Author: Amroali

Amro Ali is a PhD scholar in the Department of
 Government and International Relations, and the Sydney Democracy Network, at the University of Sydney. His
 research examines the emergence of political public spaces in 
Alexandria, Egypt, since 2000. View his blog at

Egypt’s Long Walk to Despotism

There is a menacing wind sweeping through Egypt engulfing bureaucrats, journalists, judges, celebrities, and the average “patriotic citizen” in its path, remolding them into carriers of despotic ideas. This system is not a clear-cut case of top-down power relations in which an established power asserts itself over its supporters and against its opponents, real and imagined. Rather, in this system, the citizen is brought center-stage in the political

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What Would People Say? The Obsession with Public Image in Egypt

“Would you allow your unmarried daughters to live alone in their own apartments in Cairo?” This was the question asked by American journalist Milton Viorst to the late Naguib Mahfouz in the 1990s. The legendary Arab novelist replied that such a circumstance would not be acceptable, as it simply would not look right. Mahfouz did not invoke a financial, safety, or even religious motive to underpin his reasoning—in effect, he made the “what

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