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50 faces that made the news in 2011
In 2011, news changed fast. Ahram Online brings you 50 faces among the most well-known — or notorious — of the year
Ahram Online, Saturday 7 Jan 2012
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Activist faces

Many activists have been working tor change over the past several years, but it was with the January 25 Revolution that their names and faces became known to a wider public.

 

Asmaa Mahfouz

Asmaa Mahfouz

Mahfouz was one of the founding members of the 6 April Youth Movement that was formed following the Mahalla strike in April 2008. Mahfouz is well-known for a video in which she encouraged Egyptians to participate in the 25 January demonstrations.

After the revolution, Mahfouz, like many members of the 6 April Movement, was highly criticised for travelling abroad to participate on workshops on peaceful protest under the sponsorship of Freedom House. Mahfouz defended her choice, telling talkshow host Yosri Fouda that funds received for participation were not received in secret and that the trip was for the sole purpose of learning about peaceful change.

On 14 August, Mahfouz was summoned for interrogation by the military prosecution on charges of inciting against the army through her Facebook page. She was later released on bail of LE20,000 ($3,355). Mahfouz’s prosecution reinvigorated a national campaign against military trials of civilians.

Mahfouz is a winner of the 2011 European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

 

Bothaina Kamel

Bothaina Kamel

Kamel made history in 2011 after Mubarak’s ouster for being the first woman to announce her candidacy for president.

Kamel was the first potential presidential candidate to speak against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and military trials of civilians. The renowned activist and media personality took part in almost every protest against the ruling military council.

In November, she alleged that Central Security Forces sexually harassed her while she was briefly detained in the premises of the Interior Ministry.

 

Ramy Essam

Ramy Essam

Two videos and the tragic differences between them are the main reason why protester and underground singer Ramy Essam made headlines. The first video was of a song with lyrics composed from the most powerful anti-Mubarak chants, performed by Essam on guitar in Tahrir Square to an enthusiastic audience of protesters on a chilly evening during the January 25 Revolution. The video went viral and the song made it to London's TimeOut list of "100 songs that changed history”.

The second video was of Essam lying on his stomach, his bare back showing signs of severe beating and tasing, his face bruised and swollen as he spoke of being captured by army forces during the violent dispersal of a sit-in in Tahrir Square on 9 March. It was the first incident in which army forces used violence against protesters after the January revolution.

 

Father Filopater Gameel

Father Filopater Gameel

A Coptic priest and one of the most outspoken critics of discrimination against Christians in Egypt since Mubarak’s ouster, Father Gameel is one of the leading figures in the Maspero Youth Union, a movement of Coptic youth demanding equal rights for Christians in Egypt. He is also a common face in the crowd at Coptic protests and was one of the witnesses to the 9 October Maspero massacre in which Christian protesters clashed with the armed forces.

 

Haitham Mohamadein

Haitham Mohamadein

A member of the Revolutionary Socialist Movement, Haitham Mohamadein is a human rights lawyer affiliated with the Nadim Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, and a member of the Independent Federation of Trade Unions.

The Independent Federation of Trade Unions was formed during a meeting in Tahrir Square on 30 January 2011 among union representatives and leaders to uphold the right to freely form trade unions independent from the state.

Mohamadein vocally criticised anti-strike legislation issued by Essam Sharaf's post-Mubarak government. He has also defended workers facing charges for organising strikes.

 

Hossam El-Hamalawy

Hossam El-Hamalawy

More commonly known as long-time anti-government blogger “3arabawy,” the tireless labour movement activist also created “Piggipedia,” a site dedicated to exposing violations committed by Egyptian police officers. During the Mubarak era, El-Hamalawy was detained and tortured for his criticism of the regime.

After Mubarak’s fall, the 34-year-old continued railing against authorities and was eventually summoned for questioning by the military prosecution along with television journalist Reem Magued in May after accusing the military police of torturing activists on her talk show. The duo were released a short time later.

El-Hamalawy is regularly interviewed on Egyptian, pan-Arab and international news outlets.

 

Mikael Nabil

Mikael Nabil

The 28-year-old pacifist and blogger is known for sustaining a hunger strike for over 120 days in protest of his three-year sentence by a military court in April. Nabil was charged with “insulting the military and disturbing public security” for writing a blog post entitled, “The People and the Army were never one hand.”

