An interview with Dr Dardery

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An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by hatusu »

L4U members might be interested in reading this interview with Dr Dardery by Josephine Littlejohn. It boosted my confidence for the future of Egypt.

http://chronikler.com/middle-east/egypt/dardery/



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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by Scottishtourist »

Thank you for sharing that with us Hatusu.
It all sounds very encouraging and positive and will hopefully instill confidence in all sectors of the community as well as future tourists.
Hopefully,the plans will come to fruition.
It made very interesting reading,and is an article I'd never have found had you not posted the link.

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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by Chocolate Eclair »

Hopefully it will settle a few nerves, I believe there has been a number of people living in Luxor and I suppose Egypt that have been worried about the future of the Country and probably more so about their own future, considering the amount of bad press on Visa's and different things recently.

I think many people here are looking for a signal that they feel safe and wanted, rather than "We are waiting for you to leave the Country so we can cancel your visa and send you back if you return". Once again there has been Chinese whispers, (if they are!)
about people returning after a holiday or escaping the fierce summer heat, that have been disallowed entry.

Again these maybe Chinese Whispers, but it would be interesting to know how many people have heard the same.

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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by TonyC »

Interesting that Dr Dardery still seems to be acting as an MP even though the old guard stuck it to him and 497 colleagues by dissolving parliament, I trust that if they have to run the elections again in full, he will be returned to carry on the good work.

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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by Winged Isis »

Thanks for a great read, H! Nice to see something positive. An intelligent journalist extracting thought-provoking and well-thought out answers. What an asset this man is for Luxor. All power to him. I loved the bit about turning up in his dusty galabeyah!

I have bookmarked this interesting site for future visits. Do you, or does anyone else, know anything about its background?
Carpe diem! :le:

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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by hatusu »

I hadnt come across the site before but a good friend, who is far more well read than I am, pointed it out, but he doesnt post on L4U. The article was so full of good old common sense rather than just idealism it really gave me so much more optimism for the future that I wanted to share it. There was another article on there that I found particularly interesting on scientific research done into fasting. Again I was quite surprised. I think several of us will bookmark The Chronikler in the future.

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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by BBLUX »

Agreed Hatusu.
Yes I remembered that conversation but being memory challenged could not locate the site the next day. Thanks for putting it on.
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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by Winged Isis »

Here is her article which preceded hatusu's post (with my highlighting, for those interested in reading more of her work)...


Egypt without the hype… and away from Cairo
By Josephine Littlejohn

Contrary to the distorted and Cairo-centric media view of Egypt, Egyptians have an extraordinary breadth of views about revolutionising their country.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

I have been horrified by some of the Western news coverage of Egypt. It seemed from British and American outlets that the Salafis were in power, that the pyramids were about to be blown up, the temples covered in wax, tourism brought to an end… the shock-horror stories abounded and no-one seemed to question the reality of these rather creative ‘reports’.

I love Egypt, for a variety of reasons, so I decided to find out for myself. I began to read Arab and Western news, Arab blogs of all persuasions, and two striking realisations became immediately obvious. One was that the news could not be trusted (duh!) and the other was a more complex realisation: Egypt now has elbow room for political discussion, but no real practical political experience or knowledge to draw upon.

It was like reading the idealistic debates of middle-class, first year political science undergraduates with no life experience. Add to the pot the constant silly declarations from rather smug religious ‘spokesmen’ intent on displaying how ‘pure’ they are… It made for pretty depressing reading.

So the crunch came: I had to go back and see for myself, hear the voices, look at the situation on the ground and come to my own conclusions. I went with no political or religious agenda: I have no political alignment, and I am not active in any particular religion, but I am not an atheist either. I felt, deep in my gut, that it was really important not to judge the situation based on these superficial presentations, not to have preformed ideas and to try and listen to the voices without filtering them through my own cultural and spiritual values. The voices need to be understood from within the struggle….after all the solution comes from within, not from without.

I talked to members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), to Catholics, Copts, secularists, people in the souk, the bus drivers, expats, regular visitors and I even managed to find a neo-fascist white supremacist. I talked to whoever I could, which caused a bit of a stir to action by the tourist police and the security services at one point. Needless to say I was not hauled off and slung in jail and after a couple of hours of fevered phone calls, furtive discussions and sideways glances, I was off the hook. Phew.

The voices on the street told me of the joy of freedom finally and the growing unease regarding the gradual collapse of law and order, the piles of rubbish, fear of the growing sense of power and arrogance among the Salafis, and the lack of tourists and their money. The feeling on the streets lurched from desperation to euphoria and then seemed to settle into a slow dawn of understanding of just how hard it is going to be to get Egypt on its feet.

