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Freie Universität Berlin

Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften


Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft
Arbeitsstelle „Politik im Maghreb, Mashreq und Golf“
WS 2017/2018 - SS 2018
Projektseminar: Teil I Politik und Emotionen / Teil II Transformation, Affekt und Emotion
Dozentin: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Cilja Harders

Projektarbeit

___________________________________________________________________

The Role of Emotions during the Uprisings in Egypt in 2011

An analysis of four Egyptian political activist’s ways of framing their emotions and
agency in relation to the uprisings in Egypt in 2011 based on Wendy Pearlman’s
theory of dispiriting and emboldening emotions

01.10.2018

Verfasserin: Melissa Ebert Verfasserin: Charlotte Brand


Master Internationale Beziehungen Master Politikwissenschaft (PO 2013)
2. Semester 4. Semester
Matrikel-Nr.: 5249376 Matrikel-Nr.: 4524589
melissa.ebert@gmx.de charlottechristbrand@hotmail.de

Verfasserin: Emilie Drew Verfasser: Oscar Santiago Vargas Guevara


Master Internationale Beziehungen Master Internationale Beziehungen
2. Semester 2. Semester
Matrikel-Nr.: 592370 Matrikel-Nr.: 595078
emilie.drew@gmail.com osvg1905@hotmail.com
A big thank you to the four Egyptian political activists who agreed to take part in our
interviews and share their emotional stories and incredible experiences with us, without
whom this project would not have been possible. Thank you for your time, your kindness,
and for giving us insights into your thoughts and emotions.

- Melissa, Emilie, Oscar and Charlotte


“Egypt is not a country we live in, but a country that lives within us.”

- Pope Shenouda III


Inhaltsverzeichnis

1. Introduction .......................................................................................................... 1
2. Research Status on Emotions............................................................................. 3
2. 1 Studying Emotions ........................................................................................... 3
2.2 Emotions during the Uprisings in Egypt in 2011 ............................................... 4
3. Theoretical Framework ........................................................................................ 5
3.1. The Microfoundations of Social Movements .................................................... 6
3.2. Emotions, Values and Behavior ....................................................................... 8
3.3. The Narrativity of Emotions............................................................................ 10
3.4. Dispiriting and Emboldening Emotions .......................................................... 11
4. Ein historischer und zeitgenössischer Rahmen: der autoritäre Kontext
Ägyptens ............................................................................................................. 13
5. Methodische Vorgehensweise .......................................................................... 19
5.1. Aufruf zur Interviewteilnahme: „Call for Participants“ ..................................... 20
5.2. Das Leitfadeninterview .................................................................................. 21
5.3. Die Interviewauswertung: Transkription, Transkriptionssystem und
Transkriptionsregeln ............................................................................................. 25
5.4. Die „Grounded Theory“ .................................................................................. 27
5.5. Die „Narrative Emotion Analysis“ ................................................................... 28
5.6. Coding ........................................................................................................... 32
6. Analyse: Individuelle Unterschiede bezüglich Framing, Emotionen und
Handlungsfähigkeit ............................................................................................ 35
6.1 Die Proteste in Ägypten in 2011 ..................................................................... 35
6.2 Eine Genderspezifische Perspektive auf die Proteste .................................... 41
6.3 Die ägyptischen Präsidentschaftswahlen im März 2018 ................................. 45
6.4 Momentaner politischer Aktivismus in und von Berlin aus .............................. 53
7. Analysis: Where Pearlman’s Theory applies: Narratives in the Past ............ 65
7.1 Pearlman on Values and Emotions................................................................. 66
7.2 Activists and Non-Activists: the “Encouragement-Effect” ................................ 68
7.3 Emotions and Technology: the Impact of Social Media .................................. 70
8. Analysis: Conflict and Ambivalence: Narratives in the Present .................... 72
8.1. Being a Hero – Being a Son .......................................................................... 73
8.2. Should I stay or should I go? ......................................................................... 77
8.3. An Agent of Change? .................................................................................... 79
9. Mixed Reviews: Implications for Social Research .......................................... 82
10. Interviewereffekte, Interaktionseffekte und Probleme im Interview............. 85
11. Concluding Remarks ....................................................................................... 90
12. Literaturverzeichnis ......................................................................................... 92
Anhang .................................................................................................................... 95
I. Call for Participants............................................................................................ 95
II. Leitfaden pre-elections ..................................................................................... 96
III. Leitfaden post-elections ................................................................................. 102
III.I. Stimulus: “Letter from Shawkhan”................................................................ 108
IV. Transkriptionsregeln ...................................................................................... 110
V. Transkript Interview I ...................................................................................... 112
VI. Transkript Interview II .................................................................................... 145
VII. Transkript Interview III .................................................................................. 182
VIII. Transkript Interview IV ................................................................................ 208
1. Introduction

In recent years the world has witnessed a phenomenon of revolts in various Arab countries,
from Tunisia to Egypt, from Syria to Bahrain, that are now remembered as the "Arab Spring".
The meaning of the term, diffused by the western press, has various interpretations and can
be misleading: whilst it may be possible to find common elements in the causes of these
protests, the course of events and the results obtained from country to country are
considerably different.1 Let us note however that in general, the term indicates a broad and
shared process, that has the particularity of affecting society as a whole rather than limited
social groups (Quarenghi, 2013). Quarenghi sees the protests as the culminating point of a
process evolving over hundreds of years and stresses that the era of globalization, with a new
wave of democracy, equality and human rights, infused new hopes and awareness among the
masses and were solid foundations to protest against oppression. This resulted in the
emergence of a strong tension between the social and the political order, between the state
and the society, which brought the latter to demand the constitution of a new social pact. The
Arab Spring seemed to be showing the urgency of change and the start of a transition process.
(Korani 2012).
On January 25, 2011, the day of the national holiday of the police, twenty-five thousand
people gathered in Taḥrir Square, in the center of Cairo to protest against the government. As
this protests evolved, so did the requests of the people taking part it in, and they finally
voiced requests for the end of the Mubarak era, a thirty year regime that oppressed the people
and that the regime sought to prolong with the succession. The frustrations of thirty years of
state of emergency, repression, injustices, abuses, favoritism, and general degradation poured
out at once. Two years after the revolution, in June 2013, a second wave of protests took
place in which people found themselves once again taking to the streets and aspiring to
freedom and social justice. The situation was tense and showed on the one hand a country
that had elected Muḥammad Mursi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative,
religious and deeply traditionalist organization; on the other hand a modern society, secular,
modern and westernized, that had had its hope dashed following the 2011 protests. The army
emerged as the undisputed arbiter of this political scene and it dismissed the President and
1
Korani explains that the particular contexts presented structural differences, such as differences in the weight
of the role of the army, the capacity of co-opting the police forces and the political opposition, and the
government's control over the economic and financial resources, crucial in order to guarantee the survival of the
states during that period. See Korani (2012).
1
organized a coup d'état. Seven years later, the current situation in Egypt is grim. The elections
that took place on 26th and 28th March 2018 were won by the only contestant and president
in office, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with over 97% of the votes. The electoral campaign
shed light on the corruption of the regime at an international level, notably by the elimination
of all potential contestants.
The study of emotions during the protests of 2011 is particularly interesting because of their
suddenness and spontaneity. Armed with slogans and with the help of the internet, the
protesters believed that individual action could lead to collective change and took to the
streets to turn this new belief into political power. During these protests, a revolutionary
movement emerged. What exactly enabled this to happen is the question asked by Wendy
Pearlman in her text Emotions and the Microfoundations of the Arab Uprisings (2013).
Following this thread, she argues for a binary organisation of emotions into two families, one
regrouping emboldening emotions that push people to act, and the second one regrouping
dispiriting emotions that hinder collective action. This paper departs from the same starting
point as Wendy Pearlman, namely the question of the role of emotions in the 2011 protests in
Egypt. It attempts to bring a contribution to the current research on emotions and social
movements by answering the following questions: How do diasporic Egyptian activists
identify and frame past and current emotional states through narrative accounts on their
political activism, and how do they relate to their own experienced agency at a specific point
in time? We argue that emotions are not as binary or rational as Pearlman depicts them to be,
and argue for a reconsideration of the causal effect she describes between a certain family of
emotions and collective action. The method we use for this project has some foundations in
Kleres’ methodology that we shall outline in section 5.5. We support our argument with the
empirical evidence of four qualitative interviews carried out during a similar time period with
four Egyptian activists who took part in the protests of 2011. We shall start with the current
research status on emotions in the next chapter. This paper is written in both English and
German language since the project group consists of members with different native languages
and different preferences of language for academic writing.

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2. Research Status on Emotions

2. 1 Studying Emotions

The field of study about emotions is vast and many scholars have attempted to analyse
emotions (see Ashutosh Varshney 2003; Daniel Little 1998; Kurt Weyland 2012; Kuran and
his model 1995. Roger Petersen 2002; Elisabeth Wood 2003; Ronald de Sousa 1987; Ashraf
Khalil 2011). In particular, Wendy Pearlman’s article of 2013, titled “Emotions and the
Microfoundations of the Arab Uprisings” tackles the role of emotions in the uprisings
through a very rational lense. Starting from the definition of Fridja (1986) that emotions are
“noninstrumental, subjective, evaluative experiences that are evoked by external or mental
events and carry both psychological changes and action tendencies”, she goes on to her very
rational thesis that certain emotions lead to certain actions. She divides emotions in two
groups that lead to opposite decision-making processes. This paper offers a critic to
Pearlman’s “rational” study on emotions. The rationality of her theory can be seen through
her multiple use of the words “cost” and “benefit” and further by her chart where she
categorises specific emotions and divides them into two families (Pearlman 2013:392). Our
analysis uses the case study of the Egyptian uprisings in 2011 through qualitative interviews
of 4 activists that took part in the uprisings in Cairo in 2011, and who are now living in
Berlin. These interviews offer evidence to support our claim that emotions are not rational as
Pearlman depicts them, but rather more complex and unpredictable. In particular, we shall see
to what extent her question “if not new values or low costs, what pushed many people from
relative resignation to resistance?” can be answered (Pearlman 2013:388).
This project departs from the field of research on emotions (see below) and offers a critic to
Pearlman’s binary theory. In order to do this, we use the methodological approach of Jochen
Kleres on Narrative Emotion Analysis. We follow the approach he outlines in his article
“Emotions and Narrative Analysis: A Methodological Approach” in which he tackles the
issue of emotional experiences and qualitative interviews. Indeed one of the challenges of this
project was the analysis of emotions during the interviews, as participants do not explicitly
address their emotions when they speak. This posed three initial problems. Firstly, how to
overcome the problem and discuss emotions during the interviews. Secondly, how to
understand the role of emotions in the interviewee’s narrative. Thirdly, how to understand
this for our thesis. The first problem was overcome through the particular way the interview
questions were prepared, all the same for every interview, and all placing a particular
3
emphasis on emotions through questions such as “how did you feel” for each theme tackled.
The second problem was overcome by using Kleres’ methodology on narrative analysis.
Indeed, Kleres argues that our experiences have a strong narrative dimension, which we can
see through the interviews carried out, especially since participants are recalling events,
feelings and emotions of seven years ago. Therefore, the answers they give have a strong
narrative dimension and Kleres’ methodology can be applied to our analysis (Kleres
2010:183-185).

2.2 Emotions during the Uprisings in Egypt in 2011

Although the vocabulary of the protests in Egypt in 2011 highlighted their affective and
emotional dynamics, with terms such as the "Wall of Fear" or the "Day of Rage", the
academic debate on this perspective of protests remains limited (see Ayata/Harders 2018:1).
“A few accounts of the Egyptian Uprising of 2011 engage with emotions (Keraitim and
Mehrez 2012, Schielke 2014, Sabea 2014) and the possible effects of these events on political
subjectivities (Sholkamy 2012, Hanafi 2012, Bamyeh 2013, Bayat 2013), however there is not
much systematic research available on the affective dynamics of mass protests on the
squares." (Ayata/Harders 2018:1-2) Keraitim and Mehrez tackle the theme in their article
"Mulid at-Tahrir. The semiotics of a revolution however only approach the role of emotions
during the protests in Egypt in 2011.
Schielke's article "There will be blood: Expecting violence in Egypt, 2011-2013" deals
mainly with the violent riots in 2013, whilst the role of emotions with regards to what
emerged during the 2011 protests and the re-emerging national pride of the Egyptians only
appears marginally. "Before 2011, there was a widespread sense of frustration that was at
times expressed in rather anti-patriotic terms. Such antipatriotic sentiment largely
disappeared in 2011, and instead, tremendous emotions festered in the body of the nation and
»the people«." (Schielke 2014:4) In their article "I dreamed of being a people. Egypt's
revolution, the People and critical imagination" Sabea also briefly touches on the role of
emotions during the protests in 2011. "Yet Tahrir was more than a place of tourists, joy,
laughter and emerging hope; it was also steeped in fear, rage, trepidation, exhaustion,
exuberance and sadness, all at once, all defining a collective or a ‘people’ that shared the
action of struggle, of presence, of defiance and refusal." (Sabea 2014:78). In the area of
science on social movements, intensive research was conducted on protests in the region in
2011, but few authors, such as Benski and Langman or Pearlman, have dealt with the role of
4
affect and emotions in this context (cf. Ayata/Harders 2018:1-2). Benski and Langman's
article "The Effects of Affected: The Place of Emotions in the mobilizations of 2011" focuses
on emotional aspects that they consider to be an essential prerequisite for social mobilization.
"The authors focus on the emotional aspects that are vital to social mobilizations. To this end
they are drawing on theoretical frames from social movement and the sociology of emotion
perspectives. "(Benski/Langman 2013:525)
In order to understand what emotions must be felt in order for people to turn against a regime,
this approach leads to reflections on emotions that cause people to either be loyal to a regime
or not (see Benski/Langman 2013:525). “The value of the authors' proposed structure of
argument lies in the powerful combination of macro and micro-processes and the
combination of cognition and emotions." (Benski/Langman 2013:525) In her article
"Emotions and the Microfoundations of the Arab Uprisings," Pearlman also takes a similar
approach by placing emotions at the center of her research on the mobilization processes in
Egypt in 2011 (see Pearlman 2013:387). Pearlman starts from a model in which so-called
"Despiriting Emotions", including Fear, Sadness and Shame, lead to a resignation and so-
called "Emboldening Emotions", including Anger, Joy and Pride, leads to resistance.

3. Theoretical Framework

As it was remarked earlier, this research is grounded on Wendy Pearlman’s “Emotions and
the Microfoundations of the Arab Uprisings” (2013). As we will show, Pearlman’s approach
is highly innovative within social movement research, due to the field’s two predominant
foci: first on macro- and meso-level explanations, and second on rationality and normativity.
Departing from the field of research on emotions, our claim here is that emotions are far more
complex and unpredictable than she paints them out to be. In this sense, we recognize it
might be a disservice to Pearlman to analyse her text from a perspective other than her
intended one. With this disclaimer in mind, we proceed to trace Pearlman’s argument; first,
by placing her within the microfoundations debate in social movement research; second, by
fleshing out her understanding of emotions in general; third, by analyzing her approach to
narratives, and fourth, by recalling her argument on what she terms ‘dispiriting and
emboldening emotions’. In the last section of this chapter, we offer a preliminary critique of
Pearlman from a theoretical perspective.

5
3.1. The Microfoundations of Social Movements

The social movement research field has long been dominated by macro-level structural
analyses, primarily concerned with “the mechanisms and processes that involve challengers,
their targets, public authorities, and third parties like the media and the public in sequences
of interaction” (Tilly/Tarrow 2007:11). Examples within this strand of literature include
work on cycles of contention (Tarrow 1998), political opportunity (Meyer 2004), and the
resource mobilization framework (Edwards & McCarthy 2004). In these approaches,
organization was taken as the central element distinguishing inarticulate grievances from
consequential protest, although very few actually engaged in comparative work between
different organizational forms (Clemens & Minkoff 2004; Rucht 1999). Dynamics at the
micro- and meso-level were ignored to a large extent until the turn of the millennium, which
saw a prominent revival in the field. At the meso-level, new approaches inquired, for
example, into how charismatic leadership of social movements encouraged loyalty (Morris &
Staggenborg 2004); how collective identities are co-constructed and defended by members
(Hunt & Benford 2004); or how the specific framing of grievances and the repurposing of
cultural symbols help mobilize both within and outside the movement (Benford & Snow
2000; Emirbayer & Goodwin 1997; Sørensen & Vinthagen 2012). Pearlman (2013) explicitly
locates herself within the debate on the microfoundations of social movements, thus
belonging to the remaining strain of social movement research at the micro-level. She,
however, does little to define what she means by “microfoundations”, making an exploration
of this concept in the literature necessary.
In the social sciences, the term “microfoundations” is embedded within the age-long debate
between methodological individualism and methodological collectivism. Barney and Felin
(2013) remind us how the methodology of Emile Durkheim dispensed with the individual and
with the idea of human nature itself, arguing instead that institutions, roles, rules and
structures of society are more important in understanding society, markets, and even
individual behavior itself. This approach contrasted with the work of Simmel and Weber,
who saw the individual as the irreducible building block of social theory. The starting point
for any analysis on social structures was thus the individual’s beliefs, preferences and
interests. This boils down to the maxim that in order to understand any collective
phenomenon, one first needs to look at its constituent parts, i.e. individuals and their social
interactions.

6
While the microfoundations literature may be rather at home with methodological
individualism, a further qualification should be made here. A microfoundational approach is
not the same than a micro approach. While the latter attempts to reduce the entirety of social
interaction to the intrinsic qualities of individuals, the former gives room for structural
conditions and for interaction dynamics to modify the individual’s decision making process.
The agent, however, remains at the center of the analysis in both cases.

“The problem with reducing everything to individuals, as discussed further below, is that it
ignores the interactions as well as the context of the organization itself […] Individual
interactions are not simply additive, but can take on complex forms and lead to surprising
aggregate and emergent outcomes that are hard to predict based on knowledge of the
constituent parts. Thus reducing, or attempting to reduce, everything to individuals is only
‘micro’ – not microfoundational. In other words, the foundations portion of microfoundations
is important in that it places emphasis on the need to specifically understand the unique,
interactional, and collective effects that are not only additive but also emergent. ‘Adding
individuals’, while important, leaves the hard work of actually aggregating up to collective or
organizational level. Therefore, microfoundations do not (solely) equal a focus on
individuals,” (Barney/Felin 2013:141)

Pearlman (2013) seems to agree with this conceptualization, when she quotes Little’s
“Microfoundations, Method and Causation”: “the mechanisms through which social
causation is mediated turn on the structured circumstances of choice of intentional agents
and nothing else” (1998:203). Her argument is thus centered on the individual decision-
making process, which is the critical determinant of the likelihood of collective action.
External circumstances and developments, nonetheless, can and do often influence this
evaluative process at the individual level, for instance, by altering perceptions of material
gain, by shifting ideas on identity and normativity, or by emphasizing emotive factors, such
as fear or anger. Precisely on this last lies the controversy within the debate on
microfoundations: Which logics of action underlie individual decision making? And how do
external circumstances influence these? Pearlman (2013) distances herself from two
approaches to this question: instrumental and value-based rationality.
Instrumental rationality sees individuals as self-interested and profit-maximizing agents, who
optimize their share of resources by gathering information, adapting their beliefs and then
choosing a path of action. Individuals protest because they expect success, in achieving their
desired demands, which would foreseeably improve their living conditions, at low costs, i.e.
without facing possible repression in the form incarceration or harassment from the state
apparatus. These factors, however, were notably absent in the Arab uprisings. On the one
hand, expectations of success were low. In Egypt, for example, the protest on 25th January
7
2011 started out as a demonstration against police brutality, as well as to demand the
resignation of the Minister of the Interior, and the end to the Egyptian emergency law. One of
our interviewees highlights this point: “anyone who would tell you ‘I was expecting a
revolution’ would be a liar, including any of the organizers. We were expecting maybe good
organization, good protests […] by night, when you had suddenly like a turnout of almost
half a million, it was almost like, we were shocked” (Interview 3:16). On the other hand, the
strong coercive apparatuses in most countries in the region warned that the costs of protests
remained high. Pearlman (2013) builds her critique on the resulting paradox: “popular
rebellion, rather than resulting from a decline in the costs of dissent, can be the context in
which individuals accept costs that they previously had not accepted” (Pearlman 2013:389).
Value-based rationality builds up on this line of critique, arguing rather that individuals
undergo the risks of the defiance due to the intrinsic benefit of actualizing their beliefs or
sense of self, sometimes regardless of the prospects of protest to lead to effective
transformation. Varshney argues, for instance, that a focus on dignity, self-respect, and
recognition, rather than a straightforward notion of self-interest, is a better prism for
understanding ethnic and nationalist conflict (2003:85). While this can explain engagement in
high-risk contexts, it leaves one question unanswered: What explains the resignation to
indignity and oppression, characteristic of the decades before the uprisings? In other words,
both approaches are unable to determine why protests – at the very least in the context of the
Arab Uprisings – break out at the time that they do. Pearlman (2013) seeks to answer this
question by proposing yet a third pillar to the microfoundations of social movements:
emotions.

3.2. Emotions, Values and Behavior

Pearlman’s main thesis is that certain emotions, such as fear, sadness and shame, discourage
individuals from taking part in collective actions, while other emotions, such as anger, joy
and pride, encourage them to participate. We will get to this main argument in the next
section of this chapter. Beforehand, however, it is important to trace back her primary
definition of emotion. “Emotions are noninstrumental, subjective, evaluative experiences that
are evoked by external or mental events and carry both physiological changes and action
tendencies.” (Pearlman 2013:388) Figure 1 presents her scheme on how emotion influences
value-preferences and action.

8
Figure 1: Causal processs underlying
unde emotional microfoundations (Pearl
Pearlman 2013: 390)

Pearlman (2013) seems too avoi


avoid the ontological question of emotions altogether,
altoge i.e. whether
they are a cognitive phenome
nomenon or something different altogether.
r. Focu
Focusing rather on a
phenomenology of emotion,
ion, she
s sees them as both mental and physiolog
ysiological reactions to
external stimuli. These can
an in turn influence behavior in a number of ways:
w a) Emotions
influence how individualss define
defin their interests and priorities – they “tipp the balance between
conflicting motivational structu
ructures, but they do so neither in a merely mechanical
me way nor
merely by adding more reason
asons” (de Sousa 1987:196); b) they playy a ro
role in how people
evaluate external inputs, by auto
automatically shifting focus towards certain
in piec
pieces of information
and discounting others; c) they
th directly influence action, particularly
larly in more intense
scenarios, when they are more likely to supersede more slow-pacedd deliberative
delib decision-
making – it is unclear here,
re, whether
wh she is referring to instinctive reactions
ctions or to more vague
interpersonal affective dynami
ynamics. Thus, within this conceptualization,
ion, eemotions are part
cognition, part physiology,
y, part relationality.
Furthermore, Pearlman offers
ffers a typology of emotions, differentiated by their
th endurance in
time, as well as the number
mber of people experiencing it. Table 1 below summarizes this
typology. We do not go into
nto thi
this typology in detail, since its specifics are inconsequential
in for
the argument here. The main
ain th
thing to keep in mind, however, is that the difference
di between
individual and collective emotions
emot is only quantitative, but the experienc
erience is qualitatively
comparable. Recalling thee disc
discussion on microfoundations last section,
on, individual
ind emotions
within a group aggregatee into crowd feelings and emotional climates,
es, wh
which then come to
influence individual emotions
tions back.
b “These individual experiences shape
pe and
a are shaped by
emotions experienced collective
ctively.” (Pearlman 2013:391)

9
Table 1: Four emotionall expe
experiences distinguished (Pearlman 2013: 390)
390

Pearlman’s ontological noncom


oncommittal in regards to emotions may be theoret
heoretically weak, but it
does give flexibility to thee epistemological
epist question, and by extension,, to ou
our research design.
These conceptualization allows us to treat emotions – both individual
ual and
an collective – as
cognitively and discursively
ely accessible
ac by the thinking subject. In other
her wo
words, it is possible
to understand one’s own emoti
emotions in a specific context, and how they
ey came
cam to affect one’s
priorities and then behavior
havior at the time. Certainly, we experience
rience these emotions
subconsciously more often
ten than
th not, particularly in intense situations
tions that demand an
immediate reaction – suchh as in mass protests or confrontations with the police.
po However, it
is fundamentally possiblee to an
analyze these emotions in retrospect andd to give
g an account to
others. In this regard, an explanation
expla of our understanding of narrativity
vity bbecomes crucial to
justify our conduction of semi
mi-structured interviews.

3.3. The Narrativity of Emotions


Em

In her analysis, Pearlmann (201


(2013) gathers data through several narrative
ive ac
accounts in Arabic,
English and French in different
differ formats, including press reports,, pho
photographs, videos,
testimonials, and audio recordi
ecordings. It is unfortunate that she doesn’t explai
explain her methods in
depth, since data production
tion th
through such diverse media can be quite
te disp
disparate. This raises
concerns. On the one hand,
d, it raises
ra serious doubts about the comparability
ility oof the material – it
is very different, after all,
ll, to reproduce
r an individual’s narrative in an interview
in verbatim,
than to have the researcher – who was likely absent during the observed
rved event
e – interpret a
photograph or even a video
ideo recording.
re This lack of rigor may also carry a flaw from an
ethical perspective, hidingg the aactual voice of the research subjects and
nd intermingling
inte it with
the researcher’s own narrative.
ative. A more rigorous method would have solved
olved tthese concerns.

10
These issues notwithstanding, we do share her use of narratives for data generation, although
we limit ourselves to the observation of the narratives constructed by the research subjects
during semi-structured interviews. In Pearlman’s words, narratives are an appropriate source
“because they showcase agency and the temporal relations between events. I treat each piece
of narrative data as a causal-process observation: a piece of data that provides insight into
context or mechanism and is particularly useful for uncovering critical turning points or
moments of decision-making” (2013:388). The focus is laid here on temporality, on the
process of decision-making at critical junctures, and on the felt agency this implies.
Following Kleres (2011), whom we will discuss at length in Chapter 5, we also take into
account indicators of emotion other than explicit discourse. We believe that often
subconscious markers, including body language, laughter, silence, sighs and so on, are an
intrinsic part of any narrative account. This understanding stems from the broad
conceptualization of emotions that we introduced last section, which sees them somewhere in
between cognition, the body and relationality. At the very least, we posit that emotions are
“inextricably interwoven with the meaning dimension of texts to the point where the
distinction between cognition and emotion becomes blurry” (Kleres 2011:197).

3.4. Dispiriting and Emboldening Emotions

Pearlman’s main thesis is that emotions, next to instrumental and value-based considerations,
influence individual’s decision to engage in collective actions of resistance or to resign their
grievances. As we mentioned above, emotions accomplish this in both direct – for example,
in the fight-or-flight instinct – and indirect ways, by shifting the individual’s value-priority
and emphasizing information that reinforces this priority, while discarding other information.
Dispiriting emotions, which include fear, sadness, and anger, emphasize the value of security,
and makes the individual more aware of threats to his personal safety. In extreme cases, they
also physiologically elicit avoidance of conflict, for instance through either flight or paralysis.
These emotions are also marked by pessimism and a tendency to resign to the unwanted
situation. In contrast, emboldening emotions, such as anger, joy and pride, emphasize the
value of dignity, and lead attention towards the chance of success. Evaluations are optimistic,
and the blame for the grievances is often personalized. Beyond this differentiation, Pearlman
(2013) does not thoroughly distinguish between emotions within these two main groups – it is
thus not addressed, for example, how anger and joy can differently influence evaluations and
priorities. Table 2 below summarizes this classification.
11
Table 2: Emotions encouragin
uraging political resignation and violence (Pearl
Pearlman 2013: 392)

At first glance, it might seem


eem as if this implied the need to observe these
se emotions
em as standing
as zero-sum opposites; thee more
mor afraid I am, the less angry, and vice versa. Rather, Pearlman
sees them as relative intensities
nsities – both can be and often are present at the same
sa time, but each
emotion’s intensity at a specifi
pecific point in time can define the outcome. “Relevant
“Re here is the
relative intensity of dispiriting
ting or emboldening emotions; one need nott exi
exist to the complete
exclusion of the other. In fact,
act, anger and fear are contrary, yet often oscill
scillating adaptations
to threat. The question is thus not the conditions under which fear disappears,
disap but under
which people press despite fear.”
fear (Pearlman 2013:392)
This approach, nonetheless,
ess, sstill exhibits some problematic assumptions
ptions, which we will
examine at length in thee com
coming chapters. First, this presumes that
at ind
individuals react to
emotions in similar, or at least in
i comparable ways, and that certain patterns
atterns can be observed,
i.e. that fear tends to discoura
scourage resistance, while anger produces it.
t. Tho
Though intuitive and
elegant, this ignores the speci
specificity of each individual. On the onee hand,
han and this risks
triviality, individuals experienc
erience and react to life events differently. In add
addition, and this is
the more interesting argumen
gument, individuals can react differently to the same identified
emotion. In other words, two in
individuals who explicitly report feelingg “sad”
“sad or “joyful” can
and often do relate this emotion
motion with different pragmatic consequences.
es. While
Wh the feeling of
sadness can move some towards
toward inaction and resignation at specific points
oints of time, the same
reported emotion can be taken as a reason to engage. We examine this
his aspect
asp in Chapter 6.
Second, Pearlman’s approach
oach to
t narrativity is dependent precisely on the ability
a of research
subjects to build narrative
ive accounts.
ac When we attempt to give a narr
narrative account of
emotions, we cognitively try to find coherence in our story between the
he events,
eve the emotions
that we identify and the action
actions these lead to. In line with our broadd concept
con of emotions,
however, their bodily andd relat
relational aspects often make them hard to reduce
reduc to these sought
after patterns in the present.
nt. In other words, we may often find it hard to qu
qualify emotions as
12
we are feeling them. We may struggle to exactly pinpoint them in words; or we may name
them, only to later realize that we were actually feeling something else entirely; sometimes it
is difficult to even speak at all. We make the argument in Chapter 7 that these accounts are
more easily given about past events than about our present state. Our versions about emotions
experienced in the past have had time to crystallize into more or less fixed narratives, thus
making it easier to ascribe specific emotional consequences and personal reactions to events.
These accounts about the past more easily fit the expectations of Pearlman’s model. This,
however, becomes problematic when speaking about ongoing developments and current
personal states. Certainly, we often may try to inscribe our experiences within discursive
frameworks on the go, but this often proves to be a hard task to accomplish. Although extra-
discursive factors may help the observer distinguish emotional appraisals, the narrative itself
moves in a space of ambiguity that requires time to solidify.

4. Ein historischer und zeitgenössischer Rahmen: der


autoritäre Kontext Ägyptens

Wie lassen sich die Proteste in der arabischen Welt im Jahre 2011 erklären und auf welche
Ursachen sind sie zurückzuführen? Innerhalb der Transformations-, Revolutions- und
Bewegungsforschung wird nach wissenschaftlichen Erklärungsmodellen für eben diese
Prozesse politischen und sozialen Wandels gesucht, wobei die Einschätzung geteilt wird, dass
ein einzelner Faktor nicht als ursächlich für solche komplexen sozialen Prozesse betrachtet
werden kann (vgl. Harders 2013b:21). Während die Transformationsforschung vorwiegend
strukturelle Faktoren untersucht, durch die eine politische Mobilisierung ausgelöst werden
kann, verfolgen die Bewegungs- und Transitionsforschung einen akteurszentrierten Ansatz,
indem sie für eine politische Mobilisierung relevante Akteurskonstellationen untersuchen. In
der neueren Wissenschaft zu sozialen Bewegungen wurde den sogenannten
„Mikrofundierungen des Widerstandes“ zuletzt viel Aufmerksamkeit zuteil, wobei zwei
verschiedene Erklärungsansätze für politische Mobilisierungsprozesse angeführt werden (vgl.
Pearlman 2013:387). Einer dieser beiden Erklärungsansätze geht davon aus, dass Individuen
als „Nutzenmaximierer“ Proteste als dienliches Mittel für ihre Zwecke nutzen. „Explanations
that conceptualize individuals as utility-maximizers contend that people protest as an
instrumental means to other ends. They elaborate the structural and strategic conditions
under which people participate because they expect it to yield a favorable ratio of costs to

13
benefits.” (Pearlman 2013:387) Der andere Erklärungsansatz geht davon aus, dass
wertegeleitete Individuen für ihre oder aufgrund ihrer tiefen Überzeugungen protestieren.
“Alternatively, explanations that see individuals as driven by values suggest that people
protest in the name of deeply held beliefs, if not the inherent benefit of voicing dissent. They
trace the social processes that elevate such values, often regardless of protest’s prospects for
success.” (Pearlman 2013:387)
Obwohl das strategische Denken nutzenmaximierender Individuen sowie das an tiefen
Überzeugungen orientierte Denken und Handeln wertegeleiteter Individuen wichtige Rollen
innerhalb von Prozessen des politischen und sozialen Wandels spielen, scheinen diese
Erklärungsansätze die Mobilisierung in Ägypten nicht hinreichend erklären zu können (vgl.
Pearlman 2013:387). Aber wie kam es dann zu den dortigen Aufständen im Jahre 2011? “A
striking number of Arab citizens explain this puzzle with the expression inkasar hajez al-
khawf—‘The barrier of fear has broken.’ Their self-understandings call for an approach to
microfoundations that, distinct from utility maximization or values, focuses on emotions.”
(Pearlman 2013:388)
Im Rahmen eines dritten Erklärungsansatzes schlägt Pearlman einen Fokus auf die Rolle von
Emotionen in Mobilisierungsprozessen vor, wobei sie den Ansatz der Mikrofundierung für
die Erklärung politischer Ereignisse auf der Makroebene für besonders geeignet hält (vgl.
Pearlman 2013:388). Indes sind Benski und Langman der Überzeugung, dass vor allem
strukturelle Bedingungen auf der Makroebene und deren Gegensätze und Konsequenzen für
die Mikroebene berücksichtigt werden müssen, um die Mobilisierung von 2011 genauer
verstehen zu können. “[…] we argue that understanding the mobilizations of 2011 requires
considera-tions of the macro objective/structural conditions, their contradictions, and their
conse-quences at the micro level.” (Benski/Langman 2013:528)
Im Rahmen der Aufstände in der arabischen Welt im Jahre 2011 kam es sehr wahrscheinlich
zu Wechselwirkungen zwischen strukturellen Bedingungen auf der Makroebene, die sich in
dem autoritären Kontext der meisten Länder widerspiegelten, und deren Konsequenzen auf
der Mikroebene, welche sich in den oftmals prekären Lebensbedingungen der Bevölkerung
niederschlugen. Hierbei kam es zu einem Rückkopplungseffekt, der sich auf die politischen
Ereignisse auf der Makroebene auswirkte und sich im Rahmen der Proteste im Jahre 2011
entlud. In diesem Zusammenhang empfiehlt es sich daher, zunächst die strukturellen
Bedingungen auf der Makroebene mit einem Blick auf den historischen und zeitgenössischen

14
Rahmen des Landes zu untersuchen, um beantworten zu können, wie sich die Proteste in
Ägypten im Jahre 2011 mit dem Ansatz der Mikrofundierung erklären lassen.
Am 14. Oktober 1981 übernahm Hosni Mubarak als neuer Staatspräsident die Macht in
Ägypten, einer Präsidialrepublik, die er bis zum 11. Februar 2011 autokratisch im
Ausnahmezustand regierte. Seine Macht stützte sich zum einen auf die ägyptische Armee und
zum anderen konnte er seine diktatorische Alleinherrschaft über Jahrzehnte hinweg
absichern, indem er Oppositionsgruppen wie die Muslimbrüder wirksam unterdrückte. Die
autokratische Herrschaft in Ägypten war geprägt von dem jahrelang geltenden
Ausnahmezustand, einer autoritären Verfassung, einem unfairen Strafrecht, extralegalen
Maßnahmen, sowie einer massiven Einschränkung von allen bürgerlichen Rechten (vgl.
Harders 2013b:25). Zudem genoss Mubarak Rückendeckung durch einige westliche Länder,
darunter die USA, Israel und die Europäische Union, was sowohl auf den Israelisch-
Ägyptischen Friedensvertrag vom 26. März 1979 als auch auf die gemeinsame Kooperation
im Kampf gegen den Terror zurückzuführen ist. Ägypten unter Mubaraks Führung war
zuletzt geprägt von einer hohen Arbeitslosigkeit, wiederholten Wahlmanipulationen, einer
bröckelnden Infrastruktur, einer weit verbreiteten Korruption sowie einer täglichen
Gewaltanwendung gegen Teile der Bevölkerung (vgl. Masoud 2011:20). Laut Benski und
Langman waren es vor allem strukturelle Probleme wie eine wachsende ungleiche
Wohlstandverteilung aufgrund neoliberaler Wirtschaftspolitiken, eine damit verbundene
zunehmende Einschränkung von Staatsleistungen sowie eine Erosion des autoritären
Gesellschaftsvertrages aufgrund von Privatisierungen staatlicher Dienstleistungen, die zu
dem Aufstand in Ägypten im Jahre 2011 führten (vgl. Benski/Langman 2013:528). “This has
in turn had devastating conse-quences for the careers and life plans for many but this has
been especially the case for young adults in the Middle East […] who have increasingly
become part of the ‘precariat’ (Standing, 2011).” (Benski/Langman 2013:528) Um einen
Zusammenhang zwischen diesen strukturellen Krisenfaktoren und dem Aufstand in Ägypten
im Jahre 2011 herstellen zu können, ist ein Blick auf die Veränderungen in der
Wahrnehmung der ägyptischen Bevölkerung und die politisch-ideologische Dimension der
Krise notwendig (vgl. Harders 2013b:24). Die Entwicklungen auf der Makroebene zusammen
betrachtet, führten dazu, dass sich viele Ägypter*innen einerseits von den Eliten des Landes
marginalisiert und abgehängt fühlten und andererseits eine extreme Erniedrigung darin
empfanden, der grundsätzlichen Voraussetzungen für ein gutes und würdiges Leben beraubt
worden zu sein (vgl. Benski/Langman 2013:528). “Crises, especially those that affect

15
people’s every-day lives in ways that often humiliate and denigrate the self, lead to strong
emotions of the ‘anger–hate–humiliation’ family which form powerful emotionally based
motives to seek amelioration.” (Benski/Langman 2013:530)
Joffé betont hingegen, dass obwohl die ökonomischen Umstände einen wesentlichen
Hintergrund für die Ereignisse in Nordafrika in den ersten 8 Monaten bildeten, sie
keineswegs eine umfassende Erklärung für die Aufstände darstellen (vgl. Joffé 2011:508).
“Instead, it has been the discordance between the claims made by regimes as part of the
process of seeking to legitimise themselves and the reality of regime repression and contempt
that has been the real driver of the process.” (Joffé 2011:508) Die rigorose Ablehnung der
aktiven politischen Teilnahme der ägyptischen Bevölkerung an dem
Politikgestaltungsprozess, insbesondere oppositioneller Kräfte, wirkte als Triebkraft für die
sich anbahnende Krise (vgl. Joffé 2011:508). Aber obwohl die Menschen in den arabischen
Ländern unter den politischen Verhältnissen und deren Einfluss auf ihre Lebensumstände
schon lange litten, wagten sie es über Jahrzehnte hinweg nicht, sich gegen die autoritären
Regime ihrer Länder aufzulehnen, weil sie Angst vor Repression und Zweifel an einem
erfolgreichen Regimewandel hatten (vgl. Pearlman 2013:388). „In hybrid autocracies such as
Egypt, regimes subdued their populations through a combination of co-optation, monitoring,
and physical coercion, while allowing controlled pluralism and limited freedom of
expression.” (Pearlman 2013:393) Hinzu kam, dass diejenigen, die durch das etablierte
System bereits Privilegien erlangt hatten, diese nicht verlieren wollten und diejenigen, die
noch nicht in gleicher Weise profitieren konnten, sich durchaus darüber im Klaren waren,
dass eine systemkonforme Haltung für das eigene Fortkommen förderlich ist (vgl. Pearlman
2013:393). “Powerholders wielded fear as a tool for survival, enforcing it with security
apparatuses and state discourses that warned that the alternative to the regime was chaos or
Islamic radicalism. No less, fear was often self-enforced by people’s dispirited sense that the
status quo was unchangeable, and societally enforced by norms regarding those who fought
it as foolish, if not reckless.” (Pearlman 2013:393)
In den meisten arabischen Ländern war ein vorherrschendes Gefühl von Aussichtslosigkeit
weit verbreitet. Pearlman fragt sich daher unweigerlich, wie sich das Resignieren der
Bevölkerung gegenüber der jahrzehntelangen Politik von Demütigung und Erniedrigung
durch die politischen Regimeeliten der arabischen Länder erklären lässt (vgl. Pearlman
2013:389). „In Rashid Khalidi’s words, ‘incessant infringements by these authoritarian states
on the dignity of nearly every Arab citizen, and their rulers’ constant affirmations of their

