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Posts by Laura Dean

Laura Dean is a freelance journalist living and working in Egypt and sometimes other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. She grew up in Bahrain and graduated from the University of Chicago. Previously, she worked as an election observer with the Carter Center in Tunisia and Libya and served on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, DC.

The Cairo Diary: Days of Cold Tea and Rotting Lemons

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Monday, February 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Moldy tea bags offer the only evidence that any time has passed, when Drew Brammer walks into the apartment one week after its occupants, Hossam Meneai and Jeremy Hodge, were taken from it in the middle of the night. There are cups on the table full of half-drunk tea, standing where members of the national . . .
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The Cairo Diary: In Alf Maskan After the Bullets

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Monday, January 27, 2014 at 10:39 AM

On the anniversary of the January 25 uprisings, television screens across Egypt broadcast dance performances on the stage in Tahrir square, smiling children with Egyptian flags painted on their faces, and women wearing pictures of General Abdel Fattah el Sissi around their necks. Meanwhile clashes raged in the next street over, largely ignored by the . . .
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The Cairo Diary: Anniversary of a Massacre and A General’s Birthday

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Friday, November 22, 2013 at 1:29 AM

Tahrir Square, November 19, 2013. As you enter Mohamed Mahmoud Street from Tahrir Square, a sign reads, “The borders of Egypt. Entry is prohibited for Muslim Brotherhood, Army and remnants of the Mubarak regime.” Nada Ahmed, an independent activist, tells me, “Mohamed Mahmoud Street is especially our place. The Muslim Brotherhood went down to Tahrir . . .
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The Cairo Diary: Inside the Morsi Courtroom

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 12:36 AM

It’s no accident that ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s trial happened in a place called the Fifth Settlement, which was, until ten years ago, in the middle of the desert. Parts of it fit that description still. The courthouse in New Cairo is far outside the teeming avenues and alleyways of the old city, far beyond most . . .
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The Cairo Diary: Danger, Ebbing Freedom, and the Urge to Martyrdom

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Friday, October 25, 2013 at 9:55 AM

On Monday night in Cairo, masked men on a motorcycle gunned down a man, a woman and an eight-year-old child as they came out of a wedding. Tuesday morning a 12-year-old girl, who was also critically injured in the incident, succumbed to her injuries. Eighteen other people were wounded in the attack. A boat carrying . . .
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The Cairo Diary: Repression and Depression

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Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 4:36 PM

It is one of Cairo’s rare windy fall days, and I am sitting with a group of friends, who are drinking juice and smoking shisha on multi-colored plastic chairs in an alley downtown. A poster of Nasser flutters above a neighboring cafe, and graffiti from all of the stages of Egypt’s recent political past adorns the . . .
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The Cairo Diary: Scenes from a Bloodbath

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:58 AM

At a little before seven am yesterday morning, police and military stormed the two sit-ins where supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi have been encamped for the last six weeks. Several times in the last few weeks the military-appointed government has announced its intention to break up the sit-ins, so what happened yesterday . . .
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The Cairo Diary: Sit-in Dispersal Watch

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:00 AM

I am back in Cairo after some time out of the country, and there is a lot going on. Here are some notes from the last fews weeks in reverse chronological order. The older ones date back to mid-July, before I left. Today, Muslim Brotherhood protesters (and most of the Cairo foreign press corps) have . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 12: Friday of the “Leopard Crawl”

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Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 7:48 PM

It is the Friday of, as they say in Arabic, “Zahf.” The word connotes a kind of military advance or march—in this case, of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, pushing steadily from the governorates toward the capital.  Literally, though, Zahf means a motion like what in English is called a “leopard crawl.” The etymology makes . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 11: My Day as a Tourist

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Friday, July 12, 2013 at 8:39 AM

As I promised yesterday I would, I go back to the Egyptian Museum this morning. In the old days—the days when Egypt was a repressive but stable police state—as many as 10,000 people would come through the museum doors on a good day in high season. Nowadays, things are a little different. Today, I count 24 armed . . .
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Cairo Diary, June 10: Protesting While Fasting

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Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 2:12 AM

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia and the UAE showed their support for the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, and the army’s new grip on power, by presenting Egypt with eight billion dollars in aid. Kuwait followed suit and pledged an additional four billion on Wednesday. The Tamarod movement has come out against Egypt’s new constitutional . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 10 (Early Morning): Ramadan in the Revolution

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 8:13 AM

It’s the first morning of Ramadan—a little after 5:30. For the first time I can remember, I hear birds in Cairo, loud chattering ones that persist despite the city’s inhospitality to wildlife. I am seldom up at this hour. Many people in Cairo have been up for a few hours already. Or, rather, they woke . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 8: Piecing Through What Happened and Waiting for the Parasol Revolution

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 9:06 AM

It was a terrible day by 6 am Monday morning, and it has been getting worse all day. What we know: 51 people died from gunshot wounds that they sustained outside the Republican guard facility, and 435 others were injured. One soldier also died, and 42 soldiers were injured. We may never know what really . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 7: An Outside Perspective

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Monday, July 8, 2013 at 12:39 AM

Tahrir Square is full tonight. Tamarod marchers converge on downtown from all over Cairo. Rabaa el Adaweya is packed as well again today, only with Morsi supporters. I haven’t written yet in this diary about Egypt’s second city—the lovely Mediterranean town of Alexandria. I lived there for a few months in late 2011 and wish . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 6: A New Prime Minister, Maybe

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Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Egypt has a new Prime Minister—or not. State news media announced on Saturday that Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Prize winner and outspoken critic of the Brotherhood and the Mubarak regime, had been appointed to the position. Soon thereafter, however, close to midnight on Saturday, the interim president qualified the announcement, saying that the decision was not . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 5: “Friday of Rejection”—and Violence

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Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 6:31 AM

So much violence tonight. When people called for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, they clashed against state security forces with a clear goal in mind. There was a positive objective. Not so today, when 30 people were killed across the country. Most died in clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted president . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 4: The First Day of the Rest of Egypt’s Life

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Friday, July 5, 2013 at 12:03 AM

In the U.S., the Fourth of July is the nation’s birthday. In Egypt, it’s the first day of the rest of the country’s life. It happened so fast that many of us are still in shock, still processing everything that’s happened in the last few days. All day, the Tweeps have been busy coining new . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 3: Praying We Don’t Get Fooled Again

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 9:46 PM

At 7 p.m. this evening, Mohamed Morsi was informed by the armed forces that he was no longer president of Egypt. Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has been sacked and sentenced to one year in prison. All I can hear is car horns with intermittent jubilant chanting. On the other side of the city, at Rabaa . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 2: Brotherhood and Defiance

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Another astounding day in Cairo, with rumors flying around that ministers, including the Prime Minister, had resigned, only to be refuted moments later. The Tamarod ultimatum, calling for President Morsi to leave by 5 pm on Tuesday has been superceded by the army’s ultimatum that it will impose a solution if the crisis is not . . .
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Cairo Diary, July 1: The Day After Tamarod

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 1:19 AM

Let me start with a recap of the day’s dramatic events. The Morsi regime continues to face devastating pressure. The Muslim Brotherhood’s offices in Cairo were burned last night and this morning, and the police did nothing to prevent it. The army issued a 48 hour ultimatum to end the crisis in Egypt; unless consensus is . . .
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