Tag Archives: Egypt

Hero of 2011 Egypt’s uprising feels rejected five years on

In 2011, activist Esraa Abdel-Fattah helped ignite revolution on the streets of Egypt and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Five years after the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, she is shunned or insulted by Egyptians on those same streets.

“They say I am a traitor and foreign agent and that we are the people who destroyed the country. I hear it when I am passing people in the streets,” said Abdel-Fattah. “Some people still ask “what was wrong with Mubarak?”.

Abdel-Fattah and a small circle of fellow activists were once seen by many in Egypt as the best hope for an end to corruption and repression and the dawning of an era of free speech and respect for citizens by the state.

Nowadays, she cuts a lonely figure in her small apartment, hoping Egyptians will rise up again to demand democracy despite the fiercest crackdown on dissent in the country’s modern history.

“I don’t know if people will take to the streets tomorrow, or next year, or the following year,” the 39-year-old journalist told Reuters at her home in the Sheikh Zayed suburb of Cairo.

“The revolution is people demanding freedom, bread, justice, and dignity. People will keep demanding them.”

Abdel-Fattah helped organize the demonstrations that began on January 25 and ended Mubarak’s 30-year rule 18 days later, only to see Egypt return to what human rights groups call an authoritarian state after years of upheaval.

The Muslim Brotherhood was elected after Mubarak’s departure. A year later the Islamist movement was overthrown by then military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, following mass protests against its turbulent rule.

Esraa Abdel-Fattah had co-founded the April 6 Youth Movement, which became a driving force of the 2011 street protests.

Known as “Facebook Girl”, she and other social media activists launched a web page that urged young people to join a strike to support workers in an industrial town.

She was arrested as a result but not held for long.


Abdel-Fattah said it does not pay to be as daring in Egypt under Sisi, who went on to become elected president, the latest man from the military to rule.

Security forces have arrested about 40,000 political activists, Islamists and liberals alike, under Sisi, human rights groups estimate.

Protesting without police permission is a crime, a clearer penalty than the situation during Mubarak’s rule, one of the reasons Abdel-Fattah gives for not planning any demonstrations for the foreseeable future.

Many Egyptians, craving stability after years of political turmoil, backed Sisi’s crackdown, described by the government as an effort to stamp out Islamist militant terrorists.

“Anyone who protests is locked up. Even people who write their opinions on Facebook or Twitter are questioned about their writings,” she said.

The powerful state media brands Abdel-Fattah and others who were instrumental in the 2011 demonstrations “Enemies of Egypt”. Those who are not behind bars feel like pariahs.

Abdel-Fattah has not lost hope, however.

“No one in the world knew that the revolution of January 25, 2011 would look like it did. I see in the eyes of younger generations the idea and dream of a revolution is still there,” she said.

“I am ready to play any role, big or small, to complete this revolution, I could be jailed for a tweet, or anything I write.”

She believes the relentless pressure on government opponents will ultimately backfire and generate new calls for freedoms.

“This can’t go on, the widening of detentions of the innocents. You have families that are destroyed,” said Abdel- Fattah.

“We also have people who are arrested without charge. They can stay in jail up to three or four years. I don’t believe this can go on. The revolution lives inside us. It will come,” she said.

She does not need to look far for a reminder that Sisi appears firmly in control. Beside her is a handmade poster given to her by friends to cheer her up. It reads: “Let Esraa Fly”.

Pro-government Egyptians say she and other activists received funds from abroad to incite protests and conspire against the state. They deny the allegations, which have not been tested in court, but Abdel-Fattah is banned from leaving Egypt.

(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)


Sudan’s FM says agreement on Ethiopian dam could be reached by end of December

Ghandour tells MENA that Khartoum is doing its best to keep negotiations alive, and hopes a deal between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan could be finalised when the officials from the three countries meet again on 27 and 28 December Sudanese … read more

Warsaw flight to Egypt’s Hurghada emergency landing in Bulgaria after bomb threat

A plane flying from Warsaw to Egyptian resort of Hurghada has made an emergency landing at Bulgaria’s Burgas after a bomb Threat emerged, according to officials. read more

‘Schweppes bomb’ used to bring down Russian plane in Sinai : IS

Islamic State’s official magazine carried a photo on Wednesday of a Schweppes drink it said was used to make an improvised bomb that brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board. … read more

Sinai plane crash was the result of a terrorist attack : Russia

The mid-air explosion of a Russian jetliner over the Sinai desert last month that killed all 224 people on board was the result of a terrorist attack, Russia’s chief intelligence officer said Tuesday. At a meeting with President Vladimir V. … read more

Egypt : cockpit recordings suggest no distress call in Russia plane crash

Cockpit recordings from the Metrojet flight that crashed in the Sinai desert appears to confirm that the cause was sudden and unexpected, with no distress call from pilots and no unusual sounds heard at the moment the plane went off … read more

Russian High Officials took off from Cairo to the crash site of Airbus A321.

According to Rosaviatsia spokesman, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov and the head of Federal Air Navigation Authority (Rosaviatsia) Alexander Neradko took off from Cairo to the crash site of the Russian Airbus A321. Russian Transport Minister … read more

Egypt : Search for Russian Airliner Crash Victims began again

The search for remains at the Kogalymavia crash site in Egypt recommenced on Sunday morning, as the Russian team began its move to the crash site from Cairo. © AP Photo Search for Russian Airliner Crash Victims to Be Finished … read more

Latest Updates: A Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people has crashed in Egypt.

A Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people has crashed in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. Here are the latest updates: President Putin Declares November 1 National Day of Mourning Over 7K9268 Tragedy Earlier on Saturday Egyptian air traffic control said they lost contact … read more