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Egypt, From Tahrir Square To Hard Reality

Egypt. After uprising, ousters, military takeover and a vote on a new constitution – we’ll look at dreams and hard realities in Egypt now.

Election workers look at a tablet for electric registration inside a polling station for the second day in the country's constitutional referendum at the Gamal Abdel Nasser school in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. The vote is a milestone in a military-backed political roadmap toward new elections for a president and a ballot-box test of public opinion on the coup that removed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power last July. (AP)

Election workers look at a tablet for electric registration inside a polling station for the second day in the country’s constitutional referendum at the Gamal Abdel Nasser school in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. The vote is a milestone in a military-backed political roadmap toward new elections for a president and a ballot-box test of public opinion on the coup that removed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power last July. (AP)

Egypt was so moving when it stood up in the Arab Spring.  A new generation in Tahrir Square, looking to break free between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood for a new day of democracy.  This week, almost three years later, a trail of tears.  The Arab Spring has come and gone.  A freely elected Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi, has come and gone in a coup.  The military is large and in charge again, with a new constitution cementing its power.  This hour On Point:  the producer of a newly-Oscar-nominated documentary on the uprising and aftermath.  On Egypt.

– Tom Ashbrook


Nancy Youssef, Middle East bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers. (@nancyayoussef)

Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center, fellow at the Saban Center for the Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. (@shadihamid)

Karim Amer, producer of the 2014 Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Square.”  (@Karim_Amer33)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Egypt Holds Election Under Tight Security — “The violence has been fueled by the arrest of thousands of Mr. Morsi’s supporters and the killing of more than a thousand by security forces in street clashes. The government billed a “yes” vote in the constitutional referendum, which is scheduled to end Wednesday evening, as a stamp of approval for the military-backed government and its plans for a transition to democratic rule that include presidential and parliamentary elections.”

Politico Magazine: Hey General, It’s Me, Chuck. Again. — “Out of the 30 or so total calls, the U.S. government has provided 15 official readouts over six months, each with a similar set of messages to Sissi: Try to be less repressive and more inclusive. Egypt is the only country where Hagel has a regular, direct line of communication not just with the minister of defense but also the (effective) head of state, since Sissi happens to be both. With each passing month, the readouts become more surreal, with Hagel asking what has become one of the region’s more brutal, repressive regimes to be ‘democratic.’”

The Atlantic: The U.S. Is Giving Up On Middle East Democracy — And That’s A Mistake — “Today’s Middle East is a product, at least in part, of failed democratization, and one of the reasons it failed was the timid, half-hearted support of the Obama administration. That the U.S. is fundamentally limited in its ability to influence the internal politics of Arab states has been a consistent theme within the Obama administration as well as among analysts. No one denies that there are limits to what the U.S. can (or can’t) do; the question, however, is what those limits are.”

Watch A Trailer For ‘The Square’

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  • alsordi

    What is it American do not understand?
    The USA and Israel have always supported and control the Egyptian military, and could care less for democracy for Egyptians.

    • stephenreal

      Egypt has always lived under the hand of tyranny for the last 6000 years.
      America was the first democratic republic in over 2000 years.
      We’ve had to fight every tin-horn dictator and thug lord from day one. F them all.

      What is it that you do not understand?

      • alsordi

        Was that before or after slavery ?

        • stephenreal

          we all have our sins to dream about

          • The poster formerly known as t

            According to you, slavery and the U.S.’ support of various repressive regimes throughout history were all a dreams. They were all imaginary stories concocted by the overactive imaginations of everyday Americans.

  • stephenreal

    Good morning, one man, one vote ,one time for Egypt. Meet the new dictator same as the old dictatorship.

    It’s homicidal maniac’s like this General Al-Sisi why I recommend my contemporaries to avoid visiting Egypt. I’ve seen the videos of his criminal troops lay waste to ordinary human beings.

    This man is a homicidal maniac. Take extreme caution if you are an American in Egypt.

    • alsordi

      Hey Steve, check out history. The USA loves their dictators.

      • stephenreal

        realpolitik when your all out on your own. let’s think this through ok

  • stephenreal

    I had a dream recently of ancient Egypt.
    It was so beautiful and surprisingly colorful.
    Good food.
    Apparently, my subconscious has some very good friends there.

    Everyone deserves a say in Egypts future even the MB whom were already tanking in the polling before the coup d’état.

    President Morsi was spot on about the problem of the Egyptian deep state.

  • Jon

    delusional – a feature shared by politicians and artists. it’s democracy they want it’s the rule of jungle they get

  • hennorama

    How does the recent history of Egypt compare to Russia’s transition from a turbulent post-Soviet Union democracy to its present state under Putin?

  • Bill98

    Blaming the situation there on “Egyptian male ego” is superficial, sexist nonsense. The issues run much deeper, and are due to religion and ideology. To minimize this to such a silly extent, as the one guest has done, only ensures that no resolution will be found. I’m surprised that Tom did not challenge him on this.

    And, that same guest repeated the myth that the recent budget impasse in the US was only resolved due to female senators. This, too, ignores the complex reality, and Tom’s failure to challenge him on this point speaks volumes.

    • J__o__h__n

      So we should elect Sarah Palin?

  • J__o__h__n

    The Middle East needs an Enlightenment before democracy can succeed. Religion cannot dominate public life in a free society.

  • twenty_niner

    I wish Vegas had a line for whether this thing would’ve failed; I would’ve made fortune. Who actually thought this could have possibly ended well? Suck all of the oil out of the Middle East as fast as possible, sign the register, and break the sound barrier on the one-way flight out of town.

  • marygrav


    • hennorama


    • nkandersen

      The sound’s been posted, Mary!

      nick andersen
      web producer | on point radio

  • Fredlinskip

    Aren’t “military rule” and “democracy” fairly antithetical concepts.

Apr 24, 2014
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, talks with Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 21, 2014. Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to again allow public colleges to use race and ethnicity when considering college applicants. The proposal stalled this year after backlash from Asian Americans. (AP)

California as Exhibit A for what happens when a state bans affirmative action in college admissions. We’ll look at race, college and California.

Apr 24, 2014
A Buddhist monk lights the funeral pyre of Nepalese mountaineer Ang Kaji Sherpa, killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest, during his funeral ceremony in Katmandu, Nepal, Monday, April 21, 2014.  (AP)

A Sherpa boycott on Everest after a deadly avalanche. We’ll look at climbing, culture, life, death and money at the top of the world.

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The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

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In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

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