WBEZ | Cairo http://www.wbez.org/tags/cairo Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Why does sexual assault happen in public spaces in Egypt? http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-06-16/why-does-sexual-assault-happen-public-spaces-egypt-110350 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP449379976098.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last week Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi visited the hospital room of a woman who was assaulted in Cairo&#39;s Tahrir square during an election celebration. We&#39;ll talk to an Egyptian sociologist about why such public sexual assaults are on the rise in Egypt.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-19/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-19.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-19" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Why does sexual assault happen in public spaces in Egypt?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-06-16/why-does-sexual-assault-happen-public-spaces-egypt-110350 Police, military seek to quell unrest in Egypt; 11 dead in protests http://www.wbez.org/story/police-military-seek-quell-unrest-egypt-11-dead-protests-94216 <p><p>CAIRO — Egyptian soldiers and police set fire to protest tents in Cairo's Tahrir Square and fired tear gas and rubber bullets in a major assault Sunday to drive out thousands demanding that the military rulers quickly transfer power to a civilian government. At least 11 protesters were killed and hundreds were injured.</p><p>It was the second day of clashes marking a sharp escalation of tensions on Egypt's streets a week before the first elections since the ouster of longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak in February. The military took over the country, promising a swift transition to civilian rule. But the pro-democracy protesters who led the uprising have grown increasingly angry with the ruling generals, and suspect they are trying to cling to power even after an elected parliament is seated and a new president is voted in.</p><p>Street battles continued throughout the day and long into the night, spreading to side streets and sending a wave of injuries to makeshift clinics on the streets.</p><p>The military-backed Cabinet said in a statement that elections set to begin on Nov. 28 would take place on time and thanked the police for their "restraint," language that is likely to enrage the protesters even more.</p><p>"We're not going anywhere," protester Mohammed Radwan said after security forces tried unsuccessfully to push the crowds out of Tahrir, the epicenter of the uprising. "The mood is good now and people are chanting again," he added after many of the demonstrators returned.</p><p>The two days of clashes were some of the worst since the uprising ended on Feb. 11.</p><p>They were also one of only a few violent confrontations to involve the police since the uprising. The black-clad police were a hated symbol of Mubarak's regime and after the uprising, they have largely stayed in the background while the military took charge of security.</p><p>The military, which took over from Mubarak, has repeatedly pledged to hand power to an elected civilian government, but has yet to set a specific date. The protests over the past two days have demanded a specific date be set.</p><p>According to one timetable floated by the army, the handover will happen after presidential elections late next year or early in 2013. The protesters say this is too long and accuse the military of dragging its feet. They want a handover immediately after the end of the staggered parliamentary elections, which begin on Nov. 28 and end in March.</p><p>The protesters' suspicions about the military were fed by a proposal issued by the military-appointed Cabinet last week. It would shield the armed forces from any civilian oversight and give the generals veto power over legislation dealing with military affairs.</p><p>But other concerns are also feeding the tensions on the street. Many Egyptians are anxious about what the impending elections will bring. Specifically they worry that stalwarts of Mubarak's ruling party could win a significant number of seats in the next parliament because the military did not ban them from running for public office as requested by activists.</p><p>The military's failure to issue such a ban has fed widely held suspicion that the generals are reluctant to dismantle the old regime, partly out of loyalty to Mubarak, their longtime mentor.</p><p>The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a statement expressing "regret for the events."</p><p>The council doesn't intend "to extend the transitional period and will not permit by any means hindering the process of democratic transition," it said a statement read out on state TV.</p><p>The violence began Saturday when security forces stormed a sit-in at Tahrir Square staged by protesters wounded in clashes during the 18-day uprising in January and February and frustrated by the slow pace of bringing those responsible to justice.</p><p>The wounded, some on crutches, ran away when police attacked, but some fell down and were beaten by police.