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Monday, January 31, 2011


Hello Prawfs! It's a pleasure to be here. Thanks to Dan for this opportunity. During this stint, I'll be blogging about legal issues related to the turmoil in the Middle East.

As we all watch the events in Egypt, keep an eye on the Egyptian Bar. As an 82-year-old president struggles to regain control of a country where 2/3 of the population is under 30, the Egyptian bar is poised to emerge as a powerful voice supporting the Egyptian opposition. The Egyptian judiciary has long been known as one of the most independent in the Arab world. Egyptian lawyers have long been a powerful source of opposition to the Egyptian government. Even after government crackdowns in the mid-1990s, the bar remains a powerful political voice representing the interests of Egypt’s professional class. The Egyptian Bar Association also has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist social and political movement that represents about 20% of the Egyptian population, and which is widely feared by the Mubarak regime. It is no accident that Mubarak’s government has been especially careful to quash protests outside the Egyptian Lawyers Syndicate building.

Also not coincidental is the fact that Mohammed ElBaradei, the Nobel Laureate trying to unite the Egyptian opposition, is the son of a former president of the Egyptian Bar Association who was known for his clashes with former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Ayman Nour, the leader of the opposition El-Ghad party who was jailed after winning 7% of the vote in the 2005 presidential elections, first gained prominence as a lawyer. Legal NGOs have also been at the forefront of the Egyptian protests.

For example, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights , a non-profit human rights organization founded in 2002, has been active in ensuring rights for those arrested in the recent protests.

Will the involvement of lawyers in the Egyptian revolt lead to the emergence of the democratic rule of law? Time will tell. In the meantime, I’m glued to my television, eating hummus in solidarity and watching history unfold.

Posted by Jill Goldenziel on January 31, 2011 at 12:28 PM in Blogging, Law and Politics | Permalink


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Thanks, Patrick. What a great list!

Posted by: Jill Goldenziel | Jan 31, 2011 1:17:18 PM

It's nice to see blogging on this topic: welcome.

Perhaps you and/or some of your readers will be interested in a bibliography (books, in English) I've just posted for "the contemporary Arab" world over at the Ratio Juris blog. And my Islamic Studies compilation has a substantial "jurisprudence" section which may be of interest (copied in part in my bibliography for 'comparative law').

I've also put together a compilation (as Word docs.) of articles (from the mass media, blogs, and journals) relevant to the recent protests and uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt on behalf of democracy and social (especially economic) justice. They chronicle the events as well as provide excellent "background" material. I'll send them to anyone upon request.

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Jan 31, 2011 12:56:21 PM

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