I admit that when I began these notes in the autumn of 2014, some six months after the election of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi the previous May, I wanted to build a case in support of el shaab (the people). By that I mean the unprecedented number of Egyptians who had taken to the streets the summer before, calling for the army to assist in the ouster of then president Mohamed Morsi. The grievances against the Islamist president were many, including violence perpetrated by his Freedom and Justice Party and the most overreaching power grab of any Egyptian president (he granted himself extrajudicial constitutional powers). Amid a rapidly declining economy and a general sense of disarray, popular dissent had escalated. Millions of Egyptians poured into the streets, underhandedly encouraged by long-standing forces of the “deep state”—the army and state security services.
Toughing It Out in Cairo