</p><p>One of those injured on Saturday was dentist Ahmed Hararah, who lost the sight in his right eye on Jan. 28 and now thinks he lost the sight in his left eye despite treatment at an eye hospital in Cairo.</p><p>The violence resumed Sunday, when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to try to clear about 5,000 protesters still in Tahrir. Many chanted "freedom, freedom" as they pelted police with rocks and a white cloud of tear gas hung in the air.</p><p>"We have a single demand: The marshal must step down and be replaced by a civilian council," said protester Ahmed Hani, referring to Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling military council and Mubarak's longtime defense minister. "The violence yesterday showed us that Mubarak is still in power," said Hani, who was wounded in the forehead by a rubber bullet.</p><p>Many of the protesters had red eyes and coughed incessantly. Some wore surgical masks to ward off the tear gas. A few fainted, overwhelmed by the gas.</p><p>Around sundown, an Associated Press reporter in Tahrir said police and troops briefly chased the protesters out of most of the square. They set at least a dozen of the protesters' tents, along with blankets and banners, ablaze after nightfall and a pall of black smoke rose over the square as the sound of gunshots rang out.</p><p>"This is what they (the military) will do if they rule the country," one protester screamed while running away from the approaching security forces.</p><p>Protesters initially ran away in panic while being chased by army soldiers and police hitting them with clubs. But they later regrouped at the southern entrance of the square next to the famed Egyptian museum and began to walk back to the square. Hundreds made their way back, waving the red, white and black Egyptian flags and chanting "Allahu akbar," or God is great.</p><p>Both sides then began pelting each other with rocks.</p><p>Security forces pulled back to the outskirts of the square, where clashes continued into the night.</p><p>A video posted on social networking sites showed a soldier dragging the motionless body of a protester along the street and leaving him in a garbage-strewn section of Tahrir Square.</p><p>A medical official at Cairo's main morgue said at least 11 protesters were killed on Sunday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.</p><p>Doctors at two field hospitals in the square said that among the dead was one man killed by a blow to his head and another by gunshots.</p><p>Rocks, shattered glass and trash covered Tahrir Square and the side streets around it. The windows of the main campus of the American University in Cairo, which overlooks the square, were shattered and stores were shuttered.</p><p>"The marshal is Mubarak's dog," read freshly scrawled graffiti in the square.</p><p>An Interior Ministry statement said some of the protesters were using firearms, firebombs and knifes to attack security forces.</p><p>Clashes also took place in the city of Suez east of Cairo, the coastal city of el-Arish in the Sinai Peninsula, the city of Alexandria and Assiut in southern Egypt.</p></p> Sun, 20 Nov 2011 21:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/police-military-seek-quell-unrest-egypt-11-dead-protests-94216 American professor gets rare glimpse inside Syria http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-16/american-professor-gets-rare-glimpse-inside-syria-90651 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-16/Roadblock in Hama 2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A Syrian scholar, who is a long-time U.S. resident, says time appears to be running out for Bashar al-Assad’s regime.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.hampshire.edu/faculty/odahi.htm" target="_blank">Omar Dahi</a>, who was born and raised in Damascus and currently teaches economics at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, recently returned from a month-long visit to Syria and is one of the few western observers to report on conditions inside the country during the string of recent protests and government crackdowns there.</p><p>Syria has banned western journalists from the nation, and fear of government reprisal has made it difficult to get accurate information about what's happening on the ground.&nbsp;</p><p>“It’s not that easy to get information when you’re outside the country, because it’s widely presumed that all international phone calls might be tapped, so people are especially fearful of saying things over the phone," Dahi told WBEZ's Jerome McDonnell during an interview on <em>Worldview</em>.&nbsp; He noted those fears are present under normal circumstances, but even more so now.&nbsp;</p><p>That fear has also extended to difficulties among the organizers themselves.&nbsp; According to people Dahi met and spoke with, "part of the problem with organizing in Syria is the ubiquitous presence of the security apparatus," he said.&nbsp; "It's hard to know whom to trust."&nbsp; So most of the organizing among the protestors thus far has been taking place at the neighborhood level.&nbsp;</p><p>Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains in power, despite five months of his Baathist regime’s well-documented violence against pro-democracy protestors.