The ensuing drama saw Nabil refuse food and fluids, threatening to commit suicide and being sent to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. In October, a military appeals court ordered his retrial, only to hand him a two-year sentence a couple of months later.

Nabil was one of the first to vocally criticise the role of the military, questioning the military’s claim to be the defender of the revolution. 

 

Mohamed Al-Qasas

Qassas

A former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Al-Qasas was known before the revolution for his prominent role within the Brotherhood’s youth wing.

During the January 25 Revolution, Al-Qasas became a member of the Revolution Youth Coalition, which he joined as a representative of the Brotherhood youth.

After the revolution, Al-Qasas was one of the Brotherhood’s first members to defy its leaders’ decision to forbid joining any political party other than the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, and was expelled from the movement for his stand.

Later, he and other young Muslim Brotherhood members and several former and current affiliates of the 6 April Youth Movement joined forces to establish the Egyptian Current Party.

 

Mona Mina

Mona Mina

A medical doctor and union activist, Mina became known for her role in the creation in 2007 of Doctors Without Rights, campaigning for improved conditions in public hospitals where poorer Egyptians receive treatment, and for higher wages for all medical staff.

Mina was one of the organisers of a historic doctors strike in May 2011 calling for better pay and working conditions and for increased spending on healthcare from four per cent to 15 per cent of the budget.

In syndicate elections in October, Mina was one of the first female Copts to be elected to the board of a syndicate historically dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. She played an active role within the Independence electoral list, which was able to break the Brotherhood’s monopoly on power in the syndicate.

Mina also participated throughout the 18-day uprising and has played a key role in the field hospitals treating protesters when they are attacked.

 

Nawara Negm

Nawara Negm

A well-known columnist and blogger, Negm also became one of the main media spokespersons for revolutionaries from Tahrir during the January 25 Revolution. An anti-Mubarak activist for years and daughter of leftist poet and dissident Ahmed Fouad Negm, her voice spoke both for and to young revolutionaries.

After the toppling of Mubarak, Negm’s views became highly controversial. She was criticised for taking a stand against a sit-in by military officers against the ruling military council. 

However, she soon changed her position on SCAF after the military violently evacuated a sit-in of Tahrir Square by martyrs’ families at the end of June. She is currently part of a wider movement demanding an immediate handover of power to a civil government and against military trials of civilians.

 

The Seif family

The Seif Family

The Seifs are Egypt’s number one revolutionary family. The parents are lawyer Ahmed Seif and Cairo University professor Laila Sweif, both of whom have a long history of political activism dating from before the Mubarak era. Their two daughters and son are also political activists.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah has now become the most famous member of the family after being detained on accusations of stealing firearms, assaulting army soldiers and inciting violence during the October clashes between military personnel and Coptic-Christian protesters in Cairo’s Maspero district.

Mona Seif has played a key role in the No to Military Trials campaign; 12,000 civilians have faced military trials since the fall of Mubarak. Sanaa Seif co-founded a newspaper with other young activists.

 

Wael Ghonim

Wael Ghonim

The Google marketing executive is considered by many, especially internationally, to be the face of the Egyptian revolution.

Ghonim, 31, was one of the secret administrators of the popular “We Are All Khaled Said” Facebook page created in memorial of the young Egyptian brutally beaten to death by two policemen in June 2010.

Ghonim used the page to organise and set the date for the January 25 Revolution to coincide with Egypt’s National Police Day. Only three days into the revolution, on 27 January, Ghonim was arrested and detained while blindfolded for 12 days. On his release, he wept in a television interview when told about the number killed in the revolution until that point, the interview being a watershed moment in middle class support for the revolution.

He made Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2011.

 

 

Symbols

Some activists have become symbols and icons of the revolution. They were inspirational for many, and the price they each paid had a great impact. 

 

Ahmed Harara

Ahmed Harara

"I would rather live blind with dignity than as an oppressed person who can't look others in the eye,” the 31-year-old dentist said after losing both of his eyes in two separate crackdowns on protests by security forces in 2011.

Harara lost his right eye on 28 January when the police attempted to violently disperse the sit-in of Tahrir Square and his left eye in the same location on 19 November.

