Egypt, now two years removed from the beginnings of its revolution, finds itself again in upheaval with violence erupting in cities across the country. The impetus for the riots, clashes, and reprisals that have persisted for months was a November 22 power grab by President Muhammad Morsi that effectively nullified the power of the judiciary and propelled Egypt—already without a functioning legislature—toward (another kind of) tyranny.
On December 15, a referendum on a proposed constitution was held, but—predictably—the vote elicited only more controversy. Since that time the two year anniversary of the Tahrir Square protests of 2011 has been eclipsed and with it has come only more uncertainly for the country’s future.
Here are several articles that have given me pause and will give you a condensed look at the unfolding chaos in the Arab world’s most populous country:
1. Vivienne Walt’s “Women’s Rights at Odds in Egypt’s Constitution Wars” Time.
Walt’s article on the efforts of women in Egypt to secure political rights for themselves speaks to the tragedy of the “Arab Spring.” The women of Egypt, many of whom played active roles in the demonstrations that lead to Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in 2011, now find themselves on the outside looking in. In the place of Mubarak’s (relatively) secular regime has emerged a political bloc headed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and with it an ideology opposed to the rights of women—or anyone else for that matter.
2. Salma Shukralluh’s “Egypt protesters tell stories of torture, abuse at presidential palace” Ahram Online.
Shukrallah’s report from Cairo reveals a society in which men settle their disputes not with reason, but with fists, sticks, knives, and guns.
3. David D. Kirkpatrick’s “Blood is Shed as Egyptian President’s Backers and Rivals Battle in Cairo” and “Egyptian Judges Challenge Morsi Over New Power” The New York Times.
Kirkpatrick’s coverage suggests a country on a precipice, teetering between outright dictatorship and anarchy.
4. “Egyptian says he was abducted for anti-Islamist work” Reuters.
Reuters’ coverage in Egypt points to the dangers faced by average Egyptians. Though this short write-up discusses the brutality faced by a political dissident, buried in the article is the fact that roughly sixty people have been killed in riots, clashes, and reprisals in the last month alone.