&nbsp; Dahi still has friends and family in Syria, but given the government imposed media blackout, he wanted to travel to the country to see first-hand to see what is going on inside.</p><p>Across the region, Syria’s Arab neighbors are increasingly criticizing the government crackdown. The United Nations Security Council recently added their voice to the chorus, with its 15 member states unanimously condemning the regime’s human rights violations. Now, the world waits to see whether President al-Assad will fall under increasing international pressure or somehow survive Syria’s extended Arab Spring.</p><p>"The government is getting more and more isolated internationally," said Dahi.&nbsp; "They seem to think that if they can stall outside intervention, they can subdue the population into silence and then find a way later to deal with the fallout from the events.”</p><p>But Dahi notes that while the uprisings have largely been absent from Damascus and Aleppo thus far, there are signs of increasing protests in the neighborhoods and small towns around the capital city.</p><p><strong>Mixed feelings, mixed results</strong></p><p>In Damascus, Dahi found that, on the surface, city life appeared to be proceeding as normal. Markets remain open, and people are still going to work.&nbsp;</p><p>"It’s easy to get the idea that this is perhaps all blown out of proportion," said Dahi.&nbsp; But those daily routines masked a sense of unease, heightened by the widespread presence of security forces and security buses stationed throughout the city.</p><p>The Syrian regime has pointed to counter demonstrations in favor of President Assad as evidence that he still retains popular support among a majority of Syrians.&nbsp; And Dahi noted there's some truth to the claim.</p><p>"One of the things that was said about the pro-regime rallies is that everyone there was forced to go to those rallies," Dahi said. "That’s not quite correct."</p><p>While civil servants are encouraged to attend pro-government demonstrations - and are even given paid days off to participate -&nbsp; they're not the only individuals attending.</p><p>"There are many people who go there willingly, people who are fearful of change and, out of that fear, have developed a callous disregard for the crackdowns by the regime," said Dahi.&nbsp;</p><p>Even some people, who aren’t beneficiaries of the regime, feel that the best way to get out of the crisis is to let the government end these riots and support peace and tranquility.&nbsp;</p><p>"They are genuinely fearful of a chaotic civil war," he says.&nbsp; "It's the lesser of two evils.&nbsp; The people who would be identified as pro-reform [I spoke with] were very much fearful of the protests and felt that nothing good could come out of them for themselves or the country as a whole."</p><p><strong>Inequalities raising fears, divisions</strong></p><p>These fears have also extended to questions about the rights of minorities in Syria, as pro-government forces drum up fear that minority rights will be curtailed if another regime takes power.&nbsp; Assad himself is a member of the minority Muslim Alevi sect.</p><p>Dahi says he's seen little evidence of that, but noted that the fears are real enough among the population as a whole that "there needs to be a serious move by the opposition to show there's no room for sectarian tensions."</p><p>In recent years, Syria's economy has opened, creating more opportunity for some but also severe inequalities.&nbsp; That's given rise to opulent displays of wealth that previously were kept hidden.&nbsp; Both the real and perceived wealth disparities are a factor in the protestors' calls for reform.</p><p>“Domestically, the economic situation is very difficult," Dahi said.&nbsp; "When the protests started, the government announced a series of economic measures aimed at placating certain constituencies.&nbsp; And so the government has incurred a huge spending bill, while also spending on military and security forces."</p><p>Dahi also pointed out that since the protests began, Syria's tourism industry has been decimated, and the number and geographic size of the protests have increased.</p><p>"Time is not on the government's side," he said.</p><p>Dahi recently returned to the United States and blogged about his experiences. You can read Omar Dahi’s guest blog post on <em>Syria Comment</em> <a href="http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=11352">here</a>.</p></p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 16:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-16/american-professor-gets-rare-glimpse-inside-syria-90651 CAIR-Chicago’s Ahmed Rehab reflects on uncertain future of post-revolution Egypt http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-08/cair-chicago%E2%80%99s-ahmed-rehab-reflects-uncertain-future-post-revolution-egy <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-08/Egypt_FemaleProtester.