His story inspired many Egyptians at a time when a campaign defaming revolutionaries had been gaining momentum. Harara was featured in Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2011 edition showcasing iconic activists and protesters from around the world.

 

Mina Daniel

Mina Daniel

Daniel became one of the symbols of the revolution after he was killed on 9 October.

A Copt who emphasised being Egyptian, rather than Christian or Muslim demands, participated throughout the uprising that toppled Mubarak and was injured during the “Battle of the Camel” on 2 February.

The young leftist activist was shot dead in October when participating in a march in front of the state television building in Maspero calling for an end to discrimination against Egypt’s Christians.

When in the ambulance, Daniel is reported to have said if he died he wanted to have his funeral in Tahrir Square. Following the funerals of 17 of those killed in the clashes, hundreds of mourners, both Christian and Muslim, followed his coffin to the square.

There are stencilled images of Mina all over Cairo, alongside the words “We are all Mina Daniel,” a flag with his face is often seen at protests, and his name features in many chants.

 

Sambo

Sambo

“Sambo” is 26-year-old Mohamed Gad, also known to revolutionaries as a hero for defending protestors when clashes broke out between families of martyrs and the police at the Baloon Theatre and Tahrir Square on 28 June.

An iconic photo of Sambo holding a firearm on that day was circulated on the internet and he was accused of forcibly taking the weapon of one of the security forces personel in the clashes. Despite protests and other efforts by the No to Military Trials campaign, Sambo was handed a five-year sentence by a military court.

The working-class Egyptian was one of the first revolutionary heroes to defy the stereotype of the young, educated and middle-class protestor. "Sambo is a hero, not a thug," many activists wrote on social media networks.  

 

Samira Ibrahim

Samira Ibrahim

Ibrahim, 25, was the only woman of seven subjected to forced “virginity tests” by the military to publicly speak about it and sue the military council in a landmark case for women and Egyptian detainees.

She was arrested on 9 March following the violent dispersal of a protest in Tahrir Square and taken to the C28 military base. There she was subjected to a forced “virginity test,” which an anonymous military official later revealed was conducted to ensure that female protesters do not accuse the military of rape.

On 27 December, the Administrative Court issued an order banning “virginity tests” for female detainees. The army responded that such procedures did not exist.

 

Sheikh Emad Effat

Sheikh Emad Effat

Known as the “Revolution’s Sheikh,” Effat was killed by live ammunition fired by military police during the crackdown on the Cabinet sit-in in December.

Effat taught at Al-Azhar Mosque and Dar Al-Ifta, a centre for Islamic legal research. Effat’s family and students have suggested that the 52-year-old sheikh was deliberately targeted because of his criticism of the military council and his latest fatwa against voting for parliamentary candidates associated with the Mubarak regime.

Effat participated in protests throughout the past 11 months, but not in his Islamic outfit. His killing undermines both the idea that all protesters are thugs or tech-savvy youth. It also brings to the surface the role played by Islamic institutions; for instance, Dar Al-Ifta claimed the sheikh was only passing by the protest, not participating, and while the preacher at his funeral said no-one knows who killed him, thousands of mourners roared back with anti-military slogans.

 

Spiderman

El-Shahat

The Egyptian Spiderman is 23-year-old Egyptian Ahmed Shahat, the man who became a national sensation for scaling to the top of the 13-storey apartment building that housed the Israeli embassy to bring down the Israeli flag.

It happened as hundreds of protesters were gathering in front of the building to call for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador after the killing of six Egyptian soldiers on the border with Israel by Israeli troops.

Shahat was later awarded an apartment and job by the governor of Sharqiya, where he lives.

 

Tahrir girl

Tahrir girl

On the fourth day of a brutal crackdown on a sit-in outside the Cabinet premises in December, a young woman was part-stripped, beaten and dragged by military soldiers in Tahrir Square. The iconic image of “Tahrir girl” quickly made the rounds in Egyptian and international media, exposing the military regime’s attitude towards the revolution.

A few days after the incident, a 10,000-strong women’s protest, protected by a cordon of male protesters, marched through downtown Cairo in what is considered the biggest women's march in the history of Egypt.

“Tahrir girl” wants to remain anonymous, reportedly saying that it does not matter whether she talks to the media or not, because “their stripping me is enough to reveal them (the army) and tell enough to those who still believe them.”

