BY THE TIME Susan Rice withdrew her name from the running for secretary of state earlier this month, she had emerged in the media as one of Washington’s most nefarious personalities.
Last night, the scene in front of Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo's Nasr City felt like an enormous Islamist block party. A six-lane boulevard had been shut down and was crammed with thousands of bodies supporting President Mohammed Morsi. They waved Egyptian flags with religious slogans like “There is no God but God and Mohammed is his messenger,” while eating popcorn and drinking tea. The pro-government protesters had erected a stage, and when I got there as the sun set, the loudspeakers were blaring.
ON A SULTRY MORNING in late September, I drove for two hours on the traffic-choked roads north of Cairo to Al Adwa, a Nile Delta town of dusty alleyways, mosques, and crumbling red brick houses. This is where Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt, was raised. Morsi left nearly four decades ago, but he returns regularly to visit his younger brothers, who still work the family farm, and to celebrate Islamic holidays.
CAIRO—One of the more charming aspects of post-Mubarak Egypt is the frequency with which political debate erupts spontaneously between ordinary pedestrians, who are then quickly surrounded by dozens of on-listeners eager to hear competing points and, more often than not, interject their own. These deliberative blobs are the best indication that Egypt’s suddenly competitive political life is trickling down to the masses.
CAIRO, Egypt—In the stultifying, 100-plus-degree heat of Tahrir Square on Sunday, where tens of thousands gathered to hear the results of Egypt’s first relatively free presidential election, the sweaty, and occasionally fainting, masses were morbidly grim. Many in the Islamist-dominant crowd were convinced that Egypt’s military junta would anoint former prime minister Ahmed Shafik the next president, and they anticipated deadly confrontation with security forces immediately thereafter.