Egypt

No to Compulsory Military Service Movement supports the Conscientious Objector Kamal El-ghety in his request to be excepted from the compulsory Military Education subject. The universities organization law requires every Egyptian male student to attend a subject on Military Education in order to get his graduation certificate.

Kamal has submitted a written request addressed to Cairo University dean Mr. Gaber Gad Nassar asking him to exclude the former from attending the Military Education subject. The subject contradicts with his pacifist beliefs, and his discomfort with being used as a tool in armed conflicts. The subject promotes for values such as blind disobedience making it a crime to reject any order as well as it discriminates between Egyptians on terms of their gender, according to El-ghety. Forcing El-ghety to attend the subject is a blatant violation of the international law, and article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights in particular that bans any “coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.” Cairo University has rejected El-ghety’s request.

WRI's Egyptian affiliate NoMilService are working with a new conscientious objector, Samir Elsharbaty. Samir has requested his exemption from the service in March. You can find NoMilService's statement supporting him here.

Militarism is guns, armored tanks and drones, but it’s also a state of mind. Militarised mentalities have permeated many police forces and amplified dramatically the force of police violence against our communities.

During 2014, Spain made defence materials exports worth €3.203 million, whilst in total €3.666 million worth of exports were authorized. The value of the actual exports has decreased by 18% in comparison to that reached in 2013, from €3.907 million. Nonetheless, the tendency during the last 10 years has been a continued increase, as revealed in the following graph.

Spanish exports of defence material 2005-2014

On the 20th of May 2015, Egypt’s minister of defense, Sedki Sobhi, issued an executive order to exempt the two Egyptian conscientious Objectors, Mark Nabil Sanad and Mostafa Ahmed El-Saied, permanently from the military service. Both conscientious objectors have been living in a legal limbo for over a year, struggling for recognition as conscientious objectors. The decision of the minister of defense didn’t recognize them as conscientious objectors, but decided to exempt them from the service permanently.

On the 20th of May 2015, Egypt’s minister of defense, Sedki Sobhi, issued an executive order to exempt the two Egyptian conscientious Objectors, Mark Nabil Sanad and Mostafa Ahmed El-Saied, permanently from the military service. Both conscientious objectors have been living in a legal limbo for over a year, struggling for recognition as conscientious objectors. The decision of the minister of defense didn’t recognize them as conscientious objectors, but decided to exempt them from the service permanently.


We, peace and human rights organizations, declare our support and solidarity with No to Compulsory Military Service Movement and with the Egyptian conscientious objector, Mark Nabil Sanad. We condemn the silence of Egypt’s authorities over conscientious objectors’ suffering. We call on the Egyptian authorities to restore his civil rights and to recognize his right to an exemption from the military service based on his conscientious beliefs.

The Broken Rifle 98

The popular unarmed uprisings in the Arab World early in 2011 took the world by surprise, both because most observers did not expect demands for human rights and democratic choice to become central in Arab states, and because they did not expect mass protest to be predominantly unarmed. However, in retrospect there are many reasons why initially the 'Arab Spring' took the forms it did in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Libya and other states. Moreover, as scholars of nonviolent civil resistance pointed out, in the first months the most significant movements displayed some of the classic characteristics of such resistance. In the longer term, however, many of the movements have failed to fulfill their initial promise, overtaken by armed civil war (as happened quickly in Libya and more gradually in Syria), or failing to achieve their initial democratic promise - most notably in Egypt. The impressive protests at the 'Pearl Roundabout' in Bahrain were quite quickly crushed, and preemptive offers by rulers of Morocco and Jordan to make reforms to meet public demands have so far only diluted royal power. This article briefly elaborates on the points made above, and then raises some questions about the future.

Statement by War Resisters' International

The situation in Egypt is no longer international headline news, and yet the conflicts persist. War Resisters’ International (WRI) expresses our grave concern and sadness about the situation in Egypt today, fearful that the widespread acceptance of the oft-repeated slogan “the army and the people are one” can only lead to greater militarism, violence, and ultimately repression and injustice. We join with many human rights and peace activists the world over in strongly condemning the recent massacres of largely unarmed civilians. This type of state violence often follows the militarization of politics, as armed forces take control of the offices of government and attempt to dismantle civil society.

Revolutionary Egypt

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The Worst of Times, the Best of Times…

by Matt Meyer

There is a reason why so many internationalists have had hard times writing clearly about Egypt since the end of June 2013. There is a reason why in English the words “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” resonates so. The cultural chasms and the political complexity of Egypt’s ongoing revolutionary moments will not lend themselves easily to short statements or translated sound bites . . . but we remain distant from, declarative regarding, or dispassionate about these events at our own grave peril. Nothing less than our collective, twenty-first century understandings of such terms as “democracy,” “revolution,” and “violence/nonviolence” are being forged on the streets of Egypt today.

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