Photo Essay: Impressions from a Summer in Cairo

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Opposition protesters in Tahrir Square hold up their shoes as a sign of disrespect during President Mohammad Morsi’s speech on July 26, 2013. (SARAH RASHID)
Children play on August 9, 2013 at Rabaa al Adawiya Square, where supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were camped out for more than a month. The Egyptian military raided the square five days later, killing several hundred Egyptians in a single day. (SARAH RASHID)
Children play on August 9, 2013 at Rabaa al Adawiya Square, where supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were camped out for more than a month. The Egyptian military raided the square five days later, killing several hundred Egyptians in a single day. (SARAH RASHID)
Members of the Tamarod (meaning "rebel" in Arabic) campaign gather in Tahrir Square on June 26, 2013, the night President Mohammad Morsi addressed the nation for the last time before the June 30th protests. Prior to Morsi's ouster, the Tamarod Campaign reportedly collected over 22 million signatures demanding Morsi's resignation and early presidential elections. (SARAH RASHID)
Members of the Tamarod (meaning “rebel” in Arabic) campaign gather in Tahrir Square on June 26, 2013, the night President Mohammad Morsi addressed the nation for the last time before the June 30th protests. Prior to Morsi’s ouster, the Tamarod Campaign reportedly collected over 22 million signatures demanding Morsi’s resignation and early presidential elections. (SARAH RASHID)
Opposition protesters gather in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013, the night President Mohammad Morsi addressed the nation for the last time before the planned June 30th protests. The sign reads, "Go out" with crosses over the face of Mohammad Morsi and the top two leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. (SARAH RASHID)
Opposition protesters gather in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013, the night President Mohammad Morsi addressed the nation for the last time before the planned June 30th protests. The sign reads, “Go out” with crosses over the face of Mohammad Morsi and the top two leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. (SARAH RASHID)
Opposition protesters in Tahrir Square on July 28, 2013 hold up a picture of then-current US Ambassador to Egpt, Anne Patterson. Anti-Americanism was high in Egypt this summer, particularly after Ambassador Patterson remarked that she was "deeply skeptical" that the planned June 30th protests would be fruitful. (SARAH RASHID)
Opposition protesters in Tahrir Square on July 28, 2013 hold up a picture of then-current US Ambassador to Egpt, Anne Patterson. Anti-Americanism was high in Egypt this summer, particularly after Ambassador Patterson remarked that she was “deeply skeptical” that the planned June 30th protests would be fruitful. (SARAH RASHID)
An opposition protester stands near the makeshift stage built in Tahrir Square on the night of July 26, 2013 when President Mohammad Morsi addressed the nation for the last time before the planned June 30th protests. During the demonstrations, women typically gathered near the front of the stage and were separated from men protesters by human chains created by vigilante groups working to protect women against sexual assaults. (SARAH RASHID)
An opposition protester stands near the makeshift stage built in Tahrir Square on the night of July 26, 2013 when President Mohammad Morsi addressed the nation for the last time before the planned June 30th protests. During the demonstrations, women typically gathered near the front of the stage and were separated from men protesters by human chains created by vigilante groups working to protect women against sexual assaults. (SARAH RASHID)
Thousands of Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013 to support Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's call to demonstrate en masse to give him a "mandate" to fight violence. (SARAH RASHID)
Thousands of Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013 to support Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s call to demonstrate en masse to give him a “mandate” to fight violence. (SARAH RASHID)
Supporters of the military-backed coup that removed Egypt's first democratically elected president Mohammad Morsi celebrate on Qasr El Nil bridge in Cairo on July 26, 2013. (SARAH RASHID)
Supporters of the military-backed coup that removed Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammad Morsi celebrate on Qasr El Nil bridge in Cairo on July 26, 2013. (SARAH RASHID)
A vendor sells pictures of Minister of Defense Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013. (SARAH RASHID)
A vendor sells pictures of Minister of Defense Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013. (SARAH RASHID)
Pro-Military supporters cheer "The people and the military are one hand" in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013 as military helicopters fly overhead. (SARAH RASHID)
Pro-Military supporters cheer “The people and the military are one hand” in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013 as military helicopters fly overhead. (SARAH RASHID)
Supporters of the military-backed coup that removed Egypt's first democratically elected president Mohammad Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013. (SARAH RASHID)
Supporters of the military-backed coup that removed Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammad Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013. (SARAH RASHID)
A newly wed couple exits the stage on August 9, 2013 at Rabaa al Adawiya Square, where supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were camped out for more than a month. The Egyptian military raided the square five days later, killing several hundred Egyptians in a single day. (SARAH RASHID)
A newly wed couple exits the stage on August 9, 2013 at Rabaa al Adawiya Square, where supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were camped out for more than a month. The Egyptian military raided the square five days later, killing several hundred Egyptians in a single day. (SARAH RASHID)
Pro-Morsi supporters gather at Cairo University on July 26 to protest the military-backed coup that removed former President Morsi from office on July 3rd. (SARAH RASHID)
Pro-Morsi supporters gather at Cairo University on July 26 to protest the military-backed coup that removed former President Morsi from office on July 3rd. (SARAH RASHID)
Newspapers in downtown Cairo on July 4th, 2013, the day after the Egyptian military deposed the country's first democratically elected president Mohammad Morsi. (SARAH RASHID)
Newspapers in downtown Cairo on July 4th, 2013, the day after the Egyptian military deposed the country’s first democratically elected president Mohammad Morsi. (SARAH RASHISARAH RASHID