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>We turn our eyes today, once again to Tahrir Square. Frustrated activists plan to stage another mass protest to accelerate the pace of government reform. In a recent visit to Cairo, Ahmed Rehab, director of the Chicago chapter of the <a href="http://www.cairchicago.org/" target="_blank">Council on American-Islamic Relations</a> and frequent <em>Worldview</em> contributor, met with high-ranking officials and activists to discuss the way forward. He tells Jerome what he thinks the Egyptian people should demand now.</p></p> Fri, 08 Jul 2011 15:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-08/cair-chicago%E2%80%99s-ahmed-rehab-reflects-uncertain-future-post-revolution-egy Fatah and Hamas agree to form unity government http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-04/fatah-and-hamas-agree-form-unity-government-86064 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-04/113623165.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Leaders of the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Hamas movement completed an agreement to end an almost four-year rift and establish a unity government.</p><p>Israeli officials say the accord will harm the peace process. And Osama bin Laden’s death has already caused a public relations storm as the fragile deal comes to fruition. While the Palestinian Authority welcomed the news of bin Laden’s killing, Hamas leaders called bin Laden “an Arab holy warrior” and condemned the U.S. action.</p><p><a href="http://www.columbia.edu/cu/history/fac-bios/Khalidi/faculty.html" target="_blank">Rashid Khalidi</a>, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, tells us what this accord means for peace in the Middle East.</p><p><strong>Bonus Material:</strong> Recent <em>Worldview</em> guest and independent journalist, <a href="http://crosstalkwybcx.blogspot.com/">Max Budovitch</a>, conducted <a href="http://crosstalkwybcx.blogspot.com/2011/05/unity-between-hamas-and-fatah.html">five interviews</a> on the Palestinian unity agreement with Hanan Ashrawi, Ghassan Khatib (P.A. Spokesman), Mazen (protest leader in Gaza), Hassan Khreisheh (Deputy Speaker of the PLC), and Radii Aseedii (Military Commander). Several of the interviews are in Arabic and have English voice-overs.</p></p> Wed, 04 May 2011 17:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-04/fatah-and-hamas-agree-form-unity-government-86064 Rising waters threaten parts of southern Illinois http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-28/rising-waters-threaten-parts-southern-illinois-85789 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-April/2011-04-28/Flood Whitney Curtis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Monday, Illinois <a href="http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/Pages/AbouttheGovernor.aspx" target="_blank">Governor Pat Quinn</a> issued a disaster proclamation for southern parts of the state. Representatives from the <a href="http://www.weather.gov/" target="_blank">National Weather Service</a> predict that the Ohio River could reach record levels there by this weekend. In response, several towns have already issued voluntary evacuation orders. "Pretty much, there's not any area in Southern Illinois that’s not holding water,"&nbsp;Brent Stewart, reporter for the&nbsp;<em style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;"><a href="http://thesouthern.com/" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">Southern Illinoisan</a></em>, told&nbsp;<em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>'s<em>&nbsp;</em>Alison Cuddy on Thursday.</p><p>Stewart said that the major concerns lie with the cities of Old Shawnee Town, Metropolis and Cairo, the first of which is already underwater. In the other cities, people feel that the levees are going to hold, but all three have issued volunteer evacuations. The fear is that the expected rain going into next week will cause the river to crest, and extensive damage will be done.</p><p>Controversially, state officials want to blast open a levee on the Mississippi near Cairo to allieviate some of the flooding damage, a task that would be executed by the&nbsp;Army Corps of Engineers.&nbsp;Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is trying to file a federal lawsuit to block the levee break, out of concern for the 130,000 acres of farmland that it would potentially drown in his own state. Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan is expected to get involved today.</p><p>Stewart was unwilling to make predictions about what is going to happen looking into next week. "A lot people I talked to in the town don’t think it'll be as bad as what the city thinks it will be," he said. "But I think the city is getting ahead of the situation so early because they want to avoid a situation like happened in Katrina."</p></p> Thu, 28 Apr 2011 14:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-28/rising-waters-threaten-parts-southern-illinois-85789 Flooding prompts debate between Missouri farmers and Illinois residents http://www.wbez.org/story/flooding-prompts-debate-between-missouri-farmers-and-illinois-residents-85756 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-27/113208785.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Army Corps of Engineers is waiting to decide if it will intentionally break a levee to help relieve flooding problems in a Southern Illinois town. But farmers in Missouri are objecting to the plan.