Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh, the insanity!

Alas, my first year in Cairo has come to a close, as I leave tonight for a long-scheduled trip back to the U.S. to spend time with family and friends. I wish I weren't peacing out at such an insane time in Egyptian politics, although then again, most of the past few months would probably qualify as "an insane time in Egyptian politics."

Only this time feels more insane: As Egypt expert Marc Lynch wrote yesterday, "In the next few days, a Parliament might or might not seat itself, the new President might or might not be empowered, a new Constitutional Assembly might or might not be formed. And tomorrow, another of Egypt's endlessly inventive judges may declare the Muslim Brotherhood itself illegal." [The court ended up postponing the trial on the Brotherhood's legality until September.]

Lynch explains that this whole mess mirrors the albeit more fun and less destructive mess otherwise known as Calvinball, the game with constantly changing rules from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. I highly recommend checking out Lynch's insightful analysis, if only for the reprinted comics.

A countdown clock on the front-page of the Egyptian newspaper AlMasry AlYoum ticks off the number of days left until the military is scheduled to hand over power to civilians at the end of this month. A recent addition to the daily count: a question mark.

Voting in Egypt's presidential runoff took place Saturday and Sunday, and as of now, both candidates have claimed victory, with official results to come (in theory) on Thursday. For more on one of those candidates, military man Ahmed Shafiq, check out my story last week for The National.

Finally, I authored a short essay for the Tufts Alumni website a month or two ago about the state of Egypt's "January 25th Revolution." I wrote about how Egyptians increasingly viewed last year's uprising as a mistake, or at least felt uneasy about its continuously unfolding outcome. Those sentiments have only seemed to spread in recent weeks.

Update (June 19, 2012 at 11:45 p.m. Cairo time): And then Mubarak died.

Update (June 20, 2012): Just kidding. The state news agency's report was wrong.