Throughout June, the Egyptian cabinet and parliament debated a budget for the 2017–18 fiscal year, which began on July 1. The budget has been referred to in Egypt as the “IMF budget” due to the number of restrictions in an austerity program imposed by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF—which approved a $12 billion package of loans in November 2016, in exchange for a number of reforms—aims to reduce Egypt’s public spending from around 30 percent of its gross domestic product to below 23 percent by 2021, with one-sixth of those cuts coming from the public payroll
He is a “tuk tuk” driver in his mid-30s working from 10am to 9pm, seven days a week, on a small cart he bought eight years ago. He paid for this cart using a loan and after receiving his share of the remuneration that was earned during his work with his father. When the vehicle use to crash, which has happened very often during the last three years, he had to spend days at home in order to repair it. This means that his family had, for these days, nothing to eat except for what was offered by some family members and neighbors.
Today marks the two-year anniversary of the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC), an event hyped by the Egyptian government and business community in an effort to restore trust in Egypt’s economy and bring in much-needed foreign cash. Since the conference, foreign direct investment (FDI) has indeed increased, but that does not necessarily bring good news to the unemployed and wage earners.
Sectarian tension and violence continued in the years that followed, although the direct targeting of churches declined up until the massacre at All Saints Church at the beginning of 2011, in which 25 people died. In November 2013, assailants opened fire on a group of Copts in front of St. Mary Church in Waraq.The nature of these attacks has become more frightening as the perpetrators have become more confident and daring. In most previous incidents, churches were targeted from the outside, but the perpetrator of the St. Peter and St. Paul Church attack breached security and blew himself up inside the church.
It was an unlikely scene for some: speaking heavily accented Egyptian Arabic, the European author avidly attacked and dismantled Islamophobic discourse in Europe, while most comments from his Egyptian audience stressed the danger posed by the “Islamic ascendancy,” in its manifold meanings, for the future of Europe and the world, even “Islamic” countries themselves.
May 17 coincides with the International Day Against Homophobia. Despite the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of world days to celebrate certain groups, but sometimes they do help to spark a discussion or spotlight the deplorable status of these groups in particular countries, like the status of gay and transgender people in Egypt.
On May 1, Egyptian Ministry of Interior (MOI) personnel stormed the headquarters of the country’s Syndicate of Journalists and arrested two reporters in an unprecedented move. A sense of anger prevailed among journalists as the union’s general assembly called for the resignation of Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar.
International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 8. Egypt celebrates Egyptian Women’s Day on March 16, and March 9 marks the infamous day when members of the Armed Forces performed virginity tests on female protestors detained in Tahrir Square in 2011 — a crime no one has been held accountable for to this day.
After more than three decades of national family planning programs, an almost 30-year-old national AIDS program, and two decades of combating female circumcision, a quick look at Egypt’s latest statistics might give you the impression that all this work is Sisyphean. The population clock has just ticked over to 90 million people earlier this month with increasing outcries over the population growth and rising fertility rates.
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II made an exceptional visit to Jerusalem last Thursday to lead the funeral prayers for Bishop Abraham, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Near East. The trip triggered a wave of controversy and divided public opinion, although state bodies and senior officials didn’t comment on the visit.