I went through similar swings of emotion and the enormity of the task Egypt has ahead of her is still unfolding itself before me, as my understanding of the complexity of the situation grows. In reality, there is no real government, but there are technocrats put in place to keep the wheels turning while Egypt decides her next move. Although President Mohamed Morsi was heavily criticised for the appointments in his cabinet, in truth there was little else he could have done. Few people outside of the old regime know how to actually run the country, and the nearest contender is the Muslim Brotherhood with their long experience in social work. A situation oft described as being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The secularists wanted a revolutionary government but what do they mean by that? They wanted new ideas people. What new ideas? Who would implement them and how? The country is currently teetering on the edge of collapse. It does not need experimental ideas for now, but requires the kind of stability that can act as a foundation upon which new ideas, once properly and practically formed, can be cemented. And those new ideas need to come from a place of understanding, of knowing the long-term effects and ramifications of the practical application of a specific policy. I was truly saddened to see just how fragmented, politically illiterate (in terms of actual application) and out of touch the secular opposition is. A strong opposition keeps a government in check and prepares to become a government itself.

The dizzying array of various socialist workers parties, their parroting of outdated Marxist speak acquired from text books and their complete inability to truly connect with and understand the vast voting underbelly of the country brought to mind a scene from the 1979 Monty Python comedy film The Life of Brian. There is a wonderful scene in which the Jewish underclass, straining under Roman military rule, are assembled for a day at the Colosseum and begin a discussion about revolution. It quickly dissolves into spats between the People’s Front of Judea, the Judean People’s Front, the Judean Popular People’s Front… you get the idea.

I mean really? A 19th century political theory dreamed up by a couple of Germans and expanded upon by the Russians (who immediately began squabbling and fragmenting into factions)? And you think anything born out of that era and culture is going to even remotely fit in Egypt? It would be like feeding Russian boiled cabbage to Sicilians. Similarly, Adam Smith’s free market economic theory would fit Egypt like a round peg in a square hole. And don’t get me started on the remote possibility of a theocracy…shudder…. Egypt needs its own structure: take a lesson from the West… we made a mess, don’t copy us; grow your own sustainable future, that way it will last.

During my visit, there was so much information, so many voices that had important and valuable things to say that it is impossible to do them justice in one article. So over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of articles and two in-depth interviews (on with an FJP parliamentarian and the other with a secularist). I want to cover the many political, religious, economic and gender issues that emerged from the conversations: people spoke passionately, honestly and from the heart and I want these voices, voices from the streets and villages far away from Cairo to have a chance to be heard.


http://chronikler.com/travel/egypt-without-hype/
Carpe diem! :le:

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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by FABlux »

Thanks for that WI, very interesting article.

She certainly has got a good understanding of Egypt with her "Life of Brian" quote we often refer to that. The shopping scene is another one that rings true :lol:

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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by TonyC »

As the writer chimes with my thoughts over the past year...
I was truly saddened to see just how fragmented, politically illiterate (in terms of actual application) and out of touch the secular opposition is. A strong opposition keeps a government in check and prepares to become a government itself.
... I'm looking forward to reading more of her articles. In the meantime, the MB/FJP is the only alternative!

And I'm with Ms Littlejohn all the way when she says...
Egypt needs its own structure: take a lesson from the West… we made a mess, don’t copy us; grow your own sustainable future, that way it will last.

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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by Winged Isis »

Her latest...



Minority voices in Upper Egypt
By Josephine Littlejohn

A publisher in Luxor who happens to be Christian shows how Egypt’s majority and minorities, despite growing tension, share similar dreams and fears.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

In Luxor, I caught up with Mena Melad, the editor-in-chief and owner of Luxor Times, a glossy magazine and newspaper for Luxor’s English-speaking community. The publication is targeted at expats and tourists, and covers local issues, archaeology, the arts and current events. Melad is also from the Catholic community, a minority among Egyptian Christians, with the majority being Copts. I had not realised there was an Egyptian Catholic community, and so my curiosity was peaked.

I arranged to meet Melad and another member of the Catholic community, a local bus driver, to get their thoughts on post-revolution Egypt. Melad is young, sharp, educated and very much reflects the new generation in Egypt: hungry for change and desperate to modernise his country.

His frustration at the system, and the slow pace of change since the revolution began. “Laws area not being implemented. Rubbish is piling up everywhere and no one does anything about it. The crime rates are going up but the police don’t want to upset anyone and cause another riot. People expect things to be done for them,” complains Melad. “A group of us went out into the villages and helped with trash collection, showing the villagers how to recycle, what to separate out, and how to bag up their trash for collection. We did that for a couple for weeks to get it going but when we went back a few weeks later, it was back to being strewn everywhere and just tossed out of windows.”