SARAH RASHID
Staff Photographer at SAIS Washington

When I arrived in Cairo on June 3, I knew my experience would be different from my last visit less than a year ago. My friends warned me about electricity and water shortages. Although I moved into the same building as before, getting downtown now took longer due to the daily protests at the Ministry of Culture by Egyptians who feared President Morsi was trying to “Ikhwanize” or “Muslim Brotherhood-ize,” society.

“All of these problems are because of Morsi,” many told me, with the conversation usually ending with someone rhetorically asking how Egypt could survive three more years under his leadership.

But it soon became clear that maybe it would not. The local papers wrote about the Tamarrod (“Rebel” in Arabic) campaign, started by five young Egyptians with a goal of collecting 15 million signatures to demand Morsi’s resignation and early presidential elections. The campaign called on Egyptians to show their support by protesting in the streets on June 30, the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s election.

And many did; hundreds of thousands (millions, according to questionabale sources) filled the squares in opposition to Morsi’s regime. When Minister of Defense General Abdel el-Fattah Sisi responded on July 1 by giving Morsi 48 hours
to step down, the streets remained full until Morsi was removed by the military. Many Egyptians believed General Sisi was the pharaoh who could finally put the country on track.

Yet although Morsi’s popularly-backed coup was bloodless, the days that followed were anything but; the military’s draconian approach to dealing with pro-Morsi supporters gathered mainly in Rabaa Al Dawiya and Cairo University reached its peak when the military raided these squares on August 14. The Ministry of Health reported that several hundred of Egyptians died that day. Other accounts put the death toll in the thousands.

I left Egypt on August 21 pessimistic about its future. My boss this summer said to remember that Egypt is still in a revolution, and revolutions happen in fits and starts. It’s an idea that I’m still trying to reconcile.

 Rashid interned in Cairo, Egypt, at the Signet Institute in the summer of 2013.

1 Comment

  1. Some of the ‘progressive’ blogs that sell war to liberals are stitarng to link the Syria opposition to Assad with the Egyptian protests. Hmmm.The Syrian operation, mercenaries, Muslim extremists (just like the Morsi gang) financed and armed by US, France,Israel, and NATO are scum as anyone paying attention knows.The real honest Egyptian people standing up against Morsi are the same types who support Assad in Syria.Up is down, black is white.

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