16
worthlessness, were eventually internalized and produced a pervasive self-loathing and an
ulcerous social malaise.’” (Pearlman 2013:389) Laut Ashraf Khalil, einem ägyptischen
Journalisten und Autor, verloren die Ägypter*innen aufgrund der permanenten Missachtung
und Geringschätzung durch das autoritäre Regime unter Mubaraks Führung mit der Zeit den
Respekt vor sich selbst (vgl. Pearlman 2013:396). “[Mubarak] took a proud and ancient
civilization and presided over the virtual collapse of its citizens’ sense of public
empowerment and political engagement. He taught them how to feel helpless, then made
them forget they had ever felt any other way. His reign spread cynicism, apathy, and,
eventually, self-loathing. Several successive generations were instilled with the belief that the
system was rotten to the core, and that there was nothing anyone could do about it. Anyone
who tried to change that dynamic was a noble fool.” (Pearlman 2013:396) Pearlman ist sich
sicher, dass derart entmutigende Emotionen (“Dispirited Emotions“) zu den Grundpfeilern
einer beständigen, über Jahrzehnte hinweg andauernden Autokratie in Ägypten zählten (vgl.
Pearlman 2013:396).
Dennoch kam es in den letzten 20 Jahren zu einer Reihe an ambivalenten Entwicklungen in
der Region, die auch als eine „Transformation ohne Transition“ bezeichnet werden können
(vgl. Harders 2013:104). “The societies in Maghreb and Mashreq have been undergoing
important social, cultural and economic transformations for the last decade and more, which
have been initiated by different developments such as demographic change, change in media
accessibility, and economic reform.” (Harders 2013:105) Vor allem hat die über die letzten
Jahre entstandene neue pluralistische Medienlandschaft mit einem Zugang zu Digital- und
Satellitennetzwerken wesentlich zu einer besseren und schnelleren Informationsverbreitung
und einer neuen Form der öffentlichen Debatte beigetragen, wodurch sich die allgemeine
politische Kultur in der gesamten Region veränderte (vgl. Harders 2013:106). Der
gleichzeitige Wandel von Geschlechterverhältnissen und Generationenbeziehungen wird
besonders sichtbar, indem innerhalb der ägyptischen Gesellschaft zunehmend patriarchale
Strukturen in Frage gestellt werden (vgl. Harders 2013:106). Darüber hinaus hat die
Entstaatlichung der Politik neue transnationale Akteure, wie Islamisten oder
Menschenrechtsorganisationen in den Vordergrund der politischen Bühne befördert (vgl.
Harders 2013:106).
Einige dieser Entwicklungen führten in Ansätzen zu transformativen Veränderungen in der
arabischen Welt, indem beispielsweise das Repertoire an Mitteln für die öffentliche
Kritikäußerung erweitert wurde (vgl. Pearlman 2013:393). „Demonstrations on permissible

17
foreign policy issues hinted at domestic discontent and showed a capacity for street politics.
Satellite television, the Internet, and civil society activism expanded means for voicing
criticism, as did episodic protests and strikes.” (Pearlman 2013:393) Dennoch variierten
diese Entwicklungen in der Region stark und führten in keinem der arabischen Länder zu
signifikanten strukturellen Veränderungen (vgl. Pearlman 2013:393). Auch in Ägypten kam
es im Zuge dieser transformativen Entwicklungen nicht zu einem politischen Wandel im
Sinne einer Liberalisierung oder Demokratisierung der Systeme (vgl. Harders 2013b:21-22).
„Rather than addressing the antagonisms created by these processes of social
transformation, powerholders all over the region relied on a programme of ‘authoritarian
modernisation’ […] within the framework of an authoritarian social contract.” (Harders
2013:106) Im Rahmen des zunehmend unter Druck geratenden autoritären
Gesellschaftsvertrages verfolgte die politische Elite Ägyptens unter Mubaraks Führung fünf
Strategien, mit denen sie versuchte ihre Machtposition im Land abzusichern und die
Bevölkerung zu kontrollieren. “In order to secure power, the Mubarak regime relied on
limited political liberalization, repression, limited economic liberalization, Islamisation and
informalisation.” (Harders 2013:117) Mithilfe dieser Strategie konnte das ägyptische
Regime zwar jahrzehntelang auch während massiver Herausforderungen seine Macht
absichern, gleichzeitig stellte sich aber auch eine Reihe an ungewollten Nebeneffekten ein
(vgl. Harders:2013:107).
Beispielsweise kam es im Jahre 2000 zu einer ersten Mobilisierungsphase, die mit
Solidaritätsmärschen für die Zweite Intifada begann (vgl. Harders 2013:110). Im Jahre 2004
bildete sich dann eine Struktur des bewussten Widerstandes in der urbanen Mittelschicht
Ägyptens als Reaktion auf Mubaraks Absichten heraus, eine weitere sechsjährige Amtszeit
als Präsident antreten und seinen Sohn zu seinem Nachfolger machen zu wollen (vgl. Joffé
2011:520). „Middle class disgust at this abuse of official power led to the formation of a new
kind of political movement, Kefiya (‘Enough!’), drawing its strength from a group of small
opposition parties and diverse movements, all united by their anger at the misuse of the
electoral process.” (Joffé 2011:520) Mit der erstmaligen Bildung einer breiten Koalition
säkularer und religiöser Kräfte in Ägypten im Rahmen der Protestbewegung „Kefiya“, wird
ein wichtiger Grundstein für die spätere Zusammenarbeit während der Proteste im Jahre 2011
gelegt (vgl. Harders 2013b:33). Die besonders wichtige Rolle der Arbeiter*innenbewegung in
Ägypten wurde zunehmend seit Dezember 2006 sichtbar, wo von dem inoffiziellen Gremium
„Independent Textile Workers’ League” ein großer Streik in einer Textilfabrik in Mahalla al-

18
Kubra organisiert wurde (vgl. Joffé 2011:520). “Yet, contrary to its usual practice, the
regime did not force the workers back to work but conceded the workers’ demands. The
result was a growing crescendo of strikes over succeeding years until, on 6 April 2008, the
regime did crack down on striking textile workers in the town, causing a major riot instead.”
(Joffé 2011:520) Hieraus ging die Jungendbewegung des 6. April hervor, die Arbeiter*innen
und Jugendliche miteinander vernetzte und Informationen über den Widerstand im gesamten
Land verbreitete (vgl. Joffé 2011:520). Zwei weitere Ereignisse im Jahre 2010 steuerten dem
wachsenden Widerstand gegen Mubarak bei, zum einen der Mord an Khaled Mohamed
Saeed in Alexandria im Juni 2010 und zum anderen die Ankunft von Mohamed El-Baradei
auf der politischen Bühne Ägyptens nach dem Ende seiner Zeit als Generaldirektor der
Internationalen Atomenergieorganisation (vgl. Joffé 2011:520). “The death of Khaled
Mohamed Saeed was particularly egregious since he had been dragged out of an internet
cafe´ in Alexandria by two security agents and beaten to death. […] Some days after his
death, Mohamed El-Barade’i led a massive march in Alexandria in his memory and the first
protests took place in Tahrir Square in Cairo.“ (Joffé 2011:520-521)
Schließlich führten eine hohe Arbeitslosigkeit, Korruption, soziale Ungleichheit,
Polizeigewalt, manipulierte Wahlen, eine marode Infrastruktur und die Aussicht, dass
Mubarak seinen Sohn zu seinem Nachfolger macht im Jahre 2011 zu einem weit verbreiteten
Unmut in der ägyptischen Bevölkerung (vgl. Pearlman 2013:396). „Im Ergebnis kommen die
ägyptischen Massenproteste zustande, weil der strukturelle Kontext des autoritären
Gesellschaftsvertrages krisenhaft ist und zugleich oppositionelle Bewegungen auf der Basis
einer über 10jährigen Mobilisierungsphase eine breite Koalition aufbauen und auch im
Angesicht scharfer Repression erhalten und sogar ausdehnen können.“ (Harders 2013b:37)
Vor diesem Hintergrund hatten die Ereignisse in Tunesien wesentliche Auswirkungen auf
Ägypten, indem sie einen emotionalen Ruck innerhalb der ägyptischen Bevölkerung
bewirkten, der ihren Wert von Würde verstärkte und eine ganze Reihe ermutigender Affekte
auslöste (vgl. Pearlman 2013:396). „In this context, the impact of Ben Ali’s resignation was
profound. […] the stunning events in Tunisia made Egyptians abandon ‘prudence and
caution’ and ‘[jump] to the conclusion that they could repeat a similar feat in their own
country.’” (Pearlman 2013:396)

5. Methodische Vorgehensweise

19
Im Rahmen dieser Projektarbeit soll zum einen untersucht werden, wie derzeit in Berlin
lebende ägyptische politische Aktivist*innen vor dem Hintergrund des Aufstandes im Jahre
2011 vergangene und derzeitige Emotionen mithilfe von narrativen Erzählungen framen und
wie sie diese mit einer eigens erlebten Handlungsfähigkeit zu einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt in
Bezug setzen. Zum anderen soll von dieser Forschungsfrage ausgehend neben der
Generierung neuer Theorien und Hypothesen die Anwendbarkeit des theoretischen Ansatzes
von Pearlman unter besonderer Berücksichtigung ihres Emotionen-Models geprüft werden,
weshalb für die Untersuchungserhebung nachfolgende methodische Vorgehensweise gewählt
wurde.
In einem ersten Schritt wurden Teilnehmer*innen für anonym durchgeführte Interviews
gesucht, an die vorab per Email ein „Call for Participants“ geschickt wurde, der die konkreten
Informationen zum geplanten Forschungsvorhaben beinhaltete. Für die anschließende
Durchführung der Interviews beziehungsweise für die konkrete Gestaltung der
Interviewsituation wurde ein Leitfaden entwickelt. Die Auswertung des in den Interviews
gewonnenen Datenmaterials erfolgte über eine Transkription unter Verwendung einer
Kombination von Transkriptionsregeln nach Kallmeyer / Schütze (1976) sowie nach
Kuckartz (2016). Die weitere Vorgehensweise orientierte sich an dem Analysestil der
Grounded Theory, indem die Transkripte zunächst einer ersten Grobanalyse unterzogen
wurden, wobei über das Kodieren von Emotionen und Momenten empfundener
Handlungsfähigkeit die für das Forschungsinteresse relevanten Textausschnitte freigelegt
wurden. Daraufhin wurden diese Textstellen einer Feinanalyse unterzogen, die unter
Bezugnahme auf den methodischen Ansatz der „Narrative Emotion Analysis“ von Kleres
durchgeführt wurde. Das Kodieren erfolgte mithilfe des Softwareprogramms
MAXQDA2018®.

5.1. Aufruf zur Interviewteilnahme: „Call for Participants“

Der für das Forschungsprojekt erstellte Call for Participants (siehe Anhang I) gab möglichen
Teilnehmer*innen der Untersuchungserhebung einen ersten groben Überblick über das
geplante Forschungsvorhaben und enthielt Angaben zu den jeweiligen
Teilnahmevoraussetzungen. Gesucht wurden Teilnehmer*innen, die über die ägyptische
Staatsbürgerschaft verfügen oder verfügt haben, nicht länger als 10 Jahre in Deutschland
leben, in den letzten 15 Jahren in irgendeiner Form politisch aktiv waren, über sehr gute
Englisch- oder Deutschkenntnisse verfügen und in dem angegebenen Zeitraum verfügbar
20
sind. Darüber hinaus informierte der Call for Participants über die anonyme Durchführung
der Interviews, den Umgang mit persönlichkeitsbezogenen Daten sowie die freiwillige und
unentgeltliche Teilnahme.

5.2. Das Leitfadeninterview

Im Rahmen des Forschungsprojektes wurde für die Datenerhebung in Form einer Befragung
von ägyptischen politischen Aktivist*innen auf qualitative, leitfadengestützte Interviews
zurückgegriffen. „Qualitative, leitfadengestützte Interviews sind eine verbreitete,
ausdifferenzierte und methodologisch vergleichsweise gut ausgearbeitete Methode,
qualitative Daten zu erzeugen.“ (Helfferich 2014:559) Hierbei orientierte sich die Erstellung
und Durchführung der Leitfadeninterviews an Cornelia Helfferichs methodischem Ansatz.
Sie definiert Leitfadeninterviews „als Interviews, die mit einem Leitfaden den
Interviewablauf gestalten.“ (Helfferich 2014:560) Zentrales Element ist der Leitfaden, mit
dem ein struktureller Rahmen für den Ablauf des Interviews geschaffen wird. Helfferich
versteht unter einem Leitfaden eine vorab vereinbarte und systematisch angewandte Vorgabe
zur Gestaltung des Interviewablaufs (vgl. Helfferich 2014:560). Er kann sehr unterschiedlich
angelegt sein und verschiedene Elemente enthalten.
Für die vorliegende Projektarbeit wurden sowohl Erzählaufforderungen, vorformulierte
offene und geschlossene Fragen sowie ein Stimulus als Bestandteile in den Leitfaden
integriert. Zu Zwecken der Vergleichbarkeit der Interviews wurde ein einziger Leitfaden
erstellt, der allen vier durchgeführten Interviews zugrunde gelegt wurde. „Damit sind die
einzelnen Interviews gut vergleichbar, weil die Erhebungssituation sich ähnelt und z.B.
ähnliche oder gleiche Fragen gestellt werden.“ (Helfferich 2014:565) Der Leitfaden wurde
inhaltlich aufgrund der zu unterschiedlichen Zeitpunkten, vor- beziehungsweise nach den
Präsidentschaftswahlen im März 2018, stattfindenden Interviews, angepasst, weshalb zwei
Leitfäden (siehe Anhang II / Anhang III) im Anhang dieser Arbeit beigefügt sind. Zudem
wurde in das letzte Interview ein veröffentlichter Brief des derzeit inhaftierten ägyptischen
Fotojournalisten Mahmoud Abu Zeid („Shawkan“) als Stimulus (siehe Anhang III.I) mit der
Hoffnung in den Leitfaden integriert, Emotionen im narrativen Rahmen der
Interviewsituation so besser sichtbar machen zu können.
Zentrale Bedeutung hat, laut Helfferich, die Gestaltung der Interviewsituation, von der die
Güte und die Brauchbarkeit der ermittelten Daten abhängen, weshalb sie also unmittelbaren
Einfluss auf die späteren Forschungsergebnisse hat (vgl. Helfferich 2014:559). Vier
21
grundlegende Überlegungen wurden auf die Empfehlung von Helfferich hin bei der
Interviewgestaltung beachtet. Erstens wurde vor dem Hintergrund, dass Leitfadeninterviews
eine Kommunikationssituation darstellen, in der die Erzeugung von Texten interaktiv
beziehungsweise dialogisch gestaltet ist, berücksichtigend zur Kenntnis genommen, dass es
einen authentischen Text nicht gibt. „Er müsste losgelöst von allen sozialen
Generierungsbedingungen Gültigkeit beanspruchen, und diese idealistische Möglichkeit wird
von der Wissenssoziologie verneint. Qualitative Forschung […] will – sich wandelnde! –
subjektive Wahrheit und soziale Sinnstrukturen rekonstruieren.“ (Helfferich 2014:561) Da im
Rahmen der Projektarbeit zu Emotionen geforscht wurde, waren es vor allem subjektive
Wahrheiten und soziale Sinnstrukturen der Interviewten die im Fokus des
Forschungsinteresses standen. Darüber hinaus wurde der mit dem Rückgriff auf die
Durchführung von Leitfadeninterviews als Methode der Datenerhebung verbundenen Pflicht
nachgekommen, stets zu reflektieren, unter welchen Bedingungen die spezifische Erzeugung
von Texten stattgefunden hat (vgl. Helfferich 2014:562). „Das Interview ist in diesem Sinn
eine Interaktions- und Kommunikationssituation, in der unter den konkreten Bedingungen des
Settings, der Interaktionsdynamik und des persönlichen Verständigungsprozesses zwischen
den am Interview Beteiligten eine spezifische, kontextgebundene Version einer symbolischen
Welt erzeugt wird […].“ (Helfferich 2014:561)
Zweitens verpflichtet qualitative Forschung zu größtmöglicher Offenheit, weshalb das
Interviewsetting und der jeweilige Verständigungsprozess in den Interviews so gestaltet
wurde, dass das Sinnsystem und die subjektive Wahrheit der Interviewten entfaltet werden
konnte (vgl. Helfferich 2014:562). „Die erste zentrale Frage bei der Erzeugung von Texten
im Interview ist die, wie und mit welcher Begründung das Sprechen (die Textproduktion)
der interviewten Person beeinflusst und gesteuert wird, [Hervorh. i. Orig.] indem in den
Interviewablauf interveniert und er geformt und vorstrukturiert wird.“ (Helfferich 2014:559)
Als Prüfstein für Offenheit wurde die Frage herangezogen, ob die Interviewten in ihrer
eigenen Logik antworten und die Interviewenden sich auf die subjektive Sichtweise des
Interviewten einlassen konnten (vgl. Helfferich 2014:562). „Der größte Fehler qualitativer
Interviewdurchführung liegt darin, zu viel vorzugeben und abzufragen sowie in einer
Haltung, bestätigt bekommen zu wollen, was man schon weiß.“ (Helfferich 2014:562) Auf
der einen Seite ist eine starke Strukturierung des Interviewablaufes sinnvoll, da so
sichergestellt werden kann, dass für die Forschung relevante Themen angesprochen werden,
wohingegen auf der anderen Seite eine zu starke Strukturierung der Interviewsituation dazu

22
führen kann, dass die Antwortmöglichkeiten der Interviewten im Voraus zu stark
eingeschränkt werden (vgl. Helfferich 2014:566). Außerdem kann die Interviewsituation
erheblich beeinflusst werden, indem das Themenfeld mit einer klar umrissenen
Forschungsfrage von vornherein eingeschränkt wird, ein bestimmtes Kontext- und
Begriffsverständnis zugrunde gelegt wird und gewisse Vorverständnisse der Interviewenden
vorausgesetzt werden (vgl. Helfferich 2014:559). In diesem Zusammenhang beruht der für
diese Projektarbeit erstellte Leitfaden auf der bewussten methodologischen Entscheidung,
eine maximale Offenheit aus Gründen des Forschungsinteresses einzuschränken, weshalb
seine Erstellung dem Prinzip „so offen wie möglich, so strukturierend wie nötig“ folgte.
Drittens ist die Notwendigkeit, Offenheit einzuschränken im Forschungsinteresse begründet.
Der Verzicht auf jegliche Strukturierung des Interviews im Dienste des Forschungsinteresses
ist wenig sinnvoll und nicht empfehlenswert, da Interviewte aus ethischen Gründen immer
vorab über den Forschungszweck zu informieren sind (vgl. Helfferich 2014:562). Für die
Untersuchungserhebung wurden alle Teilnehmer*innen vorab mithilfe des Call for
Participants über das Forschungsvorhaben informiert, wobei berücksichtigt wurde, dass die
Interviewten dadurch eigene Annahmen darüber entwickeln, was für die Forschung relevant
sein könnte und welches Vorverständnis vorausgesetzt wird (vgl. Helfferich 2014:562-563)
„Auch wenn die Interviewten die Freiheit haben, solche Vorgaben abzulehnen und Fragen
zurückweisen, so lassen sie sich dann, wenn sie von ihrer Seite her einen Beitrag zu einer
Verständigung leisten wollen, auf diese Relevanzen und das Vorverständnis ein, akzeptieren
den gegebenen Äußerungshorizont als gemeinsamen Verständigungsrahmen und versuchen,
ihn so gut wie möglich auszufüllen.“ (Helfferich 2014:563)
Viertens wurden die spezifische Rollenzuweisung der an dem Interview beteiligten Personen
und sich daraus ergebende asymmetrische und komplementäre Rollenverhältnisse bei der
Gestaltung der Interviewsituation bedacht (vgl. Helfferich 2014:560). Die Beziehungen aller
am Interview beteiligten Personen sind durch verschiedene Dimensionen bestimmt, wobei die
Dimension der Machtrelation und Sicherheit, laut Helfferich, eine entscheidende Rolle spielt.
„Beide Beteiligte haben in ihren Rollen ein Machtpotenzial: Die Interviewenden, weil sie die
wesentliche Kontrolle über die Interviewsituation haben. […] Die Interviewten haben die
Macht, etwas zu äußern oder eben nicht zu äußern.“ (Helfferich 2014:564)
Daneben spielt die Dimension der Fremdheit und eines gemeinsamen
Erfahrungshintergrundes eine wichtige Rolle. Bei allen durchgeführten Interviews bestand
aufgrund der ungleichen ethnischen Zugehörigkeit kein gemeinsamer Erfahrungshintergrund

23
zwischen den Interviewten und den Interviewenden, was in dem einen oder anderen Fall dazu
geführt hat, dass die Interviewten mehr erklärt und weiter ausgeholt haben, um etwas
verständlich zu machen (vgl. Helfferich 2014:564).
Und schließlich spielte die Berücksichtigung unterschiedlich ausgeprägter Diskurskulturen
eine zentrale Rolle. „Qualitative Interviews verlangen generell eine spezifische sprachliche
Vermittlungskompetenz, die nicht in gleichem Maß in allen Sozialgruppen üblich ist. Daher
sind die Fragen auf die in der Befragtengruppe üblichen Formen der Reflexions-,
Kommunikations- und Verbalisierungskulturen und -kompetenzen zuzuschneiden.“
(Helfferich 2014:564) Da es sich bei den Teilnehmer*innen der Untersuchungserhebung
ausschließlich um Personen mit akademischem Hintergrund handelte, konnten die Fragen des
Leitfadens ohne Probleme auf die für sie üblichen Formen der Reflexions-, Kommunikations-
und Verbalisierungskompetenzen zugeschnitten werden.
Die Vorgehensweise zur Erstellung des Leitfadens orientierte sich an der von Helfferich
vorgeschlagenen Formel SPSS, mit der in einem ersten Schritt, dem Sammeln von Fragen
(S), möglichst viele Teilaspekte des Forschungsinteresses in Form von Fragen gesammelt
wurden (vgl. Helfferich 2014:567). In einem zweiten Schritt, dem Prüfen der Fragen (P),
wurde ein kritischer Blick auf die Liste an zusammengetragenen Fragen mit einem
Rückbezug auf das Forschungsinteresse verbunden. Zum einen wurden die ausgewählten
Fragen dahingehend geprüft, ob sie die Antwortmöglichkeiten der Interviewten so öffnen,
dass sie Neues und Fremdes ansprechen können und ob sie die Generierung von Texten
ermöglichen, die bezogen auf ein informationsbezogenes oder rekonstruktives Interesse
relevant sind (vgl. Helfferich 2014:567). Und zum anderen wurden die ausgewählten Fragen
dahingehend geprüft, ob sie eine Erwartung ausdrücken, ein Vorwissen bestätigt zu
bekommen oder ob widersprechende Äußerungen entfaltet werden können (vgl. Helfferich
2014:567).
Daraufhin folgte in einem weiteren Schritt, dem Sortieren (S), die Unterscheidung und
Aufteilung der verbleibenden Fragen nach zeitlicher Abfolge, inhaltlicher
Zusammengehörigkeit und Fragerichtung (vgl. Helfferich 2014:567). Hierbei wurde der
Fokus auf die Aufteilung nach drei unterschiedlichen Zeitpunkten beziehungsweise
Zeiträumen gerichtet, der Zeit vor den Protesten im Jahre 2011, der Zeit während der Proteste
vom 25. Januar 2011 bis zum 11. Februar 2011 und der Zeit nach den Protesten bis heute. In
einem letzten Schritt, dem Subsumieren (S), wurde für jedes Bündel von Fragen ein
möglichst erzählgenerierend wirkender und möglichst wenig Voraussetzungen enthaltender

24
Impuls gesucht, unter den die Einzelaspekte zusammengefasst worden sind (vgl. Helfferich
2014:567). Hierbei wurden vier Themenblöcke gebildet, die als übergeordnete Struktur, die
jeweiligen Fragen in einen bestimmten Kontext setzen. Der erste Themenblock „Political
Engagement Before And During The 2011 Uprisings“ enthält im Wesentlichen Fragen zu
dem Ursprung und der Motivation des politischen Aktivismus der Interviewten und der Form
ihrer Beteiligung an den Protesten im Jahre 2011. Im zweiten Themenblock „Current
Political Situation In Egypt” wird die Evaluation der aktuellen politischen Situation in
Ägypten im Kontext der Präsidentschaftswahlen im März 2018 in den Mittelpunkt gerückt.
Der dritte Themenblock „Engagement From Germany“ nimmt das Leben und den
Aktivismus der Interviewten in der Diaspora in den Blick. Im vierten Themenblock „Future
Protests“ werden die Erwartungen und Hoffnungen der Interviewten näher beleuchtet, indem
nach der Möglichkeit einer Mobilisierungsbewegung in der Zukunft gefragt wurde.
Für den formalen Aufbau des Leitfadens schlägt Helfferich ein dreistufiges Prinzip vor,
wobei den Interviewten in einem ersten Schritt die Möglichkeit gegeben wird, sich so offen
und frei wie möglich zu äußern, in einem zweiten Schritt Nachfragen zu Aspekten gestellt
werden, die für das Forschungsinteresse nicht eingehend genug ausgeführt wurden und in
einem dritten Schritt strukturierte und vorformulierte Fragen gestellt werden (vgl. Helfferich
2014:566). Für den formalen Aufbau des Leitfadens dieser Projektarbeit wurde auf zwei
dieser Schritte zurückgegriffen. In einem ersten Schritt wurde allen Teilnehmer*innen der
Untersuchungserhebung die Möglichkeit gebeten, sich so offen und frei wie möglich zu
äußern und sich eingangs kurz vorzustellen. Daraufhin wurden ihnen in einem zweiten Schritt
strukturierte und vorformulierte Fragen gestellt.
Laut Helfferich zählen neben Offenheit vor allem Übersichtlichkeit sowie das Anschmiegen
an den Erzählfluss zu den wesentlichen Anforderungen, die an einen Leitfaden gestellt
werden sollten (vgl. Helfferich 2014:567). Daher wurde der Leitfaden so übersichtlich
gestaltet, dass zu viele Fragen die für das Generieren von Texten notwendige Erzählzeit nicht
beschränkten, wobei gleichzeitig darauf geachtet wurde, dass der Erzählfluss nicht durch
abrupte Sprünge oder Themenwechsel beeinträchtigt wurde (vgl. Helfferich 2014:567)

5.3. Die Interviewauswertung: Transkription, Transkriptionssystem und


Transkriptionsregeln

Für die Auswertung der in den Leitfadeninterviews erzeugten Texte, gesichert in Form von
aufgenommenen Audiodateien, wurde das Datenmaterial zunächst verschriftlicht. Die
25
transkriptionsbasierte Analyse wurde in Kombination mit einer gedächtnisbasierten
Auswertung anhand während der Interviews erstellter Notizen durchgeführt. Neben den
tatsächlichen Interviewsituationen und ihrem Audiomitschnitt sind die anschließend erstellten
Transkripte die zentrale Grundlage für die Analyse.
Da in den Sozialwissenschaften einheitlich fixierte Transkriptionsstandards bislang nicht
existieren, bieten verschiedene Transkriptionssysteme mit variierenden Transkriptionsregeln
einen Orientierungsrahmen für den Prozess der Verschriftlichung gesprochener Sprache.
Mithilfe der Wahl bestimmter Transkriptionsregeln, die festlegen, welche sprachlichen
Phänomene mithilfe welcher Zeichen verschriftlicht werden, ist eine Erzeugung einheitlicher
Transkripte möglich (vgl. Fuß/Karbach 2014:18).
Im Rahmen der vorliegenden Projektarbeit standen sprachwissenschaftliche Aspekte nicht im
Vordergrund, vielmehr waren Textmerkmale, wie Betonungen, Sprechpausen, Gestik, Mimik
und paraverbale Äußerungen sowie äußere Merkmalen der Interviewsituation für das
Forschungsinteresse von besonderer Bedeutung. Und da sich die Transkriptionsregeln stets
an dem Forschungsinteresse orientieren sollten, wurde für die Transkription der Interviews
hauptsächlich auf das Transkriptionssystem von Werner Kallmeyer und Fritz Schütze (1976)
zurückgegriffen, wobei einzelne Transkriptionsregeln aufgrund ihrer besseren Eignung nach
Udo Kuckartz (2016) verwendet wurden. Die in Kombination verwendeten
Transkriptionsregeln wurden in einer Transkriptionstabelle (siehe Anhang IV) aufgelistet,
welche zum einen die Sonderzeichen, mit denen Auffälligkeiten der Sprache wie Pausen,
Betonungen, Sprechweisen, Lachen etc. in den Transkripten vermerkt wurden und zum
anderen deren Erklärungen enthält. Das in den durchgeführten Interviews gewonnene
Datenmaterial wurde in seiner Gänze in normales Schriftenglisch transkribiert und in
kommentierten Transkriptionen festgehalten, da nur ein umfassendes Transkript es erst
möglich macht, einzelne Aussagen in ihrem Kontext zu betrachten und ausführlich
interpretieren zu können (vgl. Mayring 2016:89).
Da die Auswertung eines Interviews in der qualitativen Sozialforschung in der Regel bereits
vor der Transkription beginnt, indem während des Interviews Auswertungsideen und
Hypothesen entwickelt werden, wurde bei der Transkription darauf geachtet, bewertende
Anmerkungen und subjektive Auslegungen zu vermeiden, da die Bedeutung des
Interaktionsgeschehens in der analytischen Bearbeitung des Transkripts zu entdecken und
nicht schon vorab in ihm festzulegen ist (vgl. Fuß/Karbach 2014:20-21). Zudem wurde
grundsätzlich berücksichtigt, dass die Erstellung eines Transkripts mit einem erheblichen

26
Informationsverlust einhergeht (vgl. Fuß/Karbach 2014:25). „Die originalen
Gesprächssituationen stellen die Primärdaten dar. Sie werden über die Audio- oder
Videoaufzeichnungen zu Sekundärdaten. Diese Aufzeichnungen beinhalten lediglich jene
Informationen der Ursprungssituation, die sie aufgrund ihrer technischen Möglichkeiten
erfassen können. Die Sekundärdaten (aufgezeichnete Gesprächssituationen) werden durch
die Verschriftlichung zu Tertiärdaten […]. Die Transkripte sind als Tertiärdaten immer als
‚selektive Konstruktionen‘ zu betrachten […].“ (Fuß/Karbach 2014:25) Nach der
Durchführung der Transkription aller Interviews lagen 4 umfassende Transkripte (siehe
Anhang V, Anhang VI, Anhang VII, Anhang VIII) für die Analyse vor.

5.4. Die „Grounded Theory“

Die Analyse der Transkripte orientierte sich unter anderem an dem Analysestil der Grounded
Theory, die sich als sozialwissenschaftlicher Ansatz besonders gut für das systematische
Zusammentragen und Analysieren qualitativer Daten mit dem Ziel der Theoriegewinnung
eignet. Zunächst wurden die Transkripte einer ersten Grobanalyse unterzogen, wobei über
das Kodieren verschiedener Emotionen und empfundener Momente von Handlungsmacht die
zentralen Textstellen im gesamten Datenmaterial freigelegt wurden. Mit der gleichzeitigen
Weiterentwicklung des theoretischen Zugangs und der Generierung einzelner erster
Hypothesen wurden daraufhin die für das Forschungsinteresse relevanten Textstellen einer
Feinanalyse unterzogen. Anschließend wurden für die Prüfung der Anwendbarkeit des
theoretischen Ansatzes von Pearlman weitere Textsegmente kodiert und analysiert. Somit
wurde für die Analyse des Datenmaterials sowohl auf wiederkehrende Zyklen der Theorie-
und Hypothesengenerierung, in denen Erhebung, Auswertung und Theoriebildung eng
verschränkt sind, als auch auf die sequenzielle Vorgehensweise von Operationalisierung,
Erhebung, Datenaufbereitung und Auswertung der Theorie- und Hypothesenprüfung
zurückgegriffen (vgl. Mey/Mruck 2011:15).
Das schrittweise Vorgehen der Grounded Theory ist für die Analyse der Interviewergebnisse
besonders geeignet, da ein reflexives Verständnis einzelner Textausschnitte erst mit einer
Kontextualisierung in die größere Narrationsstruktur möglich ist. Hier lässt sich die Brücke
zu dem methodischen Ansatz der „Narrative Emotion Analysis“ von Jochen Kleres schlagen,
die im nachfolgendem Unterkapitel eingehend betrachtet wird. Innerhalb dieses Ansatzes
richtet sich der analytische Fokus jenseits der Mikrostruktur einzelner Textsegmente auf

27
deren Beziehungen und relationale Abhängigkeiten in übergeordneter Ebene des
Gesamtkontextes (vgl. Kleres 2010:184).