 

Fallen giants

While Hillary Clinton famously said on 25 January that the government of Hosni Mubarak was stable, Mubarak and some of his entourage are decidedly fallen, and even though tens of Mubarak's men were sent to prison, these are the figures people least expected to see in the shade, or behind bars.

 

Ahmed Ezz

Ahmed Ezz

The steel magnate was one of the most influential figures of the now-disbanded National Democratic Party (NDP) before the January 25 Revolution. He was widely known as “the architect" of the 2010 rigged parliamentary elections.

He appeared in an interview with Al-Arabiya channel shortly following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, in which he timidly tried to defend himself against a barrage of accusations.

Cairo’s Criminal Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison in September after arresting him on various corruption charges in February.

 

Habib El-Adly

Habib-El-Adly

El-Adly is arguably the most notorious minister of interior in Egypt's history, and the last to serve under Mubarak. Under his auspices, 1997-2011, the Ministry of Interior increasingly employed torture and violence as a routine practice. Police brutality was seen by many to be a cause of the revolution, with the case of Khaled Said, a young man killed by the police in Alexandria in 2010, galvanising public opinion.

El-Adly was among the first of the figures from Mubarak’s government to face trial. He was sentenced to 12 years and faced fines for corruption and money laundering charges. He is now facing charges in the “Mubarak trial” for the killing of protesters.

El-Adly has also been associated with the attack on the Two Saints Church on New Year’s Eve last year.

 

The Mubaraks

Mubarak family

The family of toppled president Hosni Mubarak became a focus in both Egyptian and international media since the January 25 Revolution. Hosni Mubarak was toppled on 11 February after 18 days of mass protests. In April, months after he was forced to step down, Mubarak was detained for trial together with his two sons, Alaa and Gamal.

His wife, Suzanne Thabet, was also detained a month later on corruption charges, only to be admitted to hospital. She was later exempted from serving prison time by the Illicit Gains Authority after paying LE24 million to the Ministry of Finance in the name of the Egyptian people.

Mubarak is currently facing charges of conspiring to kill unarmed protesters during the 18-day uprising that led to his ouster. Together with his two sons, he also faces charges of corruption. The Mubarak family had their assets frozen and were banned from travelling by order of Egypt's general prosecutor on 28 February.

The Mubarak trial, that started in August and is ongoing, has received worldwide attention, though many are sceptical that the trial will deliver justice.

 

Omar Suleiman

Omar Soliman

The head of Egyptian intelligence since 1993, Suleiman, was appointed by Mubarak on 29 January as vice president, a position that had never been filled during Mubarak’s presidency. There had been widespread speculation that Suleiman might contend with Gamal Mubarak to be the country’s next president. A close associate and ally of Mubarak, he stepped down on 11 February, the same day as Mubarak.

In the midst of mass protests, Suleiman earned protesters’ ire when he suggested in a televised interview that Egyptians were not ready for democracy.

WikiLeaks cables laid bare the centrality of Suleiman to US-Egypt relations; a 2006 US State Department memo described him as “probably the most successful element of the relationship".

 

 

The SCAF

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) currently holds the reins of power in Egypt; in this section are included figures associated with SCAF.

 

Major General Hamdy Badeen

Hamdy Badin

Hamdy Badeen, the commander of the military police in the Egyptian army and a member of SCAF, has played a prominent role defending the military’s treatment of protesters. He has denied all allegations of torture and mistreatment, despite mounting evidence. In November, he claimed that military police had not entered Tahrir Square for months, contradicting filmed evidence collected by activists.

Revolutionaries have demanded his prosecution for violations committed against protesters since the fall of Mubarak to the present.

Large banners in Tahrir Square have called for the trial of Badeen, "the killer of revolutionaries". As part of the upsurge of political graffiti, “Wanted” posters of the major general have been stenciled on walls throughout Cairo.

 

Hassan El-Roweiny

Hassan El-Roweiny

SCAF member El-Roweiny became notorious in 2011 for remarks that drew widespread criticism.

He accused the 6 April Movement, which played a key role in ousting Mubarak, of receiving money from abroad to “undermine the state,” an allegation which was later proven false by a Ministry of Justice fact-finding committee.

