Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cairo Courts

Another interesting dimension of authoritarianism in Egypt is how the government and ruling NDP Party interact with the judicial system. Last year, Eva Bellin spoke at Tufts about the role of the courts as a (frequent, but not constant) force of liberalism in both Egypt and Israel. At the time, I remember also reading about the significant role that the Egyptian courts played in pushing for transparency in the 2005 elections. And, although they seem to have been successfully prevented from repeating those successes this electoral cycle, I recently came across another article that notes the independence of the Supreme Court in Egypt and its potential import as a center of political change. How did the courts develop as such an independent body while the legislative branch did not? How do the courts navigate that gray area between complicity with the ruling regime and marginalization as simply another mouthpiece for the opposition? These, for me, are provoking questions ripe for investigation in Egypt, especially in comparison to other authoritarian regimes in the region.

This article deals specifically with the issue of police presence on university campuses in Egypt, which critics say has been used to thwart any student activism on college campuses, especially in the political sphere. This change could be very instrumental in shaping the next generation of Egyptian leaders. In sha' allah!

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