</p><p>Flooding in Cairo, Illinois is so bad, more than 100 people have been evacuated. It's a town of 2,800 residents at the southern tip of Illinois between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.</p><p>"I'm 50 years old, and I can't recall seeing it higher before," said Sheila Simon, Illinois' lieutenant governor.</p><p>She said she hopes the water levels start to go down, or else the Army Corps might have to poke holes in a Mississippi River levee near Cairo.</p><p>But farmers in Missouri say that would flood their land and ruin crops. In a statement, Blake Hurst, the head of the Missouri Farm Bureau, said 130,000 acres of farmland could be destroyed.</p><p>Missouri has filed a lawsuit to block efforts to break the levee. A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.</p></p> Wed, 27 Apr 2011 19:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/flooding-prompts-debate-between-missouri-farmers-and-illinois-residents-85756 Egyptians ready to vote on constitutional amendments http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-18/egyptians-ready-vote-constitutional-amendments-83925 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-18/109082460(2).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Saturday, Egyptians will vote in a historic referendum that will be the first real test of the country&rsquo;s transition to democracy.&nbsp;They&rsquo;ll be voting on a series of amendments to the nation&rsquo;s constitution.&nbsp;Proposed amendments include limiting presidential terms to two four-year terms and lifting restrictions that have barred independent presidential candidates.&nbsp;The vote is likely to help shape the country&rsquo;s political future. We&rsquo;ll discuss the implications of Egypt&rsquo;s referendum with <a href="http://kroc.nd.edu/people/directory/faculty/emad-shahin" target="_blank">Emad Shahin</a>, a professor of religion, conflict and peacebuilding at Notre Dame&rsquo;s <a href="http://kroc.nd.edu/">Kroc Institute</a> for International Peace Studies.</p></p> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 17:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-18/egyptians-ready-vote-constitutional-amendments-83925 The influence of social media in the Arab world and Middle East http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-07/influence-social-media-arab-world-and-middle-east-83391 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/108816955.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Google executive Wael Ghonim is considered a hero of the Egyptian revolution. In a CNN nterview he credited Facebook with starting the uprisings in his country and told the interviewer,&nbsp; &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve always said that if you want to liberate a society, just give them the Internet.&rdquo; Many believe social media sites like Twitter and Facebook played a significant role in recent protest movements across the Middle East and North Africa.</p><p>Jeffrey Ghannam is a journalist and lawyer who has worked in media development in the Middle East and North Africa. He began researching social media use in the region before any of the recent revolutions. He&rsquo;s author of the report &ldquo;<a href="http://cima.ned.org/publications/social-media-arab-world-leading-uprisings-2011">Social Media in the Arab World</a>: Leading up to the Uprisings of 2011.&rdquo; He joins us to talk about his findings.</p></p> Mon, 07 Mar 2011 16:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-07/influence-social-media-arab-world-and-middle-east-83391 Will Mubarak step down? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-10/will-mubarak-step-down-82105 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/108971729.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span class="views-field-field-body-value">The mood in Cairo's Tahrir Square is jubilant. Many believe the Egyptian leadership is ready to make some major concessions after 17 days of protests. President Hosni Mubarak is expected to give a speech tonight and it's anticipated he will step down. We'll be live on the air to discuss the latest on the situation and take questions and comments. </span><span class="views-field-field-body-value">Call us at <strong>312-832-3124</strong>.</span></p><p>Joining us will be:</p><p><span class="views-field-field-body-value"><a href="http://www.ahmedrehab.com/blog/" target="_blank">Ahmed Rehab</a>, executive director of the Chicago chapter for the Council of American-Islamic Relations (<a href="http://www.cairchicago.org/" target="_blank">CAIR</a>), from Cairo.</span></p><p><span class="views-field-field-body-value"><a href="http://www.law.depaul.edu/faculty_staff/faculty_information.asp?id=5" target="_blank">Cherif Bassiouni</a>, president emeritus of DePaul University's International Human Rights Institute.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span class="views-field-field-body-value"><a href="http://mei.edu/Scholars/JosephK%C3%A9chichian.aspx" target="_blank">Joseph Kéchichian</a>, a scholar at the Middle East Institute.&nbsp;</span></p></p> Thu, 10 Feb 2011 17:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-10/will-mubarak-step-down-82105