He also stirred controversy when he admitted to spreading rumours in Tahrir Square during the revolution to “ease the tensions of protesters in the square".

 

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

Hosni Mubarak’s defence minister for two decades, the media-shy field marshal was propelled into the spotlight after assuming power in February when the January 25 Revolution toppled Mubarak. Given his position as the head of the SCAF, Tantawi became Egypt’s de facto ruler.

A number of revolutionaries initially welcomed his arrival at the helm, but a series of incidents, including clashes between the army and people that left scores dead and wounded, mounted huge pressure on him by year’s end.

 

Sobhi Saleh

Sobi Saleh

A Muslim Brotherhood leader, Saleh stirred controversy in 2011 among liberals with a series of notorious remarks, such as the inference that liberalism contradicts the principles of Islam and that the men of the Brotherhood should marry its women.

Saleh's statements were especially contentious because he was part of the committee that drafted the constitutional amendments in March. The Brotherhood was the only political group to have a member in the committee, which raised suspicions as the Brotherhood prominently campaigned for a “Yes” vote in the March referendum. Some have posited the existence of a deal between the Muslim Brotherhood and SCAF.

Saleh is highly likely to win a People’s Assembly seat in Alexandria after the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) came first in the elections for electoral lists in Egypt’s second-largest city.

 

Sniper of the eyes

Sobhy El-Shennawy

Police officer Mohamed Sobhy El-Shennawy, known as the “Sniper of the eyes,” gained notoriety after a video was widely circulated online showing him shooting at protesters as Central Security Forces (CSF) cheered him on. The video, showing him aiming at eye level, was filmed up close during the November clashes.

He was later arrested and the investigation into the incident is underway while he is in detention. Some people believe, however, that Egyptian authorities are protecting El-Shennawy after a reward was put on his head and information about him circulated broadly on the internet.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said it had documented 60 cases of protesters with eye injuries in just one hospital following clashes in Mohamed Mahmoud Street in November.

During clashes, several protesters could be seen with bandages on one eye. The image has become iconic of the military’s violence towards protesters, as evidenced in graffiti across Cairo, and of the SCAF’s handling of the transition period.

 

Tahani El-Gabali

Tahani El-Gabali

The first female judge in Egypt and vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, El-Gabali has become a prominent defender of the SCAF.

She advocated for drafting the constitution first, before parliamentary elections, as well as for adopting supra-constitutional principles. El-Gabali earned criticism from revolutionary forces for describing the SCAF as the last standing institution in the country, despite its performance. She has also come in for criticism for disparaging the protesters in Tahrir Square and accusing foreign powers of being behind the violence.

She is reported to have declined an invitation to join the Advisory Council assisting the SCAF in administering the transitional phase.

 

Tarek El-Beshry

Tarek El-Beshry

The Islamist veteran judge was appointed by the SCAF as the head of the committee to draft constitutional amendments in February.

The amendments were approved following a referendum one month later, but SCAF was widely criticised for failing to stick to the roadmap it suggested.

El-Beshry later became one of SCAF’s critics, lashing out at the military junta in late 2011 following the proposal of supra-constitutional principles that would have shielded the army from civilian oversight.

 

Government faces

There have been many changes in government post-Mubarak; these faces made the headlines, and none of them remain in government.

 

Ahmed Shafiq

Ahmed Shafiq

Mubarak appointed Ahmed Shafiq, a former minister of civil aviation, as prime minister on 30 January, in a last ditch attempt to appease protesters who had been demonstrating across Egypt since 25 January. Shafik did not win over protesters when he suggested that they go home and that the government could “give them candy”.

After Mubarak’s ouster on 11 February, large scale protests erupted calling for Shafiq, a Mubarak era minister to step down. On 3 March, after weeks of pressure, he resigned from his post marking himself as one of the shortest-serving prime ministers in Egyptian history.

Shafiq often appears in the news and plans to run for presidential elections in post-Mubarak Egypt.

 

Ali El-Selmy

Ali El-Selmy

The duty of Egypt’s deputy prime minister was to oversee a transition to democracy, but he came under fire for proposing the controversial supra-constitutional principles document in November.

The principles, which were widely known as the “El-Selmy Document,” drew widespread criticism for including two articles that would have shielded the Egyptian army from civilian oversight.

