News / Middle East

Egyptian Woman Works to Overcome Political Divide

Egyptian Woman Works to Overcome Political Dividei
X
October 04, 2013 2:59 PM
Egypt is in the midst of profound polarization, with supporters and opponents of the government facing off on the national stage, as well as the personal one. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott reports on one woman trying to overcome the differences.
Elizabeth Arrott
Egypt is in the midst of profound polarization, with supporters and opponents of the government facing off on the national stage, as well as the personal one.  

In a country divided over the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi, Sherien Fadel is on the losing side.

Outside her apartment in the northeast of Cairo, a poster of Morsi has been defaced, a metaphor for the government's efforts to erase all traces of his Muslim Brotherhood from Egyptian public life.

Fadel, who wears a niqab, is devout. But for her, the issue is not the loss of an Islamist leader, it's the subversion of the process that brought him to power.

"I believe in democracy," Fadel said. "I was happy when we had elections, when we had a constitution. I was happy to see people standing in queues to vote. It was an amazing picture.”

Sherien Fadel and friends display the rival hand signs of pro and anti government Egyptians. (Courtesy Sherien Fadel)Sherien Fadel and friends display the rival hand signs of pro and anti government Egyptians. (Courtesy Sherien Fadel)
Fadel is one of Egypt's politically engaged, taking to Tahrir Square against the government in 2011, and again in August, dodging bullets in Rabaa Square against defacto leader Gen. Abdel Fatah el-Sissi.

It's a national divided mirrored in Fadel's family.

"My parents, my sisters, my brothers-in-law, no," she said. "They all, also my aunts, I have two aunts, and they're also Sissi supporters."

None of her family members would join Fadel to talk about Egypt's polarization. Fadel says that even in victory, they find the atmosphere stifling, with the resumption of emergency law and old fears of the police state renewed.

"The first thing they think about is, 'We shouldn't talk. We shouldn't talk about politics. We shouldn't talk about anything,'" she said.

Not so Fadel, who keeps the memory of those killed in the crackdown on Morsi supporters alive via Facebook. Her homepage features a tribute to those who fell, standing next to her during the government crackdown on August 14.

Fadel also runs civil disobedience campaigns, including a boycott of telecommunications companies that cut off service to the area during the protests, as well as urging people not to pay their government utility bills.

"This campaign is [to] very hard punish our government, because they don't have any revenue," she said.

It's enough to keep her father from even viewing her page, for fear the government monitors online activity.

But for all the stand-taking, Fadel is a great believer in reconciliation, something in short supply as both the military and the Islamists harden their positions and a zero-sum political game seems the only one being played.

She is still close with her family and maintains friendships across the political divide. She shows photos of her and her friends, smiling as they display the symbols of the rival pro and anti-government camps.

"We have different opinions but, at the end, we are humans," she said. "We should be together. That's the point that most didn't recognize."

Fadel says that if the other side can win in proper elections, not a coup, she will support them. Respect, she says, is a simple act of democracy, one she hopes more people here will some day show.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 04, 2013 12:32 PM
As long as there are people like Fadel still campaigning for the Muslim Brotherhood, the stalemate will continue for a long time. The motto of life should be forward ever, why should people keep living in the past? To return Morsi to the state house is mission impossible, what does it take to knock that into the likes of Fadel's head? In the long run, the Egyptians will start complaining that El Sissi has stayed too long in the office. May be people like Fadel are paid to ensure this happens, but we know that no one goads the army to which Sissi belongs.

If Egypt must move forward to achieve a political transition, the Muslim Brotherhood should drop whatever grouse it has against the country and agree to a political arrangement that will pave the way for political activities to restart. It will be suicidal for Sissi and the interim government to start political transition under the present circumstances created by the MB and the likes of Fadel. Their only contribution to Egypt is chaos. It must be rejected, but if the army rises to show its rejection of this, Fadel and her like will give it another name. So Fadel should step down and allow Egypt to move forward.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid