotherhood, who won a fifth of the seats in the 2005 elections, refused the quota law, claiming it is a maneuver to extend the NDP’s hegemony over the electoral process.  “I am running because we need to challenge the NDP and provide an alternative,” says al-Samny.
Last year, Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Moufid Shehab said that the quota law, “ensures parity for women and promotes their role in society, as stipulated by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which Egypt has signed.”
Al-Samny doesn’t subscribe to such a belief. “I’m against this treaty [CEDAW] along with all the international conferences such as the Population Summit since they threaten the unity and customs of the Muslim family.”
In 1994, Egypt hosted the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which stirred a controversy for allegedly promoting abortion and pre-martial sexual relations.
“We don’t need to import western concepts to address our concerns. By adopting an Islamic approach, we can have a more appealing solutions to address women’s problems.”

>Egypt’s elections presses economy, say experts

>

Ahmed Zaki Osman
Al-Masry Al-Youm

Massive expenditure ahead of the parliamentary and presidential elections is slowing down the government’s ability to accelerate economic reforms, analysts say.
Boosted by the success of a new tax regime, the budget deficit in the fiscal year 2009-2010 has shrunk from 8.3 to 8.1 percent of GDP, the Ministry of Finance said in September. According to the ministry, tax revenue reached LE170.5 billion, 7.3 billion more than in FY2008/2009.


However, Egypt’s budget deficit is set to widen in the next in financial year  to LE109.3 billion (7.8 percent of GDP) and the total government debt will increase to 77 percent of the GDP, up from 66 percent in the last two years, according to Business Monitor International (BMI) in its November issue of Middle East Monitor.
Hamdi Abdel-Azim, professor of economics at Al-Sadat Academy for Administrative Sciences, argues that the cabinet is trapped.

“They want to proceed with their economic policy by raising taxes and cutting subsidies in order to raise the GDP,” he says. However, according to him, the National Democratic Party-based government can’t risk public discontent with such measures as the elections draw near.

According to the Middle East Monitor, “Phasing out energy subsidies and broadening the tax base will likely take a backseat to political imperatives for the time being.”
“The elections are shaping the dilemma,” says Abdel-Azim. “The NDP government knows that soaring prices of basic food commodities will adversely affect voters’ decision as they might vote against NDP candidates.”
Urban consumer price inflation crept higher in the September 2010 according to indicators covering the previous 12 months, and has reached 11 percent, up from 10.9 percent at the end of August. The rise is driven mainly by food prices which rose at least one hundred percent, according to the state statistics agency CAPMAS’ reports in October.
Two months ago, the government thought that it would be able to maintain the current level of food subsidies or even pay higher subsidies due to the relative stability of the global wheat stocks, says Gouda Abdel-Khaleq, professor of economics at Cairo University.
“It might be right that they don’t have a wheat problem in the short term but they have other serious challenges concerning the uncontrolled rise in food prices,” adds Abdel-Khaleq.
Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, witnessed food riots in 2008 because of the soaring costs of bread.
Meanwhile, the challenge now for the government is to adopt the policies announced by different ministers ahead of the elections, says Abdel-Azim.
“Reducing the price of 400 commodities or reducing the price of drugs, as government figures promised, are measures related to the elections. But they can’t go on with expanding public expenditure because it will widen the budget deficit.”
Abdel-Khaleq points to the publicity that the government wants around its measures to ease economic tensions as a pre-election strategy. He also points to the fact that the government keeps silent about policies that could raise mistrust among voters, such as privatization and tax increases.
Likewise the LE150 million grant to develop the country’s poorest villages is perceived as part of the government’s quest to generate voter satisfaction.
Minister of Local Development Abdel Salam Mahgoub said in September that the allocated funding will cover the expenses of some infrastructure work such as paving roads and linking village entrances to main roads, alongside projects to improve electricity.
Another example of what economic analysts associate with electoral campaigning is the government’s refraining from collecting fines from farmers accused of burning rice husk.
Rice husk burning started in the late 1990s, when farmers resorted to destroying it as it would accumulate in their land after the crop harvesting.
Economic expert Abdel-Khaleq Farouk argues that the government distributes bonuses and incentives to government employees in every single ministry ahead of the elections.
He adds that infrastructure projects suddenly surge in most constituencies where there is a strong NDP presence.
“By launching such social and economic projects at this time, the government is simply offering electoral bribes,” says Abdel Khaleq.
For Osama Ghaith, economic expert and journalist, this kind of public expenditure will not ease the social tensions because it is temporary and will fade out after the elections, under the pressures of the widening budget deficit.
“The government is in a vicious circle. It thinks that by expanding the public expenditure, it will please voters and this might be true in the short run but they will suffer forever,” he says.
Ghaith expects such economic campaigning strategies to last until after the parliamentary elections, and to recur around the 2011 presidential elections.
For the Middle East Monitor, refraining from the economic reform policies eventually leads to “crowding out the private sector and limiting growth potential over the medium term.”
Beyond economic indicators, for Abdel Khaleq, such temporary measures will only lead to the further impoverishment of people, as they don’t possess a measure of far-sightedness.