Activists said El-Selmy was following the instructions of the military junta. In the end, the principles were not approved and El-Selmy himself left office with Essam Sharaf's cabinet after widespread protests in November.

 

Essam Sharaf

Essam Sharaf

Essam Sharaf served as Egypt’s prime minister from March to December 2011. Having protested in Tahrir during the January 25 Revolution, he was initially seen as “coming from Tahrir”. Indeed, one of the first things he did as prime minister was address crowds in Tahrir and declare, “I draw my legitimacy from you.”

But hope in Sharaf and his cabinet quickly faded. He was seen as either doing nothing or being complicit in government abuses. It also appeared that his power was limited and real power lay with the SCAF.

Sharaf submitted his resignation in November in the midst of a violent crackdown on protesters.

 

Nabil El-Arabi

Nabil El-Arabi

As Egypt’s first foreign minister following the fall of Mubarak, El-Arabi started a significant shift in Egypt’s foreign policy stances in the short time he held office.

El-Arabi was credited with the partial opening of the Rafah Crossing with Gaza and brokering Hamas-Fatah reconciliation. He also sought to reestablish relations with Iran. Taking popular decisions, he was seen to be forging a new role for Egypt on the world stage.

In May, he was nominated and then unanimously elected to the position of secretary general of the Arab League. Many saw this as an attempt to sideline El-Arabi and put a halt to the direction in which he was taking Egypt’s foreign policy.

On the regional level, El-Arabi made news headlines due to the Arab League’s active role in the Libyan and Syrian uprisings.

 

Osama Heikal

Osama Haikal

Although his tenure as Egypt’s information minister lasted only four months, Osama Heikal proved to be the most controversial minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

Shortly after his appointment, he announced the activation of the highly controversial emergency law. During his time in office, the Cairo bureau of Aljazeera Mubasher was shut down.

He came under fierce criticism over state television’s coverage of the clashes at Maspero between the army and Coptic Christians, which was widely seen as inciting sectarianism and violence.

 

Election faces

Egypt’s first post-Mubarak elections have been described both as historic and woefully complicated. Here are a few of the key faces.

 

Abdel-Moneim El-Shahat

Abdel-Moneim El-Shahat

As the official spokesperson for the Islamist movement Al-Dawa Al-Salafiyya (The Salafist Call) and a Salafist leader, El-Shahat became one of the most controversial political figures of 2011.

El-Shahat became particularly famous for stating that novels by renowned Nobel Prize winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz promoted “promiscuity, prostitution and atheism”.

He ran for parliament at the same time that a video circulated the internet in which he denounced democracy, asserting that it was tantamount to atheism. El-Shahat did not secure a parliamentary seat in Alexandria — a Dawa stronghold — losing to secular lawyer Hosni Dowidar.

 

Amr Hamzawy

Amr Hamzawy

From a political science professor and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Hamzawy has become one of the most famous liberal faces in the revolution.

Hamzawy’s profile rose in 2006 when he became a frequent political commentator on pan-Arab media outlets. Just days before the January 25 Revolution, he told the BBC that there would not be a revolution in Egypt as there was in Tunisia.

Founder of the Egypt Freedom Party, Hamzawy is one of the few liberals elected in the new parliament, which will have an Islamist majority. His win was also one of the few that did not require run-offs.

During the 18-day uprising that ousted Mubarak, Hamzawy was the spokesperson for the so-called Council of Wise Men meant to mediate between anti-Mubarak demonstrators and the regime. He is reported to have refused a post in the Shafiq government following the fall of Mubarak.

 

Mohamed ElBaradei

Mohamed ElBaradei

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and former International Atomic Energy Agency chief was a prominent figure in the Egyptian Revolution with his daring campaign for the presidency and presence on the front lines on 28 January 2011.

ElBaradei continued his rise in 2011 despite tough competition from other presidential candidates, along with allegations that followed him since Mubarak’s era. He began speaking more in public, appearing on international and Egyptian media, and commenting on the state of Egypt’s affairs through his Twitter account.

 

Mohamed El-Beltagy

Mohamed El-Beltagy

Muslim Brotherhood member El-Beltagy stood out for vocalising his dissent against the military junta while most of the Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), aligned themselves with the SCAF.