5.5. Die „Narrative Emotion Analysis“

Im Rahmen der Projektarbeit wurde für die Datenanalyse auf den methodischen Ansatz der
Narrative Emotion Analysis von Jochen Kleres zurückgegriffen. Denn obwohl die Forschung
zu Emotionen innerhalb der Soziologie ein stetig wachsendes Forschungsfeld ist, scheint
diese Entwicklung wenig Einfluss auf die methodologischen Debatten innerhalb der
Soziologie zu haben (vgl. Kleres 2010:182). “How emotions can be studied empirically in
systematic ways has been the focus of relatively little attention and debate. To be sure, there
are some notable exceptions. Chief among them is a line of research that has developed sets
of linguistic markers for certain specific emotions, such as shame and anger […] or more
generally positive and negative self-feelings […]. However, these frameworks are limited to
specific emotions.” (Kleres 2010:182) Diese Lücke möchte Jochen Kleres mit seinem Beitrag
“Emotions and Narrative Analysis: A Methodological Approach” schließen, indem er der
Frage nachgeht, wie man emotionale Erfahrungen systematisch mithilfe von qualitativen
Interviews analysieren kann. Dabei beschäftigt ihn vor allem die Problematik, dass
Interviewte ihre Emotionen nicht explizit in Interviews ansprechen. Im Rahmen der
Projektarbeit spielte diese Problematik bei der Bestimmung einer methodischen
Vorgehensweise eine zentrale Rolle und wurde wiederholt in Überlegungen zu verschiedenen
analytischen Ansätzen thematisiert.
Für die systematische empirische Analyse von Emotionen schlägt Kleres eine integrative
Verwendung der Narrationsanalyse vor. Den methodischen Ansatz der Narrationsanalyse hält
er für besonders geeignet, da dieser darauf beruht, dass menschliche Erfahrungen, welche im
Rahmen des gesellschaftlichen Lebens maßgeblich durch Emotionen beeinflusst werden, eine
signifikante narrative Dimension besitzen (vgl. Kleres 2010:184-185). “Its fundamental
theoretical premise is that human experience has a crucial narrative dimension. It is
organized along a temporal, sequential order of ‘first this, then that’, ‘befores and afters’
[…]. The idea is that people have specific ‘narrative’ knowledge—the knowledge of how
things have come about, a kind of knowledge that has not been abstracted and that is thus
only accessible in its narrative form.” (Kleres 2010:183) Obwohl die Narrationsanalyse
bisher in der Regel keinen Fokus auf Emotionen gesetzt hat, ist Kleres überzeugt, dass sie als
methodisches Werkzeug für die Untersuchung von Emotionen prädestiniert ist, da Narrative
28
in ihrer Struktur untrennbar mit Emotionen verwoben sind (vgl. Kleres 2010:183). “The very
nature of emotional experience can be conceptualized as essentially narrative in nature […]
and vice versa: narratives essentially are emotionally structured. Emotions emerge from this
as essentially narrative configurations, scenarios or gestalt [Hervorh. i. Orig.].” (Kleres
2010:188)
Verschiedene theoretische Beiträge teilen die Annahme miteinander, dass Emotionen zum
einen in Narrative eingebettet sind und zum anderen tatsächlich erst gesellschaftlich durch
Narrative respektive Erzählungen erlernt werden (vgl. Kleres 2010:185). “Finally, Goldie
describes emotions as complex, episodic, and structured. An emotion ‘is structured in that it
constitutes part of a narrative […] in which the emotion itself is embedded’ […].” (Kleres
2010:185) Neben Nussbaum ist auch De Sousa der Meinung, dass Emotionen innerhalb der
Gesellschaft über sogenannte „Paradigma Szenarios“ gelehrt beziehungsweise erlernt
werden. “De Sousa, for instance, argued that ‘we are made familiar with the vocabulary of
emotion by association with paradigm scenarios’ [Hervorh. i. Orig.] […]. These paradigm
scenarios connect objects, which they help identify, with emotional responses, that they
prescribe as a normal reaction […].”(Kleres 2010:185) Aus dieser Annahme gewinnt Kleres
die zentrale Erkenntnis, dass die narrativen Elemente einer Erzählung erst zusammen als
Ganzes betrachtet eine emotionale Erfahrung abbilden (vgl. Kleres 2010:185). “If emotions
are [Hervorh. i. Orig.] narratives, emotional experience is then rather constituted [Hervorh.
i. Orig.] by the situational circumstances, events and conditions as they matter [Hervorh. i.
Orig.] for the emoting subject. To analyze emotions narratively we thus need to ask who acts
how to whom and what happens […]. This is the principal approach to narrative analysis of
emotions.” (Kleres 2010:189) Die Narrationsanalyse nimmt mit den einzelnen narrativen
Bestandteilen und ihren jeweiligen Beziehungen innerhalb des Gesamtkontextes die
Vorbedingungen für emotionale Erfahrungen in den Blick (vgl. Kleres 2010:190). “It shows
us which elements make up subjective experience and how they relate to each other, for
instance, which are the core events, how are they rendered, how do they relate to which
backgrounds, how does an entire episode matter, etc..” (Kleres 2010:190)
Die Sequenz einzelner Segmente bildet eine umfassende narrative Struktur und jedes dieser
Segmente kann als Textausschnitt in seiner Bedeutung nur in seinem Textzusammenhang
verstanden werden (vgl. Kleres 2010:184).“This leads to such issues as: which events follow
each other, how are meanings of events based on previous ones, etc. It involves an analytical
focus beyond the microstructure of single segments that looks into how segments are related

29
to each other […]. There may be suprasegmental contexts, main and side-lines of the
narrative.” (Kleres 2010:184)
Innerhalb der Narrationsanalyse existiert eine ganze Reihe an analytischen Perspektiven, die
von der Mikroebene einzelner narrativer Segmente bis hin zum übergreifenden Fokus auf die
gesamte Narrationsstruktur reichen, wobei deren gemeinsamer Nenner auf der Identifizierung
der verschiedenen narrativen Elemente der Erzählung liegt, um deren Signifikanz und
Beziehungen miteinander untersuchen zu können (vgl. Kleres 2010:184). So ist mithilfe der
Narrationsanalyse zum einen nachvollziehbar, welche der emotionalen Erfahrungswerte für
den Interviewten von besonderer Bedeutung sind und zum anderen ist es möglich, daran
anknüpfend, Erklärungsmuster für deren besondere Bedeutung zu entwickeln (vgl. Kleres
2010:184).
Ein konstitutives Merkmal von Narrativen ist ihre Temporalität, wobei vor allem die
narrative Vergangenheit eine zentrale Rolle für das Verständnis von gegenwärtigen
Ereignissen von Emotionalität spielt (vgl. Kleres 2010:186). Neben der Struktur von
Narrativen spielt auch die narrative Konstruktion von Handlungsmacht (“agency”) eine
Rolle. “Another aspect concerns the narrative construction of agency […]—‘who is doing
what to whom’ […]. Research has shown, how emotion narratives have agency configured in
specific ways […].” (Kleres 2010:192) Laut Kleres spielt die Konstruktion von
Handlungsfähigkeit eine Schlüsselrolle, da Akteuren durch andere entweder
Handlungsfähigkeit zugesprochen oder abgesprochen werden kann (vgl. Kleres 2010:192).
“Agency is not simply attributed in narratives, but actors are being constructed at the same
time. Specifically, this refers to contingent constructions of identities in the narrative—a
pivotal basis for emotional experience. Consider, for instance, how solidarity […] or
compassion […] operate on the basis of constructs of difference and identification.” (Kleres
2010:193)
Die eingangs genannte Problematik, dass Interviewte ihre Emotionen nicht explizit in
Interviews ansprechen, wirft die grundsätzliche Frage auf, wie Emotionen überhaupt
sprachlich kommuniziert werden. An dieser Stelle greift Kleres auf die Linguistik als ein
brauchbares empirisches Verfahren zurück, mit welchem er die unterschiedlichen verbalen
und nicht-verbalen Dimensionen der Kommunikation von Emotionen untersuchen will. Laut
Kleres ist es von entscheidender Bedeutung, dass Emotionen auch auf der Ebene von Wörtern
und Sätzen erzeugt werden können, wobei sich sogenannte „Emotionswörter“ von Wörtern
unterscheiden lassen, die Emotionen beschreiben. „[…] we can distinguish so-called emotion

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words, which refer—more or less—descriptively [Hervorh. i. Orig.] to emotional states. […]
But there are also emotion expressing [Hervorh. i. Orig.] words such as: ‘Yuck!’, ‘Gross!’,
‘Finally!’ or ‘Darling!’ These do not explicitly reference emotions, but they provide
information about emotional impressions and attitudes qua their semantic content.” (Kleres
2010:194) Neben einzelnen Wörtern, können auch ganze Sätze Emotionen zum Ausdruck
bringen. “This includes: direct references to emotions—‘I am scared’; double propositions,
where a neutral sentence is embedded in an emotive one, such as: ‘I’m afraid that . . .’;
optative sentences, expressing a wish, as in ‘If only I could . . .’; exclamations (‘What a
day!’); hyperbole (‘the worst day of my life’); intensifying, repetitive genitive constructs (‘the
book of books’); questions and rhetorical questions; finally, comparisons as in ‘I felt about
my wife’s illness like I felt as a soldier during the war.’” (Kleres 2010:194) Darüber hinaus
werden Emotionen auch mithilfe von Metaphern und Metonymien geäußert. “[…] metaphors
allow for the expression of emotional states that are otherwise inexpressible. They also allow
for a more vivid expression of emotions creating a sense of intimacy between speaker and
addressee.” (Kleres 2010:194) Andere Formen der Bildsprache umfassen den Gebrauch von
Ironie, insbesondere Sarkasmus, rhetorischen Fragen, Satire, Übertreibungen und
Untertreibungen (vgl. Kleres:2010 194-195).
Eine letzte Analyseebene umfasst die Prosodie, also den sprachlichen Rhythmus sowie die
Betonung und Intonation als auch andere weitere paraverbale Aspekte (vgl. Kleres
2010:194). “Despite many attempts to identify prosodic profiles of emotions, empirical
results are not entirely conclusive. At best, empirical research can identify prosodic
correlates of certain emotional states […].” (Kleres 2010:195)
Für die Durchführung der Feinanalyse wurde auf den Vorschlag von Kleres zurückgegriffen,
die Linguistik als ein brauchbares empirisches Verfahren für die Untersuchung
unterschiedlicher verbaler und nicht-verbaler Dimensionen der Kommunikation von
Emotionen zu verwenden. In den entsprechend ausgewählten Textstellen wurden Wörter und
Sätze analysiert, die Emotionen zum Ausdruck bringen. Außerdem wurde nach sprachlichen
Mitteln, wie Metaphern und Metonymien sowie anderen Formen der Bildsprache, wie Ironie,
Sarkasmus, rhetorischen Fragen, Satire, Übertreibungen und Untertreibungen als auch
Prosodie und anderen weiteren paraverbalen Aspekten gesucht, die Emotionen zum Ausdruck
bringen. Hierdurch gelang es die Problematik zu überwinden, dass Interviewte ihre
Emotionen nicht explizit in Interviews ansprechen.

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5.6. Coding

The interview material was progressively coded in three phases, following Strübing’s steps of
data interpretation (2014). (1) In open coding, thematic access points to the material are
created through a line-by-line analysis of the entire text, keeping in mind the questions: What
theme is being handled here? What is relevant for the research question? What action
problem is the speaker referring to through his/her way of presenting the topic? Goal of this
stage is to identify a series of concepts that keep coming up in the text, and to create codes
that match these concepts. (2) In axial coding, the relations between these codes and the
actors are explored, looking particularly at the context, intervening conditions, the
interactions between different actors, their strategies and tactics, as well as the consequences
of their actions. (3) Finally, selective coding reorients the previous step towards the research
question, bringing all the previously recognized relations into a coherent theoretical sketch. In
this step, core codes are identified and a final process of coding re-works the conditions,
consequences, etc., which are relevant to this central category.
The table below presents the results of this last step: our two core categories, discouraging
emotions, and emboldening emotions, as well as a third additional one: ambivalent emotions.
These codes are also decomposed in a number of subcategories, which permit a more
nuanced differentiation. For the representation, we employ Mayring and Fenzl’s coding
format (2014), which includes the code’s definition, a very representative example from
within the text, as well as a brief set of rules that determine which fragments are relevant for
which category. During previous stages of coding, we also contemplated additional
categories, including “grievances”, “family life”, “friendship”, “emigration”, “own activism”,
“everyday resistance” and others, which we omit here for reasons of space. The first process
of open coding was carried out by all four researchers individually; the categories were then
compared and combined if relevant, and analyzed both axially and selectively by the entire
team. For this entire process, the team employed the MAXQDA2018® coding software.

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6. Analyse: Individuelle Unterschiede bezüglich Framing,
Emotionen und Handlungsfähigkeit

In diesem Kapitel soll eine Analyse des Framings in den vier durchgeführten Interviews im
Hinblick auf Pearlmans (2013) Modell der entmutigenden und ermutigenden Emotionen und
daraus resultierende Handlungsfähigkeit erfolgen. Das Modell soll dabei in dreierlei Hinsicht
kritisch hinterfragt bzw. erweitert werden: Erstens soll aufgezeigt werden, dass
unterschiedliche Individuen verschieden auf dasselbe Stimulus reagieren. Zweitens soll
beleuchtet werden, dass Emotionen entgegen von Pearlmans Modell nicht binär oder statisch
sind, sondern ständig fluktuieren und gleichzeitig auftreten. Drittens soll auf dieser
Grundlage aufgezeigt werden, dass entgegen Pearlmans Annahmen Handlungsfähigkeit nicht
nur durch ermutigende Emotionen, sondern auch durch entmutigende Emotionen empfunden
werden kann.
Das Framing im Rahmen der Interviews wird dazu in vier Themenblöcken analysiert: Erstens
die Proteste 2011, zweitens genderspezifische Perspektiven auf die Proteste, drittens die
Präsidentschaftswahlen in Ägypten im März 2018 und viertens der momentane Aktivismus
aus Berlin. Das Framing wird auf Basis von Kleres‘ bereits erläuterten Annahmen über die
Narrativität von Emotionen analysiert. Im Zusammenhang damit werden hervortretende
Emotionen und vom jeweiligen Interviewee wahrgenommene Handlungsfähigkeit im Bezug
zu den verschiedenen Themenblöcken untersucht.

6.1 Die Proteste in Ägypten in 2011

Interessante Feststellungen lassen sich im Framing der vier Interviewees bezüglich der
Proteste im Januar 2011 machen. Interviewee 1 beschreibt zunächst eine relativ gefährliche
Situation auf dem Protest am 28. Januar, kurz darauf beschreibt sie in sehr positiven Worten
die generelle Atmosphäre auf dem Tahrir-Platz während der Proteste:

Interviewer O: Ok, ok. That is, that sounds like a rough night. Which date was this?
(Interviewee 1: 25th January!) 25th January! This was on the 25th, ok. (Interviewee 1: But
the more important one of course was the 28th January.) Of course. Were you also around
on the 28th?

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Interviewee 1: […] we saw a small protest, we came to join it, and then we saw these thugs
coming from the other side, and they were throwing things at them, they weren’t any
policemen, they were just um you know, dressed in civilian clothes and they were throwing
rocks and whips and stuff at the protesters & so we got really scared and we left, umm and
then we went out to the Corniche, and we just bumped into another protest, that was coming
from some other place, and then we just joined it […].

Interviewer O: Ahh, could I ask you to maybe detail it a bit for us, what do you mean by
feeling in the square, what exactly .. did you feel?

Interviewee 1: Ahm I just felt .. really safe, and I felt ahm I mean, okay, Egypt has for example
a bit of a harassment problem, and ahh women, so many times, I (‘) DON’T SO MANY
TIMES FEEL SAFE and comfortable out on the street and whatever, so now I was on this
huge square (‘) with lots of men I don’t know, strangers from all different classes and ahm I
never once felt that I was under threat, I never once got harassed, physically or verbally or
anything umm & everyone was really nice to each other, there was no anger, there was just,
like, everyone was trying to be helpful, there was, all this, the political divisions weren’t at all
apparent, there was just, everyone was really united (,) I mean it was kind of like a utopia,
sometimes like, this isn’t really true, this can’t be reality & I mean, I’m sure if we stepped
outside things will be different, but inside it was uhh like my brother actually was next to uhh
someone else’s tent was, he was Muslim Brotherhood, and NOT ONCE were there, there was
some like discussions, and you know chats, how they saw things, but there was never really
arguing, uhm so you know it was just like a very kind of unified spirit, and it was VERY
inspiring.

Interviewee 2 spricht sehr positiv über die Proteste und seine damit verbundene
wiedergewonnene Loyalität zu Ägypten und vergleicht sie bildhaft:

Interviewer M: Mhm Just to go one time again back to the uprisings ehm, if you think
about them now, how do you feel about it?

Interviewee 2: Hm. THE TIME OF REVOLUTION. THE TIME OF FREEDOM. IT JUST, it’s
my freedom. It’s my COUNTRY. The LOVE to my COUNTRY, not the Egyptian regime, this is
the important transition. Because in this time under Mubarak we lose the hope to get the
country again. And we said all the time this is not our country. It was the country of the NDP.
Like country of Mubarak and his sons. It’s like special or private institutions. After the
uprisings, … we get again this feeling, this is our country, the loyalty to the state, it’s like
Germany, it our state, we have to say it, and we will be there and we have to struggle for
democracy and everything, and this land is my - our country, it was a FEELING of loyalty
the first time, transition. It was a GREAT moment anyway, because you know the first time eh
we were there and we didn’t have any hope to change the situation and just (Pause) for once
again, this is OUR COUNTRY!, WE FOUND IT AGAIN! THIS IS MY SON! I FOUND HIM!
COME HERE! It’s exactly! It’s exactly same thing! Okay? From this is not our state the
transition to loyalty. (..), (...).

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Dahingegen beschreibt Interviewee 3 die Proteste neutraler und legt den Fokus darauf, dass
sie für ihn eher wie Sieg über die Personen waren, die sich früher negativ über aktivistische
Bewegungen geäußert hatten, in denen er teilgenommen hatte:
Interviewer O: How would you describe the general atmosphere in Tahrir?

Interviewee 3: It differed from time to time of course, like I mean to be honest on 28th
January during the Friday I was just looking and- you know on 28th January like basically
we descending on Tahrir Square from 4 directions East West North South,, I was part of the
wave that came from East, my neighbourhood, so when we went out and started the march, it
was like a marching army taking over square fighting with the police for hours, defeating the
police, etc, and not at some point tens of thousands of people, I started remembering how
marginalized and isolated we were in the 90’s you know like these are like the “radical leftist
freaks who want to chant against Mubarak” etc. .. So I mean, I was definitely, it was very
emotional for me, on times also, I mean also the square sometimes I was looking around and I
was like wow finally, part of it was like self vindication. It is happening, and everyone that
used to ridicule us and piss on us at the uni, who’s laughing now. And ironically and I know
this may sound like the movies but on the 28th January I even saw some of my former
colleagues who were with me in university in 90’s and I saw them and I was like laughing
about it.

Interviewee 4 betont die negative Emotionen während der Proteste – sie weist an einer
anderen Stelle darauf hin, dass es die Tendenz gibt, Situationen wie diese retrospektiv zu
idealisieren, aber sie sich auch an die Momente negativer Emotionen erinnern möchte („I like
to remind myself that there were moments of fear and there were moments of of anxiety
because […] we tend to close those over“):

Interviewer E: Ok! And uhm how do you think would, could you describe the atmosphere
during the protests and uhm and how you felt?

Interviewee 4: Mhh, uhm (clearing throat) (.) I have troubles remembering many things. Uh I
have troubles with the chronological order, so I don’t remember what happened before what.
Uhm but I, what I remember is that .. I was, I felt that I was sort of floating. So it was uh, I uh,
for example I lost a lot of weight (laughing) during that time +, uhm we were walking a lot
and I am not a walker, I don’t like walking and I was, I usually (h) I, I love food, so it’s not
normal for me that I forget to eat. So and this is the only thing I could sort of I mean
remember I could have compared to what that is that when I was first in love & so this idea
that I was floating and didn’t care about eating & I was walking a lot and not getting tired.
Euhm, but there were also moments that I was really really scared, a lot of anxiety and a lot
of heartbreak because you go home and then you read about the people who d i e d, or you
hear comments from some family that are horrible about who these people really a r e, so
there was a lot of f i g h t i n g and c r y i n g and euh and euh and anxiety & and I was
feeling like I was hurting my f a m i l y but I was also feeling that I have to do this and then
they slowly and slowly understood that I had to do this so I cannot say that I was just happy.

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There were of course moments when I was very very happy and safe but they were spatially
related to being there .. euh, and then once you move out you start, you watch what they say
on TV or (.) like you start feeling like anxious and angry, hum. AND I was really, really,
really scared the first day like not even the first day, sort of the first half an hour, I was
REALLY scared, but then euhm since then, at least when -I would be scared when I’m outside
with my friends when there are clashes and I’m outside I would be really scared for THEM
but then as long as I’m there I didn’t feel scared after that moment & I mean you had
moments when you had sort of I mean I don’t know these fighter flights flying over you and
you really didn’t know if they were gonna bomb you or you didn't understand why they are
there, maybe surveillance or- but you had a sort of (h) I don't know I wasn't afraid to die
there. I mean you knew that it’s a possibility, they kept saying there were s n i p e r s which
probably there was, and then you see fighter things, and there were tanks, and you never
know what's gonna happen. But I was not- as far as I remember as long as I was there I was
more scared that we lose the s q u a r e or that euhm a violence on this person this person
but not for my own personal safety which is in very direct contrast to how I felt walking in.
Because when I walked in all I cared about was my own personal safety, euh yeah.

Eine interessante Entdeckung ist, dass die weiblichen Interviewees (1 und 4) die Proteste von
2011 tendenziell sehr gemischt darstellen – sie erwähnen sowohl ermutigende als auch
entmutigende Emotionen. Negative Emotionen finden sich vor allem im Bezug auf
Bedrohungen durch Sicherheitskräfte (1 und 4), sexuelle bzw. gewaltvolle Übergriffe durch
Männer (Interviewee 4), die Angst vor dem Verlieren des Tahrir-Platzes (Interviewee 4) und
das schlechte Gewissen gegenüber der Familie (Interviewee 4). Das schlechte Gewissen
gegenüber der Familie, das eine private Information und daher bemerkenswert, dass es in der
Interview-Situation so oft genannt wird, ist, erwähnt Interviewee 4 sogar mehrmals („if I need
to go home because my mum is completely screaming on the phone”; „I was feeling like I was
hurting my family”). Natürlich muss bedacht werden, dass sie sich in ihrer Promotion mit
Emotionen befasst und sich somit des Themas sehr bewusst ist und daher offener darüber
spricht. Zudem sollte auch mit einbezogen werden, dass dies das einzige Interview war, bei
dem nur Frauen anwesend waren (3 Interviewerinnen und die Interviewte), wodurch sich
Interviewee 4 möglicherweise leichter öffnen und über privatere Dinge sprechen konnte als in
einer geschlechtergemischten Situation. Generell lässt sich bei Interviewee 1 und 4
beobachten, wie schnell sich Emotionen verändern können, fluktuieren, und retrospektiv
nicht differenziert werden kann, welche Emotionen zu einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt als
Reaktion auf ein bestimmtes Event gefühlt wurden. In diesen beiden Interviews fluktuieren
die geframeten Emotionen von Angst und Unsicherheit bis hin zu völliger Euphorie,
Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl und einem Gefühl, das dem Verliebtsein gleicht („the only
thing I could sort of I mean remember I could have compared to what […] that when I was

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first in love, so this idea that I was floating and didn’t care about eating“ – Interviewee 4).
Die männlichen Interviewees (2 und 3) framen die Situationen im Gegensatz zu den
weiblichen Interviewees eher positiv und lassen weitestgehend ermutigende Emotionen
durchklingen. Sie erwähnen keine Angst um ihre körperliche Sicherheit auf dem Tahrir-Platz
und erzählen nicht von gefährlichen Situationen während der Proteste (obwohl
selbstverständlich davon ausgegangen werden kann, dass sich auch die männlichen
Interviewees in solchen Situationen befanden). Ein weiterer (leichter) Unterschied ist, dass
sich die beiden männlichen Interviewees eher als Teil der Proteste darstellen – sie benutzen
häufiger das Personalpronomen „we“, wohingegen die weiblichen Interviewees tendenziell
mehr von ihren persönlichen Erfahrungen und Gefühlen berichten. Zu bedenken ist an dieser
Stelle natürlich, dass die männlichen Interviewees beide Initiatoren der Proteste im Januar
2011 waren, wohingegen die weiblichen Interviewees keine Initiatorinnen waren, sondern
Teilnehmerinnen. Somit kann geschlussfolgert werden, dass Interviewee 2 und 3
wahrscheinlich eher den Hauptwillen der Organisatoren der Proteste kannten und sich daher
mehr als Teil des Ganzen sahen. Besonders auffällig ist dies bei Interviewee 2: Während des
gesamten Interviews, aber besonders in den Teilen bezüglich der Proteste 2011, geht er stets
sehr schnell (bei persönlichen Fragen) in eine generellere Erklärer-Rolle hinein: „The LOVE
to my COUNTRY, not the Egyptian regime, […] in this time under Mubarak we lose the hope
to get the country again. And we said all the time this is not our country. […] After the
uprisings, we get again this feeling, this is our country.” Damit verhindert er letztlich, über
seine persönlichen Gefühle und Wahrnehmungen zu sprechen. Allerdings ist auch bei
Interviewee 4 am Ende ihrer Antwort zu erkennen, dass sie mit der Zeit auf emotionaler
Ebene zu einem Teil der Proteste geworden ist: „I was more scared that we lose the square
[…] but not for my own personal safety which is in very direct contrast to how I felt walking
in“.
Konzentriert man sich nun auf Handlungsfähigkeit, so wird ersichtlich, dass in Interview 1
und 4 trotz sehr schwankender positiver und negativer Emotionen, die z.B. durch die „thugs“
hervorgerufen wurden, trotzdem Handlungsfähigkeit durch das Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl
der Menschenmasse auf dem Platz entsteht. Interviewee 1 beschreibt eine verängstigende
Situation, in der ungewiss ist, ob sie im nächsten Moment körperlicher Gewalt ausgesetzt
sein wird: „then we saw these thugs coming […], they were throwing rocks and whips at the
protesters so we got really scared and we left.“ Trotzdem nehmen sie und ihre Freunde,
nachdem sie vor den „thugs“ geflohen waren, an einem anderen Protestzug teil, auf den sie

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stießen. Vielleicht hätte es auch die Möglichkeit gegeben, an einen sicheren Ort oder nach
Hause zu gehen – stattdessen entschied sich Interviewee 1 für einen weiteren Protestzug,
obwohl sie damit hätte rechnen können, dass auch dort „thugs“ sein werden. Dies zeigt, dass
in solch komplexen und wirren Situationen kein direkter Zusammenhang zwischen Emotion,
Handlungsfähigkeit und Aktion angenommen werden kann, wie es Pearlman tut. An dieser
Stelle spielen sowohl Angst und Ungewissheit eine Rolle, als auch Emotionen wie Euphorie
und Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl auf dem Tahrir-Platz, die Interviewee 1 sehr kurz nach
dieser Passage erwähnt: „I just felt .. really safe. […] Everyone was really nice to each other,
there was no anger, […] everyone was trying to be helpful, […] the political divisions
weren’t at all apparent, […] everyone was really united”. Interviewee 1 beweist, dass es
möglich ist, Angst zu haben und trotzdem zu demonstrieren bzw. politisch aktiv zu sein.
Ähnlich deutlich wird es bei Interviewee 4: Obwohl sie sehr viele negative (und natürlich
positive) Emotionen beschreibt, wenn sie über die Proteste redet, und auch an mehreren
Stellen deutlich macht, dass sie aufgrund ihres Aktivismus ein schlechtes Gewissen
gegenüber ihrer Familie hatte, formuliert sie ganz klar, dass sie es als ihre Aufgabe ansah,
Teil der Proteste zu sein: „so there was a lot of fighting and crying […] and anxiety and I
was feeling like I was hurting my family but I was also feeling that I have to do this“. Auch
bei ihr kann also Handlungsfähigkeit als Resultat von sowohl entmutigenden als auch
ermutigenden Emotionen festgestellt werden.
Handlungsfähigkeit in Interview 2 und 3 ist aufgrund der vorwiegend positiven
Beschreibungen der Proteste durch die männlichen Interviewees sehr gut erkennbar. Für
Interviewee 2 stellen die Proteste bzw. der Sturz Mubaraks die Wiedergewinnung der
Handlungsfähigkeit der Protestierenden, also auch ihn selbst, dar: „It was a GREAT moment
anyway, because you know the first time eh we were there and we didn’t have any hope to
change the situation and just for once again, this is OUR COUNTRY!, WE FOUND IT
AGAIN!” Interviewee 3 beschreibt nicht nur den Sieg oder Erfolg gegenüber den
Sicherheitskräften: „so when we went out and strained the march, it was like a marching
army taking over square fighting with the police for hours, defeating the police“, sondern
lässt zudem einen gewissen Stolz gegenüber früheren Kommilitonen durchklingen, die sich in
den 90er Jahren gegen ihn als linken Aktivisten gestellt hatten und nun ebenfalls auf der
Demonstration waren: “I started remembering how marginalized and isolated we were in the
90’s “radical leftist freaks who want to chant against Mubarak” etc […] everyone that used
to ridicule us and piss on us at the uni, who’s laughing now?!” In beiden Interviews werden

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also als Antwort auf die Frage nach den Protesten 2011 Siege oder Überlegenheiten
dargestellt, die mit ermutigenden Emotionen wie Euphorie und Stolz einhergehen und –
konform mit Pearlmans Annahmen – Handlungsfähigkeit der Subjekte veranlassen. Dies
steht in Kontrast zum Framing der weiblichen Interviewees, die auch von ihren Ängsten
berichten, aber trotzdem Handlungsfähigkeit innehatten.
Bezüglich der Darstellung des Themas Proteste 2011 können also deutliche Unterschiede in
der Darstellung durch jeweils die weiblichen und männlichen Interviewees festgestellt
werden. Handlungsfähigkeit jedoch ist mit beiden Arten des Framings verbunden. Dieser
interessante Befund kann Pearlmans Annahme über den Zusammenhang zwischen
Emotionen und Handlungsfähigkeit nicht komplett unterstützen.

6.2 Eine Genderspezifische Perspektive auf die Proteste

Bei der Untersuchung des Framings bezüglich der Proteste 2011 fällt grundsätzlich auf, dass
die zwei männlichen Interviewees (2 und 3) sich nicht zu genderspezifischen Aspekten
äußern – die weiblichen Interviewees (1 und 4) hingegen schon, allerdings auf sehr
unterschiedliche Art. Interviewee 1 framed ihre retrospektiven Eindrücke der Proteste auf
dem Tahrir-Platz sehr positiv:

Interviewer O: Ahh, could I ask you to maybe detail it a bit for us, what do you mean by
feeling in the square, what exactly .. did you feel?

Interviewee 1: Ahm I just felt .. really safe, and I felt ahm I mean, okay, Egypt has for example
a bit of a harassment problem, and ahh women, so many times, I (‘) DON’T SO MANY
TIMES FEEL SAFE and comfortable out on the street and whatever, so now I was on this
huge square (‘) with lots of men I don’t know, strangers from all different classes and ahm I
never once felt that I was under threat, I never once got harassed, physically or verbally or
anything umm & everyone was really nice to each other, there was no anger, there was just,
like, everyone was trying to be helpful, there was, all this, the political divisions weren’t at all
apparent, there was just, everyone was really united (,) I mean it was kind of like a utopia,
sometimes like, this isn’t really true, this can’t be reality & I mean, I’m sure if we stepped
outside things will be different, but inside it was uhh like my brother actually was next to uhh
someone else’s tent was, he was Muslim Brotherhood, and NOT ONCE were there, there was
some like discussions, and you know chats, how they saw things, but there was never really
arguing, uhm so you know it was just like a very kind of unified spirit, and it was VERY
inspiring.

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Interviewee 4 hingegen beschreibt die Situation mit entmutigenden Emotionen wie Angst:

Interviewer E: Do you think you knew what to expect, or do you think (Interviewee 4: No!)
you were scared because it was overwhelming, or you?

Interviewee 4: (‘) I was really scared of violence! ESPECIALLY of violence against women.
So I was really scared of being HARASSED or RAPED. Or uh sexually assaulted which they
do, they have a history, the state has a history of doing in a way against female protesters.
But also I was scared of men in general, so police officers, uh men who looked different, who
looked like thugs, uhh men with beards. So, so any sort of men uhh who could assault me,
beat me harass me, uhm. (‘) And I remember when I first got in I, I found some people with
cameras, so I assumed they were journalists or something and as a long as I was alone I stuck
to THEM. Just the sort of idea that if somethings happening to me they will capture it and
this, that was the logic. & Uhh but I was mostly not scared that I would be killed or, (‘) and
even the fear about being arrested was really related to then I would be raped or I would be
sexually assaulted (.) ‘cause this is the first thing they do to uh women protesters. So that was
my, my biggest fear.

Während der Proteste wurde sich Interviewee 4 darüber bewusst, dass Frauenrechte für sie
einen elementaren Teil der Forderungen für die politische Zukunft Ägyptens darstellen:

Interviewer E: So your personal expectations were, they were probably the more general
ones, you didn’t have any as a woman maybe or as an, as an activist any -?

Interviewee 4: For me it was par-, for me as, as a woman it was part of this so sort of uhm,
uhm ... I think by, by the time I started this maybe it was not very clearly there at the moment,
by the time I started to more and more see that the women’s rights or the feminist agenda is
part of the parcel of the democratic agenda .. of Egypt. So uhm, so this is, I mean .. like this is
sort of not subsumed or un-, unprioritized, but it’s part of uhm the more general changes,
yeah!

Interviewer E: And you think that you would have described yourself back then as optimist
about the outcome or more pessimistic?

Interviewee 4: YES VERY! Yeah! […] Yes! I was very dur-, I mean, I was very, very optimistic
(.) until maybe the virginity tests Which was very short after, so. No actually until the 8th of
March, on the 8th of March, on women’s day .. right after the revolution we had uh organized
uhm, uh a pro-, a demonstration in the, in the square and then we were heavily attacked,
verbally and physically and chased out of the square by other protesters. Some people say
they are like regime thugs but maybe not. Uh, they could also be just other protesters. Uh and
then I started to, THEN FEEL THIS IDEA that women’s rights agenda is, (.) is not part of the
whole agenda, it seems. And so I started to be a bit pessimistic and then the, uh, the virginity
tests happened, I think one month after. & There, there was a very small group still in the
square uhh and then they were violently dispersed on the 8th of April I think, arrested and then
they performed on them, they sexually assaulted them basically under the pretence of doing

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virginity tests, to make sure that these women are virgins are not. Uhm so and then I started
to be more and more pessimistic, BUT AT THIS TIME we also used to go regularly to the
square so we had uh, every Tuesday and Friday or something. So uh we, we were still very
active in, until Mubarak was, so there was (h) uh uh a wave of protests until Mubarak was in
jail and then another wave of protests and the demands differed a bit .. and but, uhh I think
starting April or May .. uh I already said being pessimistic. & BUT I joined a political party
in, in March. Uh it was a new political party that was founded after the revolution and I
joined right after.

Interviewer E: Ehm maybe regarding women’s rights or the political situation in Egypt, do
you think eh do you see a possibility for activists to achieve something, even from abroad or
–?

Interviewee 4: YEAH! Yeah! Yeah I, I think so. It’s a lot of work, a lot of organizing, a lot of
networking a lot of – some support from other governments maybe (?), but it’s possible. I
mean, there is a discussion now to try and block the, mhm, if he proposes a constitutional
change, to try and block that. And I think if inside, outside, I don’t know if we managed to
block him from, if we manage to block him from doing a constitutional change, if he leaves
after his second term, that’s a huge win. I think it’s possible but it will take a lot a lot of
WORK and a lot of ADVOCACY WORK. I’m not sure if he can be able to pull it through or
not, and this is not, I’m not just talking about a small group in Berlin, it has to happen bigger,
ahm, framework and much more support, ahm … but I don’t think it is impossible.

Der größte und auffälligste Unterschied in der Beschreibung der Proteste besteht darin, wie
die beiden Aktivistinnen die Atmosphäre auf dem Tahrir-Platz beschreiben. Interviewee 1
beschreibt die Atmosphäre im Tahrir-Platz als sehr positiv („I just felt really safe. […] I
never once felt that I was under threat. […] Everyone was really nice to each other”) und
betont, dass sie sich als Frau keineswegs unsicher gefühlt hat. Sie nennt an dieser Stelle sogar
das „harassment problem“ Ägyptens. Auf dem Tahrir-Platz hat sie sich als Frau jedoch sehr
frei gefühlt und nicht wahrgenommen, dass sie in ihren Aktivitäten auf dem Platz durch ihr
Frau-Sein eingeschränkt wurde, woraus Handlungsfähigkeit resultiert. Dieses Framing steht
in starkem Kontrast zu Interviewee 4: „I was really scared of violence. Especially violence
against women“. Sie fühlte sich aufgrund ihres Frau-Seins sehr unsicher auf dem Tahrir-Platz
und hatte ständige Angst vor sexueller und Belästigung und generell Gewalt durch jegliche
Arten von Männern: „so police officers, uh men who liked different, […] who looked like
thugs, uhh men with beards. So, so any sort of men uhh who could assault me, beat me, […]
harass me.“ Frauen hingegen stellten für sie keine Gefahr dar.
Was also im Vergleich der beiden Interviews im Hinblick auf Gender sehr deutlich wird, ist,
dass die Frauen sehr unterschiedlich auf die gleiche Situation reagierten und daher sehr

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verschiedene Emotionen im Interview framen (natürlich kann auch davon ausgegangen
werden, dass sie an unterschiedlichen Stellen auf dem Tahrir-Platz waren und dort sehr
unterschiedliche Dinge wahrgenommen haben – aber das ist nur eine Spekulation):
Interviewee 1, die über die Situation mit Euphorie, Sicherheit und ermutigenden Emotionen
spricht, zieht ihre Handlungsfähigkeit offensichtlich aus der Menschenmasse: „it was kind of
like a utopia“ – eine Utopie, in der alles möglich ist und somit auch sie alles tun kann.
Interviewee 2 hingegen spricht über die Situation mit Angst und Unsicherheit und berichtet
indirekt, dass sie durch die Männer in der Menschenmasse ihre Handlungsfähigkeit verloren
hat.
Diese Beobachtung wird dadurch unterstützt, dass Interviewee 4 äußert, sie sei immer
pessimistischer geworden, als sie bemerkte, dass Frauenrechte keine große Priorität in der
Revolution hatten: „I was very, very optimistic until maybe the virginity tests […]and then I
started to, then feel that idea that women’s rights agenda is, is not part of the whole
agenda… and so I started to be a bit pessimistic“. Frauenrechte waren für sie persönlich ein
sehr wichtiger Bestandteil ihrer Motivation zum Aktivismus. Daher verspürte sie immer
weniger Handlungsfähigkeit, je mehr Frauenrechte nicht beachtet wurden. Dies erklärt,
warum sie in der Beschreibung der Atmosphäre auf dem Tahrir-Platz einen so großen Fokus
auf ihr Erleben als Frau legt und sehr entmutigende Emotionen framed, die auf eine sehr
geringe Handlungsfähigkeit schließen lassen können. Gleichzeitig jedoch äußert sie sich
hinsichtlich einer Zukunft der Frauenrechte in Ägypten optimistisch: „I think it’s possible but
it will take a lot a lot of WORK“. Hier wird ersichtlich, dass sie trotz der entmutigenden
Emotionen Handlungsfähigkeit besitzt. Interviewee 1 hingegen äußert sich nicht explizit zu
Frauenrechten, was möglicherweise ihre positivere Wahrnehmung der Atmosphäre auf dem
Tahrir-Platz erklärt.
Diese Unterschiede im Framing zwischen den beiden Aktivistinnen zeigt, dass Menschen
sehr verschieden auf die gleichen Stimuli (hier: Situationen) reagieren, dies unterschiedlich
framen und so unterschiedliche Grade von Handlungsfähigkeit entstehen. Dies widerspricht
Pearlmans Annahmen über Emotionen als Reaktion auf Stimuli insofern, als dass es beweist,
dass durch denselben Stimulus bei verschiedenen Personen nicht die gleichen Emotionen und
der gleiche Grad von Handlungsfähigkeit hervorgerufen werden. Zudem wird deutlich, dass
auch auf der Basis von entmutigenden Emotionen Handlungsfähigkeit wahrgenommen
werden kann.

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6.3 Die ägyptischen Präsidentschaftswahlen im März 2018

Bezüglich der Präsidentschaftswahlen in Ägypten im März 2018, die während der Interviews
1, 2 und 3 noch in der Zukunft lagen, können Unterschiede im Framing der Interviewees und
ihrer Handlungsfähigkeit und Emotionen entdeckt werden. Interviewee 1 antwortet
pessimistisch auf die Frage nach den bevorstehenden Wahlen, dennoch sind kleinere
Hoffnungsschimmer zu finden:

Interviewer O: Okay. Maybe another issue right now is the electoral campaign that’s
ongoing, how do you evaluate it?

Interviewee 1: Well, of course it’s a COMPLETE FARCE. It’s just a show for try to give
legitimacy to his dictatorship. Of course, when Khaled Ali decided to run, I was completely
supportive of his campaign umm and when I was in Egypt in Christmas and January, and I
went and I - how do you say in English? - cause he needs to gather - what’s it called, it’s
called Saukir -, which he needs to gather a certain number of signatures from like people who
vote, so that he’s able to run, so I went and did one for him, umm and all my friends actually,
and a lot of people who don’t actually, who I wouldn’t think would have supported Khaled
Ali, I, when I was in Egypt they were all like “oh yeah, we’re all gonna go and give him our
signatures blah blah blah, and I was like oh, so there’s, I thought when I was in Egypt this
time that there’s another kind of wave of optimism that ok, like we now that Khaled Ali is not
gonna win but the fact that we can, there’s like uhm there’s a small opening to challenge Sisi
and to just disrupt this a little bit for him. Ahm we know that in the end he’s gonna win, but at
least, if Khaled Ali gets all this support from this progressive leftist revolutionary whatever
camp then it’s just a little bit of an annoyance for him. So yeah.

Interviewer O: Ok, ahm. How about you personally, are you planning to vote?

Interviewee 1: No.

Interviewer O: Ok, ahm. Based on this .. Do you think that the elections have any potential
whatsoever to disrupt, to - ?

Interviewee 1: No. (laughing) No, no because first of all, I mean, his opposition candidate is
someone who supported him (laughing), they looked, cause they, you know, limited everyone
else +, so they had to find some puppet and like, so, he’s a complete idiot, ahm so of course,
not, these elections are- they’re not gonna, (‘) I mean, I don’t know if people will be so
frustrated with this farce that it’s going to push some kind of reaction to it, maybe, I don’t
know, like, kind of, this is not exactly comparable but uhm before the Jan 25th there was this
whole Parliamentary election farce, which was one of the triggers, I think (..), (...) that the
NDP got 95% so maybe this is something a bit similar, because when Sisi ran the first time he
had a lot of support, so this was, it made sense that he got (..), (...) percent or whatever, but
this time I don’t think he has that much support, so I don’t know if people’s frustrations will
lead to something.

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Durch ihre sarkastische Beschreibung, die Bezeichnung der Wahlen als „complete farce“ und
des Gegenkandidaten von Sisi als „complete idiot“, „puppet“ sowie ihr Lachen während der
Darstellung zeigt Interviewee 1, dass sie die Situation nicht ernsthaft darstellen möchte oder
kann. Stattdessen nutzt sie Humor, um sich von der politischen Lage zu distanzieren –
vielleicht auch, um sich selbst vor der Konfrontation mit der für sie frustrierenden Realität zu
schützen. Besonders im letzten Abschnitt wird deutlich, dass Interviewee 1 den Wahlen
gegenüber sehr negativ eingestellt und sich ebenfalls nicht sicher ist, ob eine Reaktion von
der ägyptischen Gesellschaft zu erwarten ist – sie ist also grundsätzlich hoffnungslos im
Bezug auf dieses Thema.
Doch trotzdem kann aus diesen Textstellen auch Hoffnung gelesen werden: Sie unterstützte
die Kampagne von Khaled Ali sehr und gab sogar ihre Stimme für das „Saukir“ ab, um ihn
zu unterstützen, obwohl sie sich bewusst war, dass Khaled Ali nicht gegen Sisi gewinnen
kann. Gleichwohl hätte Interviewee 1 ihre Stimme auch nicht abgeben können, da sie weiß,
dass es nichts am Wahlausgang verändern wird – so würde Pearlman es für eine
hoffnungslose Person erwarten. Die Tatsache, dass Interviewee 1 es trotzdem getan hat und
sie diese Handlung als wichtig darstellt, um das Regime bzw. Sisi ein bisschen zu „nerven“,
verleiht ihr trotz der hoffnungslosen Situation Handlungsfähigkeit. Hier wird deutlich, dass
Menschen auch trotz zutiefst hoffnungsloser Emotionen Handlungsfähigkeit innehaben
können.
In den Antworten von Interviewee 2 auf ähnliche Fragen ist im Vergleich vermehrt
Sarkasmus und Ärger und zu finden:

Interviewer M: Okay. Ahm, I would like to talk about the electoral campaign –?

