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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More