El-Beltagy, who is also the FJP’s general secretary, condemned the SCAF when the army violently dispersed sit-ins in Tahrir and Qasr El-Aini Street in late 2011.

He also said the newly elected parliament should summon SCAF head Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi for questioning regarding the deaths of more than 60 people in the crackdown on protesters.

 

Mohamed Morsy

Mohamed Morsy

Morsy made headlines in April 2011 when he became president of the Muslim Brotherhood’s first political party, the Freedom and Justice Party. The formation of the party was a huge milestone for the Brotherhood, which was banned from political participation during the Mubarak era.

Before his appointment as FJP president, Morsy was a member of the Brotherhood’s elite Guidance Bureau and was the group’s most popular media spokesperson. To prove the party’s autonomy from the Brotherhood, he was asked to abandon his position in the bureau after he became president.

 

Naguib Sawiris

Naguib Sawiris

The telecommunications tycoon was a known name before the revolution. The second richest Egyptian according to Forbes magazine’s list of global billionaires, he is estimated to be worth $2.5 billion, and the family’s commercial empire is the largest private employer in the country.

Sawaris started to more explicitly enter politics with the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak, negotiating the release of prominent detainee Wael Ghonim and becoming a member of the so-called Council of Wise Men that was established to negotiate between protesters and the Mubarak regime.  

Sawiris later co-founded the Free Egyptians Party, which became the strongest liberal contender in Egypt’s first post-revolutionary parliament elections.

A staunch liberal and a Copt, Sawiris openly criticises Islamist political groups, and has suggested that Egypt’s Islamists receive funding from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

 

Political Islamist faces

In the wake of the January 25 Revolution, political Islam has been gaining increased attention. Here are included important faces that did not feature above, but played a major role is shaping Egypt's new political map.

 

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood leader, Aboul Fotouh made news in June 2011 when he declared his intention to run for Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential elections. As a result, the Brotherhood released a statement discharging the Guidance Bureau member for contravening the organisation’s promise not to nominate any of its members for the presidency. However, Aboul Fotouh’s run for the presidency was only the last straw in his long-standing rift with more conservative Brotherhood leaders.

Aboul Fotouh’s popularity rose, especially among revolutionaries, due to his strongly pro-revolution statements. His name was among those suggested by Tahrir protesters in November to lead a national salvation government after the military council accepted Sharaf’s resignation following clashes between protesters and police forces in Mohamed Mahmoud Street that killed at least 41 protesters.

 

Aboud El-Zommor

Aboud El-Zommor

After 30 years in prison for his role in the assassination of former Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat, El-Zommor was released in March 2011 after the SCAF ordered the release of 60 political prisoners who had already served 15 or more years of their sentence.

Upon his release, the media treated El-Zommor as a hero, raising criticism among many, especially liberals. El-Zommor, who was supposed to be released five years ago but was kept in prison on security grounds, quickly engaged in the political arena.

In October, he established a party to contest the first parliamentary elections following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. Even though El-Zommor is not officially the leader of the new party, he is considered the spiritual leader of the first formal party of a once radical Islamist group that used violence against the state in the 1980s and 90s.

 

Hazem Abou-Ismail

Hazem Abou-Ismail

Abou-Ismail has come to prominence over the past year as a leading Salafist figure, announcing in May his intention to run in the first presidential elections following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

The 50-year-old scholar and lawyer was previously engaged in political activism, mostly through taking on cases involving the persecution of Islamist figures and Egypt’s relations with Israel.

Abou Ismail has vowed to implement Sharia law (Islamic jurisprudence) if he wins the elections. Among his most controversial statements are that he would prohibit unmarried couples from appearing in public, shut down the alcohol industry in Egypt, and arrest female tourists who wear bikini swimsuits on beaches.

Abou-Ismail and his supporters often attend Tahrir Square protests, and he is one of the main critics of the political performance of the ruling military council.

 

Mahmoud Ghozlan

Mahmoud Ghozlan

A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, Ghozlan was tasked with explaining the Brotherhood’s actions during and after the uprising, at times struggling to win over protesters in the latter stages of 2011.

Protesters heckled him during the memorial service for Emad Effat, an Azhar sheikh who was killed when the army tried to disperse a sit-in in front of the cabinet in downtown Cairo, profiled above.