Interviewee 2: Beuuhh! Next election coming (talking with a very deep voice) (Interviewer O:
laughing).

Interviewer M: And (still a bit laughing), maybe you could elaborate on how do you see the
current electoral campaign?

Interviewee 2: […] Sisi […] is incompetent in his ability to form and come to the election in
the same style that Mubarak’s NDB did 30 for years. […] So I think we are talking about the
ehm it’s like the cost of Mubarak, because, he’s not Mubarak. He wanted to be but he
couldn’t. It’s not eligible to be Mubarak, anyway. So he doesn’t have NDB like Mubarak,
okay, to (..), (...) the elections like Mubarak AND he’s not a Mubarak. Because Mubarak has
a political experience, he was the vice president and he was the president for around 30
years. & But Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is not a politician, he comes from army (..), (...) and just he

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has the same idea about army and and eh the state & that’s I mean he couldn’t distinguish
between the structure of army and the structure of state. And eh he is not eligible to deal with
the Egyptian society, because the army is another environment, has a another structure, so I
mean the civil society has other things, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi he is not (laughing) able to
understand that, that’s exactly +, because he said I give the order and the people have to do
this’ – NO WAY!! (talking loudly and laughing) WE ARE NOT IN THE ARMY! + We are
living in the state! Civilian society! And YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT! But he
doesn’t understand it and he doesn’t WANT to understand it anyway, both of them, ok? […]
And it will be like a joke, the next election […].

Interviewer M: Ehm would you say that the electoral campaign or the upcoming elections
somehow motivate you to be more politically active?

Interviewee 2: (laughing) No! Disappointing anway (Interviewer M: Disappointing?) Yes,


exactly +, because do you know why, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi just now lives constructed his eh his
ideology, constructed .. his propaganda, eh through the mass media and through the police,
AND he eh deconstructed the other side .. the structure of the state, the state of the institutions
.. and to respect the constitutions, and he deconstructed ALL OF IT. (?) Do you understand
that? Everything is (making a hand gesture) (Masa alsalama?). We have a new state just
now in Egypt and it is the time of the night of the power, this is the time of Abdel Fatah el-
Sisi, he represents the constitution, and when you criticize Abdel Fatah el-Sisi that means you
criticize the state, the army, the institutions, you criticize everything in Egypt, and it’s not
allowed (..), (...) so it’s incredible in Egypt, unmistakable and I think so he has a paranoia
(laughing) hundred percent. Because all the time he speaks about himself and eh ‘you don’t
know me! If you want any information about me, you have to ask me, the army – heh!’ This is
this is this is, eh still doing it ‘hah!’ hah!! I’m Sisi! I’m Hitler, eh?! (laughing) ‘cause that’s
like it, yeah. I’m Sisi, you don’t know who is Abdel Fatah el-Sisi‘, okay?

Interviewer M: Okay. Ahm are you planning to vote?

Interviewee 2: Nööö! My god (laughing) dit, dit, dit, dit, no and I COULDN’T go to the
embassy, because the ambassador knows me personally (laughing) +, and still if I didn’t have
this problem with the, I eh I’m still I call for (not voting?) for this election because it’s not
real, it’s NOT OUR election, it’s like eh ... something as I said eh ... it’s, it’s, it’s, eh it’s just
as propaganda for the Egyptian regime but eh (Pause).

Interviewee 2 macht an diesen Stellen einen großen Gebrauch von Humor und Sarkasmus.
Die Wahlen beschreibt er als „joke“. Generell lacht er sehr oft über Sisi und stellt ihn als
inkompetent dar, besonders im Vergleich zu Mubarak – Sisi könne „kein Mubarak sein“.
Interviewee 2 geht über „angemessene“ Witze hinaus und unterstellt Sisi außerdem,
psychische Probleme zu haben („and I think so he has a paranoia [laughs] […], hundred
percent“). Auch Sisis geistige Fähigkeiten stellt Interviewee 2 sarkastisch infrage, indem er
ihm unterstellt, er sei „not able to understand“, dass Politik nicht gleich Militär ist. Zudem

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imitiert er ihn höhnisch und vergleicht ihn mit Hitler. Generell verspottet er Sisi und Mubarak
sehr und präsentiert (an anderen Stellen des Interviews) politikwissenschaftlich-analytische
Erklärungen, warum insbesondere Sisi nicht erfolgreich ist („you know this is very important
things, that I wrote before, it’s like… Sisi destroying all his political opponents before the end
of January in order to become the only candidate in Egypt eh left on the election stage. The
reason being that the deepest Egyptian state is in fact in contention and is blended”). An
diesen Stellen stellt Interviewee 2 seine Aussage so dar, als wisse er selbst genau, was in
dieser Situation als Politiker zu tun sei, Sisi hingegen nicht. Dies kann als seine Art
interpretiert werden, mit dieser für ihn sehr frustrierenden Lage umzugehen. Interviewee 2
stellt sich während des Interviews als patriotisch heraus und so ist es für ihn möglicherweise
einfacher, sich sicher zu sein, im Gegensatz zu Sisi die richtigen Lösungen zu kennen, mit
denen seinem geliebten Land geholfen werden könnte. So sieht er nicht „tatenlos“ zu und
beschwert sich oder ist deprimiert, sondern weiß, woran es fehlt und was seitens der Politik
zu tun wäre (an anderer Stelle: „this is the most problem in Egypt. WE DON’T HAVE A
VISION about the political future in Egypt.”) Durch diese Art der Darstellung besitzt
Interviewee 2 trotz all seiner Frustration ein Maß an Handlungsfähigkeit.
Indem Interviewee 2 eine Analyse der aktuellen politischen und institutionellen Situaion
darstellt, geht er erneut in die Erklärer-Rolle hinein („and he deconstructed ALL OF IT. Do
you understand that? Everything is [makes a hand gesture] Ma3a alsalama!”). An dieser
Stelle kann ein gewisser Stolz in sein Framing interpretiert werden – darüber, dass er
derjenige ist, der die politische Situation genau erfasst und die notwendige Lösung kennt.
Stolz lässt sich auch in seiner Antwort auf die Frage, ob er plant, zu wählen, erkennen: Er
hebt die Tatsache, dass er bei der Botschaft bekannt ist und daher gar nicht wählen könnte,
lachend hervor. Seine Antwort ist außerdem sehr bestimmt: Er setzt sich klar für nicht-
Wählen ein, da er die Wahl nicht anerkennt. Dies klingt fast wie ein Aufruf, mit dem er noch
mehr ÄgypterInnen überzeugen wollen würde, ebenfalls nicht zur Wahl zu gehen. Dies lässt
sich in Einklang bringen mit seinem Wunsch nach Veröffentlichung des geführten
Interviews. Trotz seiner Frustration und Enttäuschung („disappointing anyway“ als Antwort
auf die Frage, ob ihn die Wahlen zu mehr politischem Engagement motivieren) verfügt
Interviewee 2 an dieser Stelle also über relativ viel Handlungsfähigkeit.
Interviewee 3 äußert sich ebenfalls pessimistisch über die Wahlen, lässt jedoch auch etwas
Handlungsfähigkeit durchklingen:

48
Interviewer O: And I guess this brings us to the next issue of course which is the electoral
campaign?

Interviewee 3: It’s a circus, I mean Sisi is just running against himself, like each time I read a
statement of this guy Mousa Mustafah, like you know its a complete joke, everyone knows he’s
gonna win. I was sort of those who was favoring that Khaled Ali would run. I was part of his
campaign. I supported his decision to withdraw and I think that he did the right thing by
withdrawing, and you know that way he exposed the entire regime, and by the way supporting
Ali does not mean I believe that he had a chance of winning, but as a Marxist is not the
elections that are gonna bring change but it’s a battlefront among to so many battlefronts that
you have to engage in. And I as well as many other leftist, I was hopeful that the campaign of
Khaled Ali would open up some space for maybe some activities on the ground where we
could start organizing but of course at the moment it’s a circus.

Interviewer O: With Haled Ali out of the race, euhm, do you think these elections still
provide some kind of opportunity ?

Interviewee 3: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no it’s over, and again to explain the decision of
Hale Ali to withdraw, it was because there was no space at all, I mean there wasn't any space
at all so he left.

Interviewer O: Are you personally planning to vote?

Interviewee 3: No, of course not!

Mit degradierenden Begriffen wie „circus“ und „complete joke“ beschreibt Interviewee 3
die anstehenden Wahlen und damit die Tatsache, dass sie für ihn kein reales politisches
Votum sind. Auch er ist in dieser Hinsicht hoffnungslos und sicher, dass die Wahlen nichts
verändern werden („No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no it’s over“). Hier wird eine Resignation
merkbar, die so zum Beispiel bei Interviewee 2 nicht zu finden ist. Für Interviewee 3 als
Marxist wären allerdings ohnehin nicht die Wahlen das verändernde Momentum, sonder eher
“a battlefront among many other battlefronts”. Eine mögliche „battlefront“ hätte laut
Interviewee 3 durch den Wahlantritt von Khaled Ali entstehen können, der ihn für kurze Zeit
„hopeful“ stimmte. Indem er dies erwähnt und somit die Möglichkeit solcher „battlefronts“
trotz der politischen Situation noch in Erwägung zieht, drückt er trotz seiner pessimistischen
Einstellung eine Spur Handlungsfähigkeit aus.
Interviewee 4 spricht retrospektiv sehr pessimistisch über die Wahlen bzw. Wahlkampagne
und bleibt eher auf einer politikwissenschaftlich-analytischen Ebene:

Interviewer E: So during the day you mean, or during the campaign before?

49
Interviewee 4: During the campaign AND during elections days, there were I think 3
days. So and I think he, the President, was really upset about that. And part of the
crackdown on the day after the elections has to do with this. Because he didn't get
what he had last time. So the celebrations, THEY STAGED IT, so a lot of the polling
stations had their own DJ and they would distribute flower. And last elections I went
and voted against him. So I went to the polling station, I saw that there were like not
many, but I saw that there were organic celebratory feeling and people were dancing
and things like that. But this time I didn't go, but I can also see that the polling
stations are in every school so just everywhere you can just walk and see a polling
station. So I didn't see sort of -. And then you would ask people did you go vote, “oh
no not yet, maybe tomorrow”. So I also knew a lot of people lied about going to vote
but they didn’t. And euhm .. and euhm a close friend of mine was there as a journalist.
He lives here but he was there as a journalist covering the elections and he also went
and took pictures and told me that they were practically empty. And I think this really,
really, really bothered him, bothered Sisi. So that was one thing. The second thing is
that among the people who went, so there were some videos, (?) maybe you saw some
of them or not. They were quite hysterical, so quite scary actually. One of them is very
famous and circulated a lot as a joke is one woman … euh talking to someone. I don't
know who, and telling them that she was voting, and then she started shouting (..), (...)
and then she faints. It's like a religious cult you know, it was very creepy. Euh but I
think it really captured the historicity of the moment, I think it's a very interesting
video. In case you haven't seen it maybe I send it to you. And euhm and then there was
another one, it’s the campaign itself & so, and I have a picture of that I can also
share with you.

[…] So one of the slogans of the campaign was “inta al amal”, you are hope. And for
me that was so, euhm, like, he uses very good emotive metaphors and slogans. And in
a way that Mubarak never did or Morsi never did or no one ever did before him. And
the way that he is being framed as HOPE was (Pause) quite a-, at least his huge
banners all over Cairo saying he was hope was quite interesting for me who studies
emotions and it was quite interesting how he and the regime are constantly
reappropriating these revolutionary narratives of hope […].

Interviewer E: In the way that when you have no words when you describe how you feel, so
would you think that that would maybe push you to react?

Interviewee 4: Actually not, really, for me it was brilliant. The way it was done was brilliant
because IF HE IS HOPE, it also closes down your imaginary. Euh I think one of the things
that the revolution did was to make us naive enough to believe in whatever that could never
happen. And then if Sisi is framed as hope, regardless if you're with or against him. It of
course cements the idea that he is the savior and things, (‘) but it also really closes down your
ability to imagine or think beyond. I mean you had a revolution, all of this happened and then
Sisi IS HOPE. He IS HOPE. […] You're living now in a reality - a version of Egypt in which
Sisi IS HOPE. And this closes up your hopes, your imagination. I mean what would you

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imagine could happen if this is the reality you live in. You are governed by a dictator who
campaigns in these terms, that he is the only hope […].

Interviewee 4 wirkt sehr hoffnungslos, während sie darüber spricht, wie absurd es sei, dass
Sisi sich als Hoffnung präsentiert. An dieser Stelle hat Interviewee 4 keine
Handlungsfähigkeit, zeigt keine möglichen Wege aus dieser Situation auf wie zum Beispiel
Interviewee 3, verspottet Sisi nicht wie Interviewee 2 und erwähnt auch nicht Khaled Ali wie
Interviewee 1 und 3. Stattdessen spricht sie sehr neutral und ernst über die hoffnungslose
Situation.
Grundsätzlich beschreiben alle vier Interviewees die Situation vor (bzw. nach – Interviewee
4) der Wahl als hoffnungslos. Sie sind sich sicher, dass die Wahl nichts verändern wird. Wie
sie dies framen, welche Emotionen dabei deutlich werden und ob sie (dadurch)
Handlungsfähigkeit innehaben, unterscheidet sich jedoch zum Teil.
Ähnlich sind sich die ersten drei Interviewees in der negativen Betitelung der Wahlen:
Interviewee 2 und 3 beschreiben sie als „joke“, Interviewee 1 benutzt den Ausdruck
„complete farce“ sowie „show“; Interviewee 3 nennt die Wahlen zudem „circus“. Hier
werden die entmutigenden Emotionen der drei Interviewees, die vor der Wahl interviewt
wurden, deutlich: Resignation, Frustration und Wut. Sie zeigen durch diese Benennungen,
dass sie die Wahlen nicht als reales politisches Votum anerkennen und keine
Veränderungschancen durch sie sehen. Sie grenzen sich also klar gegen die „Show“ oder den
„Zirkus“ des Regimes ab und zeigen, dass sie durchschauen, wo die Fehler liegen. Dadurch –
so lässt sich interpretieren – schützen sie sich letztendlich vor Enttäuschungen durch die
Wahlergebnisse. Interviewee 1 und 2 bedienen sich außerdem sarkastischer und
humoristischer Aussagen und verspotten Sisi und seinen Gegenkandidaten Moussa. Dies lässt
sich ebenfalls als deutliche Abgrenzung gegen die politischen Geschehnisse sowie als Art
und Weise sehen, mit den für sie sehr frustrierenden Gegebenheiten umzugehen. Die
sarkastischen Elemente verleihen besonders Interviewee 2 eine Handlungsfähigkeit, da das
Ausmaß der Verspottung auf eine Weise deutlich macht, dass er genau wüsste, was
angebrachte Lösungen wären, aber Sisi laut Interviewee 2 geistig nicht in der Lage ist, diese
zu finden; im Gegensatz zu ihm.
Sowohl Interviewee 1 als auch Interviewee 3 erwähnen ihre Unterstützung für die
Wahlkampagne Khaled Alis, bis er seine Kandidatur zurückgezogen hatte. Beide führen an,
dass sie aus seiner Kandidatur Hoffnung gezogen hatten – nicht auf ernsthafte politische
Konkurrenz gegenüber Sisi, sondern schlicht, um ein Zeichen gegen die aus ihren Augen

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unechte Wahlkampagne Sisis zu setzen. Dieser (begrenzte) Raum politischen Widerstands
verlieh ihnen Hoffnung, welche auch in den jeweiligen Interviews deutlich wurde. Beide
Interviewees verspürten also einen Schimmer von Hoffnung in der Hoffnungslosigkeit durch
dasselbe politische Geschehnis. Dass Interviewee 1 sogar aktiv ihre Stimme für Ali abgab,
damit er kandidieren konnte, obwohl sie sich aufgrund der politischen Lage im Land der
nicht vorhandenen Chancen für einen Wahlsieg bewusst war (was letzten Endes als
politischer Aktivismus gesehen werden kann), zeigt, dass politisches Handeln trotz
entmutigender Emotionen möglich ist. Auch die Tatsache, dass Interviewee 3 Hoffnung
durch Alis Kampagne bekam, obwohl er grundsätzlich hoffnungslos im Bezug auf die
Wahlen war, ist ein Anzeichen dafür, dass Emotionen nicht statisch sind und parallel
ermutigende und entmutigende Emotionen verspürt werden können.
Ein interessanter Unterschied im Framing und daraus resultierender Handlungsfähigkeit
findet sich zwischen Interviewee 2 und 4: Beide analysieren die Wahlkampagne Sisis auf
eine politikwissenschaftlich-analytische Art. Wie Interviewee 2 dies tut, ist auf eine stolze
(darauf, dass er die Situation durchschaut), herablassende (gegenüber Sisi) Art, zudem geht er
in eine Erklärer-Rolle der Interviewerin gegenüber (dies wäre womöglich mit einem
männlichen Interviewer nicht so stark gewesen): „do you understand that?“. Diese
Einstellung verleiht ihm durch seinen Stolz und seine gefühlte Überlegenheit den Politikern
gegenüber ein Maß an Handlungsfähigkeit, das bei Interviewee 4 nicht gefunden werden
kann: „Actually not, really, for me it was brilliant. […] You're living now in a reality - a
version of Egypt in which Sisi is hope. And this closes up your hopes, your imagination” –
ihre Art der Analyse der Wahlkampagne ist im Gegensatz zu Interviewee 2 eher nüchtern und
sachlich und macht sie keineswegs stolz, sondern traurig, hoffnungslos und somit nicht
angeregt zu politischer Handlung. Mit ähnlichem Framing drücken die Interviewees hier also
sehr unterschiedliche Emotionen und Maße an Handlungsfähigkeit aus. Die Tatsache, dass
Interview 2 vor den Wahlen stattfand und Interview 4 danach, muss zwar auch bedacht
werden, aber spielt letzten Endes keine entscheidende Rolle.
Die Art des Framings der vier Interviewees im Bezug auf die Wahlen im März 2018, ihre
Emotionen und Handlungsfähigkeit unterscheiden sich also deutlich voneinander. Es stellt
sich heraus, dass erstens unterschiedliche Individuen verschieden auf denselben Stimulus
reagieren – sie framen unterschiedliche Emotionen. Zweitens kann geschlussfolgert werden,
dass Emotionen nicht binär und nicht statisch sind, wie es aus Pearlmans Annahmen

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interpretiert werden kann. Drittens wird deutlich, dass auch aus entmutigenden Emotionen
Handlungsfähigkeit entstehen kann – der größte Widerspruch zu Pearlmans Theorie.

6.4 Momentaner politischer Aktivismus in und von Berlin aus

Interviewee 1 erwähnt, dass die Beschäftigung mit politischen Themen in ihren


Freundeskreisen generell stark abgenommen hat. Gleichzeitig erzählt sie von einer
abnehmenden Tendenz in der eigenen wahrgenommenen Handlungsfähigkeit ihres sozialen
Umfelds:
Interviewer O: Okay. Umm and nowadays, and beyond personal matters, what do you
mostly talk about? Are they still very vocal about politics or…?

Interviewee 1: Umm I’ve seen ahh over the years, like, we were I think you know 2012-13,
there was, yeah people were quite vocal and we, there were - and that’s why we would talk a
lot about this every time we met, that was what kept us together, what we shared umm. (‘) But
yeah, over the years, it’s become a lot less important and we do talk about it like “oh guess
what happened here, guess what happened there” and you know yes, of course, it’s always
part of our conversations but we have less interest to do anything about it or change it […].

Interviewer O: Mhm. So, would you say that around your group of friends there’s mostly a
shared feeling of apathy, maybe - ?

Interviewee 1: Definitely, yeah, yeah. I mean, sometimes for example I’d call someone and be
like “oh there’s this protest I’m thinking of going to it”, and they’re like “oh you still go to
protests?” you know, and this person would go like, if I called him a few years, would have
been very keen and eager to go and now it’s always “really, you still go, you still doing
this?” and this amongst maybe 70-80% of my friends who before would have been very
involved.

Da Interviewee 1 von einem Großteil ihres sozialen Netzwerkes spricht, kann angenommen
werden, dass sie auch sich mit einbezieht und sich die erwähnte Apathie zumindest teilweise
auf sie übertragen hat – so benutzt sie auch das Personalpronomen „we“: „we have less
interest to do anything about it“. Jedoch fällt auch auf, dass in dem beispielhaften
Telefongespräch, das sie beschreibt, sie die treibende Kraft ist, die auf einen Protest gehen
möchte und die andere Person eher abgeneigt ist – durch diesen aufgebauten Kontrast wirkt
Interviewee 1 wiederum motiviert.
Trotz dem beschriebenen Gefühl der Apathie ist Interviewee 1 politisch aktiv. Ihr
momentaner Aktivismus kann in zwei Stränge aufgeteilt werden: Aktivismus auf Twitter, wo
ihr 84,400 Personen folgen (Stand: August 2018), und Aktivismus in einer durch sie

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mitgegründeten arabischen Gruppe in Berlin. Zum Twitter-Aktivismus äußert sie sich
folgendermaßen:

Interviewer O: Mhm okay. Umm I wanted to ask you about your Twitter presence, your
online presence. You’re still active on Twitter (Interviewee 1 laughing) would you compare
it somehow to 2011? Has it decreased?

Interviewee 1: OH YEAH IT’S DECREASED A LOT. I mean, when - before 2011 after I was
tweeting a lot, and a lot of it was instant tweets, like instant news, like “Oh I’m in Tahrir, like
you know, police just stormed” or something like that. So it’s like the citizen journalism kind
of thing. Now, I hardly do that, and if I do tweet, it’s just some article I read that I thought
was interesting […] (exhaling). I feel like I have a responsibility to say it, to keep it going,
because for some reason I have all these followers, and it’s just, I don’t know how it
increased so much, because I haven’t been tweeting for the past almost 4 years so much, so
yeah, so (laughing) I just feel bad not tweeting + more than anything. (‘) Because I know that
if I shared an article it’s not gonna change the world it’s not even gonna help with what’s
happening in Egypt, but sometimes I do, thinking in my mind that this is gonna piss off the
government (laughing) so you know what I mean + […].

Als Interviewee 1 auf ihren Twitter-Aktivismus angesprochen wird, lacht sie zunächst – eine
Reaktion, aus der interpretiert werden könnte, dass sie ihrer online-Präsenz auf Twitter keine
hohe Wichtigkeit zuschreibt oder sie sogar nicht als Aktivismus anerkennt. Sie erwähnt, dass
sie sich nicht darüber bewusst ist, wie sie eine so hohe Anzahl an Personen, die ihr auf der
Plattform folgen, erreichen konnte („for some reason I have all these followers“). Auch ist
sie nicht mehr so aktiv auf Twitter wie noch vor ein paar Jahren – ihre einzige Motivation zu
twittern geht oftmals aus einem schlechten Gewissen ihren Followern gegenüber hervor.
Zudem merkt sie an, dass ihr Aktivismus auf Twitter nicht die Welt oder die politische
Situation in Ägypten verändern wird. Bis zu dieser Stelle klingt ihre Antwort also relativ
pessimistisch. Am Ende ihrer Antwort jedoch sticht ihre Handlungsfähigkeit hervor, als sie
erwähnt, dass sie zuweilen durch die Hoffnung „[to] piss off the government“ zum
vermehrten Schreiben auf Twitter angeregt wird. Dass Interviewee 1 trotz der vermehrten
Apathie im Freundeskreis und dem Wissen, dass ihre Tweets die politische Situation in
Ägypten nicht verändern werden, trotzdem noch auf Twitter aktiv ist und manchmal dennoch
ein Potential in ihren Tweets sieht, Widerstand gegen die Regierung zu leisten, zeigt, dass
hier auch aus entmutigenden Emotionen wie Hoffnungslosigkeit oder Apathie
Handlungsfähigkeit entstehen kann. Der zweite Strang ihres Aktivismus umfasst ihre
Aktivitäten in der Gruppe „Arab Hub Berlin“:

54
Interviewer O: But I guess in between you have slowly found your people to some extent?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, this was in Leipzig and then I came to Berlin after, and umm I didn’t
also know many people here but then slowly ahh, I got in touch with some activists, not just-
mostly Arab, not only Egyptian, and umm I formed actually this small group umm with three
other girls from Palestine, Lebanon and Yemen, and we started something called the Arab
Hub, Berlin. (‘) And we just decided that we wanted a space where we could discuss ongoing
issues, umm, events taking place in the Arab region and we would hold maybe every two
months like a- in a bar- we’d have some kind of .. event, like umm- Egypt for example, if we
had a friend, like, that we knew an activist was coming through Berlin, we’d invite them to
come and talk about a certain issue and then we’d tell people to come and then we had things
about Yemen, and Syria and Palestine of course. So yeah, this small group kind of grew and I
started getting to know a lot more people […].

Interviewer O: (..), (...) When you created it, or when you organised this event do you think
about it as a closed thing, just doing it for its own sake, so to speak, or do you have any
other - ?

Interviewee 1: NO OF COURSE, (‘) I mean, it’s not just for us because you know, we wanna
have a good time and all, the initial idea of it was to reach more people and to eventually give
a voice to people who weren’t able to speak about certain things and also, of course on the
long run to challenge the you know all these dictatorships in the Arab World, patriarchy, all
this stuff, you know these are like very broad goals that we don’t think (laughing) we’re
gonna overthrow regimes by hosting Arab Hub Events +, but the idea is you know to
disseminate our thoughts and our ideas and whatever […].

Trotz der durch Interviewee 1 beschriebenen zunehmenden Apathie in ihren sozialen Kreisen
gründete sie mit zwei Freundinnen das „Arab Hub Berlin“, um einen Raum für
Ideenaustausch unter AktivistInnen zu schaffen und letztendlich dazu beizutragen “to
challenge […] all these dictatorships in the Arab World”. Sie grenzt die Handlungsfähigkeit
des „Arab Hub Berlin“ allerdings ein, indem sie einräumt, es sei ihr und den anderen
Gründerinnen bewusst, dass sie dadurch kein Regime stürzen werden – diese Formulierung
entspringt möglicherweise aus der zunehmenden Hoffnungslosigkeit und Apathie im sozialen
Umfeld von Interviewee 1. Doch trotz dieses einschränkenden Framings präsentiert
Interviewee 1 die Gruppe generell als wichtig und spricht mit einer gewissen Hoffnung mit
Blick auf die Zukunft und Stolz darüber.
Interviewee 2 macht hinsichtlich seines momentanen Aktivismus aus Berlin interessante
Aussagen. Bezüglich der Übergabe der ägyptischen Inseln Tiran und Sanafir an Saudi-
Arabien, die 2016 durch die Staatsoberhäupter beider Länder beschlossen wurde und Anfang
2018 in Kraft trat (Al Jazeera online 2018), berichtet er von seiner Involviertheit:

55
Interviewer M: Okay, now I would talk about the current political situation. I mean you
already said a lot about it, but ehm maybe you can say a bit in general how do you evaluate
the political climate in Egypt right now?

Interviewee 2: […] It was eh Abdel Fatah el-Sisi at this time said that his two islands shall
belong to Saudi Arabia and eh he disappeared a lot of the historical plans, and then I went to
the Bibliothek of Berlin, StaBi, and put everything about the circumstances and published
everything and talked with the mass media and I said this is our, our, our, our eh, this is our
islands. From this point (..), (...) it was like eh the transition situation for me in the Egyptian
regime, because they had a feeling that I discovered everything and will be as a eh, (‘) a
scandal for this regime. And I sent it to the lawyers in Egypt and they went to the court and
they presented it to the court and through this we HAD this issue about the two islands. I was
as a source (laughing) of all the historical plans +, and then the interaction from the side of
the Egyptian regime, they CANCELLED at this time my scholarship and then they FIRED me
from my job at the university in Egypt […].

Interviewee 2 sieht sich in dieser Debatte als wichtigen Akteur und ernsthaften Gegenspieler
zum ägyptischen Regime an. Durch sein Heraussuchen und Publizieren von Dokumenten aus
der Staatsbibliothek Berlin involviert er sich aktiv in das politische Geschehen und nimmt
sogar seinen Job und finanzielle Sicherheit in Kauf, um sich für den Erhalt der Inseln und
letztendlich für Ägypten einzusetzen. Er erzählt sehr selbstbewusst und stolz über sein
Engagement. Warum er den Antrieb verspürte, erwähnt er in den folgenden
Interviewausschnitten:

Interviewer M: Ah, so you were very involved in this eh in this debate about the two islands
(2: YES!), but WHY did you feel the NEED to be involved, to do something about it?

Interviewee 2: DO YOU KNOW, it’s something like (Pause). They try, and still trying in a
way, to write another history. To make a farse from our history. And this is (‘) MY MOMENT,
because I see myself as an academic person and as intellectual, okay! It’s like Gramsci when
he used this eh this, eh this word, and Edward Said also, I don’t know if you read his book
about ehm this book is culture and intellectuals. (Interviewer M: No!) It’s very important
[…] I decided in this time to go to StaBi to find this things because he was in the conference
and he said ‘we don’t have any historical evidence that eh we that these islands were given’.
[…] I got a lot of things and sent it to the guard (..), (...) in Egypt and they presented it to the
court and then we got eh the eh (Pause), this eh (Pause), this trial, this Urteil, eh? […] So and
after that I was eh not under the radar but (laughing) up on the radar, a lot of times + they
see and eh the observation what I said, what I’m still doing (..), (...). So I, I have a problem
with the Egyptian regime, I think so Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, he talked ABOUT ME, he talked
about me and he said at this conference, ‘don’t believe any person, who come from outside
and published anything (..), (...), DON’T believe him, because we have to believe our
institutions!’ – what institutions do you mean?!? The institutions that’s still under your
control?! So it’s (laughing) and I discovered in this moment, and I said to myself, oh my god,
Sisi is just (laughing) speaking about ME, (Interviewer O laughing) ja, it’s exactly + and then

56
I got a lot of information from other people, and calls from my friends, and abroad, ‘hey, Sisi
today talked about YOU what are you going to do?’ – nothing! I will stay in Germany
(laughing).

Indem er die Situation als “MY MOMENT” framed, betont er die enorme Verantwortung, die
er sich als „academic person“ in dieser Debatte zuschreibt. Dadurch wird deutlich, dass er
sich sicher ist, dass niemand anders diese Verantwortung in dem Ausmaß trägt und niemand
die Aufgabe besser bewältigen könnte als er selbst. Daraus resultiert die Schlussfolgerung für
ihn, zu handeln. In seiner Antwort ist auch eine große positive Aufregung darüber zu spüren,
dass er endlich in die Rolle des bekannten politischen Aktivisten innehat. Die Beschreibung
gleicht teilweise einer Heldengeschichte – so vergleich Interviewee 2 sich selbst mit Gramsci
und Edward Sayd. Als er erwähnt, dass Sisi öffentlich über ihn gesprochen hat, ist er sehr
stolz und lacht während des Sprechens („I said to myself, oh my god, Sisi is just [laughs]
speaking about ME“) – man könnte interpretieren, dass Interviewee 2 länger auf diesen
Moment gewartet hat, in dem er öffentlich von Sisi als Gegenspieler anerkannt und somit
auch der Öffentlichkeit bekannt wird. Hier wird deutlich, dass Interviewee 2 die enorme
Handlungsfähigkeit aus ganz intrinsischer Motivation, nämlich durch Verantwortung
Ägypten gegenüber und möglicherweise aus dem Wunsch, bekannt(er) zu werden, erlangt.
Was im Vergleich zu den anderen Interviewees auffällt, ist, dass er dies ganz allein bewältigt
und nicht in einer Gruppe agiert hat. Alles in allem strahlt Interviewee 2 beim Sprechen über
seinen momentanen Aktivismus durchweg positive Emotionen aus. Jedoch macht er eine
interessante Verknüpfung bei seiner Antwort auf eine Frage nach seinen Gefühlen, als Sisi
über ihn sprach:

Interviewer M: So you weren’t afraid when you heard that he talked about you?

Interviewee 2: NO! Do you know why? Because I noticed this is my (laughing), is my task! My
preposition + not every but the problem is with my family, so I have a problem because my
parents are in Egypt, since 3 years I didn’t see my family, so yeah it’s more difficult, yeah.

Zwar werden auch hier wieder Stolz, Furchtlosigkeit und Verantwortung deutlich. Jedoch
erwähnt er unmittelbar nach einer erneuten heldenhaften Beschreibung die Tatsache, dass er
seine Familie in Ägypten seit drei Jahren nicht gesehen hat. Es wird deutlich, dass er darüber
sehr traurig ist und auch seine Handlungsfähigkeit dadurch eingeschränkt wird – denn sonst
würde er dies nicht in direkter Verknüpfung mit seiner gefühlten Aufgabe und Verantwortung
Ägypten gegenüber erwähnen. Ebenfalls könnte Interviewee 2 an dieser Stelle Angst davor

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framen, dass seiner Familie durch seine Präsenz und Kritik der Regierung in der
Öffentlichkeit geschadet wird. Da er dies aber nicht direkt erwähnt, kann eher genereller
interpretiert werden, dass diese Verknüpfung im Framing dadurch möglich ist, dass sowohl
Familie als auch der politische Aktivismus für Interviewee 2 sehr elementare Bestandteile
seines Lebens darstellen und daher unmittelbar gedanklich und emotional zusammenhängen.
Die negativen Gefühle seiner Familie gegenüber scheinen die einzige Einschränkung der
Handlungsfähigkeit von Interviewee 2 zu sein.
Obwohl aus den vorangegangenen Interviewteilen heraussticht, dass Interviewee 2 aus
intrinsischer Motivation sowie Verantwortung und Stolz handelt, wird im folgenden
Interviewteil deutlich, dass er sich bewusst ist, dass er ebenso auf andere AktivistInnen
angewiesen ist. In seiner Aussage unmittelbar vor dem folgenden Teil betont er mehrmals
sehr nachdrücklich, dass Ägypten eine Vision brauche („where is the vision?!“).

Interviewer M: Do you – (Interviewee 2: Where – ?) sorry - do you have a vision?

Interviewee 2: I couldn’t say that I have a vision, but I could say that I have a PART from
vision. (?) Do you know why, because I am alone! And we HAVE TO MAKE a coalition with
other people, to exchange our ideas, to change our vision, and to get the results, eh about this
vision. The framework, (.) part of the vision, the framework – for – our – vision for the
Egyptian future eh (Pause) has to be democracy and freedom. This is our goal. Democracy
and freedom. If we can okay, freedom and democracy. And then it’s like something we say in
Arabic, the small things are more important, this is freedom and democracy. (..), (...) And we
have to organize ourselves. Political party, or movement, or anything. We have to get
ourselves in touch with others, (‘) the diaspora or something, and with the Egyptians (‘)
inside Egypt, because I HAVE a contact with them because I know, I know, I know a lot of
them but we HAVE to develop our eh idea and our future.

In diesem Ausschnitt wird deutlich, dass auch Interviewee 2 auf andere AktivistInnen
angewiesen ist und die Vision nicht alleine entwickeln kann. Er betont hier außerdem die
Verantwortung („we HAVE TO […]“) aller politisch aktiven ÄgypterInnen, sich
zusammenzuschließen und eine Vision zu entwickeln. Dieser Interviewabschnitt zeigt das
hohe Maß an Motivation von Interviewee 2 und somit seine enorme Handlungsfähigkeit.
Diese geht aus Frustration über die momentane Situation hervor (dies wird in anderen
Interviewabschnitten deutlich) sowie aus gefühlter Verantwortung und letztlich Hoffnung auf
eine bessere, von politischem Aktivismus beeinflusste Zukunft.
Interviewee 3 äußert trotz extremer Hoffnungslosigkeit eine gewisse Sicherheit im Bezug auf
die Zukunft, dass sich die Proteste von 2011 wiederholen werden:

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Interviewer O: Do you like having that memory, is this - ?

Interviewee 3: It depends because I went through severe depression in 2014. Some people
right after the coup said it’s game over. I still had hope, by mid 2014 I was like it’s over and
there would never been anything else anytime soon. It would take years for a revival to
happen, I believe it’s gonna happen, but unfortunately it’s not gonna happen anytime soon.
We got defeated catastrophically. Yeah, I mean on times it as very depressive. I would find
myself just having some nervous breakdown like you know in my own office or room, crying
or just depressed. But definitely I don't want to lose any memory because I am very proud of
what we did and I believe that it will happen again and we need always to accumulate
experience […].

Trotz dieser relativ positiven Wendung am Ende seiner Aussage sieht Interviewee 3 die
Handlungsfähigkeit politischer Aktivisten in Ägypten momentan als sehr gering an:

Interviewer O: And do you think in this worse situation there is any sort of room for
struggle or for change?

Interviewee 3: Euh no, not now. I mean things cannot continue like this forever, but at the
moment and again this is the conclusion I reached in 2014, that you know it's over and it will
take us years to start doing the revival. […] Why would you know leave let’s say your shift
and come to a meeting when - it’s over. People are just hopeless at the moment, they don't
have hope, there is no room whatsoever to do things. There is still some room online and
that's what we are trying to exploit […].

Obwohl er momentan bezüglich der politischen Situation in Ägypten sehr hoffnungslos ist
(indem er generell “people are just hopeless” erwähnt, kann davon ausgegangen werden,
dass er sich mit einschließt) und AktivistInnen keine Handlungsfähigkeit zuschreibt, sieht
Interviewee 3 doch einen möglichen Raum für Aktivismus und Veränderung im Internet.
Dieser Widerspruch, Handlungsfähigkeit trotz sehr entmutigender Emotionen und einer
„severe depression“ im Jahr 2014 zu besitzen, steht deutlich im Kontrast zu Pearlmans
Annahmen, Handlungsfähigkeit könne nur aus ermutigenden Emotionen hervorgehen. Die
vorhandene Handlungsfähigkeit wird auch in den folgenden Interviewausschnitten deutlich:

Interviewer O: So right now is there any specific debate that you are involved in?

Interviewee 3: Not a debate, but I mean I haven't cut my links. I do tons of logistical things
and media support. But our main focus is the detainees at the moment. I mean you have
roughly 60.000 political prisoners / detainees in Sisi’s jails at the moment. And that's like you
know our main priority, we have to get these guys out, so I’m involved in campaigns, but
there isn’t really any debate happening.

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Interviewer O: Beyond that was that ever a reason so say “I shouldn't have”? [Anmerkung:
“that” meint hier die Möglichkeit, durch Aktivismus seine Familie zu gefährden]

Interviewee 3: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I believe, I was doing the right thing and even if
they had been, no it never crossed my mind this way and I was like even if they target them, it
will be the states fault, I'm not gonna feel guilty, I'm doing the right thing and will continue to
do it because I want our liberation.

Interviewer O: And I also wanted to talk to you a bit about what you do in Berlin because
you've mentioned that you're an activist ?

Interviewee 3: I mean that would be exaggeration I mean, I did attend a few protests in
support of Palestine, which was honestly shock for me the amount of security enforcement in
the Palestine protest is just crazy, crazy. […] I've even found the twitter feed of the Berlin
police saying they had arrested five people for raising the IS finger. I’m like, what? I even
wrote “you fucking assholes, this is not the IS finger, that’s what Muslims do, that’s how
Muslims communicate. It’s, it's, it’s crazy, and you go for a protest and they spend half an
hour searching people, issuing directives “you’re not allowed to say this, you’re not allowed
to do this you’re not allowed to say this” like for half an hour, not allowed to raise flags. I
feel like I'm going to a lecture, I mean it's a protest. I always go to anti Nazi mobilization
whenever there is a chance, that's even more important than Palestinian protest for me, Nazis
and fascism that’s the real devil, that’s the worst thing that exists. Any sorts of counter
mobilization you always have to help out and not give these people any sort of chance to
resurface somehow. I’ve been also to some pro Iranian protest, you know when the Iran
protests were happening, I went in solidarity. I also gave a talk at Rosa-Luxemburg, I will be
given other talks over there. I’m trying with the Egyptian here to try to, I wouldn't say to
lobby, but you know to raise some awareness and try to meet with parliamentarians in the
future and trade unions leaders to try and get their solidarity euhm with what’s happening in
Egypt. […] Euhm, and we need to stop you know we need to cut this flow of arms. So I’m still
discussing with others how to start lobbying like a campaign to serve these ties or at least to
diminish them, not that I’m really optimistic in the end, but at least if of they do something it
will come with the cost […].

Interviewer O: So to some extent you have been active at least in going to protests, have you
also been active against Egyptian politics?

Interviewee 3: Online yes, on a daily basis. Like on the ground, like nothing you know.

Diese Textstellen dienen als sehr gute Beispiele, um Pearlmans Annahmen zu relativieren,
denn Interviewee 3 erwähnt an einigen Stellen ausdrücklich, dass im Moment kein „room for
struggle“ existiert und nennt ebenso eine Depression, die er im Jahr 2014 hatte. Trotzdem ist
er sich sicher, dass es in der fernen Zukunft noch einmal Proteste wie im Jahr 2011 geben
wird („I believe it’s gonna happen, but unfortunately it’s not gonna happen anytime soon.“)
und dass er sich auch in Zukunft engagieren wird und weiß, dass es das Richtige ist – worauf

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er stolz ist („I'm doing the right thing and will continue to do it because I want our
liberation“). Außerdem geht er regelmäßig in Berlin zu Demonstrationen, etwa gegen
Nationalsozialismus oder in Unterstützung von Palästina oder Iran, gibt „talks“ in Berlin zu
verschiedenen Themen und plant, sich in der Zukunft mit ParlamentarierInnen und
Gewerkschaften zu treffen, um die öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit auf Ägypten-bezogene
Sachverhalte zu erhöhen. Online setzt er sich sogar gezielt gegen das ägyptische Regime ein,
indem er „tons of logistical support“ in verschiedenen Netzwerken leistet. Ähnlich wie
Interviewee 2 sieht er auch die Verantwortung in der breiten Masse, sich zu engagieren:
„Nazis and fascism that’s the real devil […]. Any sorts of counter mobilization you always
have to help out and not give these people any sort of chance to resurface somehow”. Diese
auf viele Bereiche verteilte Handlungsfähigkeit steht im Kontrast zu den sehr gemischten
Emotionen wie Hoffnungslosigkeit, Resignation, aber auch Hoffnung, Stolz und
Verantwortung, die aus seiner Art des Framing herauszulesen sind.
Stärker noch als bei Interviewee 3 sind aus den Antworten von Interviewee 4 sehr gemischte
Emotionen herauszulesen, wenn sie über ihren momentanen Aktivismus befragt wird:

Interviewer E: I’m gonna go straight to it, and then I’ll come back to the questions about
what we were just talking about, but ahm first of all maybe I’m gonna talk to you about
your activism here, are you in touch with any other activists from Egypt or, or not here and
ahm are they still politically active?

Interviewee 4: Yes and yes.

Interviewer E: In Berlin or abroad, I mean of course you mentioned your friend before, but
maybe here also you have a – ?

Interviewee 4: YES, I do ahm, we’re part of a small group that are trying to be active here ah
but we’re still negotiating many things. & So some of us cannot go back to Egypt, but some of
us go back. And then there is a lot of about what can we do or not do without harming ahm
those of us who’d like to be able to go in and out. And how much visibility, and then how
much can we do from here anyway (?). And is it always about doing things for Egypt or also
doing things for us, the diaspora community. So, yes, there are a group of political activists
here, who are still active or who are trying to whether to do advocacy eh with Germans, eh
German policy makers who don’t care at all about Egypt. Or I said whether it’s about doing
some eh giving out information about the human rights situation, ah but yeah.

Interviewer E: Okay and ah would you describe this atmosphere eh this group may be
hopeful for future political change although you’re abroad so change is difficult?

Interviewee 4: IT FLUCTUATES, so sometimes eh someone of us can be very hopeful and say


‘this guy is not gonna stay, there is no way in hell he’s gonna live out his eh to a second term’

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or whatever. And ehm then some people say ‘we’re just gonna keep banging our head against
the wall because this is what we do, but he’s gonna stay’. So it really fluctuates, sometimes
they can be really hopeful and sometimes we set really small goals. And then if we make sure
that an agreement between Germany and Egypt doesn’t happen, that’s in itself the HOPE, so
if we just block an agreement or whatever, SO YEAH. But I cannot say it’s like super hopeful
or super pessimistic (Interviewer E: Okay, it varies.), ja.

Interviewer E: Yeah ok. And eh do you feel supported in your ideas by these peopl -?
Interviewee 4: Yeah. It gives me the illusion that I’m doing something.

Interviewer E: And as a last question: would you describe yourself as hopeful in general
for a future in Egypt?

Interviewee 4: (‘) NO! (laughing very loudly) (Interviewer E: (also laughing a bit) Okay!)
No. And maybe and again, this could be me today. And then tomorrow I will be: Yes of
course! Something will change! (.) But ahm at least in the near future I’m not hopeful, no.

Die ausgewählten Interviewausschnitte zeigen besonders deutlich die Fluktuation von


Emotionen von Interviewee 4 im Bezug auf die Gegenwart und Zukunft. Einerseits
beschreibt sie, dass die Gruppe von AktivistInnen, der sie angehört, sehr hoffnungsvoll
gestimmt sein kann und sich, um weiter in positiver Stimmung zu bleiben, etwa kleinere
Ziele setzt, die erreicht werden können. Andererseits können die Emotionen der Gruppe auch
sehr schnell zu Hoffnugslosigkeit umschlagen („then some people say ‘we’re just gonna keep
banging our head against the wall because this is what we do, but he’s gonna stay‘”). Auch
hier kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass dies ebenfalls die Emotionen von Interviewee 4
betrifft, wenn sie von der Gruppe spricht, derer sie Teil ist. Am Ende des Interviews betitelt
Interviewee 4 ihren Aktivismus selbstkritisch oder sarkastisch als „illusion“ und antwortet
auf die Frage, ob sie generell Hoffnung für eine bessere Zukunft in Ägypten habe, klar mit
„no“. Auch Auffallend ist hier, dass sie entgegen dieser pessimistischen Formulierung und
klaren Antwort sowie damit verbundenen entmutigenden Emotionen ihrerseits und in der
Gruppe trotzdem Handlungsfähigkeit besitzt und weiterhin politischen Aktivismus in der
genannten Gruppe betreibt, sei es auch lediglich mit „really small goals“. Auch hier wird
wieder deutlich, dass Aktivismus und somit Handlungsfähigkeit trotz entmutigender
Emotionen möglich ist.
Ein deutlicher Unterschied im Framing kann zwischen Interviewee 2 und Interviewee 4
entdeckt werden: Obwohl beide aktuell politisch aktiv sind, wenn auch zu unterschiedlichen
Graden, framed Interviewee 2 sein Engagement wie eine Heldengeschichte „this is my
[laughs a bit], is my task! My preposition”, Interviewee 4 hingegen formuliert es als „illusion

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that I’m doing something“, also sehr selbstkritisch im Gegensatz zur Formulierung von
Interviewee 2. Trotzdem besitzen beide Handlungsfähigkeit und sind politisch aktiv.
Alle vier Interviewees sind also momentan politisch aktiv (was schließlich auch
Voraussetzung für die Teilnahme am Interview war), jedoch zu sehr unterschiedlichen
Graden. Während Interviewee 1 im „Arab Hub“ und teilweise auf Twitter aktiv ist, engagiert
Interviewee 2 sich sehr stark in vielen Bereichen: Er gibt Interviews, schreibt Artikel und
veröffentlicht Daten, um Sisi die Stirn zu bieten. Interviewee 3 hält Reden, geht auf Proteste
und ist online täglich aktiv im „logistical support“. Interviewee 4 ist in der Gruppe aus
AktivistInnen aktiv, die sich kleine Ziele setzt, wie zum Beispiel bestimmte Abkommen
zwischen Ägypten und Deutschland zu verhindern. Was an dieser Stelle auffällt, ist, dass alle
Interviewees außer Interviewee 2 in aktivistische Netzwerke eingebunden sind, die ihnen
Motivation für ihr Engagement geben – Interviewee 2 hingegen ist seinem Framing nach
alleine aktiv. Jedoch betont er ausdrücklich, dass er, um die „vision“ zu kreieren, die
Ägypten seiner Ansicht nach so dringend benötigt, sich mit anderen AktivistInnen
zusammenschließen müsste.
Betrachtet man die Arten des Framing hinsichtlich des momentanen Aktivismus im
Vergleich, so fallen sehr große Unterschiede auf. Interviewee 1 framed ihren Aktivismus
teilweise negativ, aber betont auch, wie wichtig es ist, Widerstand – selbst auf kleinster Basis
– zu leisten, sei es auch nur ein Tweet mit dem Ziel „to piss off the government“. Sie fühlt
außerdem eine gewisse Verantwortung, weiterhin aktiv auf Twitter zu bleiben; diese scheint
allerdings eher einem schlechten Gewissen zu entspringen. Verantwortung (gegenüber
seinem Land) verspürt auch Interviewee 2, im Vergleich in sehr hohem Maß. Er framed sein
gesamtes aktivistisches Engagement sehr positiv und lässt durchweg positive, ermutigende
Emotionen zum Vorschein gelangen. Seine Motivation scheint komplett intrinsisch zu sein.
Die einzige Ausnahme ist die Erwähnung seiner Familie und der Tatsache, dass er sie seit
drei Jahren nicht gesehen hat, was „more difficult“ sei. An dieser Stelle werden entmutigende
Emotionen wie Trauer deutlich. Auch Interviewee 3 erwähnt seine Familie, allerdings erst auf
Nachfrage. Im Gegensatz zu Interviewee 2 hat er keine Angst um sie und vor einer möglichen
Gefährdung durch seinen Aktivismus. Dies ist eine interessante Erkenntnis, da Interviewee 2
im gesamten Interview nur positive Emotionen framed, außer an dieser Stelle – Interviewee 3
lässt im Interviewverlauf gemischte Emotionen durchklingen, wirkt an der Stelle bezüglich
seiner Familie allerdings sehr bestimmt und nicht entmutigt. Sein Engagement framed
Interviewee 3 eher neutral: Zwar erwähnt er, dass er online „tons of logistical support“

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leistet, aber gleichzeitig beschreibt er auch „nervous breakdown[s]“, die ihm alle Hoffnung
nahmen. Hier sollte erwähnt werden, dass die Erwähnung von Depression und somit ein
Zeigen von Schwäche von männlichen Personen in der arabischen Welt durchaus als
besonders angesehen werden kann – ohne an dieser Stelle generalisieren zu wollen.
Interviewee 4 schließlich framed ihren Aktivismus fast durchweg negativ und lässt viele
entmutigende Emotionen deutlich werden. So beschreibt sie zwar ihr Engagement in der
Gruppe von AktivistInnen, gleichzeitig betitelt sie ihren Aktivismus jedoch als „illusion that
I’m doing something“.
Auffallend ist, dass Interviewee 2 der einzige der vier Interviewees ist, der in keine Gruppe
von AktivistInnen eingebunden ist und trotzdem fast durchweg ermutigende Emotionen
framed, während die anderen drei Interviewees tendenziell eher entmutigend framen (mit
Ausnahmen). Ein möglicher Erklärungsansatz könnte darin bestehen, dass gerade die
Tatsache, dass Interviewee 2 nicht Teil einer aktivistischen Gruppe ist, dazu führt, dass er
fast ausschließlich positive Emotionen framed, da er nicht die Möglichkeit hat bzw. es nicht
gewohnt ist, einer Gruppe seine Zweifel am gemeinsamen Engagement zu enthüllen und
daraufhin Unterstützung und Motivation von ihr zu bekommen. Stattdessen ist er bei seinem
politischen Engagement, das er allein betreibt, stets darauf angewiesen, sich selbst zu
ermutigen, wenn entmutigende Emotionen aufkommen – und spricht möglicherweise daher
auch im Interview nicht von Zweifeln oder beängstigenden Situationen, da er sich sonst
selber wieder ermutigen müsste, was er vielleicht im Interview vermeiden möchte. Er trägt
also mehr gefühlte Verantwortung als Interviewee 1, 3 und 4: Bei ihnen teilt sich die
Verantwortung über den Erfolg ihres Aktivismus und somit über die Zukunft Ägyptens auf
viele Personen aus dem Netzwerk auf. Aus dieser gefühlten großen Verantwortung von
Interviewee 2 entsteht also möglicherweise seine sehr ermutigende Ausdrucksweise und im
Umkehrschluss könnte die geteilte Verantwortung von Interviewee 1, 3 und 4 über ihr
Engagement dazu beitragen, dass sie auch entmutigende Emotionen äußern, aber durch ihre
Gruppe vermutlich auch mehr Sicherheit und Motivation erfahren. Da Interviewee 2 äußert,
dass er „alone“ ist und sich mit anderen AktivistInnen zusammenschließen müsste, um
voranzukommen, kann geschlussfolgert werden, dass er es langfristig ebenso als
erstrebenswert ansieht, Teil eines aktivistischen Netzwerks zu sein und – auf Grundlage
dieses Erklärungsansatzes – sodann auch entmutigende Emotionen äußern zu können.
Grundsätzlich zeigte also auch die Untersuchung des Framings der vier Interviewees von
ihrem momentanen Aktivismus, dass Menschen sehr verschieden auf bestimmte Sachverhalte

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reagieren, sehr unterschiedliche Emotionen dabei empfinden und diese verschieden framen,
woraus mehr oder weniger große Handlungsfähigkeit zu interpretieren ist. Auch hier hat sich
gezeigt, dass auch aus entmutigenden Emotionen Handlungsfähigkeit entstehen kann und
somit Pearlmans Modell in dieser Hinsicht zu hinterfragen ist.
Zusammenfassend zeigte dieses Kapitel einige Schwachstellen an Pearlmans Theorie über
den Zusammenhang von Emotionen und wahrgenommener Handlungsfähigkeit auf. Zwar
greift die Theorie größtenteils im Bezug auf das Framing von Interviewee 2, da dieser
vorrangig positive Emotionen framed und sehr viel Handlungsfähigkeit wahrnimmt, jedoch
kann das Modell etwa nicht erklären, wieso Interviewee 4 trotz auf die Zukunft Ägyptens
bezogener kompletter Hoffnungslosigkeit dennoch Teil eines aktivistischen Netzwerkes ist
und versucht, kleinere Abkommen zwischen Ägypten und Deutschland zu verhindern.
Genauso wenig kann Pearlmans Theorie erklären, wieso Interviewee 3 Reden hält und in
Berlin zu Demonstrationen geht, obwohl er ebenfalls sehr hoffnungslos in Bezug auf
Ägyptens politische Zukunft ist, oder wieso Interviewee 1 noch immer auf Twitter aktiv ist
und das „Arab Hub Berlin“ erschaffen hat, obwohl auch sie frustriert und hoffnungslos ist.
In diesem Kapitel wurde also deutlich, dass Pearlmans Theorie der entmutigenden und
ermutigenden Emotionen sehr vereinfachte Annahmen über den Zusammenhang von
Emotionen und Handlungsfähigkeit vornimmt, die so in der Analyse nicht bestätigt werden
konnten.

7. Analysis: Where Pearlman’s Theory applies:


Narratives in the Past

In previous sections, we outlined three observations that shall guide our analysis in these
following sections. These are namely that first of all, different individuals react emotionally
differently to the same stimulus; secondly, emotions aren’t binary or static, as presupposed by
Pearlman (2013); thirdly, agency can also be felt through discouraging, and not only
emboldening, emotions. However, in order to understand the limits of Pearlman’s text, one
must understand the foundations of her thesis. In this section we shall see how certain
narratives framed in the past can indeed point to a rational organising of emotions. The
interviews carried out as described above showed various cases in which emotions led to
certain behaviours. For this, we shall explore how some narratives in the past can support
Pearlman’s argument of binary emotions and rational implication between the emotion felt

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and the action taken. This approach is necessary in order to fully understand Pearlman’s idea
and section 9 of this paper below shall outline a critic that takes into account the below case
that certain narrative structures about past events can indeed present the causal effect between
emotions and actions that Pearlman describes.

7.1 Pearlman on Values and Emotions

In previous sections we have outlined Pearlman’s thesis that certain emotions lead to actions
whilst other hinder action. Let us now understand what the author means when she talks
about emotions, and what this implies. Pearlman defines emotions as the following: “for my
purposes here, I recognise that emotional experiences operate at the levels of individuals or
groups, and can be short or long lasting” (Pearlman 2013:391). This definition is vast and
presents some initial limits as it mentions the short term as well as the long term yet oversees
the evolution of certain emotions. Indeed, whilst there of course exist certain long lasting
emotions, one must not overlook the fact that according to how a certain narrative is framed,
the emotion can evolve. This is dependent of many factors that affect the narrative, such as
how the narrative is told, what its course of events and results were, what the consequences
were and where the outcome of it stands today, for example. For the purpose of this paper, let
us understand a long-term emotion as an emotion that is described as being constant since its
occurrence. (Neuroscience or psychoanalytical research on emotions may shed more light on
this evolution that is not relevant for the paragraph below).
Pearlman's meaning of emotions as understood above enables an understanding of the extent
to which her thesis can be supported. Furthermore, the author depicts a connection between
emotions and instrumental and value-based considerations that themselves influence an
individual’s decision to undertake some kind of action or rather to not take any action at all.
Events or stimuli would, according to her, lead people to feel certain emotions and prioritize
certain values, notably security and dignity: “I concentrate on two values: security, which is
the most basic material interest, and dignity, a primary nonmaterial needed. The triggered
emotion and value priority re-enforce each other; and both encourage particular action
tendencies” (Pearlman 2013:391). Dignity and security are indeed two values that often
come up in people’s narratives, as we shall see with examples below, however the choice of
these two is not bias and an analysis using different values, such as freedom for example,
might lead to very different results.

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Pearlman defines emotions without describing values and the relationship between these two
is very complex. Values are considered by the author to have a catalysis effect on emotions
and to be able to influence them, either by having an influence on the emotion itself and its
feeling, making it greater or lesser. However Pearlman also describes the reciprocal effect,
that emotions can themselves influence values by shifting the individual’s value-priority.
First of all, let us look at the value of security that is taken as an example by the author. This
value could be linked to emotions such as fear which falls under the inhabitant category of
Pearlman. However, the reciprocal effect described above shows that emotions such as anger
or excitement can also shift the value-priority of an individual.
Indeed, in one interview, the interviewee points to some of the reasons that pushed her to act:

Interviewer E: And so when you decided to get engaged, could you describe your
engagement during the 2011 uprisings. Maybe uhm what a day would be like for you or
like how it evolved!

Interviewee 4: So the first time I went was on the FIRST DAY, uh, uhm there were before
like uh protests where Edward Said which I wanted to join but I didn’t for, (.) because of
work and things like that. So, but I, I really was in the headspace of wanted to do this. On the
first day I went alone actually because I had work and my friends were already there. And I
was uh very, very scared uhh because I went alone & and I am a woman (.) and I was really
uh terrified. Uh, but then I met my friends and things got a bit easier and I really then felt
safer and I enjoyed the environment which was really nice. Uhh my family were freaking out,
but then yeah, then they felt like there is no point, I am going to do it anyway. Uhm so that
was like the first day. The second day I had work, so I didn’t go. The thir-, uhm on the 28th (h)
so on the 28th we were planning to sort of wake up on Friday and just call each other and
meet. And then of course the communication was cut off, uh so it’s a long story. I had to go
with my mum to Shubra where my aunt used to live. So I went t h e r e and then I went out
there but it was tremendous violence and also Shubra is sort of a populist area and uh the
cameras sort of where not there, so there was even more uh violence. So it was very, it was
really scary & and I was alone. Uhm but from then on, I think after the 28th now everything
broke down and there was uhm, uh, (.) then I was full-time revolution mode. Uh so from the
29th on I was almost going there every day.

This example is a good illustration of the dynamic mentioned above, as it highlights the shift
between the first-case scenario, when the participant was scared for her safety and therefore
her value of security or safety was influencing her emotions and creating fear, yet seconds
later she had overcome this and other emotions such as her excitement and hope for change
had shifted her value priority and enabled her to take action.
This all makes sense in Pearlman’s causal process seen in Figure 2 on page 391 of her text.
Furthermore, it fits in with the neuroscientific explanation she gives to “elaborate the
mechanisms connecting the components of this causal process.” (Pearlman 2013:391)

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Firstly emotions infuse how people define interests, then emotions influence how people
assess information, thirdly emotions are powerful motivators of actions (Pearlman 2013:391).
Basing herself on the theory of Loewenstein and Lerner (2003), she comes to the conclusion
that “the more intense the emotions, the more likely they are to supersede deliberative
decision-making and exert a direct impact on behavior.” (Pearlman 2013:391)
The paragraphs above have shown a first case in which Pearlman’s theory can be applied. In
the section 9 below, we shall see how the rational categorizing of emotions shows the limit of
this theory.

7.2 Activists and Non-Activists: the “Encouragement-Effect”

In her paper, Pearlman also discusses the Revolt in Tunisia (2013:394). In particular, she
talks about the encouraging effect of non-activists on activists, in order to understand factors
that enabled some people to protest when they previously had not. In this section we draw a
parallel between her case and that of Egypt, showing that the extent to which this causal
effect is valid. We here make the point that her arguments concerning Tunisia and the
protests are equally valid for Egypt.
This is illustrated in the interviews carried out for this project. In particular one utterance of
one of the interviewees is particularly fitting to support this argument. Indeed, the
interviewee explains how he saw some people taking part in the protests that he never
expected to see. The person he saw in particular was even accompanied by his mother, to the
astonishment of the interviewee.

Interviewer O: How would you describe the general atmosphere in Tahrir?

Interviewee 3: It differed from time to time of course, like I mean to be honest on 28th
January during the Friday I was just looking and- you know on 28th January like basically
we descending on Tahrir Square from 4 directions East West North South,, I was part of the
wave that came from East, my neighbourhood, so when we went out and started the march, it
was like a marching army taking over square fighting with the police for hours, defeating the
police, etc, and not at some point tens of thousands of people, I started remembering how
marginalized and isolated we were in the 90’s you know like these are like the “radical leftist
freaks who want to chant against Mubarak” etc. .. So I mean, I was definitely, it was very
emotional for me, on times also, I mean also the square sometimes I was looking around and I
was like wow finally, part of it was like self vindication. It is happening, and everyone that
used to ridicule us and piss on us at the uni, who’s laughing now. And ironically and I know
this may sound like the movies but on the 28th January I even saw some of my former

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colleagues who were with me in university in 90’s and I saw them and I was like laughing
about it.

Interviewer O: What would they say, did you come to them and spoke?

Interviewee 3: I didn't put it that way but with one person who was very anti-leftist and anti-
anything radical and I saw him and he was together with his mother and sister and his whole
family was in the protest and we are getting tear-gassed. The other one was a long time friend
of mine and he was among the earlier people I used to give our underground magazine in the
90s, we would not sell it in public but only give to trustworthy people and I saw one of the
guys and he was one of the earliest people he was an Arab nationalist. He wasn't very keen on
joining us. I saw him on that day, he was there which I thought was very ironic.

Seven years on, this still triggers emotions. This points to the role of some activists who were
amongst the first to take part in these protests. As they had been preparing for a protest since
some time, they managed to influence the behaviour of certain people. Here we can ask the
question: what exactly pushed these people, who had previously not shown any will to
undertake certain collective action of resistance, to change behaviour and take to the streets?
The answer offered by Pearlman is that emotions are at the centre of this. Firstly, emotions
play a major part by shifting value-priorities, as described in the section above. Secondly,
emotions play a major part by the “contagious” effect they have on people. This has been
described in other interviews carried out for this project as well as by people in other cases,
such as the case of the fall of the Berlin Wall for example. Emotions contribute to a general
atmosphere and participants have shown how the atmosphere in Tahrir Square contributed to
make the protests grow into the large-scale events they became.

Interviewer E: Ok! And uhm how do you think would, could you describe the atmosphere
during the protests and uhm and how you felt?

Interviewee 4: Mhh, uhm (clearing throat) (.) I have troubles remembering many things. Uh I
have troubles with the chronological order, so I don’t remember what happened before what.
Uhm but I, what I remember is that .. I was, I felt that I was sort of floating. So it was uh, I uh,
for example I lost a lot of weight (laughing) during that time +, uhm we were walking a lot
and I am not a walker, I don’t like walking and I was, I usually (h) I, I love food, so it’s not
normal for me that I forget to eat. So and this is the only thing I could sort of I mean
remember I could have compared to what that is that when I was first in love & so this idea
that I was floating and didn’t care about eating & I was walking a lot and not getting tired.
Euhm, but there were also moments that I was really really scared, a lot of anxiety and a lot
of heartbreak because you go home and then you read about the people who d i e d, or you
hear comments from some family that are horrible about who these people really a r e, so
there was a lot of f i g h t i n g and c r y i n g and euh and euh and anxiety & and I was
feeling like I was hurting my f a m i l y but I was also feeling that I have to do this and then
they slowly and slowly understood that I had to do this so I cannot say that I was just happy.

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There were of course moments when I was very very happy and safe but they were spatially
related to being there .. euh, and then once you move out you start, you watch what they say
on TV or (.) like you start feeling like anxious and angry, hum. AND I was really, really,
really scared the first day like not even the first day, sort of the first half an hour, I was
REALLY scared, but then euhm since then, at least when -I would be scared when I’m outside
with my friends when there are clashes and I’m outside I would be really scared for THEM
but then as long as I’m there I didn’t feel scared after that moment & I mean you had
moments when you had sort of I mean I don’t know these fighter flights flying over you and
you really didn’t know if they were gonna bomb you or you didn't understand why they are
there, maybe surveillance or- but you had a sort of (h) I don't know I wasn't afraid to die
there. I mean you knew that it’s a possibility, they kept saying there were s n i p e r s which
probably there was, and then you see fighter things, and there were tanks, and you never
know what's gonna happen. But I was not- as far as I remember as long as I was there I was
more scared that we lose the s q u a r e or that euhm a violence on this person this person
but not for my own personal safety which is in very direct contrast to how I felt walking in.
Because when I walked in all I cared about was my own personal safety, euh yeah.

This participant describes how her feeling of fear vanishes when she was present inside the
protests in Tahrir, whilst she was scared (notably for the safety of others or for the loss of the
square) when she was not there herself: “as long as I’m there I didn’t feel scared after that
moment”. This shows how the emotions inside of hope and will to change the political
situation took over and placed themselves in a first position, placing other emotions such as
fear in the background.

7.3 Emotions and Technology: the Impact of Social Media

The above paragraph has outlined the contagious effects of emotions by concentrating on the
general emotions felt during a certain event and on the atmosphere during a certain protest. In
these below paragraphs, we shall highlight the major role that social media plays in
conveying and diffusing emotions. Technology and social media in particular play a very big
role today in social movements. They are much more than a simple or neutral transmission of
a certain event. Posts on social media are shaped, be it consciously or unconsciously, in order
to convey a particular emotion. Protesters interviewed about the revolt in Tunisia for example
have explained how social media helped them and the ways in which it helped them during
the protests: “Facebook allowed us to overcome our fear of the regime. We felt like we
belonged to a group which, even though it was virtual, would protect us.” (International
Crisis Group, 2011). This shows how social media created through the emotions it conveyed
a virtual safety that however had real and genuine impact on the course of event. (Pearlman
2013:395). Furthermore, these emotions conveyed by social media even enabled to
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strengthen the shift in value-priority and contributed to the prioritization of emotions that
belong to Pearlman’s “optimistic readiness to engage in resistance” group. Some people even
went on to actually say “Honestly there was no fear” (Pearlman 2013:397). One of the
participants for this project talks about his role during the protests as organiser for logistic
support. He mentions that during the first hours of the protests he was in his office sharing
information online: “and I was like disemitanting the info on the official portal and blogs.
And I was like a one man show agency at the time and shocked.” Blog posts, information
spread online through other platforms such as social media, had a huge influence on the
course of events. This is one of the reasons that the internet was shut down during the
protests, as one of our participants described below:

Interviewer O: Ah! Ok. Then can you explain to me when you were doing it, what was the
feeling like, did you think it was gonna be successful?

Interviewee 3: […] But the funny thing is on like, on January 25th 2011, anyone who would
tell you “I was expecting a revolution” would be a liar, including any of the organizers, no
one was expecting a revolution. We were expecting maybe good mobilization, good protests.
The slogans for that way were about impeaching the minister, and we were just- you know it's
also on police the 25th January, so we are also taking the piss out off the police, taking the
piss on their day. By night, when you had also must like suddenly like a turnout in Tahir
square of almost half a million it was also almost like we’re shocked. Just to be clear, I was
not in the protest on the 25th, yes I was part of the organizers you know there is also division
of labour, I was part of logistical support, everyone was feeding me info and I was
disseminating information it online. I was in my office at the time I was the editor of (name
left out) and I was like disemitanting the info on the official portal and blogs. And I was like a
one man show agency at the time and shocked. And I even recall on Twitter some pundit on
that day, some pundit was asking me “who are we witnessing a revolution today” and I was
like “nah”. But by night, all of us were like, wow half a million people, like when I first got a
phone call saying [name left out] there is half a million, I was like ha ha of course are you
mad. And then I was getting the picture and I was like but since I've already had my hopes
dashed so many times before, I was like let's wait and see if the mobilisation continues. By the
27th, 2 days on the row and the internet shut down on night of 27th before “Friday of Rage”,
it was like a fully fledged revolution is gonna be. So actually the first time I stepped you know
on the streets was on the “Friday of Rage”. We burnt the police stations. By the way we were
modelled around the French CRS. The Egyptians were so impressed after 1968 seeing the
CRS beating the shit out of the students that they copied the experience.

Interviewer O: So after “Friday of Rage” you started - ?

Interviewee 3: Actually before it, on 27th, the Friday was 28th of January. By the 27th I was
like “it’s happening”.

Interviewer O: And what exactly did you think was happening?

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Interviewee 3: A revolution, that we will overthrow Mubarak, that finally we will get million
out on the streets and we will overthrow Mubarak. Like it is happening.

Interviewer O: Did you at that time have an idea of what was happening, expecting?

Interviewee 3: No No, of course not. Again no one had a plan at the time. The revolution was
just massive, it was just bigger than anyone of us. It was just massive. No one new how this
evolved into, but at the same time I had a compass, you know my ideological compass, was
like “we cannot win this revolution as long as we are in Tahrir Square and actually it’s not
us in Tahrir Square that toppled Mubarak. Mubarak could have stayed for a much longer
time if it was just for Tahrir Square. But on February 5th the stupid assholes part of trying to
normalize the situation they opened factories and opened the government offices and workers
went back to the factories and started striking. There was a strike but it was an enforced
strike by the regime that closed everything, no banks, no ATMs, no rails no nothing, etc it part
of trying to strangle us. But the, art of re-naturalising the situation, they reopened all offices
again and workers went back to their factories, and they started striking. And I was like “ok,
now we have hope”. The Suez factories were definitely on the front, in the city of Suez, and in
Suez specifically they've issued political statement and not just bread and butter issues. Public
transportation workers also started their time on 8th February, euh and pff I mean the whole
country was on fire, strike, strike, strike everywhere and it’s thanks to those strikes that the
military felt that Mubarak had to go, to it as just “get rid of him”.

8. Analysis: Conflict and Ambivalence: Narratives in the


Present

In the previous two chapters, we started to delve into the interview material. In the first of
these, we proposed three preliminary observations: (1) Different individuals react
emotionally differently to the same stimulus; (2) emotions aren’t binary or static, as
presupposed by Pearlman (2013); (3) agency can also be felt through discouraging, and not
only emboldening, emotions. We then presented a counterargument to the second and third
observations, defending Pearlman’s approach, and we made the case that certain narrative
structures about past events do showcase relatively unitary emotional processes, which are
similarly related to fixed perceptions of personal agency. In this chapter, we seek to qualify
these seemingly conflicting interpretations and get to the root of these issues: Why do some
narrative structures accommodate unitary emotional reactions, while some others resist to do
so? This also beckons the question: in which contexts is Pearlman’s theoretical model a
valuable analytical tool, and in which ones isn’t? The key to this question is time or, more
concretely, grammatical tense.

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We hypothesize here that accounts about ongoing developments, present emotions and
thought processes are often hard to pin down, because they are marked by conflict and
ambivalence. This conflict can show itself, for example, when we refer to the same theme at
roughly the same point in time differently – or when we identify distinct, and sometimes
opposite emotions –, based on how a question is formulated, on who we are speaking with, or
on what details the account is being focused on. This lack of clarity enters in conflict with our
expectations about what we should be thinking or feeling, departing from what we have
thought or felt in the past, or what is expected of us, looking at our social roles and expressed
ideological convictions. We thus struggle to rein in this ambivalence and to produce a
personal narrative that is coherent, both internally, i.e. a narrative that attributes unitary
emotions and judgements to events, and externally, i.e. that is consistent with broader social
discourse. Accounts about events, feelings and thoughts that happened well in the past have
had enough time to be processed into these coherent personal narratives, which have also
been lodged into collectively shared discourses. The ambivalence of the past has ossified into
clear emotions, cognitive appraisals and perceptions of agency. We believe this is most
certainly how we felt and thought back then, but we were likely as conflicted as confused as
we are today.
The reasons underlying these observations are psychological in nature and we do not address
them here. Rather, we focus on what this tells us about narrativity in general, and on what
implications this has for the use of Pearlman’s typology of emotions within both emotion and
social movement research. We make the argument above through the interview material, and
contrary to the last section, which focused on statements about previous events, we focus here
on appraisals about the present. We pull some conclusions on the implications for the use of
Pearlman’s model in the following chapter.

8.1. Being a Hero – Being a Son

When referring to the present, participants showcased inner conflict in their attempt to give
an account of their emotions and cognitive processes. One arena in which this conflict came
to light is in the relationship between the subject’s current account and their more general
self-understanding or their life’s narrative in other terms.
Interviewee 2, for example, is a high profile activist, one of the main mobilizers of the 2011
Uprisings, as well as last year’s protests over the territorial issue surrounding the Tiran and
Sanafir islands. He frames his identity around his roles, as he names himself “a hero for the
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situation in Egypt”, and he is possessive about his Egyptian identity: “this is my country in a
way, it’s my homeland, and I have to protect my homeland from anything just now!” His own
independence is important to him, as he often takes distance from other opposition figures.
Criticizing Khaled Ali’s party, he says “they have a problem, they have to reform, to make
development in their ideas because, when you think about the time of the 1960 and 1970s,
that was the time of revolution”, before clarifying that they close friends anyway. Instead of
claiming belonging to a specific political group, he sees himself as “outside of the
establishment. I am seeing myself as an intellectual people […] I have to be more like
Edward Said, out of the establishment, or like Tabucchi in Italian, and Gramsci in a way”.
Within these roles, Interviewee 2 distills courage from what he identifies as his life objective:
“I noticed this is my task! (laughing)”.
This very established personal narrative as a fearless, nationalist, independent, intellectual
hero comes over and over in during the interview, both in his statements as well as in his non-
verbal cues. In this last regard, it was noteworthy that his accounts were disproportionally
long compared to those of other interviewees, and that he often avoided questions about his
feelings and his emotional life. In one particular intervention, he is asked how he feels about
being a public figure and thus a target, which he briefly responds by referring to his friends’
concerns for his safety, before veering back to his political message:

Interviewer M: So the fact that you’re quite known in this issue, uhm how does it make you
feel, what would you say?

Interviewee 2: […] my neighbors and uh my uh friends still saying all the time (‘) (name of
interviewee left out), be careful please (.) and you have to, to choice your, your private life,
please (..), (...) you be safe. And I am saying ok, cause I am not an, an uh, an animal to, to, to
life all the time for my life, private life. After I participated in this change the process of the
change in a way, we have to do something for the next generation and we need it in a way and
we have to build out principles and to carry out our principals and to discover the gap in our
principles, to fill this gap in a way, because it’s like the experience and we have to get, just
now we have be uh, be uh (..), (...) experience (‘) and we have to develop our ideas through
this experience […].

Additionally, the interviewing team shared the overall impression of pride, possibly
arrogance, as well as a tendency to preferentially address the male interviewer, contrary to all
other interviewees both male and female – more on these interviewer problems and bias in
the last chapter.

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With this in mind, Interviewee 2 had the most fixed self-portrayal out of all interviewees, and
he was the least inclined to openly discuss his personal feelings, often preferring to steer the
conversation back to politics. There is, however, one exception to this pattern, which
presented itself when discussing his parents’ situation, who are still in Egypt, and whom he
effusively reported missing. “I have problems, I miss my family in a way because since I am
here I haven’t seen my family […] I hope we can get together again because it’s more
difficult and I have a problem right now because, really, I miss, I miss, I miss my parents, I
miss, miss them. So I need to, I need to see my father and my mother again!” While this in
itself doesn’t collide with his personal narrative – he could also easily understand himself as a
‘good son’ – it did give the interviewer a hint to inquire further in this regard. When later
asked again about this, his narrative about being a fearless fighter did show some cracks.

Interviewer O: You have mentioned that uhm besides your issue with the embassy uhm, you
were in principle ok, (safe?) in Germany uhm, but you also mentioned that what worried
you was your family back at home!?

Interviewee 2: I am not sure just now, (?) you know why?! Uhh yeah uhm, uhm, uhm, I’m still
(..), (...) with my family, (?) because you know why just now?! I see this as, as transition uh in
the Egyptian regime. It could be as, as a (sharp asset?) in other time uh (sharp asset?) they
arrested the activist and the MEMBER and the FAMILY of, of the activist, and just now, what
did the Egyptian parliament, uh one week ago (?), he uh changed uh the law that uh, uh,
don’t allow to arrest the member of the activist and know they just changed this, this law and
uh, uh, uh, uh, in uhhm, and this law (..), (...) uhm allow the, the (‘) police in Egypt to arrest
the, the activist and uh and their families. YES EXACTLY, I, I have problems with my family.
BUT I HOPE they couldn’t do anything against my family, because they are, it’s my family,
my father is an old man and my mother is an old woman. So, uh, uh I hope uh it would be,
everything would be good for my family, because I think so this problem belong to me and I
AM NOT SURE about the Egyptian regime, but I think so they know that uhm, uhm I am
living here in Germany and that I have contact with uh the Egyptian uh politicians, people
something like it AND THEY WILL TRY to uh, uh, to uh, to uh, to provide uh this, this (new
sacandal?) because if they are going to do anything I will contact with the media and I will
do anything for my family. (‘) And just, and I think so Wall Street Journal will publish uh one
article about my uh my problems with the Egyptian society ‘cause they contacted me and I
give, I give, I send to them all the history of, the story of, of, of the embassy uh in Berlin.

