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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora