W hen you’re out interviewing for an article, you have to cast your net far and wide. That was certainly the case as I set out to look at where democracy building projects get their money.
I spoke with people from funding agencies and from non-governmental organizations, and much of what we talked about was secondary to the final article — things like the priorities of the country, political Islam, the state of civic education.
Fascinating stuff, but sadly far too many issues to cover in one article, “Fertilizing the Grassroots,” starting on page 20.
But something came out of those conversations that has stuck with me.
I was talking with Ambassador Marc Franco, head of the European Delegation to Egypt, about the rise of political Islam and people’s reaction to it. Franco told me that his advice to those who feared Islamists in politics was, “Stop complaining, stop voicing your fear, start doing something.”
Franco was talking specifically about encouraging what he called “the forces of change” — the protesters of Tahrir — to move from the square to the parliament, but his words can be cast far and wide.
Don’t wait for someone else to create the conditions for success, just get out there and get started yourself.
The women who built the House of Egypt are a shining example of the ‘get out and do it’ attitude.
Before January 25, the Ministry of Trade and Industry was going to help a group of young local designers showcase their products internationally.
The revolution came, that particular minister fled the country, and these women were left with their businesses foundering in an economy that had skidded to a halt.
Undaunted, they regrouped and created the new “House of Egypt” brand themselves, and are taking it on the road to international approval.
Contributing Editor Farida Helmy’s profile of the group starts on page 44.
Getting out and doing something doesn’t always mean you’ll succeed.
The family of Reda Hilal has been trying for eight years to find out the fate of the missing Al-Ahram journalist who had been critical of powerful Mubarak-era figures.
Their efforts have convinced the prosecutor’s office to reopen the investigations, but they are no closer to unraveling the mystery.
In “The Curious Case of Reda Hilal” (page 60), Contributing Editor Pakinam Amer reports on the Hilal family’s uphill battle to find justice in the ‘New Egypt.’
On the lighter side, the et team hits the coasts with a hip new eatery in Ain Sokhna (page 90) and a look at Alexandria’s summer festival (page 86).
Whatever you decide to get out and do this summer, here’s wishing you success.
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