Interviewer O: Mhhm! Uhm have you talked to your family about this, about?

Interviewee 2: No! (Interviewer O: You prefer to-) (?) I think so yes. It’s easy, but then why
(h) I don’t, I don’t talk with them, but I think so when, when I, I will meet with them here in
Germany I will (..), (...) because it will be better (O: face to face) face to face to speak. Yeah,
exactly!

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Interviewer O: Of course! Uhm when, when they come over to Germany are you planning
to ask them to stay with you? (Interviewee 2: NO!) in Germany, or?

Interviewee 2: NO! (Interviewer O: They will go back to Egypt?!) back to Egypt. My father, I
KNOW MY FATHER and I know his mentality. He couldn’t live here. (Interviewer O: Ok!)
Yeah!

Interviewer O: Do you think that if you explain them the situation like face to face will
change something?

Interviewee 2: NO! I know my father in a way! I know my father!

In similar fashion to the rest of the interview, he doesn’t openly admit being afraid for his
family, but he does refer to hoping that nothing happens to them, basing himself on them
being old, but also on new regulations released by Parliament. He also passionately describes
how he would react if anything were to happen to his parents, how he would leak the story to
the media and so on. Yet his portrayal does hint at an inner conflict between his political
struggle and his family life. This point is emphasized earlier, when he describes a
conversation he had with his father about his activism career.

Interviewer M: Uhm since you mentioned uhm your family uhm, how do you feel about
them being in, in Egypt right now, also like related to your, all the struggles with the
embassy and so on?

Interviewee 2: So uhm my father, he is a teacher and my mother uh she is not working, she
stay in uhm at home, because you know that’s in Egypt we have a tradition, it’s like the
people who come from uh the upper Egypt, but in a way we have a lot of my friend and I have
my cousin and uh uhm, uhm and my (..), (...) in a way she uh, she, she, she works in a way and
you don’t have a problem (..), (...) stay at home because my father said if you want to stay at
home ok! If you, if you, if you don’t want you can, you can go to work. She, she told him no, I
don’t like to get a work, I am staying home. And my father, he is an honorable person, it’s like
usual, it’s, he’s, he is, he doesn’t involve in the political situation in Egypt but, and only uhm,
want to know anything about me, just like I called him, hello my, hello dad, I will be in two
hours in uh, in BBC, or in Al Jazeera or another TV uh and the usual questions: which work,
about what about Egyptian (..), (...) I said please, please it will be difficult, this man is, he is
(..), (...) exactly and be careful my son, be careful because we need you in a way and it’s, it’s,
it’s good make a damage uh from us and I told to my father, I do you know I like you, I like
Egypt in a way, it was country and I like Egypt. We started our, our struggle and we have to
continue with the struggle in a way. And uh he told me, and uh he made his uhm, uhm
recommendation all the time. My son you are uh my, my only son, (.) because I am alone, I
don’t have sister or a brother, I know it’s a special case in Egypt, uhm, uhm, uhm I am
everything. Ha, ha, ha. So uhm, uhm but I, I, I tell him all the time: please my father give me,
give me a freedom to do everything, you know because it’s a relationship between me and my
father it’s like we are friends in a way and we uh are discussing everything uh that’s
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belonging with Egypt and the situation and uh we’re still supporting each other in a way. But
he is my father in a way and he has special feeling toward me and so in a way I said, I say
him, uhm don’t worry about it but uh and uh every day uhm he said uh God bless you in a
way uh and I said thank you very much my father. (..), (...) But most thing (..), (...) I have
problems, I miss my family in a way ‘cause since I am here I haven’t seen my family, so yeah!
And I hope after I am back from the States that I can meet my family, because I will invite
him, uhm invite my father mh my parents to uh visit Germany and to stay together around two
months or uh, uh I hope and I am waiting for this moment […].

In both fragments, the interviewee touches upon these conflicting roles. More tellingly than
the explicit account, however, were his non-verbal cues. All members of the research team
noted his speech going faster and somewhat more erratic than the rest of the interview.
Particularly in the during the recording of the first quoted fragment, the lead interviewer
reported having consciously changed the topic, because of what he perceived as too much
tension with the participant, who may have started to feel obfuscated at the personal
questions.

8.2. Should I stay or should I go?

A theme, which all interviewees struggle with in different ways, is their diasporic identity, as
well as the question of (ever) returning to Egypt. A broad discourse within the liberal left,
which all interviewees ascribe to, refers to the outpouring of young former activists due to
Sisi’s repressive policies, as is described in a Mada Masr article: “’I had dinner with the
revolution last night,’ a journalist says of a recent trip to New York. At the table were a
graduate student, three human rights defenders, two journalists and an analyst who were al
once at the forefront of political mobilizations in Cairo. They were reunited that day: those
who had fled for fear of arrest, those returning to study, and those opting to work abroad”
(Bird 2014). Interviewee 1, who was prominent on Twitter during the 2011 Uprisings but has
since reduced her engagement, said about her struggles living abroad in Germany and on
staying tuned into the political situation in Egypt.

Interviewer O: Okay. On a general scale, how would you describe the way you feel in
general about the political situation, about being here, if you can put it into words?

Interviewee 1: Well, I mean I’m not a - I mean before I was very like I said, it was a very
difficult time and .. I found it very difficult to be here, but now it’s not so bad, now because,
now first of all because I’m not very optimistic, and there’s no hope everything is- seems to be
moving towards the worst & I’m more, I feel some times more comfortable being here, and

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umm I mean I’m sad every time I remember what happened, but I kind of just try to disengage
and not to think about it much like most of the people around me, I’ve just become apathetic
[…].

Along those same lines, she refers to friends both in Egypt and living abroad who are
undergoing a similar process of disenchantment, as she has:

Interviewer O: So do you think maybe both you and the people that live in Berlin have
somehow a similar process or have lived through a similar process that people back in
Egypt?

Interviewee 1: I think so, yeah, (‘) I mean of course it’s much different when you’re not living
IN Egypt, because you have different feelings, like here, if you’re homesick, you feel removed,
you’re so detached from what’s happening, and there, they’re living in all the mess and the
chaos, the rotting system and everything so it’s different but I think in the end umm we’re
just- we all have distanced ourselves from politics (.) and from the hope and change and all
that.

Interviewee 1 thus seems to fit into the general discourse of liberal activists of a mass exodus,
as mentioned in Bird’s article. Even here, however, in such a grey panorama, there are
glimmers of hope to be spotted along the interview. She refers, for example, to a visit she did
to Egypt in December of last year, when she started to detect a change of wind.

Interviewer O: Hmm Okay going back to maybe a future perspective, is there any specific
condition that you’d like to be in place if you were to move back to Egypt (Interviewee 1:
What kind of- what do you mean?) For example, when you left for your PhD you did
mention that people would say “it’s only three years, then you’ll come back”, but it’s been
six, seven years now, so do you see yourself staying outside, or if you do go back, what
would have to be different?

Interviewee 1: […] when I went back, like I told you, this … Christmas, there was - (‘) you
know I cannot say that there was optimism, because that would be - that wouldn’t be
accurate, but I felt like people, like I said, they were getting along, they were trying to do
things in their own small ways and you know, and I didn’t - I felt that if I do go back, that I
would reconnect with this and umm … and, so, I mean, I would just have to, (‘) I would go
back knowing that things were much worse, that it was oppressive, but there were small
pockets of umm - not resistance, there is not resistance at the moment, but there is like, people
who think like me and who are not completely like so depressed that it just becomes
suffocating to like talk to them - I don’t know! It’s difficult to describe, but it was like, if I do
go back it’s not gonna be so bad .. and I still consider going back, I mean there was a point
when I said “No, I’m gonna try as hard as I can to stay here”, but now I feel, I mean there
are, what’s surprising is that in the last few years, like 2 or 3 people that were here, and then
they decided to move back to Egypt ... and I ask them “Why? Why would you go back there?
It’s awful there, there’s nothing, you won’t be able to get involved in anything”, and they’re
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like “yeah, but things will open up and at some point we’ll be able to get involved and things
will change and stuff” & so maybe that’s also how I’m trying to see things, I don’t know.

She reports struggling with describing her impression that the general atmosphere in Egypt
was changing, that fear was subsiding in the everyday lives of Egyptians. There is conflict in
how to name what she is feeling: though her initial gut drove her to start saying “there were
small pockets of… [uhm]”, her brain quickly corrects “not resistance, there is not resistance
at the moment”. Central here is not whether she is right or wrong in her assessment, or
whether there is or not, in fact, resistance. Interesting is, rather, how she is struggling to give
an account on these experiences of incipient hope, that is narratively coherent with her
previously stated feelings of utter hopelessness and political apathy. She also expresses her
surprise at some of her friends who are returning to Egypt on a faint hope that things will get
better again. Though she is skeptical at the beginning, she seems to have been inspired by
them. Even more, in the end she actively weighs the idea of whether to eventually get
involved again and potentially come back to Egypt.

8.3. An Agent of Change?

The last element within the interviews that we would like to touch upon here is the perceived
sense of agency by the interviewees. As we mentioned, Interviewee 2 manages a heroic
narrative, which leads him to often highlight his successes – such as his engagement during
the Tiran and Sanafir debacle –, and to generally portray a positive outlook about the future.
He seems to perceive his own agency, not only on his capacity to effect positive
transformation, but mostly on his quest, or his perceived ‘teleological’ narrative. Contrary to
him, all other interviewees presented more pessimistic accounts of what had been achieved
and on what could be reached in the future. Interviewee 3 even reports having undergone a
long depression shortly after leaving Egypt in 2014. All these emotions also seemed to
determine their initial responses to the question on their own current civic engagement. All
three reported being disenchanted with politics, and having largely retreated from the debate,
for example in social media. So far, this observation would seem to fit the Pearlman model:
optimistic assessments encourage action, while pessimistic ones tend to discourage it.
We take again the example of Interviewee 1, who on more than one occasion states feeling
“mostly sad”, “hopeless” and “apathetic”; “I don’t like to be very optimistic because, I don’t
know, I just always get disappointed”. She also identifies these feelings of hopelessness as a

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reason for having tuned down her engagement on Twitter and social media, although she still
tweets here and there out of a mixed feeling of responsibility and guilt towards her online
followers, as well as a conscious desire to “piss off the government”:
Interviewer O: Mhm okay. Umm I wanted to ask you about your Twitter presence, your
online presence. You’re still active on Twitter (Interviewee 1 laughing) would you compare
it somehow to 2011? Has it decreased?

Interviewee 1: OH YEAH IT’S DECREASED A LOT. I mean, when - before 2011 after I was
tweeting a lot, and a lot of it was instant tweets, like instant news, like “Oh I’m in Tahrir, like
you know, police just stormed” or something like that. So it’s like the citizen journalism kind
of thing. Now, I hardly do that, and if I do tweet, it’s just some article I read that I thought
was interesting and I want to share it. Umm and sometimes I comment on it. Sometimes I do
but it’s just umm, I don’t know sometimes (exhaling) I feel like I have a responsibility to say
it, to keep it going, because for some reason I have all these followers, and it’s just, I don’t
know how it increased so much, because I haven’t been tweeting for the past almost 4 years
so much, so yeah, so (laughing) I just feel bad not tweeting + more than anything. (‘) Because
I know that if I shared an article it’s not gonna change the world it’s not even gonna help
with what’s happening in Egypt, but sometimes I do, thinking in my mind that this is gonna
piss off the government (laughing) so you know what I mean +, like for example there is this
BBC umm report that came out last week I think and it caused a huge scandal and in Egypt
with the government and the regime and stuff because it criticized uhh - it was talking about
forced disappearances and stuff, and I, I wanted to tweet it mostly just because I knew that
this was gonna annoy a lot of Sisi supporters, so … yeah.

Interviewer O: Umm. You mentioned that you didn’t really know how you got so popular
on Twitter, how you got so many followers on Twitter uhh but you did, I mean, many
people read you back then and they still are doing, for whichever reason umm .. does that
shape - like beyond the fact of just feeling the responsibility to share, does it also shape
what you share or how you share it?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, I think well, in the beginning I didn’t care much, because I, I mean
Twitter was really new, and I it really new to Egypt as well, I mean I think when, when I first
joined Twitter, there was very few Egyptians on it, and even then on Tahrir, during the
revolution there was also quite a few number, (‘) and I think that is also why I gained so
many followers, because there are so few people tweeting, and then it just kind of increased
exponentially even if you don’t really - and then I was on this book “Tweets from Tahrir” and
some people had mentioned me to follow me on Twitter, and this is how it increased, I think,
and then increased exponentially. (‘) And then over time I kind of changed a little bit the way
I interacted with the Twitter, at the beginning I just wrote whatever I wanted, you know, like
swear and do this and whatever and then (;) I don’t know, by time I had started seeing the
backlashes that people would get if they’d just throw whatever was on their minds like, for
example, if they wanted to criticize a certain stance from one of the revolutionary groups, or
they tweeted about their idea about something and then they would get all these people like
you know attacking them and I don’t know, going on television and having really nasty
discussions and so, I started censoring myself in a way, being like “wait, do I really want to
write this” and then get someone say, what a stupid opinion or why would you write this, or I

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don’t know what. & So I guess that was it, I felt it was very, it was unnecessary because in the
end I’m not really like, Twitter isn’t that important anymore in Egypt, and it’s not, not like it
was during the revolution and it’s not really changing anything. So I just didn’t have the
energy anymore to engage in this kind of discussions, so I just then became & I think, I’ve
become a bit more neutral, everyone calls me very boring now (laughing) all my friends via
twitter-feed + umm so, I’m just like yeah, I don’t, I just don’t have the energy for it anymore,
so it’s just, I use it very minimally and only to umm yeah (.) if I find something interesting that
I wanted to retweet.

Though one might question the weight of her emotional motivations such as guilt and
responsibility, there is no question that, indeed, she is still active. Interviewee 1 also refers to
an initiative she founded in Berlin, called the Arab Hub, which organizes discussions and
workshops with artists and activists from all the Arab regions in German and English. In the
beginning, “it was all political, and it was because there was a lot of momentum, and there
were still things taking place across the Arab World and, you know, lots of activists were
coming back and forth”. She also describes how the initiative hasn’t been as active lately,
partly due to her own PhD, but also because another co-founder’s pregnancy, but mostly
because they “weren’t really enthusiastic anymore, like we were in the beginning, our
enthusiasm had completely decreased”. But still, in January this year, the group experienced
a revival, with a new event on poetry and literature: “Arabs writing about life in Berlin”,
which expanded the group beyond its original political focus. When asked about the broad
goal of the Arab Hub, she recognized its feeble potential in effecting a society-level
transformation, but she defended it, nonetheless, as a worthy enterprise able to reach wider
audiences, raise questions, and generally engage in necessary pedagogic work, as valuable
goals, in and as of themselves.

Interviewer O: (..), (...) When you created it, or when you organised this event do you think
about it as a closed thing, just doing it for its own sake, so to speak, or do you have any
other - ?

Interviewee 1: NO OF COURSE, (‘) I mean, it’s not just for us because you know, we wanna
have a good time and all, the initial idea of it was to reach more people and to eventually give
a voice to people who weren’t able to speak about certain things and also, of course on the
long run to challenge the you know all these dictatorships in the Arab World, patriarchy, all
this stuff, you know these are like very broad goals that we don’t think (laughing) we’re
gonna overthrow regimes by hosting Arab Hub Events +, but the idea is you know to
disseminate our thoughts and our ideas and whatever. And right now it’s not as umm these
ideas I wouldn’t say are so important as they were before, but of course that’s part of it, you
know, to reach out to more people, to involve more people in issues related to Arab vision and

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what’s going on and maybe uhh educate them a bit more about what’s happening and stuff
like that.
In this section, we explored three alternative motivations to press on in spite of discouraging
emotions: (1) a feeling of guilt and/or responsibility towards others in the community; (2) the
desire to revolt in and as of itself, to “piss off the government”; and (3) the recognition of the
intrinsic value of a specific action, such as education and divulgation. These motivations are,
in one way, or another interrelated, and most certainly stem from emotionality, though not the
kind recognized by Pearlman. These specific examples could much rather be attributed, for
instance, to Nussbaum’s cognitive model of emotions. Nussbaum sees emotions as involving
“judgments about important things, judgments in which, appraising an external object as
salient for our own well-being, we acknowledge our own neediness and incompleteness
before parts of the world that we do not fully control” (Nussbaum 2001:19). This article is
not in a position to examine this claim at length. The point to be made here is that there are
far more emotional motivations for action than Pearlman gives credit to, and that they are far
less monochromatic as she paints them. They are, more often than not, ambivalent and
conflicting. They may lead to action, in the case of either discouraging or emboldening
emotions, which renders Pearlman’s account insufficient. Does this mean that Pearlman’s
approach is useless? How can we meaningfully engage this model in the social sciences
without oversimplifying the research subject? We address these questions in the following
chapter.

9. Mixed Reviews: Implications for Social Research

The last three chapters presented what may come across as three conflicting evaluations of
Pearlman’s model of dispiriting and emboldening emotions (2013) based on the interview
material. We first posited three observations against Pearlman’s model: (1) Different
individuals react to the same stimulus differently, (2) emotions are neither static nor binary,
(3) agency can also be felt through dispiriting emotions. We then proceded to look at the
cases where her model does somewhat apply: in narratives about the past. The previous
chapter went in the offensive again, and discussed different cases of emotional ambivalence,
in which participants give conflicting accounts about their emotional states in the present,
pointing at their messy and complex nature. What is one to make of these mixed reviews?
First of all, there is merit in Pearlman’s model. This is not only because of her origins with
the social movement research field, which had, by far and large, ignored emotions in the

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analysis of an otherwise very emotionally volatile phenomenon. Indeed, there is something
commonsensical about Pearlman’s analysis: without major reflection, it might seem intuitive
that emotions, such as anger and pride, rather lead to a fight, than shame or fear. The review
we did above partially confirmed this belief: we tend to instinctively develop cohesive and
coherent accounts about our emotions in the past, which we then seek to integrate into our
narratives about ourselves, as well as into a broader group and societal discourse. This
happens, however, amidst a raging storm of uncertainty about what we are feeling right this
very second. While we may often be unable to accurately put into words what our current
emotional state is, time crystallizes these impressions, and helps us form the cohesive
narratives we crave. As to where this craving for coherence comes, we are unable to research
this further beyond appealing to intuition: we all want to be understood. As part of the speech
act, we require an interlocutor who is able to receive and comprehend the message we are
formulating. This begins by modulating one’s vocabulary, or making additional explanations,
to fit a public to an audience from a different context as us (different age, place of origin,
religion, etc.). We may, however, often also require an emotional translation: stick to
emotional reaction patterns that the public can recognise and sympathise with. As we said
above, Pearlman’s model tends to intuitively make sense, which may lead us to
subconsciously favour these dynamics when producing an account. This may be responsible
for why Pearlman’s model seems to fit so neatly when referring to events in the past. These
processes require much more in-depth research within the fields of psychology and
philosophy, but what conclusions emerge for the employment of this method in social
research?
On the negative side, this model does not help us diagnose present events within a social
movement’s struggle. Since emotions are difficult, if not impossible, to discursively pin down
while they are ongoing, using Pearlman’s model does little for our analysis, since the actual
feelings would elude our gaze. Similarly, even if it were possible to definitely keep track of
one’s own emotions at all times, this might still not have a direct impact on our likeliness to
act, since agency obeys a plethora of emotional criteria ignored by Pearlman, such as
responsibility towards others, desire to revolt, or the recognition of an action’s intrinsic moral
value. Additionally, these patterns are not generaliseable to all members of a social
movement, since they react to developments, political or otherwise, differently. Along these
same lines, the model is unsuited for elaborating a prognosis, about a social movement’s
future success or failure. Finally, even when analysing a past event, the researcher should

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keep in mind, that the given accounts do not necessarily reflect reality. It is not that the
research subject is lying, but he/she is probably subconsciously cherrypicking experience, in
order to fabricate a cohesive narrative, which is coherent with his self-understanding, with a
broader group discourse, as well as with the listener’s context. If I report having felt fear and
having run for my life, then this probably happened, but it wasn’t the only thing that
happened. I may have felt fear, yet anger at the same time, I may have dabbled with staying
or leaving for several minutes, I may have felt fear not only for myself, but my family, and so
on. No matter how detailed and strict, the narrative interview is intrinsically unable to get at
the actual root of current emotion and action.
What, then, can Pearlman’s model achieve? It can help us analyse one main thing: how
individual members of social movements understand themselves and their emotionality in
relation to the social movement as a whole, and in the context of a social struggle. Past
emotions do certainly play a big role. The biggest impact, however, comes from our cognitive
efforts to fit in with ourselves and others. Thus, the focus is on cognition about emotion, not
emotionality itself. In other words, narrative analysis cannot help us observe individual
emotions as they are being felt, but only how individuals frame these emotions, how they
make sense of the felt ambivalence and conflict. This framing process is necessarily mediated
by both instrumental and value-based rationality – I would also expand this latter one with
social expectations. This mediation may shed doubt on the novelty or usefulness of
Pearlman’s approach. It is unable to open up a new lense of analysis – emotionality –, though
it does present a new object of research, emotions, to be explored through the already existing
cognitive frameworks. Understanding this limitation is crucial to employing the
emboldening/dispiriting emotions model.
Additionally, as we said, it is impossible to generalise general patterns from individual
interviews. This inherent diversity, however, can be the key to frame research with
Pearlman’s model around the question: how coherent are emotional narratives of individual
social movement members with one another and with the officially presented narrative? In
other words, how similarly or differently do activists frame their emotional states, and their
actions and reactions to social stimuli? One hypothesis could be: the higher the coherence
between individual narratives about a past event, the higher the chances that a collective
memory will arise of the fact. The Tahrir Uprisings, for example, were highly unhierarchical
and spontaneous with no central leading figures – the memory of the Uprisings, nonetheless,
is fairly comparable for all the interviewees, as a moment of utter joy, hope and

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companionship. To what extent this emotional framing coherence may point at patterns of
collective action could be a question of further research, for example.

10. Interviewereffekte, Interaktionseffekte und Probleme


im Interview

In diesem Kapitel wird die Durchführung der Interviews kritisch reflektiert. In der
qualitativen Sozialforschung besteht die Hauptaufgabe der interviewenden Personen darin,
„eine intensive Beziehung zum Befragten herzustellen, um dadurch eine möglichst gute
Interviewatmosphäre herzustellen, sodass tiefe, aussagekräftige und authentische Daten
erhoben werden können.“ (Misoch 2015:200) Der bzw. die Forscherin sollte dazu über
ausreichende kommunikative und soziale Kompetenz verfügen, um eine für die Forschung
fruchtbare Situation erzielen zu können (vgl. ebd.).
Da der Interviewende in der qualitativen Sozialforschung selbst das Messinstrument darstellt,
können Interviewereffekte hier besonders stark auftreten (vgl. Misoch 2015: 211). Vor
diesem Hintergrund sollte die zentrale Aufgabe der Interviewenden allerdings nicht darin
bestehen, diese Effekte zu vermeiden – stattdessen ist ein reflektierter Umgang mit der Rolle
von Subjektivität und dem Einfluss des Interviewenden gefragt (vgl. Misoch 2015: 200.). Die
forschenden Personen sollten sich daher dessen bewusst sein, dass der Interviewende zu
jedem Zeitpunkt der Forschung eine relevante Einflussgröße darstellt (vgl. Misoch 2015:
2011). Bezogen auf die vier durch unsere Projektgruppe durchgeführten Interviews lassen
sich mehrere Interviewer- sowie Interaktionseffekte bemerken, die im Folgenden reflektiert
werden.
Die Interviews wurden in englischer Sprache durchgeführt, weil davon ausgegangen wurde,
dass dies für die Interviewees komfortabler ist als in deutscher Sprache. Auch verfügt die
Projektgruppe lediglich teilweise über Arabischkenntnisse, sodass diese Sprache ebenfalls
ausgeschlossen wurde. Kann Englisch zwar als sinnvolle „lingua franca“ für die Interviews
betrachtet werden, so birgt sie doch auch Probleme: Da es weder die Muttersprache der
Interviewees (mit Ausnahme von Interviewee 1) noch die der Interviewenden (mit Ausnahme
von Interviewer E) ist, erschwerte es die Verständigung an manchen (wenigen) Stellen, in
denen es um komplexe Gedankengänge oder spezifische Begriffe ging. Dies verlangsamte die
Kommunikation zum Teil. Es muss davon ausgegangen werden, dass Interviews in der
Muttersprache der Interviewees andere und höchstwahrscheinlich detailliertere und

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aussagekräftigere Daten erzielt hätten. Daher muss auch kritisch hinterfragt werden, ob sich
einzelne Interviewees hinsichtlich ihrer Emotionen tatsächlich nicht so stark geöffnet haben
(wie Interviewee 2), oder ob dies nur aufgrund fehlender sprachlicher
Nuancierungsmöglichkeiten so erschien. Dennoch kam unsere Projektgruppe zu der
Erkenntnis, dass die Wahl der englischen Sprache, trotz ihrer möglichen problematischen
Konsequenzen, die einzig sinnvolle und praktikable war und aufgrund der sehr guten
Englischkenntnisse aller Beteiligten zu authentischen Daten geführt hat.
Grundsätzlich birgt nicht allein die Sprache ein Problem, sondern auch verschiedene
kulturelle Hintergründe. Da unsere Projektgruppe bereits aus drei verschiedenen
Nationalitäten besteht, spielten im gesamten Projekt vier verschiedene kulturelle
Hintergründe eine Rolle – die selbstverständlich auch innerhalb eines Landes variieren
können. Dieser Hintergrund prägt die Art (und Vorstellung von guter) Kommunikation
maßgeblich. Wie wird Humor und Sarkasmus eingesetzt? Was darf gesagt werden, wo wird
eine Grenze überschritten? Was können Frauen zu Frauen sagen, Männer zu Männern,
Frauen zu Männern? Da diese Aspekte bereits unter verschiedenen Subjekten mit gleichem
Hintergrund unterschiedlich empfunden werden, sind die Differenzen zwischen Personen aus
unterschiedlichen Ländern noch größer. Dies hat in den Interviews an manchen Stellen dazu
geführt, dass etwa bei als sehr persönlich empfundenen Themen aus Vorsicht nicht weiter
nachgefragt wurde, obwohl das Thema relevant für die Forschung gewesen wäre, was letzten
Endes weniger detaillierte Antworten generiert hat.
Basierend auf den zwei genannten Interviewereffekten besteht ein weiterer wichtiger Effekt
darin, dass noch kein Mitglied der Projektgruppe in Ägypten gewesen ist. Dies bringt zwar
auch Vorteile mit sich: Die Interviewenden mussten ohne die Landeserfahrungen sehr offen
an die Thematik herangehen und konnten die Interviewees „mit entschuldbarer Naivität zu
eventuell heiklen Themen“ (Misoch 2015:202) befragen, anstatt von Basisprämissen
auszugehen, die durch eigenes Erleben hätten entstehen können und letztendlich die
Ergebnisse verzerrt hätten. Ebenso ermöglichte es den Interviewenden, bestimmte
Phänomene nicht als selbstverständlich anzusehen. Ein Beispiel dafür ist die Frage, ob die
Interviewees planen, zu wählen – was alle Interviewees mit „nein“ beantworteten. Aufgrund
der politischen Situation zur Zeit der Wahlen hätte davon ausgegangen werden können, dass
politische AktivistInnen nicht wählen werden, da sie in der Wahl keine Möglichkeit zur
Veränderung erkennen. Jedoch konnten die Interviewenden aufgrund ihrer Neuheit in dem
Feld diese Frage stellen, ohne dass sie für die Interviewees sehr verwunderlich gewesen ist.

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Auch ist es vorteilhaft, dass keine Rollenkonflikte entstanden sind, da die Interviewenden
nicht Teil des sozialen Umfeldes der Interviewees sind, sondern ihnen gegenüber eine
neutrale Position innehatten (vgl. Misoch 2015:202).
Jedoch muss die Tatsache, dass die Interviewenden nicht bei den Protesten 2011 in Ägypten
anwesend waren als nachteilig betrachtet werden. Da das Forschungsfeld für die
Projektgruppenmitglieder relativ neu war, gestaltete sich der Feldzugang nicht einfach. So
waren sogenannte Gatekeeper notwendig, die den entaprechenden Kontakt zu potentiellen
Interviewees verschaffen konnten. Darüber hinaus muss davon ausgegangen werden, dass
sich die Neuheit im Forschungsfeld auf die Datenqualität niedergeschlagen hat. Mit größerem
Erfahrungshintergrund hätten während der Interviews gezieltere Nachfragen dazu beitragen
können, detailliertere und tiefgründigere Antworten zu bekommen. Letzten Endes bestand
jedoch das Ziel des Projektseminars darin, neue Forschungstechniken und -felder zu
erschließen und den Horizont im Bereich der (qualitativen) Sozialforschung zu erweitern.
Und nicht darin, ein möglichst bekanntes Thema tiefer zu ergründen. Vor diesem Hintergrund
kann die Datenqualität dennoch als angemessen betrachtet werden.
Ein weiterer ähnlicher Effekt bestand darin, dass die Interviewsituation jeweils das erste
Treffen zwischen den Interviewenden und Interviewees darstellte (mit Ausnahme von
Interviewer O und Interviewee 2). Der einzige Kontakt davor bestand in wenigen E-Mails, in
denen über den Treffpunkt und die Formalien abgestimmt wurde. Dies führte einerseits dazu,
dass keine tiefe Vertrautheit herrschte, die möglicherweise zu noch tiefergehenden Antworten
geführt hätte. Gleichzeitig aber wäre etwa eine Freundschaft zwischen Interviewenden und
Interviewees auch nicht von großem Vorteil gewesen, da eine zu große Bekanntheit die
Ergebnisse hätte verzerren können.
Weiterhin sollte angeführt werden, dass die Zusammensetzung der Interviewenden bei jedem
Interview unterschiedlich gewesen ist. Dies führte zu einer geringeren Vergleichbarkeit der
Interviews, da bei den vier Interviews drei verschiedene Personen die Rolle der
interviewenden Person übernahmen. Auch die Tatsache, dass bei jedem Interview zwei
(Interview 1) oder drei (Interview 2, 3, 4) Mitglieder der Projektgruppe anwesend waren, von
denen eine Person das Interview leitete, eine weitere Person die non-verbale Kommunikation
der Interviewees beobachtete und eine dritte Person für die einwandfreie Tonaufnahme
verantwortlich war. Obwohl dies dem Lerneffekt der Projektgruppenmitglieder zugutekam,
war es möglicherweise für die Vertrautheit im Interview nicht förderlich. In einer
Konstellation von lediglich einer interviewenden Person und einem Interviewee hätten

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vielleicht durch eine intimere Atmosphäre persönlichere Antworten und somit qualitativ
hochwertigere Daten erzielt werden können.
Ein weiterer Interviewereffekt ergibt sich aus der Zusammensetzung der Geschlechter in der
Interviewsituation. Es ist bekannt, dass männliche Interviewees anders auf weibliche
Interviewende reagieren und umgekehrt (vgl. Misoch 2015:205). Alle Interviews (mit der
Ausnahme von Interview 4, in dem drei Interviewerinnen und eine Interviewte teilnahmen)
waren geschlechtergemischt. Daraus lässt sich auf einen möglichen Einfluss auf die
Datenqualität schließen, da sich Interviewee 4 im Verlauf des Interviews tatsächlich am
meisten öffnete. Es muss allerdings berücksichtigt werden, dass sie selber zum Thema
Emotionen forscht und sie es daher im Gegenatz zu den anderen Interviewees gewohnt ist,
über ihre eigenen Emotionen zu sprechen. Das am meisten von der
Geschlechterzusammensetzung negativ beeinflusste Interview scheint Interview 2 zu sein.
Interviewee 2 brauchte einige Zeit, um sich auf die weibliche Interviewerin einzustellen und
sprach zunächst ausschließlich mit dem männlichen Interviewer, der für Notizen zuständig
war. Zudem unterbrach er die Interviewerin des Öfteren und ging oftmals nicht richtig auf
ihre Fragen ein. Als nach einer Pause der männliche Interviewer die Gesprächsführung
übernahm, kooperierte Interviewee 2 etwas mehr, indem er weniger unterbrach.
Ein möglicher Interaktionseffekt in Interview 2 bestand darin, dass die Interviewenden zum
Teil verunsichert waren, da Interviewee 2 nicht alle Fragen direkt beantwortete.
Möglicherweise strahlten die Interviewenden diese Verunsicherung aus, sodass Interviewee 2
schlussfolgern hätte können, dass sich die jeweilige interviewende Person nicht aufrichtig für
seine Aussagen interessiert, wodurch er wiederum weniger bereit gewesen wäre, detaillierte
Antworten auf weitere Fragen zu geben. Dies ist allerdings nur eine Spekulation. Eine damit
zusammenhängende Problematik bei Interview 2 bestand darin, dass der Interviewte sehr
ausschweifende Antworten auf die Fragen gab und mehrfach vom eigentlichen Thema
abkam. Möglich war dies zum Teil auch, weil die Projektgruppe sich vorher darauf geeinigt
hatte, die Interviewees nicht zu unterbrechen. Helferrich empfiehlt dazu, vor dem Interview
bestimmte Interventionen durchzusprechen, um von vornherein festzulegen, „ob und wenn ja
mit welchen Interventionen Interviewte in einem ausufernden Wortschwall gebremst werden
können.“ (Helfferich 2014:570) Die Berücksichtigung Helfferich’s Vorschlag hätte in diesem
Fall die Themenwechsel von Interviewee 2 zum Teil verhindern und detailliertere Antworten
generieren können.

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Auch die Wahl des Interviewortes hat die Datenqualität beeinflusst. Problematisch gestaltete
sich dies bei Interview 2, das in einem Café durchgeführt wurde. Durch viele Menschen an
den Nachbartischen war Interviewee 2 wahrscheinlich nicht ermutigt, über Persönliches zu
sprechen. Zusätzlich wurde die Tonaufnahme durch sehr laute Hintergrundgeräusche aus dem
Café maßgeblich beeinträchtigt, wodurch das Interview teilweise im Anschluss nicht
transkribiert werden konnte. Interviews sollten in der „natürlichen Umgebung“ (Misoch
2015:209) des Interviewees durchgeführt werden, sodass dieser sich wohlfühlt und dazu
angeregt ist, von sich zu erzählen. Dies ist sowohl bei Interview 1 gelungen, das bei
Interviewee 1 zu Hause durchgeführt wurde, als auch bei Interview 4, das im Büro der
Interviewten stattfand. Interview 3 wurde in der Wohnung eines der
Projektgruppenmitglieder durchgeführt, was nicht optimal für eine vertraue Atmosphäre ist,
aber dennoch vorteilhafter als an einem öffentlichen Ort so wie Interview 2.
Zudem wurden die erhobenen Daten auch durch die Transkription der Interviews von den
Interwiewenden beeinflusst. Zwar wurden fast alle Aussagen transkribiert, jedoch wurden bei
Interview 2 aufgrund der ausschweifenden Antworten einige nicht relevanten Textstellen
nicht transkribiert. Diese bewusste Auslassung beeinflusst die Daten und das Ergebnis, wenn
auch in sehr geringem Maß, da alle als für die Forschung relevant betrachteten Passagen
transkribiert wurden. Auch die Transkription von Lauten und Gesten beeinflusst die
Ergebnisse. So wurden bestimmte Laute mit spezifischen Gefühlen assoziiert und teilweise in
der Transkription vermerkt, wie zum Beispiel „sighs hopelessly“, „laughs in an excited way“.
Dieser richtungsgebende Einfluss war der Projektgruppe während der Transkription durchaus
bewusst, dennoch wurde so verfahren, um die Auswertung der Transkripte zu erleichtern.
Zusammenfassend wird deutlich, dass die Interviewenden in verschiedenster Weise Einfluss
auf die Daten und Datenqualität hatten. Im Laufe der Untersuchungserhebung sind
Interaktionseffekte aufgetreten. Die Wahl des Interviewortes spielt eine maßgebliche Rolle
für die Ergebnisse. Diese Effekte sind jedoch nicht immer innerhalb qualitativer Forschung in
Gänze vermeidbar. Stattdessen ist es eine entscheidende Bedingung für die Durchführung
qualitativer Sozialforschung, sich dieser Effekte bewusst zu werden und sie intensiv während
des gesamten Forschungsprozesses zu reflektieren.

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11. Concluding Remarks

This project departs from the question of the role played by emotions in the 2011 uprisings in
Egypt. It is interesting to note however that this starting point is different than that of Wendy
Pearlman, who goes as far as to ask the question of what exactly pushed people to the streets
to protest against the regime in 2011. Questioning the role of emotions in this is a first step
towards the understanding of the foundations of a social movement. Similar research carried
out on other protests or sudden collective action could complement this project and shed
more light on the role of emotions in social movements. For example, it could be interesting
to look at the role of emotions during the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of
Germany. Then, in order to fully answer Pearlman’s question of what exactly pushed people
to protest, structuralist and intentionalist theories would need to take into account, in order to
understand the weight of the various factors that played a role in the events.
Section 10 of this project offers a review of Pearlman’s text and answers the question of
what, according to this project and research, Pearlman’s model can achieve. This model can
help us analyse one main thing: how individual members of social movements understand
themselves and their emotionality in relation to the social movement as a whole, and in the
context of a social struggle. As outlined in section 10, past emotions of play an important
role. Yet our cognitive efforts to fit in with ourselves and others can play a major role,
placing the focus on cognition about emotion rather than emotions themselves. Narrative
analysis cannot help us observe individual emotions as they are being felt, but rather offers an
understanding of how individuals frame these emotions. Using Kleres’ methodology was
crucial in this project in order to analyse the narratives of the interviews carried out. The
analysis of narratives on emotions is the only tool of analysis we have in social science so far,
as emotions remain something personal and ungraspable by definition. Neuroscience may
offer a different analysis of emotions by looking at the brain. However, neuroscientific
research also focus on the present, as the possibility to look at the brain and stimuli to
external factors is an experience that must happen “live”- in real-time. The narratives in this
project are narratives of events that occured seven years ago, making Kleres’ methodology an
important tool in this research. Furthermore, as outlined in section 6, qualitative interviews
were carried out on four participants. Although these pointed to similar results, it is
impossible to make a generalization on so few cases. It could be interesting to carry out

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further interviews, on other cases for example, and look at the question of the extent to which
emotional framing may point at patterns of collective.

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12. Literaturverzeichnis

Al Jazeera online (2018): “Egypt court upholds Tiran, Sanafir transfer to Saudi Arabia,
Controversial ruling concerns sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir, largely unoccupied islands
in a strategic location”, Online im WWW unter URL:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/ egypt-court-upholds-tiran-sanafir-transfer-saudi-
arabia-180303185036714.html (Accessed on: 04.09.2018).

Ayata, Bilgin; Harders, Cilja (2018): “‘Midan Moments’ – Conceptualizing Space, Affect
and Political Participation on Occupied Squares“, in: Röttger-Rössler, Birgitt; Slaby, Jan
(eds.): “Affect in Relation. Families, Places and Technologies”, London/New York:
Routledge.

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94
Anhang

I. Call for Participants

A Master’s student research group participating in a project seminar at the chair for
Politics in the Maghreb, Mashreq and the Gulf at the Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political
Science is looking for Egyptian nationals currently living in Berlin who are willing to
take part in an interview. The investigation seeks to explore the perceptions and
emotional appraisals of Egyptian activists living in Berlin concerning the
recent presidential elections in March 2018. Participants will take part in an
anonymous interview, ranging between 90 and 120 minutes.

REQUIREMENTS

Interview partners should:

• Have or have had the Egyptian citizenship until recently


• Have lived in Germany for no longer than 10 years
• Have been politically active within the last 15 years (in any capacity)
• Have good English or German language skills
• Be available to conduct a 90-120 minutes interview between 1st and 30th June
2018 (concrete time and place have to sorted out)

COMMENTS

• All interviews are entirely ANONYMOUS! The participants’ personal information


will NOT be handed out to third parties

• The research group is not in a position to materially compensate participants


beyond snacks and beverages during the interview (any participation is voluntary)

CONTACT

In case of interest, please contact us at:


meebert0312@zedat.fu-berlin.de or os.vargas@fu-berlin.de
95
II. Leitfaden pre-elections

HOPE AND FEAR AMONGST EGYPTIAN ACTIVISTS IN BERLIN


Name of Interviewee Age Gender

Institution (if given) Marital State Years in DE

MAIN QUESTION SECONDARY QUESTIONS ANSWER COMMENTS


1. POLITICAL 1.1. How did you first become involved
ENGAGEMENT in political activism in Egypt?
BEFORE AND
DURING THE
1.2. What was your motivation to
2011 UPRISINGS
become politically active?

1.3. What did your engagement look


like before 2011?

1.4. Could you describe your


engagement during the 2011
uprisings? Could you describe
how a normal day would look like
during the 18 days of the
uprisings?

96
1.5. Did you have any concrete
expectations to come out of the
uprisings? What were they?

1.6. Would you have described yourself


back then as optimistic or
pessimistic about the chances for
success?

1.7. How would you describe the overall


atmosphere during the protests?

1.8. How did you feel?


1.9. Do you think back about the
uprisings today?

1.10. Is there one specific moment


during the uprisings that you think
back to?

1.11. How does thinking back about it


make you feel today?
2. CURRENT
2. How do you evaluate the political
POLITICAL
climate in Egypt right now?
SITUATION IN
EGYPT
2.1. Is there any specific debate that
you’re involved/interested in?

2.2. How do you see the current


electoral campaign?

97
2.3. Did you support any of the former
candidates? Why?

2.4. Do the elections somehow motivate


you to be more politically active?
Why?

2.5. Do the elections provide an


opportunity for meaningful political
opposition?
2.6. Do you expect a high voter turnout
during the elections?

2.7. Are you planning to vote?


2.8. How do you compare today’s
political situation with that before
the uprisings of 2011?

2.9. Do you have any contacts back


home who are still engaged in
activism?

2.10. What difficulties do political


activists face in Egypt right now?

98
4. How did your decision of leaving Egypt
3. POLITICAL
and coming to Germany come about?
ENGAGEMENT
FROM GERMANY
4.1. Was it hard for you to make the
decision to leave?

4.2. How did your close friends/family


react?

4.3. What are the main challenges for


you of living abroad?

4.4. Do you still struggle with living


away from Egypt?
4.5. How do you feel when you receive
news from Egypt?

4.6. Where do you receive your news


from Egypt?

4.7. Do you consume government news


from Egypt? How do they make
you feel?

(would you say you are more or less


anxious/nervous after leaving Egypt?)

4.8. Are you in touch with other


Egyptian activists here in Berlin or
abroad? Are they still politically
active?
4.9. What do you mostly talk about? Do
you discuss Egyptian politics often?

99
4.10. Do you think they share your
feelings about Egyptian politics?
Would you describe them as
hopeful for political change?
4.11. How important are these contacts
to you? Why?

4.12. Do you feel supported by these


networks in your own activism?

4.13. Is there any particular activist


initiative that inspires you or
motivates you on an everyday
basis?
4.14. Do you see the possibility for
activists (in Berlin/ Egypt) to
achieve something?
6. Do you think a new wave of protests –
5. FUTURE
similar to 2011 – or any other sort of
PROTESTS
large scale civic engagement is likely
in the near future? In your lifetime?

6.1. What conditions would have to be


met?
6.2. What conditions would have to be
met for you to wish to move back to
Egypt?

6.3. If protests broke out, would you feel


motivated to participate?

6.4. In what capacity? Would you


participate from abroad? Fly back

100
home?
6.5. Is there anything that you would do
different this time than in 2011?

6.6. Would you describe yourself as


hopeful in general about a future in
Egypt?

7. Anything you’d like to add?

101
III. Leitfaden post-elections

HOPE AND FEAR AMONGST EGYPTIAN ACTIVISTS IN BERLIN


Name of Interviewee Age Gender

Institution (if given) Marital State Years in DE

MAIN QUESTION SECONDARY QUESTIONS ANSWER COMMENTS


1. POLITICAL 1.1. How did you first become
ENGAGEMENT involved in political activism in
BEFORE AND Egypt?
DURING THE
2011 1.2. What was your motivation to
UPRISINGS become politically active?

1.3. What did your engagement


look like before 2011?

1.4. Could you describe your


engagement during the 2011
uprisings? Could you
describe how a normal day
would look like during the 18
days of the uprisings?

102
1.5. Did you have any concrete
expectations to come out of the
uprisings? What were they?

1.6. Would you have described


yourself back then as optimistic
or pessimistic about the
chances for success?

1.7. How would you describe the


overall atmosphere during the
protests?

1.8. How did you feel?


1.9. Do you think back about the
uprisings today?

1.10. Is there one specific moment


during the uprisings that you
think back to?

1.11. How does thinking back about


it make you feel today?

103
2. CURRENT
2. How do you evaluate the political
POLITICAL
climate in Egypt right now?
SITUATION IN
EGYPT
2.1. Is there any specific debate
that you’re involved/interested
in?
2.2. How did you see the electoral
campaign in March 2018?

2.3. Did you support any of the


former candidates? Why?

2.4. Did the elections somehow


motivate you to be more
politically active? Why?

2.5. Did the elections in March 2018


somehow motivate you to be
more politically active? Why?

2.6. Did you vote?

2.7. How do you compare today’s


political situation with that
before the uprisings of 2011?
2.8. Do you have any contacts back
home who are still engaged in
activism?

2.9. What difficulties do political

104
activists face in Egypt right
now? Stimulus: Letter from
Shawkhan

3. POLITICAL
3. How did your decision of leaving Egypt
ENGAGEMENT
and coming to Germany come about?
FROM
GERMANY
3.1. Was it hard for you to make the
decision to leave?

3.2. How did your close


friends/family react?

3.3. What are the main challenges


for you of living abroad?

3.4. Do you still struggle with living


away from Egypt?
3.5. How do you feel when you
receive news from Egypt?

3.6. Where do you receive your


news from Egypt?

3.7. Do you consume government


news from Egypt? How do they
make you feel?

(would you say you are more or less


anxious/nervous after leaving Egypt?)

105
3.8. Are you in touch with other
Egyptian activists here in Berlin
or abroad? Are they still
politically active?

3.9. What do you mostly talk about?


Do you discuss Egyptian
politics often?

3.10. Do you think they share your


feelings about Egyptian
politics? Would you describe
them as hopeful for political
change?
3.11. How important are these
contacts to you? Why?

3.12. Do you feel supported by these


networks in your own activism?
3.13. Is there any particular activist
initiative that inspires you or
motivates you on an everyday
basis?
3.14. Do you see the possibility for
activists (in Berlin/ Egypt) to
achieve something?
4. FUTURE 4. Do you think a new wave of protests –
PROTESTS similar to 2011 – or any other sort of large
scale civic engagement is likely in the near
future?

4.1. In your lifetime?

106
4.2. What conditions would have to
be met?
4.3. What conditions would have to
be met for you to wish to move
back to Egypt?

4.4. If protests broke out, would you


feel motivated to participate?

4.5. In what capacity? Would you


participate from abroad? Fly
back home?
4.6. Is there anything that you
would do different this time
than in 2011?

4.7. Would you describe yourself as


hopeful in general about a
future in Egypt?

5. Anything you’d like to add?

107
III.I. Stimulus: “Letter from Shawkhan”

Surprise!

(1)
Sitting with my cellmate, nothing on my mind;
The usual, daily, boring affair.
When the radio announces that Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs regrets my being
awarded UNESCO’s press freedom prize.
I feel two thingsM joy and sadness.
I was happy about UNESCO’s confidence in me, about being awarded the biggest
prize in press freedom worldwide.
And I felt sad about the disappointment of my fellow [compatriots], who share my
skin color, over my receiving the award.
Unfortunately, this was not enough for them. They defamed and degraded me, called
me a “criminal,” a “terrorist,” “a recipient of Qatari money,” even though I was born in
Kuwait and grew up there.
My profession does not know terrorism or crimes; it’s the voice of the voiceless.
Let the Foreign Ministry sing the tune of the Interior Ministry.
Some have played and some have sung, and so it goes.
Distortions!

(2)
But how?
Isn’t the law enough to regulate our relationships and our lives?
Since I am innocent by law, which — as a principle — regards defendants innocent
until proven guilty, how did officials judge me before the court?
What if I were acquitted? Or is it a preemptive step to influence the court’s decision?
Darkness!
And injustice!

(3)
How does a state or a quasi-state — as the president claims — demand that the law
be respected, while being the first to violate it?
How do my fellow journalists echo what officials have said about me, even though I
was given an award by the Journalists Syndicate a month ago?
Contradictions!

(4)
108
I would like to express gratitude to the director general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay,
who’s originally a photographer.
And to the secretary of the organization for giving me the award.
I extend my greetings to the members of the International Press Institute for
nominating me for the prize.
And to my mentors and my colleagues, who support me and have believed in my
innocence since my arrest.
Kisses to my family, and to my love and my friends.
I dedicate this prize to Radwa and Gad.
Greetings!

(5)
To conclude, here’s a quatrain titled “End of text.”*
“End of text” was initially irrelevant.
Copying and pasting, cutting and stacking,
A haphazard text.
This is the case with all our texts, they’re either lies or tricks!
The official is talking to himself, and he’s asking us to go along with him.
An overwhelming evil!

Shawkan
April 25, 2018
A Cairo prison

109
IV. Transkriptionsregeln

Transkriptionsregeln nach Werner Kallmeyer und Fritz Schütze (1976)


(,) ganz kurzes Absetzen einer Äußerung

.. kurze Pause

… mittlere Pause

(Pause) lange Pause

mhm Pausenfüller, Rezeptionssignal, zweigipflig

(.) Senken der Stimme

(-) Stimme in der Schwebe

(‘) Heben der Stimme

(?) Frageintonation

(h) Formulierungshemmung, Drucksen

(k) Markierte Korrektur (Hervorheben der endgültigen Version,


insbesondere bei Mehrfachkorrekturen)

Emotionen Auffällige Betonung

Emotionen Gedehntes Sprechen

(Lachen) Charakterisierung von nichtsprachlichen Vorgängen bzw.


Sprechweise, Tonfall; die Charakterisierung steht vor den
(geht raus)
entsprechenden Stellen und gilt bis zum Äußerungsende, bis
(Handy klingelt)
zu einer neuen Charakterisierung oder bis +
(schnell)

& Auffällig schneller Anschluss

(..), (…) unverständlich

(Kommt es?) Nicht mehr genau verständlich, vermuteter Wortlaut

110
Transkriptionsregeln nach Udo Kuckartz (2016)
AMAZING Sehr lautes Sprechen

(Interviewer 1: Really?) Einwürfe der jeweils anderen Person werden in


Klammern gesetzt (Gleichzeitiges Sprechen)

Zustimmende bzw. bestätigende Lautäußerungen


der Interviewer (mhm, aha etc.) werden nicht mit
transkribiert, sofern sie den Redefluss der
befragten Person nicht unterbrechen

111
V. Transkript Interview I

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
Interview 1
10 March 2018
th

Gender F Profession Academic

Age Home town Cairo

Interviewer O: So, yeah, would you mind just introducing yourself, what are you doing,
how long have you been doing it, what do you do?

Interviewee 1: So ahm I moved to Berlin end of 2011 .. ahm I got a DAAD scholarship to
start my PhD ahm and I first went to Leipzig for 6 months to .. do an intensive German
course & and then I moved to Berlin ahm in April 2012 ahm and I started my PhD and I’ve
been here since then & I finished my PhD end of 2016. And uh I just started a Postdoc a
month ago .. at Humboldt University & I did my PhD at Freie Universität (,) and ahm it’s in
Archaeology .. and ahm yeah, that’s about it! I’m Egyptian and I’m from Cairo.

Interviewer O: From Cairo (Interviewee 1: Yes) Ok. Perfect. Ahm. Great. Could you tell
us about how did you first become ahm came in touch with political activism back in
Egypt, what was your experience like?

Interviewee 1: My first interesting thing was in 2003 when ahm America invaded Iraq and,
this is kind of what sparked a bit of interest in becoming active politically, but then it kind of
died down a bit & and then ahm in 2008, 2009, I began to become a bit more politically
active ahm and I started to join protests and there’s a lot of workers’ movements happening at
that time. Ahh there’s things that Kefaya was organizing as well, so I joined in. (‘) I wasn’t
part of any organised group, but I was ahm but I had some contacts, friends, who were and
we just, I just started getting in touch and finding out which things are taking place and ahm
that’s when I first yeah became a lot more involved.

112
Interviewer O: Mhm. Was there, was there a specific moment that (,) like beyond the
Iraq invasion (,) did something specific that you have in your mind that said I need to, I
need to go out there’?

Interviewee 1: Ahh actually, I remember now, also I was in London doing my Masters ahm
and this was 2007, or 2006-2007, and it was ahm .. they’re re-writing the constitution under
Mubarak and ahm that’s a thing what kind of gave me a bit of a push & and I went and I ahm
there’s a protest in front of the Egyptian embassy in London and I joined that. And then after
that I started getting in touch with ahm bloggers online and other people that I wanted to
follow and kind of reaching out ahm and seeing what I can do when I get back to Egypt .. and
that’s I think when I said was kind of the trigger.

Interviewer O: Ok. Ehm. Back then ahm this is way before, from these manifestations
that you’re talking about ahm what was your motivation? What moved you to get to the
streets?

Interviewee 1: Ahm frustration, mostly, ahm I was, I mean, I grew up ahm .. I was born in
America, and then I moved to Saudi Arabia when I was 5 and then I moved to Egypt when I
was 10 & so I was, I kind of, was exposed to lots of different things and ahm and I just ah
when I was living in Egypt ... I was just (‘) and then I went back to America to study for my
BA. So I think this just moving around and seeing how different systems work, I’d always
come back to Egypt and feel very frustrated with ahm the government, with the way things
were happening, with the poverty and ahm the injustice ... I mean, yeah, just living in Egypt
and knowing that things are quite horrible, and they could be much better was always what
would move me.

Interviewer O: Ok, and did you ahm (,) how should I put it (,) did you feel like you
wanted to make a change? It wasn’t just ahm yeah - ?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, of course, I mean, (laughing) why yeah, it wasn’t just to pass time +, I
was honestly like, yeah, invested and wanting to see things, I mean of course at the time I
didn’t think we could get further than some simple reforms & I mean, under Mubarak, and
ahm yeah I was just trying to push things a bit, and to push our ceiling up, kind of the

113
freedoms that we have, and I think also seeing that there were things that were changing that
people were more courageous, and they were able to write things a bit more openly without
feeling, you know, fearing that they would be persecuted, so you could actually see the
changes that were taking place from people ahm protesting and going to the streets and stuff
that encouraged me even more.

Interviewer O: Mhm and after all of this, when the 2011 Uprising started ah where were
you? What were you up to then?

Interviewee 1: So ahm this (h) of course we were all very close to following Tunisia and I
remember also that (,) I didn’t go that time, but there was after the Tunisian ahm, the
downfall of Ben Ali and the Egyptians were protesting in front of the Egyptian embassy & so
I was also following that very closely and I was on Twitter at the time and then there was
then this call for the 25th January, when (,) a lot of people were very skeptical (,) BUT I, I
felt like no, this seems to be like an important day & and so I, I went, I was actually on my
own, and I went to Tahrir Square umm. And then I saw that there were a lot of people there
and I joined this march that was going through downtown ahm and we went all the way
through different districts within the downtown area & and then we finally came back onto
Tahrir Square and that’s where we had our first encounter with the police, and they started
throwing teargas, and umm ah people kind of running back and forth, and then we stayed
there. Actually, I was with (name left out) that evening, umm and we were, yeah, we stayed
until like after midnight, and then they had this huge bombardment of um teargas from all
sides and, they completely cleared out the square. And we ran to, you know, kind of side
streets ahm downtown and went home (.), so that was (exhaling) that was my day.

Interviewer O: Ok, ok. That is, that sounds like a rough night. Which date was this?
(Interviewee 1: 25th January!) 25th January! This was on the 25th, ok. (Interviewee 1: But
the more important one of course was the 28th January.) Of course. Were you also around
on the 28th?

Interviewee 1: YES! Yeah, yeah. Um I, of course, that day ah we woke up & and we found
out that all mobile phones were not working, but I had already.. agreed with a great friend of
mine to meet her um right after, during prayer time, I went to her, she lives close to

114
downtown, so I went to her place and then, we met a third person, a third friend, and then we
took a cab .. we were gonna start at Mayiti, which is south of, it’s an area, a district that is in
South Cairo. Umm and then, so we, it was more of a popular district, like working class, and
so we were there and we were waiting until uh they would finish the afternoon, (h) the noon
prayers, the Friday prayer. And as soon as that happened, we saw a small protest, we came to
join it, and then we saw these thugs coming from the other side, and they were throwing
things at them, they weren’t any policemen, they were just um you know, dressed in civilian
clothes and they were throwing rocks and whips and stuff at the protesters & so we got really
scared and we left, umm and then we went out to the Corniche, and we just bumped into
another protest, that was coming from some other place, and then we just joined it, and we
stayed with it until we went to (,) I don’t know how familiar you are with the way downtown
is (,) but so you have the square, and then there’s several entries onto it, so we were coming
from the South, but the police had blocked it, and that’s where we just stayed for the rest of
the night, basically just fighting with the police, and they were throwing teargas, and shooting
and stuff & so but we could hear people coming from the bridge, the famous Asrenil bridge,
and um that they had actually gone into the square but we never were able to get into the
square because they kept blocking us & because that’s where the Parliament was and that’s
also, which led to the Interior Ministry, so this area was really like, very kind of safely, they
secured it quite .. strongly so um yeah, I stayed in that street .. uhh all the night, until maybe 1
or 2, and then I took a cab (,) home.

Interviewer O: Beyond being part of the protests and seeing all of this, and of course
clashing with the police, as you did, emm did you take on any additional roles? Like,
helping to .. lead a protest or helping out with the distribution?

Interviewee 1: Throughout the 18 days (?) you mean? (Interviewer O: Yeah, exactly) Umm
no, I was mostly like umm well, I was, people were calling me, asking me (,) so my brother
had a tent, he was one of the first persons to put up a tent in the square and, so I was mostly
around that area where his tent was, and ahm friends who were not able to come, or people I
knew, who knew I was there and were not able to come the square, they would call me and
ask me, where they could deliver like food, or I don’t know, different kinds of supplies, and
what was needed, and so I would, maybe I helped a little bit in that just to kind of tell them
yeah, you can, you know, drop it off at this tent, and then we’ll take it and distribute it and

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things like that. Uhm I was also very, and (‘) I guess, mostly I was just trying to tweet what
was happening so I did that a lot, and uhm so we did photographs and I just .. you know ..
writing about what I was seeing and specially if there was clashes or things were happening
(.) in a way.

Interviewer O: Mhm. Okay, so you’re role was rather reporting (Interviewer 1: Yeah,
kind of) Okay. From this experience, or when you think back of it, did you have any
concrete expectations of what would happen, what would come out of the protest?

Interviewee 1: Uhm I think, at the beginning uhm .. I didn’t think it would lead to Mubarak’s
downfall, to be honest, BUT AS THE DAYS WENT BY and I ... uhm and then I kind of, and
I was living in the square, and I saw like just how much people were really invested in this
and that there was all this kind of, what do you call that, like, MOMENTUM, (‘) and uhm
just the spirit of the square made me feel that towards, that no, this is gonna go much further
than just some reforms & that we were gonna be able to get rid of Mubarak. So I think
towards the end that was everyone’s expectation & I think no one was gonna leave the square
unless that happened, and it was quite clear and you could sense it all around.

Interviewer O: Ahh, could I ask you to maybe detail it a bit for us, what do you mean by
feeling in the square, what exactly .. did you feel?

Interviewee 1: Ahm I just felt .. really safe, and I felt ahm I mean, okay, Egypt has for
example a bit of a harassment problem, and ahh women, so many times, I (‘) DON’T SO
MANY TIMES FEEL SAFE and comfortable out on the street and whatever, so now I was
on this huge square (‘) with lots of men I don’t know, strangers from all different classes and
ahm I never once felt that I was under threat, I never once got harassed, physically or verbally
or anything umm & everyone was really nice to each other, there was no anger, there was
just, like, everyone was trying to be helpful, there was, all this, the political divisions weren’t
at all apparent, there was just, everyone was really united (,) I mean it was kind of like a
utopia, sometimes like, this isn’t really true, this can’t be reality & I mean, I’m sure if we
stepped outside things will be different, but inside it was uhh like my brother actually was
next to uhh someone else’s tent was, he was Muslim Brotherhood, and NOT ONCE were
there, there was some like discussions, and you know chats, how they saw things, but there

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was never really arguing, uhm so you know it was just like a very kind of unified spirit, and it
was VERY inspiring.

Interviewer O: Mhm. And you felt that this uh atmosphere could generate change, also
on the government level?

Interviewee 1: YEAH OF COURSE! Because when you have all this people from all these
different classes, different genders, different like political views and all this and they’re all
together wanting exactly the same demand then of course you feel really strong, (.) and you
feel like you know, this collective power is gonna do something.

Interviewer O: Mhm. Okay. Now, clearly a lot has happened since then, but .. do you
still think back about the Uprisings today, like how do you remember them?

Interviewee 1: (laughing) I try not to remember them. I think this is the first time I’ve ever
talked about it since then +, ahh (faster) because when I think about it I get really upset and
emotional because its, I mean now we’re in such a dark place, and we’ve gone back even
worse than when we were under Mubarak so, umm, I, I mean, sometimes I just, with myself,
I try to remember, because I don’t want to forget it as well. And I feel like, as time goes by,
memory of things either change or you don’t remember it correctly, or you don’t remember
all, so I mean, I think about it sometimes myself but I, I usually don’t engage in conversations
with people, and be like “oh remembers, when we did this, remember when we did that”,
because it’s always just so sad (.). I prefer not to talk about it.

Interviewer O: Perfect, umm … well, not perfect (both laughing) umm can I ask maybe
an extra question, if it’s okay, is there one specific moment from back then that .. was
particularly meaningful to you during the uprisings?

Interviewee 1: Well, of course, for me it was when, when we, we had the whole screen at the
square, and when, what’s his-, this (..), (...) man came out and gave his (..) his speech or
whatever, and he said that Mubarak was stepping down, this of course, that was the climax of
it all.

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Interviewer O: How, how did people feel? How did you feel when that happened?

Interviewee 1: (abrupt) NO, I mean, it was just UTTER EUPHORIA, I mean, we were in
such disbelief and everyone was like, and then the thing is that, I think there was like
different, there was people watching TV, they were getting the reception a bit earlier than we
were getting on the big screen so you could hear people cheering, and you know, so by the
time we heard it, and we’re like “no, is it really true?”, so there was also this sense like, no,
it’s not happening, like it took us a few minutes to actually believe it was true, but yeah, it
was just like, EVERYONE burst out, it was like amazing, of course.

Interviewer O: Mhm. So you said, you left some months later, you left to make your
Masters degree (Interviewee 1: My PhD), your PhD, sorry, your PhD, umm okay.
Moving on to today, on a very general basis, how do you evaluate the current political
climate?

Interviewee 1: Oh it’s horrible, oppressive uhm it’s never been this bad, at least since I’ve
been alive. Uhm under Mubarak it was never this bad, so we’ve gone back, we’ve regressed
like unbelievably.

Interviewer O: Mhm. Ah is there any specific political debate that’s ongoing that you’ve
been following particularly closely

Interviewee 1: In terms of what?

Interviewer O: Ahm for example, how did you see the debate around the Tiran and
Sanafir islands, is this something that you have - ?

Interviewee 1: YEAH OF COURSE, I’ve been following all these things, yeah it’s a
complete uh disaster uh and it’s -. I mean, my problem with it, with it, isn’t on a nationalistic
level that oh, I know, you know, it’s our country, and this is our land, and I mean, my anger
doesn’t stem form there, it’s more the Sisi basically thinks he owns the country, he can do
whatever he wants with whatever part of the country to whomever without any kind of due
process, without parliamentary oversight into anything, and it’s just, I MEAN THIS IS

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WHAT HE DOES WITH EVERYTHING, so it’s not quite, it’s not surprising but, what was
good about Tiran and Sanafir was that umm there had been a complete lull in any kind of
political faction, people were like, not motivated at all, and when this happened, I think it was
last year, (?) wasn’t it? (Interviewer O: June, I think, yes) Ok, yeah, and this was the first
time that ah people actually went to the s- (,) I mean they didn’t really, it wasn’t a street
protest, it was in front of the General Syndicate, (‘) but it was the first time in maybe a couple
of years that ah people actually protested and not feared arrest or getting killed or whatever,
and for example my brother, he had stopped joining protests for a really long time, and this
was the first one he’d- I mean, I wasn’t there, I was here- but this was the first time that he
had actually joined a protest in a very long time. (‘) So there was like a glimmer of hope that
this was gonna push something, (.) uhm but in the end it really didn’t do much.

Interviewer O: Uhm. Why, why do you think it was such a sensitive topic that brought
people to the streets again after all these years?

Interviewee 1: Well, I think it’s because, I MEAN UNFORTUNATELY, I mean, for me this
is like I said, it was important, but I think because it’s such a nationalistic issue, it’s about
selling land and uhh Egyptians are quite nationalistic in a way, and they, for them this is a big
No-No, and that’s why, for example, they loved the army so much, because the army
represents the State and protects it, and then all of a sudden it’s the army or Sisi who’s
actually selling this land and so, so brought up of course and, a lot of people were actually
very supportive of Sisi. When this happened, they started like questioning their support or
they started to criticize him, so this brought people from different kind of local spectrum, and
I think that’s why it was a bit more forceful.

Interviewer O: Mhm. And you mentioned that for this case, there were also protests,
which hadn’t been in a long time, and there was also less fear, if I understood it
correctly, of being arrested. What did you mean exactly? Why do you think that fear
wasn’t there anymore?

Interviewee 1: Ahm because I think it touched a very sensitive chord in people, (?) you
know? And it was just like, “well, if he can sell the land, you know, I mean why are we -,
they just felt like, YOU KNOW THIS IS ENOUGH. You know, like we really need to, at one

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point this has to stop, and it was such an important issue that it would actually garner people
to go and to take to the streets, while other issues, like for example, okay, there’s always,
there’s been constant torture, imprisonment, unjust trials, and this is something that’s been
ongoing, but then all of a sudden, there’s this big thing that’s a bit different and, people kind
of became desensitised to the torture and the arrests and the whatever, but now you have this
like kind of uhm issue that’s more in a national scale.

Interviewer O: Mhm. That’s what motivated them. Uhm. You mentioned your brother
was in this protest and hadn’t been in a long time, what did he say about it? What did
he recount from that?

Interviewee 1: Umm I think he was just happy to see so many people out, (‘) I mean
relatively speaking, you know of course if you compare it to the numbers that came out when
there was still momentum on the street during the revolution and the years after, it’s very
small, (‘) but he was just happy to see that there were uhm at least more than 10 people
(Interviewer O: Of course!) protesting, and uhm HE WAS OPTIMISTIC, like he, I
remember when I spoke to him, he said that he was quite optimistic and he was hoping that
this would uhm you know move things forward and maybe you now, we would see, more
movement, more people protesting later on, (.) but I don’t, that didn’t really happen.

Interviewer O: Okay. He was optimistic, but ehm, did you feel optimistic?

Interviewee 1: YEAH I DID! I felt optimistic when there was all this outcry against what
happened and I could read it on social media, and newspapers and I was like this is going to,
and then there was, they planned a protest, and then there was also these court cases. Another
thing which is important on this Tiran and Sanafir issue is that it showed that some branches
of government are not all in line with Sisi. So there was for example this, there was a case
against what he did, (‘) and then one of the judges, of course I don’t know exactly in terms of
the legality, and which court said what but I do know that there was one court that rejected or
found that what Sisi was doing was unconstitutional, and that he was not, had no right to sell
this land, and so showed that because of course, we know that all the branches of the state:
the police, the army, the judiciary, they’re all under Sisi and he controls them. So at this
point, when we saw that there was a court that didn’t comply with Sisi, it kind of also gave us

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some, like we were a bit more optimistic, that, it showed that there was kind of divisions
taking place, that it was cracking a bit, his hold on the state.

Interviewer O: Mhm. You did mention that after all, it sadly didn’t work. Umm how
does that make you feel to some extent, I mean, have you lost this optimism that you had
briefly?

Interviewee 1: YEAH OF COURSE, yeah, definitely. It’s, I mean, because it just died down,
and even now in the courts, it’s umm he’s gone ahead with it, and I think already now they’ve
been transferred to Saudi Arabia, so ahm since then, I haven’t been, there’s nothing really
that uhh has made me - I’m trying to think if there has been anything recently that made me
feel a bit more optimistic, but I can’t remember right now, so (laughing) obviously not +.

Interviewer O: Okay. Maybe another issue right now is the electoral campaign that’s
ongoing, how do you evaluate it?

Interviewee 1: Well, of course it’s a COMPLETE FARCE. It’s just a show for try to give
legitimacy to his dictatorship. Of course, when Khaled Ali decided to run, I was completely
supportive of his campaign umm and when I was in Egypt in Christmas and January, and I
went and I - how do you say in English? - cause he needs to gather - what’s it called, it’s
called Saukir -, which he needs to gather a certain number of signatures from like people who
vote, so that he’s able to run, so I went and did one for him, umm and all my friends actually,
and a lot of people who don’t actually, who I wouldn’t think would have supported Khaled
Ali, I, when I was in Egypt they were all like “oh yeah, we’re all gonna go and give him our
signatures blah blah blah, and I was like oh, so there’s, I thought when I was in Egypt this
time that there’s another kind of wave of optimism that ok, like we now that Khaled Ali is not
gonna win but the fact that we can, there’s like uhm there’s a small opening to challenge Sisi
and to just disrupt this a little bit for him. Ahm we know that in the end he’s gonna win, but
at least, if Khaled Ali gets all this support from this progressive leftist revolutionary whatever
camp then it’s just a little bit of an annoyance for him. So yeah.

Interviewer O: Can I ask you from, what was, what is, what moved you right now
towards Khaled Ali, in comparison to other candidates?

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Interviewee 1: Well, I mean, I don’t agree one hundred percent with everything, with all his
policies, but for him he’s the closest one to the way I think, to my politics, and I think he’s
the closest one to the revolutionary camp. He’s not without his problems of course, but uhm
he’s uhm he stands a lot for what I believe in, and he’s been quiet, since he started getting
involved in politics, I think right after the revolution, he’s always had like a very uhm his
stances haven’t changed, they’re quite consistent, I mean, he’s, (‘) compared to all the other
candidates who are just either .. fake opposition or uhm from the military or actually from
Mubarak’s old men, he’s the only one who is not one of those. (‘) Of course I don’t know if
you heard of the recent scandal about him that kind of put me off and a lot of people, is umm
the, this girl who sent the e-mail alleging that he harassed her, I don’t know if you guys are
aware of that.

Interviewer O: Mhm. Part of the Me Too movement. However, he and, which were the
candidates, and- withdrew their claims, their (Interviewee 1: Candidacy) candidacy -
candidacy is exactly - back in January for .. whichever reasons. Uhm how did you feel
when these news came in?

Interviewee 1: I was really disappointed - NO, not disappointed. (‘) I was happy he did that,
because that was the right thing to do, after what was the climate of oppression and how Sisi
was. ‘cause I mean, of course, he was stopping all the candidates form running, starting from
- I mean, (‘) not that I would ever support Shafiq and the rest, Shafiq and Anan and all these
people, but just the fact that everyone, anyone who would dare to run against him was either
imprisoned or threatened, or I don’t know, whatever. So I think it was the right thing for
Khaled Ali to do, and many people were calling for him to withdraw. So this I was happy he
did, but I was very sad that this one opportunity that we had in a while to just, kind of gather
under one thing and unite in a way against Sisi was, had now, gone, so yeah that was a bit
sad.

Interviewer O: Based on all of this, do you expect a high voter turnout during the
elections?
Interviewee 1: No (Interviewer O: Not really), no, not at all. (‘) Because I think, I mean
disappointment, far from the people who are actually against Sisi, his supporters, many of

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them are very disappointed, I mean I don’t want to be cliché and say that the taxi drivers blah
blah blah but when I was in Egypt this time and I was in uber and taxis and whatever this
kind of working class have always been supportive of Sisi in a way because they’re all
looking for someone who is strong and (..), (...) the country, many of them are like, they hate
the Muslim Brotherhood and whatever but like, this time, the atmosphere was a lot more
against Sisi. So I don’t really think, I mean, prices have doubled, it has become very, very
expensive living there uhm there is no actually, his whole security thing, whatever is not
happening, there’s all these terrorists and stuff, so you know, I don’t think anyone’s happy
with him.

Interviewer O: Ok, ahm. How about you personally, are you planning to vote?

Interviewee 1: No.

Interviewer O: Ok, ahm. Based on this .. Do you think that the elections have any
potential whatsoever to disrupt, to - ?

Interviewee 1: No. (laughing) No, no because first of all, I mean, his opposition candidate is
someone who supported him (laughing), they looked, cause they, you know, limited everyone
else +, so they had to find some puppet and like, so, he’s a complete idiot, ahm so of course,
not, these elections are- they’re not gonna, (‘) I mean, I don’t know if people will be so
frustrated with this farce that it’s going to push some kind of reaction to it, maybe, I don’t
know, like, kind of, this is not exactly comparable but uhm before the Jan 25th there was this
whole Parliamentary election farce, which was one of the triggers, I think (..), (...) that the
NDP got 95% so maybe this is something a bit similar, because when Sisi ran the first time
he had a lot of support, so this was, it made sense that he got (..), (...) percent or whatever, but
this time I don’t think he has that much support, so I don’t know if people’s frustrations will
lead to something.

Interviewer O: Okay, so you do see some parallels between now and - ?

Interviewee 1: Ahh little bit. (laughing) Weak parallels, but I don’t like to be very optimistic
because +, I don’t know, I just always get disappointed.

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Interviewer O: Okay ahm. … Beyond that, right now, what political - what difficulties
do political activists face in Egypt?

Interviewee 1: Well, I mean, ALL KINDS OF DIFFICULTIES. You’re just not free to say or
do whatever you want. You’re always at risk of getting arrested for writing something they
don’t like, for em of course protesting, everything, I mean, there is, you don’t have any kind
of free space to do anything or express anything.

Interviewer O: Mhm. Do you face any constraints living here?

Interviewee 1: No. I don’t. Uhm. Well, first of all, I mostly like, if I write something on
Twitter or whatever, it’s mostly in English, less in Arabic, so I think that’s one thing, and I
mean, I haven’t been active .. for many years, so I just follow mostly, and if there’s
something I can do like maybe you know support Khaled Ali, you know, I will, but in terms
of being like actually active politically, I’m not. I just kind of stepped back.

Interviewer O: Uhh. When would you say this happened, that you decided to step back
from all of this?
Interviewee 1: After Rabaa, (.) the massacre by Sisi, when he you know (..), (...). After that,
you know, I really lost a lot of - I was very umm so disappointed in many people, because a
lot of umm comrades and people I have known, you know, and I was with in Tahrir, and they
supported, were very supportive of this, because of their hatred to the Muslim Brotherhood
and had no problem with Sisi, you know, killing thousands, umm and, so, I, so this just kind
of put me off and then, (‘) after that there was of course this very oppressive, I mean it was
obvious that after that things would become a lot more OPRESSIVE, not just for the Muslim
Brotherhood but to everyone, and yeah, you just get scared, and you just realize that maybe
it’s safer just to not be involved.

Interviewer O: Mhm. Would you go back, you think, if something happened?


Interviewee 1: YEAH OF COURSE, if I felt there was a large movement and that people
were, that we were, that there is support from a large portion of the population and yeah, but I
mean, conditions that are similar to what happened that led to the January 25th Uprising.

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Interviewer O: Mhm, okay. Uhm. To maybe rewind back a little bit, uhm, how did you
decide to leave Egypt, or how did you make this decision to leave Egypt before the
Uprisings happened?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, so I had applied for this scholarship before the revolution, and I only got
news that I got accepted a few months after. (‘) And then at that point I was very confused,
and I, I was debating not taking the scholarship, to stay in Egypt, because I felt that it
wouldn’t be the right time to leave and all, and I was, (‘) I knew that I would have a very
difficult time leaving and I did, but then I decided that it’s better to, like, it’s a good
opportunity, and I’d just finish and go back, (‘) I mean, that’s always what I was telling
myself, that it was just 3 years and then I’d go back, and it’d all be okay.

Interviewer O: Mhm. And, can I ask you maybe, how were the reactions of the people
around you when you said that maybe you were going to leave for some time?

Interviewee 1: Well, everyone encouraged me to go, because I was saying, actually I’m
thinking of not going and I won’t take the scholarship, and everyone was like: “no, what are
you talking about, you should definitely go and you know, Egypt will still be here”, and you
know of course this, there is this idea that we were rebuilding you know, a new Egypt, and
everyone was like, you finish and come back and you know, join the ranks again and stuff.

Interviewer O: Ahm, could you tell me the date, I mean the month, around what month
you left?

Interviewee 1: I left September, end of September 2011.

Interviewer O: Okay. Hmm, and how were the first months, maybe the first year of
living abroad?

Interviewee 1: It was awful. I was really, really homesick, and I was, and of course I was in
Leipzig and it was just like (laughing) such a small town- for me- coming from Cairo + and I
also, I didn’t, the people I was with, they didn’t know, and a lot of them were, we didn’t think

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the same way politically ahm, so I was, I found it difficult, there was a lot of things like the
Spyro massacre happened when I was abroad, and then Allah Mahmoud, so there’s several
things taking place and I was watching from afar, and it was, it was really, really painful and
not only because I couldn’t be there, but there was no one to share it, this, what was
happening with, because the people I was with were completely uninterested, and if they
were, they were taking the army’s side, so it was just, I felt like isolated and alone, and I went
back many times, I mean I wasn’t, for example, I wasn’t supposed to go back during the first
six months, part of the scholarship, one of the obligations, I had to stay there for six months
without going back but I went back in Christmas because I was, it was too much.

Interviewer O: Were there other Egyptians around you at the time, or what kind of
people - ?

Interviewee 1: Yeah they were, so we were a group of six or seven Egyptians that had the
same scholarship from different fields, and ahm and we were living in a WG and uhm at this
language centre, so they all came from different parts of Egypt, they weren’t all from Cairo
but from the Delta and everywhere. Yeah, so I was with these people for six months.

Interviewer O: You mentioned that they weren’t - ?

