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.
CAIRO, Egypt—On Wednesday night, thousands of demonstrators descended onto Tahrir Square to demand an end to military rule. It was the twentieth straight night of these protests, and the Muslim Brotherhood marked the occasion by calling on its hundreds of thousands of members nationwide to join an open-ended Tahrir Square sit-in and “complete the revolution.” But from my apartment in Mohandessin, a neighborhood just three miles northwest of downtown Cairo, I couldn’t hear a thing. The streets were calm, the cafes were open, and there was nothing in sight that resembled a revolution.
In the run-up to the first round of Egypt’s presidential elections, which concluded on Thursday, the Muslim Brotherhood’s downfall was widely anticipated.