Demonstrators were angry at what they perceive as the Brotherhood’s betrayal of the revolution. Ghozlan later said the Brotherhood “would never sell its daughter,” referring to the revolution.

 

Khairat El-Shater

Khairat El-Shater

Deputy supreme guide and a top financier of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, El-Shater stood, along with other prominent Brotherhood figures, before military tribunals during the Mubarak era, spending many years in prison.

A business tycoon, El-Shater is an adamant defender of the free-market economy and a critic of US-Israeli policies in the region. Following the success of the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, in securing parliamentary seats in the first round of elections, El-Shater was given the responsibility of establishing a nahda (renaissance) project for the party. He has since been meeting with consultants from Africa, Europe and Asia regarding social, economic and political development.

Foreign Policy magazine put El-Shater in a list of 2011’s global thinkers.

 

Media faces

While state media pre- and post-Mubarak is somewhat similar, there is increasing diversity in the media overall. The following are new and old faces that not only covered the news, but were themselves news.

 

Alia El-Mahdy

Alia El-Mahdy

Atheist feminist and student of mass communication, Alia El-Mahdy hit the headlines after posting on her blog a nude photo she took of herself as a statement on her right to freely express herself. Two and a half million have visited the 20-year-old’s blog after the post was spread on Twitter in late 2011.

The photo also drew the attention of the local and international media. Her boyfriend, blogger Karim Amer, also an atheist, is said to have encouraged El-Mahdy to post the photo. Lawsuits against her have been filed while a host of fundamentalists demanded her execution. 

 

Bassem Youssef

Bassem Youssef

Youssef is credited with introducing the Jon Stewart-type political spoof to post-revolutionary Egypt. In his internet debut in March on YouTube, Youssef used humour and satire to expose the hypocrisy and lies of state media coverage of the revolution.

The low-budget production was an immediate success. He quickly caught the attention of television executives, and was reportedly flooded with offers, before closing a deal with private satellite ONTV channel.

Youssef’s show on ONTV, El-Bernameg (The Show), continues to tackle current events in Egypt. In interview, Youssef told Ahram Online, “There is no censorship in my show and this was a precondition when signing the contract.”

Youssef is also a doctor and was in the medical team who tended to the injured in Tahrir Square on 2 February after the infamous “Battle of the Camel.”

 

Dina Abdel-Rahman

Dina Abdel-Rahman

Abdel-Rahman came to attention in July as host on private satellite channel Dream TV when she had a heated exchange on air with a military general who had called in challenging her description of SCAF’s conduct. She was then fired by the channel’s owner, businessman Ahmed Bahgat.

Her sacking was regarded by activists, among others, as a blow to freedom of expression and journalism in the country.

Shortly after she left Dream TV, prominent satellite channels started negotiating with Abdel-Rahman. She now hosts an evening talk show on Tahrir TV channel, and is known for her challenging shows; for instance, when she challenged a military figure by showing evidence refuting the SCAF account of the crackdown on protests in December.

 

Tawfik Okasha

Tawfik Okasha

A former member of the now-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP), Tawfik Okasha rose to prominence in 2011, but not because of his political stance following the revolution.

The owner of El-Faraeen TV channel became known for bizarre statements, like warning of “an invasion by the Masons on 13/13/2013", that became the subject of great sarcasm on social networking websites.

Okasha is a regular at pro-SCAF rallies. He will run for a People’s Assembly seat in the third stage of parliamentary elections scheduled for January 2012.





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5



Hamdy Eed
10-01-2012 02:38am
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Great Job
You guys did such a great job compiling this info together in an easy to read format. Thank you!!!
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Lanie
07-01-2012 09:21pm
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So many
Great job, so many faces for sure. Thanks for putting them together, as a foreigner it certainly helps me in knowing the players by name. :)
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dr ADEL Badr
06-01-2012 10:15am
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well done
excellent work from a very respectable site. Why don't you lend some ofyourconduct code to the mother journal web site.
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Mostafa
06-01-2012 04:44am
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Surprised
The list is pretty interesting and well done. But I'm surprised that Yosri Fouda wasn't in the list !!
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1



Mostafa
06-01-2012 03:45am
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Surprised
The list is pretty interesting and well done. But I'm surprised that Yosri Fouda wasn't in the list !!
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