Sunday, April 9

Sisi Smiles

Congregants at Egypt's main Coptic cathedral gather in the aftermath of a suicide bombing in January.
"'It is the so-called step down,' photojournalist Hamada Elrasam tells me in Cairo, referring to the recent acquittal of ex-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who stood trial for a combined six years on charges of ordering the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 revolution, the embezzlement of public funds, and corruption. ... Like Mubarak, who was an air chief marshal, army-general-turned-president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is a military politician. Elrasam’s “so-called step down” alludes to the continuation of tyrannical brutality with impunity: Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for thirty years, was on trial for conspiring to kill 239 demonstrators during the eighteen-day uprising that led to his resignation; and on August 14, 2013, over a month after the military coup against the country’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, then–defense minister Sisi was in the position of 'overall responsibility' when at least 817 protesters were massacred during the security forces’ raid of a mass pro–Muslim Brotherhood sit-in at Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. ..."