His despair and frustration were obvious. The mountain that stands before him and before Egypt is not just a matter of voting in a new government, it is the massive process of slowly turning around how a population thinks. People are used to paternalistic rule. Individual and communal responsibility had been ruthlessly engineered out of society’s grassroots in the past in order to dis-empower the population, so it will take a long time for the people to recover.

Melad talked at length about local resources, unregulated construction and the fragility of the Nile itself. To illustrate, he took us out onto the west bank so that I could see for myself. Business people and some expats had taken advantage of the political turmoil and the subsequent lull in law enforcement to throw up apartment buildings to sell at inflated prices (by Egyptian standards) to foreigners looking for a cheap holiday home. I was appalled at what he showed me.

Gaps of land in between the regular buildings had been filled with new apartment blocks, pushed cheek to jowl against existing homes, cutting off any views or privacy the existing residents may have had. The roving editor also showed me how precious agricultural land, necessary for growing food crops, had been built on indiscriminately.

“There are available building plots further inland, and that is where any expansion should be. This land, close to the Nile, is needed for growing food; this land is precious and is already under strain. We could have sustainable housing 5km away from the Nile, we should not build near the Nile,” he pointed out.

We then moved on to Luxor, and the political and communal uncertainties brought about by the revolution. The bus driver expressed his worries: “As a Catholic, I am already a minority within a minority, and it worries me. Will my community suffer discrimination? Will we get fair [treatment from] the authorities if they are run by an Islamic group? Will we get fair justice? Will we get fair arbitration with local conflicts? Or will we become second class citizens?”

I could see his fears really troubled him. He was a quiet, gentle man struggling to provide for his family. He told me how his income had dropped considerably as work dried up. No one had money to spend, and now because of the relative lawlessness, he was afraid to work late at night in case his bus was stolen from him or his earnings robbed. He was very concerned for the future of his young children and his ability to provide for them.

“We need order restored, we need the police to [serve] us, not just the tourists, and we need local government to start doing its job,” the bus driver urged.

I asked Melad about the latest news on the Luxor governorship? He explained that, at present, there was no governor and he hoped that when one was appointed he would be an outsider to Luxor. I asked him why? I would have thought someone local who knew the community well, who knew its needs and its problems intimately, would be more helpful.

“Yes, that is a good point,” he said. “But we are worried about the issue of tribal allegiance. If we get a local, there will be the risk of getting someone who gives more attention to his extended family and community rather than the whole of Luxor.”

That was a good point and one I had not thought of.

Melad went on to tell me about a local organisation that had grown in Luxor, The Love of Egypt. This group of young people of all different faiths and backgrounds come together to discuss the community’s problems and try to find joint solutions. It sounded like the younger generation in Luxor were really on the ball and taking an active role in birthing a new Egypt.

I asked him what he thought the most pressing problems were that faced the communities in Luxor. He was very clear: “Clean water, proper sewage processing, decent education and proper medical facilities. We need people to do their jobs in these areas too. Often these days, people do not want to put in a hard days work, they all want to work in offices, come into work at 11am and leave at 2pm.”

I then asked him about what he’d like to see develop in Egypt as a whole: “Decent quality education. We have quantity but not quality. In the state schools, the supplies that children have to buy are expensive for them, and the method of teaching used is not that good. Then they can leave school at 11 or 12, which is not enough. But they want to leave at that age, they want to be grown up. We need to encourage them to stay on to high school.”

Melad also wished to see greater transparency and freedom. “I want freedom of information, like you have in the UK, freedom of speech and no corruption in authority. The internet has enabled us to see what other countries have and we want those things too,” the young journalist added.

This highlighted something that I had previously been unaware of. There is an image in the minds of young Egyptians who had not travelled much or at all of places like the UK being bastions of real free speech, of no corruption, and of fair wealth distribution. Although the UK is not suffering the problems of Egypt, it certainly has its own skeletons rattling away in the cupboard.

I came away from the meetings with Mena Melad with a sense of real hope: there was a bright energy in young Egyptians like him, a drive for a better world, and an intelligent awareness of their own community. It struck me that the opinions, aspirations and fears that Melad, as a Catholic, had shared with me were the same as those that members of the Muslim community had also shared. Let’s hope they work together towards them, with respect and the mutual admiration that each part of Luxor’s rich communal tapestry deserves.


http://chronikler.com/travel/egypt-minority-voices/


Melad went on to tell me about a local organisation that had grown in Luxor, The Love of Egypt. Anyone heard of them?
Carpe diem! :le:

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Re: An interview with Dr Dardery

Post by Winged Isis »

Oops, Remus already posted the same this morning as a separate topic! :mrgreen: Keefy can delete one if he sees fit.

But my question still stands. Anyone?
Carpe diem! :le:

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