Authentic American Citizenship

Consider these two news bits from last week alongside the continuing denial of Obama’s citizenship:  At the Guardian Amy Goodman reported that the death penalty case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther member who’s been in jail for 29 years, was declared unconstitutional. Continue Reading →

The Egyptian Referendum: Believing in Citizenship

Egyptians were deeply divided on whether to say “yes” or “no” to the proposed amendments to their country’s constitution following the January 25th Revolution. On the hot and dusty morning of Saturday, March 19th, after weeks of debate on-air, online, in newspaper op-ed pages and in our own living rooms, we lined up in droves to cast our votes.

I prepared carefully for this historic day: Through an online portal set-up by the armed forces I checked which schools were designated as polling stations in my neighborhood; I made sure my national ID, proving my eligibility to vote, was in my wallet; I hired a baby sitter to watch my toddler so that I could go brave the long queues unhampered.

Most importantly, in the few days leading up to the referendum, I read all the different editorials and analyses both in favor of “yes” and “no” so that I could make an informed decision on which way to cast my vote.  Exercising my right to vote as an Egyptian citizen was made much easier by the technology, finances and education that my upper middle-class background afforded me.

Umm Fatima, who is married to the neighbor’s bawab (building keeper), doesn’t have access to any of these things. Continue Reading →