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Lecture highlights Egypt’s emerging new era

[photo]
Dr. Mohamad Fahmy Menza from the American University in Cairo speaks via videoconference about transition in Egypt.

[photo]
Dr. Imad Salamey (left), LAU assistant professor of political science and international affairs who organized the event, looks on as one of his students asks Menza a question.

September 5, 2011—

Dr. Mohamad Fahmy Menza, lecturer at the American University in Cairo, spoke about the challenges confronting Egypt in its post-Mubarak transition, during a videoconferenced lecture held on August 25, at LAU Beirut.

During the hour-long lecture, Menza discussed the political and social developments in Egypt, focusing on various emerging civil and religious political parties.

Menza noted that the events in Egypt since the rise of the anti-regime revolution in January have been fast-paced and unforeseen.

“There weren’t many expectations that so many people would be on the streets protesting against the regime,” said Menza, adding that the majority of the protestors belonged to the upper middle class.

Menza listed the human rights violations by the regime as one of the reasons that contributed to the escalation of the anti-government protests.

After president Mubarak’s resignation and the collapse of the regime on February 11, Egypt was left without any real political agenda, said Menza. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces was in charge of the country, and was the “president itself,” he added.

Apart from the political tension, social and economic issues were not being tackled, which contributed to the widening of the gap between the people and the government, according to Menza. “The political elites were still discussing their own issues; the biggest problems of the Egyptian community were neglected,” he explained.

Issues such as corruption and justice for the crimes that were committed against the demonstrators were arising.

This led to more marches in May and July, calling for the removal of the entire cabinet, and the resignation of the Supreme Council and the Prime Minister. “The street became the only place for discussions, to show who’s stronger,” said Menza.

Menza emphasized the role of the political activism of the youth in the protests. “The resistance to the ideas of the youth was guiding this revolution,” he said.

Menza holds a Ph.D. in Arab and Islamic Studies, with a specialization in political economy and sociology, from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University in the UK.

The lecture was organized by Dr. Imad Salamey, LAU assistant professor of political science and international affairs, as part of his Introduction to Political Science class.

Salamey says the event was the first in a series of lectures that would be hosted via videoconferencing at LAU, as part of the Global Dialog Project.

Future events will not be restricted to hosting guest speakers. “We intend to organize live discussions of various topics between LAU students and students from other universities,” says Salamey. This “can expand to educational institutions other than the American University in Cairo.”
 


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