>Eye on elections: How violent could it get?

>

Photographed by Ahmed Almasry
Street clashes two months ago between supporters of rival candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Port Said and Daqahliya governorates claimed at least two lives, according to media reports.
In another incident, the son of MP Bilal al-Siwy of Matrouh Governorate was kidnapped in late September. His abduction was reportedly in connection with November’s parliamentary elections. Similarly, in early October, when Nasserist MP Hamdeen Sabbahi was hit in a car accident, the mouthpiece of his party, Al-Karama paper, said the accident was related to the electoral race.
Within the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), the candidacy nomination process is fomenting tension. The process has witnessed clashes between candidate supporters and heightened security around NDP offices.
With violence erupting even before the official campaign period kicks off, fears of more clashes in the lead up to the poll are growing.

In the 2000 elections, election violence claimed eight lives and left 64 Egyptians injured. In the 2005 poll, at least 12 people lost their lives and 500 were injured in election-related violence, according to a report by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.
“Violence in the upcoming parliamentary elections may result from seats being hotly contested, or in response to government irregularities during the balloting,” says David Schenker, director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“Security forces will also likely prevent meaningful monitoring of the polls, which could result in clashes with civil society activists pushing for transparency,” Schenker adds.

Moreover, this year’s elections will not be conducted under full judicial supervision; a 2007 constitutional amendment abolished the requirement to have a judge in each polling station.

State institutions, particularly the Ministry of the Interior which organizes the elections, are not accountable for election violence, says Nasser Amin, director of the Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession.
“The state doesn’t usually investigate the killings around the elections. After the announcement of the results, officials close the whole issue of the elections,” Amin, who has monitored various Egyptian elections, says.

According to Amin, violence perpetrated by police officers is of a different caliber than aggressive acts by candidate supporters.
“In cases of [violence by candidate supporters], the police can control the scene and prevent individuals from escalating the violence,” says Amin. “In contrast, the violence committed by police forces, whether they are riot police, plainclothes police officers or armed thugs, could turn sometimes into massacres.”

Police violence in past elections has taken many forms, such as cordoning off polling stations with security personnel, preventing voters from reaching polling stations, and using tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and open fire with live ammunition.

Sectarianism is another source of recently-heightened tension. “Egypt has been sitting on top of a sectarian volcano,” writes academic Mariz Tadros in a report published by the Middle East Research and Information Project.

Three Muslims are currently on trial for fatally shooting six Christians and a Muslim man outside a church in the city of Nagaa Hammadi, southern Egypt, last January.
Moreover, last month witnessed conflicting sectarian remarks between Muslim scholars and Bishop Bishoy, secretary of the Holy Synod.

Experts fear that tensions could lead to more violence, or have a knock-on effect on political representation.

Samir Morcos, political researcher, says that “in such an atmosphere of political tensions, it is possible to have a political utilization of religion to weaken Christian candidates.”

Violence also pervades efforts to buy votes.
“It’s becoming obvious that candidates in Cairo and other urban places are involved in acts of violence as they seek to buy as many votes as they can,” says writer and journalist Saad Hagras. The deployment of thuggery is closely associated with financial deals, when disagreements loom around prices of votes (reported in the press this week to have reached between LE100-700 per vote in the Alexandria region).
Increasing disputes between large, influential families over electoral seats are another major reason for electoral violence.

Last year, two men from the two prominent tribes in al-Mahroussa village in Qena–the Arab and the Fellaheen tribes–lost their lives in a power struggle centered around parliamentary representation. The Arab tribe’s current representative in parliament stirred a clash with the Fellaheen families, resulting in one Fellaheen death. In response, Fellaheen members took the life of an Arab family member.

“People of the village are deeply divided but they are united in two things: They wish the whole issue of elections to be over, with the least possible casualties, and they are determined not to go to the polls,” says Ibrahim Ahmed, resident of al-Mahroussa village.
Human rights activist and lawyer Negad al-Borai argues that family power can be more important than political parties in the parliamentary race. “It’s very common to see family members as the winners of the elections because they have the power that makes it easier for them to control the polling stations, even with violence,” Borai says.

>Egyptian students protest police brutality on university campuses

>

Photographed by محمد عبد الغني

Ahmed Zaki Osman 
Al-Masry Al-Youm

Hundreds of Egyptian students on Monday protested in front of the Ministry of Higher Education against police brutality on university campuses.
Students from 12 opposition movements–in particular those affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood–chanted anti-police slogans.

“We came here to shed light on the regime’s policies that torture students, discriminate against them and prevent them from exercising their political rights,” said Muslim Brotherhood student at Cairo University Abubakr Hamdy.
Last week, Somiya Ashraf, a female student at Al-Azhar University’s branch in the Nile delta city of Zaqazeeq was allegedly assaulted by a university security guard. University officials denied the claim.
The demonstrators distributed a press release condemning “the continuation of the systematic violations of the Ministry of Interior against students.”
The statement went on to call for the “expulsion of the security guards affiliated with the Ministry of Interior from university campuses,” and investigating the “violations committed by the police officers against students.”
“What happened to Somiya is not exceptional. Students are subjected to security harassment on a daily basis,” said Afaf Mamdouh, a Cairo university student affiliated with the 6 of April Youth Movement.
Mamdouh added that it’s becoming hard for students to “act in any independent way. The regime is getting mad before the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. The security doesn’t want any kind of opposition within the universities.”
Last year, Mamdouh was among 59 students barred from taking exams because of her participation in anti-regime activities on campus.
In related developments, opposition student groups claimed university officials at Cairo University have disqualified dozens of student union candidates.
Cairo University was under heavy security Monday. Hundreds of riot police and plainclothes police officers lined the front of the university. A number of journalists were denied entrance to the campus.
“Today is not an ordinary day. We can’t risk. We have to be here and ready for any moves by the illegal groups inside the university,” said a high-ranking interior ministry official, who requested anonymity.
An official from the public relations department at Cairo University, who also requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said the “university is full of security forces monitoring what’s going on.  We declare today an emergency because of the (student union) elections.”
At Ain Shams University, faculties’ representatives were chosen without competition. Elections were held in only four–out of a total 17–faculties.
Mohammed Kuriyim, from Zaqazeeq University, said university officials managed to ensure ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) support among elected candidates by removing 61 Muslim Brotherhood candidates.
“The Mubarak regime is silencing every single voice and want everything to be quiet in order to focus on how to fraud the next elections,” said Abdel Galil Moustafa, coordinator of Mohamed ElBaradei’s National Association for Change (NAC).
In addition to Muslim Brotherhood students, police have cracked down on pro-ElBaradei student supporters on university campuses.
“The regime can’t survive without manipulating the elections,” said Moustafa. “They manipulate the municipality, parliamentary, presidential and of course the student elections.”

>من أرشيف البديل: منظمات حقوقية تطالب النائب العام بالقبض على البشير

>

منظمات حقوقية تطالب النائب العام بالقبض على البشير
البديل  : الصفحة الأولي
تاريخ: 26 مارس 2009