Interviewee 1: (‘) No, they were actually quite, I wouldn’t say that they’re like old regime
supporters but they’re not, I wouldn’t say they’re revolutionaries. And so, many times I’d
come into class in the morning, I’d be very upset, “did you hear what happened in Spyro?,
and they killed, I don’t know, many (..), (...)” and they would just be like “yeah, they
probably deserved it” (laughing) That was always their answer + (..), (...) and then once, I
was supposed to give a presentation, so I gave a presentation about how the army’s taking
over power now- in German- and that they’re, you know, killing protesters and torturing, and
so then I got all this backlash from mostly Egyptian students in my class and, telling me that I
was making things up and that the army is (,) you know, normal stuff people say.

Interviewer O: And, like, how was, what was your first impression of, say, talking to
these other Egyptians around you and hearing these answers, like, what is your first
reaction?

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Interviewee 1: I WAS VERY ANGRY. I’d be very angry and I’d answer very angrily and tell
them that they don’t know what they’re talking about, they don’t read the news and they’re
blindly supportive of the military for, you know, reasons that don’t make any sense. Umm,
yeah, I was angry, frustrating, it was sad, you know, many times I’d call friends back home,
crying, like “what am I doing here?” (laughing) so yeah it was not- It wasn’t a very good
time.

Interviewer O: But I guess in between you have slowly found your people to some
extent?!

Interviewee 1: Yeah, this was in Leipzig and then I came to Berlin after, and umm I didn’t
also know many people here but then slowly ahh, I got in touch with some activists, not just-
mostly Arab, not only Egyptian, and umm I formed actually this small group umm with three
other girls from Palestine, Lebanon and Yemen, and we started something called the Arab
Hub, Berlin. (‘) And we just decided that we wanted a space where we could discuss ongoing
issues, umm, events taking place in the Arab region and we would hold maybe every two
months like a- in a bar- we’d have some kind of .. event, like umm- Egypt for example, if we
had a friend, like, that we knew an activist was coming through Berlin, we’d invite them to
come and talk about a certain issue and then we’d tell people to come and then we had things
about Yemen, and Syria and Palestine of course. So yeah, this small group kind of grew and I
started getting to know a lot more people, and then also, Berlin has become an exodus for
Egyptian activists, so - yeah, my social circle just grew a lot over the years.

Interviewer O: Umm and has this new - have these new people made it easier for you to
be here and not in Egypt?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, I mean in the beginning of course, because in the beginning there was
still like a lot of momentum, and there was still a lot of hope umm and even under Morsi,
like, we umm, we organized protests and, you know, and events and things so yeah, it was
good to have this group of people. But then umm like, after Sisi umm, since I’ve become like
less interested in politics and I don’t really attend many protests or events, I kind of think

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they’re futile uhh but I still, they’re just my friends because they have the same mindset, and
we like to speak about specific things and stuff, but umm yeah.

Interviewer O: Okay. Umm and nowadays, and beyond personal matters, what do you
mostly talk about? Are they still very vocal about politics or…?

Interviewee 1: Umm I’ve seen ahh over the years, like, we were I think you know 2012-13,
there was, yeah people were quite vocal and we, there were - and that’s why we would talk a
lot about this every time we met, that was what kept us together, what we shared umm. (‘)
But yeah, over the years, it’s become a lot less important and we do talk about it like “oh
guess what happened here, guess what happened there” and you know yes, of course, it’s
always part of our conversations but we have less interest to do anything about it or change it.
Umm one of the - there are two things that recently took place which I took part in. One of
them, and this was last year uhh, that was when the LGBT Community was being targeted in
Egypt, and umm (clearing throat) so there was a quick response and ehh from the community
here and I have a very good friend of mine, who’s very involved with this community so I
was in touch with him, and we organized a protest, and we had like a few initiatives (..), (...)
to help and stuff, and that was one thing, and the other one was we tried to organize
something for Alee, ale al-Fattah, because her sister called for an international day of protest
for him, and so I got involved in that also, we did like, we had a meeting with some people.
(.) Uhh but yeah, these were the last two things.

Interviewer O: Mhm. So, would you say that around your group of friends there’s
mostly a shared feeling of apathy, maybe - ?

Interviewee 1: Definitely, yeah, yeah. I mean, sometimes for example I’d call someone and
be like “oh there’s this protest I’m thinking of going to it”, and they’re like “oh you still go to
protests?” you know, and this person would go like, if I called him a few years, would have
been very keen and eager to go and now it’s always “really, you still go, you still doing this?”
and this amongst maybe 70-80% of my friends who before would have been very involved.

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Interviewer O: And from this community, do you think it’s some sort - meeting new
people, rather, do these become important criteria for you? To some extent, like seeing
how involved they are in Egyptian politics, how optimistic, how pessimistic…?

Interviewee 1: No, I mean, it’s not a criteria for someone to be my friend or for me to hang
out with them … Of course, I would prefer and usually I won’t be friends with someone who
supports Sisi, ‘cause we just wouldn’t find anything to talk about and we just would be
arguing all the time, maybe kill each other. But umm so, I would say so mostly that my
friends are all politically, all think the same way, or at least in the broad terms & but we don’t
have to be, like what we share, what we do together doesn’t have to be political, just enjoy
having drinks somewhere.

Interviewer O: Of course. I wanted to ask you about this group, the Arab Hub Berlin,
that you mentioned, umm, are the discussions about activism, but do you also tackle
other topics? What kind of things do you discuss?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, we started in the beginning, it was just all political, and it was because
there was a lot of momentum, and there were still things taking place across the Arab World
and you know lots of activists were coming back and forth, we showed films and
documentaries and things like that. But as time went by uhh we became a bit, how do you say
uhh we just didn’t find very, we were very, we kind of became a bit more removed from
things taking place, we were not inspired anymore, and we ran out of topics to talk about,
because it just seemed that everything is with either there’s a war or there’s dictatorship, and
we just felt- and then there was nothing that would- we didn’t feel that the space we were
offering would help to change anything anyways so, we had a very long low where we didn’t
do anything. I was finishing my PhD also and then one of- and then (name left out) was
pregnant, so I mean there were also other personal factors that made us less involved, but I
think mostly it was just we didn’t- we weren’t really enthusiastic anymore, like we were in
the beginning, our enthusiasm had completely decreased. & What we tried to do recently, like
a couple of months ago is like, we tried to revive it, involving more people, because of course
there was this growing community of Arabs, and most of them are in some way politically
engaged either through their online activism, their digital activism, security - so we kind of
wanted to expand it and so we did that, and we told them that we were out of ideas, we don’t

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know how to do anymore, we’re not motivated, so we thought we’d expand it a bit and
thought to include some cultural things, like we, you know, would talk about poetry. I mean,
we had our first event in January, but I wasn’t here & umm and it was basically ahh Arabs
writing about Berlin, you know like texts on Berlin, either poetry or just novels or anything, it
was a reading night umm and either on Arab or German or English. So yeah so it’s not now
just politically focused, like it was before this expansion.

Interviewer O: And do you think that umm from either political topics of way back
when or the cultural topics, do you think that what happens there stays within the
group, or do you think that maybe some of the members then go out and then do
something about it?

Interviewee 1: No, because they are all on their own - like I said they’re engaged in a way
like one of them, for example this Iranian journalist writing on Deutsche Welle or whatever
and she already writes about issues related to Arabs in Berlin or in general like in the Arab
World, there’s someone else who works on digital security, you know, censorship and things
like that in the Arab World, so like all of them have a kind of like a background that’s uhh
where they’re already tackling these issues on their own.

Interviewer O: (..), (...) When you created it, or when you organised this event do you
think about it as a closed thing, just doing it for its own sake, so to speak, or do you have
any other - ?

Interviewee 1: NO OF COURSE, (‘) I mean, it’s not just for us because you know, we wanna
have a good time and all, the initial idea of it was to reach more people and to eventually give
a voice to people who weren’t able to speak about certain things and also, of course on the
long run to challenge the you know all these dictatorships in the Arab World, patriarchy, all
this stuff, you know these are like very broad goals that we don’t think (laughing) we’re
gonna overthrow regimes by hosting Arab Hub Events +, but the idea is you know to
disseminate our thoughts and our ideas and whatever. And right now it’s not as umm these
ideas I wouldn’t say are so important as they were before, but of course that’s part of it, you
know, to reach out to more people, to involve more people in issues related to Arab vision

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and what’s going on and maybe uhh educate them a bit more about what’s happening and
stuff like that.

Interviewer O: Mhm. You mentioned that you also do readings in English and in
German. I imagine you also get guests - non-Arab guests, German and otherwise. Does
that also play a role somehow, thinking about these visitors?

Interviewee 1: (‘) Yeah of course, I mean, the idea is not to preach to the choir, so we want -
the idea is to involve - and we’re in Germany so it makes sense that we - that the events take
place in a language that people understand, so most of our events are in English, and if the
person only spoke Arabic then we would have someone translate, like having some
translation into English or German, sometimes, the person would speak German, so then
we’d translate into English, stuff like that, but it was always, the main language was English
because we had a lot of non-Arabs come to the event.

Interviewer O: Mhm okay. Umm I wanted to ask you about your Twitter presence, your
online presence. You’re still active on Twitter (Interviewee 1 laughing) would you
compare it somehow to 2011? Has it decreased?

Interviewee 1: OH YEAH IT’S DECREASED A LOT. I mean, when - before 2011 after I
was tweeting a lot, and a lot of it was instant tweets, like instant news, like “Oh I’m in Tahrir,
like you know, police just stormed” or something like that. So it’s like the citizen journalism
kind of thing. Now, I hardly do that, and if I do tweet, it’s just some article I read that I
thought was interesting and I want to share it. Umm and sometimes I comment on it.
Sometimes I do but it’s just umm, I don’t know sometimes (exhaling) I feel like I have a
responsibility to say it, to keep it going, because for some reason I have all these followers,
and it’s just, I don’t know how it increased so much, because I haven’t been tweeting for the
past almost 4 years so much, so yeah, so (laughing) I just feel bad not tweeting + more than
anything. (‘) Because I know that if I shared an article it’s not gonna change the world it’s not
even gonna help with what’s happening in Egypt, but sometimes I do, thinking in my mind
that this is gonna piss off the government (laughing) so you know what I mean +, like for
example there is this BBC umm report that came out last week I think and it caused a huge
scandal and in Egypt with the government and the regime and stuff because it criticized uhh -

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it was talking about forced disappearances and stuff, and I, I wanted to tweet it mostly just
because I knew that this was gonna annoy a lot of Sisi supporters, so … yeah.

Interviewer O: Umm. You mentioned that you didn’t really know how you got so
popular on Twitter, how you got so many followers on Twitter uhh but you did, I mean,
many people read you back then and they still are doing, for whichever reason umm ..
does that shape - like beyond the fact of just feeling the responsibility to share, does it
also shape what you share or how you share it?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, I think well, in the beginning I didn’t care much, because I, I mean
Twitter was really new, and I it really new to Egypt as well, I mean I think when, when I first
joined Twitter, there was very few Egyptians on it, and even then on Tahrir, during the
revolution there was also quite a few number, (‘) and I think that is also why I gained so
many followers, because there are so few people tweeting, and then it just kind of increased
exponentially even if you don’t really - and then I was on this book “Tweets from Tahrir” and
some people had mentioned me to follow me on Twitter, and this is how it increased, I think,
and then increased exponentially. (‘) And then over time I kind of changed a little bit the way
I interacted with the Twitter, at the beginning I just wrote whatever I wanted, you know, like
swear and do this and whatever and then (;) I don’t know, by time I had started seeing the
backlashes that people would get if they’d just throw whatever was on their minds like, for
example, if they wanted to criticize a certain stance from one of the revolutionary groups, or
they tweeted about their idea about something and then they would get all these people like
you know attacking them and I don’t know, going on television and having really nasty
discussions and so, I started censoring myself in a way, being like “wait, do I really want to
write this” and then get someone say, what a stupid opinion or why would you write this, or I
don’t know what. & So I guess that was it, I felt it was very, it was unnecessary because in
the end I’m not really like, Twitter isn’t that important anymore in Egypt, and it’s not, not
like it was during the revolution and it’s not really changing anything. So I just didn’t have
the energy anymore to engage in this kind of discussions, so I just then became & I think,
I’ve become a bit more neutral, everyone calls me very boring now (laughing) all my friends
via twitter-feed + umm so, I’m just like yeah, I don’t, I just don’t have the energy for it
anymore, so it’s just, I use it very minimally and only to umm yeah (.) if I find something
interesting that I wanted to retweet.

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Interviewer O: But what you retweet normally are still political -?

Interviewee 1: Most of it yeah, I mean, sometimes I have this stuff about Egyptology and
archaeology and the fields that I study but most of it is yeah, politics.

Interviewer O: Mhm- Okay. Beyond your own work, is there any initiative, maybe from
one of your friends here, or one in Egypt that particularly motivates you for some
reason or that you have interesting?

Interviewee 1: … Umm … No. There isn’t. I mean there’s nothing that I’m involved in or no
plans for involvement that I find- No. I mean I don’t think, it’s an initiative or an organisation
but I think for me the most thing that is pushing boundaries in Egypt now is and I find very
courageous is Mada Masr, and of course it’s on a very limited scale, because I think its
number of readers is very small and limited but I really admire what they do and I think
they’re for me, they’re the most important like news outlet in Egypt right now.

Interviewer O: Have you ever worked with Mada Masr?

Interviewee 1: No, but I have a lot of friends who work there.

Interviewer O: Okay. On a general scale, how would you describe the way you feel in
general about the political situation, about being here, if you can put it into words?

Interviewee 1: Well, I mean I’m not a - I mean before I was very like I said, it was a very
difficult time and .. I found it very difficult to be here, but now it’s not so bad, now because,
now first of all because I’m not very optimistic, and there’s no hope everything is- seems to
be moving towards the worst & I’m more, I feel some times more comfortable being here,
and umm I mean I’m sad every time I remember what happened, but I kind of just try to
disengage and not to think about it much like most of the people around me, I’ve just become
apathetic. And umm yeah, just try to enjoy Berlin and being here, I mean of course I miss
Egypt and I’m not being particularly happy during winter so it’s nice to go back and stuff, but
actually the thing is when I go back- usually when I go back I feel that there’s this suffocating

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atmosphere, where people- all my friends I left behind are all complaining and feeling
depressed and trying to leave the country. I remember last year and the year before always,
every time I went back it was all “Yeah, we’re trying to leave, we’re trying to go to Europe or
America” everyone is trying to get out, no-one wants to stay here. I was- when I went back
this time, the atmosphere is a bit different, which I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, most
people were not as defeated as before umm not in the sense that they thought that the
revolution was coming, or that they’re gonna be able to join protests but it was just like you
know they were going on in their daily lives without this being- this oppressed- this feeling of
oppressiveness that I always felt, and it seems like they’re just getting used to it or something
and they’re, and trying to enjoy Egypt again in the way that people enjoyed it even before-
even during Mubarak and during the revolution, when things were still lively and downtown
was happening, and I think this seems to be slowly coming back in a way, even with all the
censorship and everything that’s oppressing us but it was- I don’t know, it’s, it was a different
feeling this time.

Interviewer O: So do you think maybe both you and the people that live in Berlin have
somehow a similar process or have lived through a similar process that people back in
Egypt?

Interviewee 1: I think so, yeah, (‘) I mean of course it’s much different when you’re not
living IN Egypt, because you have different feelings, like here, if you’re homesick, you feel
removed, you’re so detached from what’s happening, and there, they’re living in all the mess
and the chaos, the rotting system and everything so it’s different but I think in the end umm
we’re just- we all have distanced ourselves from politics (.) and from the hope and change
and all that.

Interviewer O: Mhm. Is it ehh easy so to speak to distance yourself, or do you


sometimes feel pulled back in by a new story or something you hear from your family or
contacts?

Interviewee 1: No, of course, sometimes I feel - like I do get pulled back in and I feel that -
sometimes I also feel like I have an obligation that the fact that I live in Germany and not in
Egypt and I have a bit more freedom to .. to protest and to be vocal about things and I should

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use this. Because people back home can’t! and I think this happened with (..), (...) because
actually I have the freedom to do it here without risk of torture or whatever. And also alaa Al-
Fatah, they weren’t able to organize anything in Egypt and that’s why they were pleading for
people abroad to do that and so I think that’s what pulls me back sometimes, when I feel I can
do something that Egyptians can’t - people in Egypt can’t do, and so I feel I kinda have this
responsibility and (‘) I want to do it as well.

Interviewer O: And what happens then- when you feel this pull?

Interviewee 1: I don’t know (laughing) it’s a difficult question +. I don’t, I, I, I feel a bit like
… ambivalent, I guess. I mean, I feel it’s something that I should do, but it doesn’t
necessarily feel like it’s gonna change anything, so, it’s just like … more to show our support
to people that are suffering in Egypt, but not necessarily to change anything.

Interviewer O: Is there a specific tweet or something that has come out of these
moments of doubts?

Interviewee 1: No. (laughing).

Interviewer O: Ok, it’s more of a feeling, that you get, (Interviewee 1: Yeah) ok. Umm
going back to Egypt on a general sense, do you think that a new wave of protests, or any
other sort of large civic engagement is likely in the near future?

Interviewee 1: I don’t know. I mean it’s difficult for me because I don’t live there anymore,
so I can’t really speak, so I feel I’m not versed in it too much. But I’m just talking to people,
my brother and friends and stuff, some people actually think something’s gonna explode in
the future, because they say the situation is so bad, it’s becoming really expensive and life is
really difficult and the pressure is so great that eventually it’s gonna explode, it’s
unsustainable. And I think this is more theoretical than actually the- getting the people back,
getting the people on the ground, that they wanna do something so umm I guess if you look at
it just by calculations, adding all the factors, you’re like ok yeah, this isn’t, this isn’t
sustainable, people are going to like umm they just won’t be able to have money to feed
themselves and their families anymore, so you know, something’s gonna trigger and it’s just

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gonna go out of control- I think, if it does happen it’s very different from what happened in
2011 … but I don’t know, I mean, I think for me one of the big things, when they devalued
the pound, November 2016 I think it was, I can’t remember when it was exactly, but when
they devaluing happened I thought that there’s gonna be an explosion even if it wasn’t
immediate, in a month or two because people would just really not be able to cope with the
increased living costs. (‘) But nothing happened, you know, and when that didn’t cause any
kind of reaction at all, not even one person with a sign saying wait, you know, things aren’t,
we can’t do this, I kind of felt, ok, if this isn’t pushing people to protest or to, you know, have
a reaction, I don’t know what will. (‘) So, so that’s why I’m not very optimistic to be honest,
I don’t know like, you know, what would happen, but I just don’t feel that it’s gonna happen
any time soon.

Interviewer O: Okay. Do you, maybe if not right now, do you see it happening on a
larger scale maybe within your lifetime?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, I thought about that once, like whether, before I die, I will - things will
change, or whether we’ll keep getting one dictator after the other and you know standard
military rule. Ummm I can’t - I don’t know - I don’t wanna answer (laughing) I just - it’s -
umm I think I’m just very pessimistic at the moment +, because like I told you, there were so
many triggers and it didn’t lead to anything. So umm and this - Sisi is just getting away with
so much stuff that Mubarak was unable to get away with. (‘) I mean, because it’s also
important to look at the wider context and uh with the refugee crisis because of Syria, with
the ISIS, and all of these European and American - America and Europe want Sisi because to
them, he is someone who’s fighting terrorist, who’s- he’s, you know - they can negotiate
keeping refugees detained, so that they don’t infiltrate Europe and so, he can get away with
so much & and he has been, and that Mubarak was unable to get away with. So I think the
fact that he’s, that you know umm that he’s not being challenged internationally, this also
means that things probably won’t change in the future, I think so.

Interviewer O: Okay. Umm. I remind you, at any time you can not answer, or if you
need a break, let us know. You mentioned that one time you did consider if you would
ever see a different country. Could you tell us maybe, what kind of emotions you
experienced by whichever thought you had?

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Interviewee 1: I, I don’t know, I just … I mean it’s mostly sadness, I think … is it possible
that things will become better anytime soon and it just seems - or any time before in my
lifetime? And then I think probably not, which is sad that I’ll never see it. I mean I think
eventually it will happen, but maybe in another generation, so I just feel bad that-. (‘) I mean,
I feel a bit proud that I took part in something small, that even if it didn’t lead to change,
umm that will be remembered, that we actually did this and then, but that I won’t see the
change in my lifetime is gonna make me really sad. But eventually I think, I don’t know,
maybe in a hundred years, they’ll remember oh yeah there was this January 25th protest and I
think yeah, that makes me sometimes like a bit proud.

Interviewer O: And I wanted to ask you precisely about that: You also mentioned that
sometimes when you tweet you think, you mainly think, I want to annoy someone in the
government, umm, if anything, would you say that’s how you understand activism like
on a general scale? Or do you also see a purpose in activism of actually trying to
change?

Interviewee 1: Umm well, I mean I think it depends on, on the time. (‘) Definitely during the
revolution, this kind of tweeting and this kind of activism was very important, very important
to us, and I think they would, I think that without them, NOT that it wouldn’t have happened,
but it was a crucial part of the revolution, because you know, you’re getting the information
out there in a way that had never happened before and people were seeing things first hand.
RIGHT NOW because you’re unable to do that, but even if you do, you know, you get
arrested or whatever it’s not the same kind of atmosphere, so I don’t think is as
IMPORTANT- I’m not saying people who tweet are not active. Well, they’re spreading
information- important information, but maybe it’s not as effective, it’s .. it’s not something
that we can depend on as, you know, this is activism we need in order to push for change- (‘)
but it’s still very important of course.

Interviewer O: Hmm Okay going back to maybe a future perspective, is there any
specific condition that you’d like to be in place if you were to move back to Egypt
(Interviewee 1: What kind of- what do you mean?) For example, when you left for your
PhD you did mention that people would say “it’s only three years, then you’ll come

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back”, but it’s been six, seven years now, so do you see yourself staying outside, or if you
do go back, what would have to be different?

Interviewee 1: Um well, I’ve also been thinking about it recently, because I wasn’t sure I was
gonna get the Post-Doc, and I couldn’t afford living here anymore. So umm I was starting to
plan my move back to Egypt and, I was really worried, scared at the beginning because I felt
like I’ve been away for so long and at the same time I’m going to a country that’s become a
lot more oppressive than I left it. Umm and I was worried, I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t
gonna be able to adjust, and I’d be very depressed and stuff, but then I started to think
differently, because I no other choice but to go back, so I was all like “okay, I have to
embrace it in a way” umm and then when I went back, like I told you, this … Christmas,
there was - (‘) you know I cannot say that there was optimism, because that would be - that
wouldn’t be accurate, but I felt like people, like I said, they were getting along, they were
trying to do things in their own small ways and you know, and I didn’t - I felt that if I do go
back, that I would reconnect with this and umm … and, so, I mean, I would just have to, (‘) I
would go back knowing that things were much worse, that it was oppressive, but there were
small pockets of umm - not resistance, there is not resistance at the moment, but there is like,
people who think like me and who are not completely like so depressed that it just becomes
suffocating to like talk to them - I don’t know! It’s difficult to describe, but it was like, if I do
go back it’s not gonna be so bad .. and I still consider going back, I mean there was a point
when I said “No, I’m gonna try as hard as I can to stay here”, but now I feel, I mean there are,
what’s surprising is that in the last few years, like 2 or 3 people that were here, and then they
decided to move back to Egypt ... and I ask them “Why? Why would you go back there? It’s
awful there, there’s nothing, you won’t be able to get involved in anything”, and they’re like
“yeah, but things will open up and at some point we’ll be able to get involved and things will
change and stuff” & so maybe that’s also how I’m trying to see things, I don’t know.

Interviewer O: Interesting, and like, these were also previously activists and also friends
of yours, of course ... and that sounds to some extent a little bit more optimistic uhh to
some extent. Would you say that maybe different people have seen it differently, or is
there maybe a shift or, how would you see it?

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Interviewee 1: I don’t know, like for one friend, he felt like he, when he was here, he was like
so removed from everything and he’s like, I don’t wanna spend my time you know watching
like independent movies and going to strange abstract art and then feeling that you know I’m
involved … You know, he needed to be there even with all this oppression, and that there is
no space to do anything, he said that just being there, he felt to him this was a kind of
resistance because he was able to just … be in a place that is so oppressive but still have his
ideas (laughing) this was his little political act I think +, for him, and I think the same for my
other friend. I mean, she finished her Post-Doc here and she was just really unhappy, she was
like “no, I need to be back there”, and she’s teaching, so I think this kind of gives her a bit of
an outlet in university and she has her students and she’s very politically active within the
university, like there was … there were a few strikes and she was involved with that. (‘) So I
think yeah people kind of feel that still there are some openings that they can get involved
with, and I guess that’s how I would see it if I decided to move back.

Interviewer O: Mhm. Umm. Maybe, have you had any idea of one of the smaller things,
or anything that you would think about getting involved with?

Interviewee 1: Uhmm, I don’t know, I mean I think I would … I don’t … Maybe, like get
involved in Mada in some way, I mean not as a journalist, but just see how I can be some
kind of support. Uhm, yeah for me, this is like, I find them to be really important and I would
hate that they got down or that they’re unable to continue, so maybe this is, this would be
something that I would try to get closer to.

Interviewer O: Mhm. How do you see uhm I mean, you did mention Mada Masr before,
uhm how do you see their role in all of this? Is this also just like a form of annoying the
government, so to speak? Or, how do you define it?

Interviewee 1: No, I think of course their role is much more important, like they actually do
real journalism, and it’s all very well researched, and uhm it’s like, because I mean, I you
look at the media landscape in Egypt right now, is complete like farce, everything is like,
ridiculous, all the newspapers are just on the government line, you don’t have any opposition
at all uhm, and if there was any opposition, they were already shut down. (.) So they’re the
only real, I find, the real opposition newspaper with integrity, you know, like credible news,

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and they do actual journalism, actual investigative journalism, and they also do it in Arabic,
so it’s not only geared to foreign crowd, so uhm yeah, I think it’s … for example, they were
the only ones who actually report from Sinai, or have been able to write a few articles on
what’s going on in Sinai, there’s a complete media blackout, and so the fact that they’re
pushing this boundary and like, no, trying to get some voices from there out there, I mean, I
think it’s very crucial, so yeah.

Interviewer O: Mhm. Okay. Uhm. Beyond this uhm engagement on a smaller level, if by
any chance, protests broke out or something else, how can you imagine the situation?
And do you think that if you received the news, would you participate?

Interviewee 1: Oh yeah, of course, I mean again, it depends uhm how big the crowds are,
who’s calling for it, who’s involved, I mean, as much as … I mean, for example if it’s the
Muslim Brotherhood, there are Muslim Brotherhood protests taking place until this day,
actually, but they’re not really reported like very small, in this small working class areas …
I’ve never been interested in joining them, I mean, I don’t want them to be killed or
imprisoned, I mean, anything of course, but I’m not … I don’t agree with their ideology of
course so I, I’m not interested in being part of that, so if it’s something that is, you know,
completely Muslim Brotherhood-based, you know, I wouldn’t join it, but if it’s uhmm
something larger incorporating all different … and I feel that uhm it can grow and it doesn’t
have so much opposition from the people, the population, then yeah, I’ll participate of course.

Interviewer O: Do you think it would, how should I put it, it would have to shake you
somehow?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, I mean, it wouldn’t be just a small like “Let’s stand on the steps of the
General Assembly”. I don’t think that I’d join that, to be honest, because it doesn’t, for me, I
mean it is important symbolically, but it’s only symbolic in the end & and I don’t know if
wanna put myself in that kind of danger, I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore. You know,
like, it’s umm there is always the risk of getting arrested & and I think with they did arrest
people form the protest, so it’d have to be a much larger movement like, like you said, would
make em feel like “wow, this is different. I haven’t felt this way in many years, and I feel like
it’s similar to what happened in 2011”. Yeah, definitely!

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Interviewer O: Umm I may be asking something too specific but uhm would it be more
of a, yeah, a process of feeling moved, or would you have to go through a process of
analyzing the situation, seeing what could possibly happen, see the risks ta-ta-ta-ta, or
do you think it would be more of a rash, emotional, spontaneous decision?

Interviewee 1: NO, I’D ANALYZE IT OF COURSE, because it’s like, first of all, I’d have to
see who’s calling for it, because I mean, for example, after the 2013 protests that brought
Morsi down, we found out later that it was, that the Emirates had played a huge role and that
they were pushing for these protests, so in retrospect, when I think about these things now, I
have to think, there has to be a combination of these things. (‘) First, I’d have to make sure
that the people calling are actually people I trust and I believe in. & It has to be, lot of people
need to participate, and uhm that I feel like there’s something different, that I feel like, uhm
this is the moment, like I thought in January 25th, this isn’t just some small protest and
whatever, no, like, I have a feeling the whole country is watching this and wanting to
participate, (‘) something like that.

Interviewer O: Mhm. And do you think if it were to happen, would you personally, or
do you think the movement should do anything different than back in 2011?

Interviewee 1: (Laughing) That’s a very difficult question. I think it’s very political and +,
I’m not a political scientist, and I don’t know how things should proceed for them to work
better, I can’t - so I can’t really say. I would say I’m more dependent on friends of mine who
are more aware of these things and understand how certain actions should be taken and stuff,
and I would take their opinion, honestly, about what and how things should proceed better,
and so we can get better results than what happened last time. Uhm, uhm but for me, I really,
it’s a bit over my head to say, “Oh, we should have formed committees, and this, and then go
on and take over radio buildings (laughing)” I don’t know +.

Interviewer O: Maybe on a more specific note, back in Mada Masr more than once,
there has been this sense that we shouldn’t have left the square after January. Uhm how
do you stand there. Do you think -?

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Interviewee 1: (‘) I think it’s a bit of a romantic uhm idea, notion or something. Because no
one knows what would have happened if we had stayed, (?) were we just gonna live in Tahrir
Square, like for a year? I mean, it is … I think we did what we could at the time, and I think
we achieved a lot by … you know, Mubarak stepping down is huge. If we had stayed there
longer uhm probably people would have turned against us, people who weren’t involved in
the Square but were originally sympathetic, and then … uhm … we would start losing
sympathy, and they would think we are just, you know, a lot on the streets, creating chaos,
and then already by this time, things were already getting there, because we saw after that
with the protests that continued happening, at least until I left, there was one in April, and
then there was this horrible July protest, it was becoming, it wasn’t this utopia that we had
before. It was being infiltrated by thugs uhm by people who were coming just to spy, to hang
out, to create chaos, to uhm to try and what’s it called, benefit, I don’t know. It was just not, it
wasn’t a nice atmosphere any more, and I think if, if we had stayed in Tahrir after Mubarak,
then the same thing would have happened in my opinion. (‘) I don’t think everything can
happen just by protesting. I mean I think we achieved something and then after that we
needed to go back and, you know, work in different channels and processes or something.

Interviewer O: Uhm I wanted to ask you about … you talked about your brother having
been very active in the past, and then he got activated again in 2016-17 around the
whole Tiran and Sanafir islands. Have you talked to him lately, how would you say that
he sees this whole situation?

Interviewee 1: He’s also, I mean he was a lot more active online than I was. Uhm but he, like
most of us, he took a distance, sometimes he writes posts on Facebook, uhm … Something
happens and he wants to criticize it, and whatever but it’s always something on one
engagement. I mean, he was with the Revolutionary Socialists, he joined the organization, but
he is not really participating much with them, I mean, THEY don’t even do much these days
any way. Their activity has gone down completely. He’s focusing on his work mainly. He
travels a lot so he’s, I wouldn’t say he is … (‘) I mean when we see each other, he was just
here like two weeks ago, we talk about politics all the time, that’s … so I tell him, “so what
are you guys doing? So, who did you see? Is anything happening?” and it’s always like “No,
you know, nothing much”, or I don’t know, and stuff like that. So, it’s like … even though
we talk about it, but he is not really doing much.

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Interviewer O: Mhm. Is anybody else in your family or in your immediate circle active
at the moment?

Interviewee 1: Mmm No, my, so … in my family circle, no … I mean, my cousin was also,
like he was there the whole time with me in Tahrir, and now he moved to Berlin, but he
opened a Cushery-Truck, so now he’s not active at all (all laughing). He’s focused on making
Cushery … so no … .

Interviewer O: Okay. Uhmm Well, I think I’ve gone through the questions, do you
maybe have anything else (asking Interviewer M)?

Interviewer M: Uhm yeah, I would have two questions, that came out of the context. So
when we spoke about future protests, you said it’s definitely gonna be different from
2011 … . Uhm why is it gonna be different? Like, is the feeling different before the
protests?

Interviewee 1: Uhm No, I think because, before the 2011 one, there was growing uhm sense
over the years, this disenchantment with the regime, and there was also, there was this
opening, where people could actually write about their opinions, I mean, the ceiling had gone
up, in terms of, for example, news outlets. There were lots of people writing pieces against
the regime, and I think this was part of the uhm agreement between Mubarak and Europe and
America, it was like we have to allow more democracy and more freedom, so this was
actually what he was doing, so his son was also being - trying to take that direction to show
Egypt is more democratic. (‘) And so, with all this opening of spaces, we were able to debate
and to discuss and to push things, and that’s I think one of the reasons, and there was also the
workers’ protests, and it was all of this that led I think to January 25th. I think if anything, it’s
gonna be an explosion rather than something that’s been, that’s growing with a political
awareness … It’s gonna be like, “we can’t eat”, you know, and we’re gonna go break things
and steal food, and you know, I think, I don’t know but that’s kind of how I see it because
politically things are so stagnant and people aren’t organizing, and before Jan 25, there was a
lot of organizing, gathering funds from different parties and stuff, but you don’t see that now,
I think that’s kind of how I see it.

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Interviewer M: So there’s not a lot of hope right now. Uhm then I just have one other
question. Do you watch also news from the government’s side? Like, there’s a speech
from Sisi about the electoral campaigns. Do you watch that? How does it make you feel?
Or do you not even watch it?

Interviewee 1: (‘) I’ve watched when - well Sisi, it’s so easy to make fun of him and the way
he speaks, I don’t know if you’re familiar with his kind of speeches, but they’re like, they’re
hilarious, and he doesn’t know how to speak at all, and he always improvises, and his
improvising is always awful, because he can’t complete one sentence, so it’s always, I always
get these clips that are passed around between friends – and then, you know Sisi like spoke
yesterday, and you have this one minute of him saying complete nonsense (Interviewer O:
laughing). So that’s the only time I follow anything he says, because in the end, (‘) I mean if
it’s such a threatening speech, like he gave one I think it was a month ago or something, and
he was, I remember he said something like: “what happened 7 years ago - it’s not happening
again”. So things like that do come across my timeline, for example, on twitter, so I watch
them, (‘) but I don’t actively go and (laughing) watch government channels. No way! I have
too much to do, to go and watch this crap +.

Interviewer M: Because it would make you angry?

Interviewee 1: Yeah, it’s just, I know it’s all bullshit and it’s like all this propaganda over and
over and over again, and you know it’s, you feel humiliated watching because they think that
you’re so stupid that you’re gonna believe this, so I, yeah, of course it just makes me really
frustrated. (Interviewer M: Ok, that’s it.).

Interviewer O: Thank you very much for everything. Is there anything else that maybe
you’d like to ask?

Interviewee 1: No, everything’s fine (laughing) everything’s great.

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VI. Transkript Interview II

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
Interview 2
12 March 2018
th

Gender M Profession Academic

Age Home town Cairo

Interviewer M: So I would just eh start, I mean you explained already a little bit how
you started being involved in politics, but, ahm was that the beginning or how did you
first become involved in political activism?

Interviewee 2: Yeah. The first time when I was eh in Egypt I, as I said, 2006, I worked with
Kefaya movement, because in this time .. eh we ahm we had a problem with the crackdown
in Egypt from the side of the Egyptian eh .. eh police and the (armed?) force in Egypt and
this, this we eh decided to do something and I heard in the mass media and eh that, the
intellectual people and the (..), (...), they established what's called Kefaya movement. What
does exactly called Kefaya - it's Mubarak - it's enough for Mubarak and we have to begin a
new eh, eh presidential election in Egypt and it's enough for Mubarak and it would mean like
Mubarak eh, eh .. from a long time because just now we have a lot of problems with him and
something like-that & 2005 it was ENOUGH, that’s what exactly Kefaya does mean: enough.
& And what does exactly enough mean – enough for Mubarak - because Mubarak it’s enough
and we have eh to get a new president okay and we have to be eh more eh democratic eh and
we have to eh to have at the same time eh a democratic system and elections, because we
didn’t have it, we have a dictator and autocratic system, just the NDP party from Mubarak
who is still eh in the power from a long time and it established under Sadat 1979 something
like it & I'm not sure about the history but I think so after the agreement with Israel (..), (...).
And eh then Mubarak eh takes the power or took the power and eh he eh (Pause) he and his
eh his-his system and his regime that's I mean ehm eh ... used this NDP in a different case in
the Egyptian environment or – political environment, that's I mean in Egypt (.) NDP eh was
as eh eh an important party in Egypt because eh during eh or through this party they could do
anything that you want in the election in Egypt eh and to get a new members because it was
like the eh, the eh economic institution and political institution together and it will be more

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attractive for the people who eh seeking eh to, eh to get a new position in the Egyptian
regime at this time. SO, and then I was at the university ... ehm ... (tongue clicking) I saw the
student of the Muslim Brotherhood at university because eh its a large movement in Egypt, a
strong opposition in Egypt anyway, and they organized a lot of eh, eh ... events and a
demonstration at the university and the eh crackdown in Egypt and (‘) then 2003 it was, the
eh transition in the Arabic world or the Middle East, thats like the eh, eh American invasion
in eh, in Iraq and it was like the ehm the big eh mass demonstration in Cairo was organized
from a different intellectuals eh and (..), (...) and movement AND from this time on I decide
exactly to be more involved in the eh, in the Egyptian eh political environment and (..), (...).
AND ehm yes, I have a problem with the Islamic ideology because I didn’t respect it - NOT
respect it, but I think so to be more eligible that's I mean political eh as a political person to
be more eligible you HAVE to (asibulate?) between politic and eh religion. & And the
Muslim Brotherhood they didn’t see - and still today they didn’t eh, they didn’t take any
action in this way, and we CALLED attention from these things but the Muslim Brotherhood
eh they said no so sorry for that eh it’s we ehm (..), (...) to or we are SEEKING to help the
Islamic states and the eh, eh Islamic society and (‘) no we have problem with the (superior?)
states how we can understand that and ahm, all the time I'm took with the Muslim
Brotherhood, but, the prophet Mohammed he called for the nation, for the Umma (,) and for
the political for the Islamic society and (,) Islamic society it's another things because the
REVOLUTION because Islam is eh the religion of the states and we eh we know that but eh
in Türkei like something Türkei there are Muslim eh societies and eh Islamic society by that
but they have eh secular states and they have secular regimes and secular institutions AND IT
WAS my problem with the Muslim Brotherhood and then I decided to work with liberal
people or communists or eh the other AND then ehm the first eh the first movement I was
involved in it was Kefaya, eh and I have a tie with professor Abdul (..), (...) (Missiri?), (..),
(...) (Missiri?) is an important intellectual person in Egypt in this time because he wrote an
encyclopedia about history of eh institutions of the Muslim ehm over all (..), (...) it was very
interesting and it eh ehm (tongue clicking) it was (..), (...) and I participated in this in this
work, it was like an academic work, and this is eh THE SECOND THING, after my work at
the university I was also involved in this in this movement, Kefaya movement, BECAUSE
you know the people who worked in Kefaya they are they worked also at the same time eh,
in, eh in, in, in this academic movement eh 9th March AND ehm then we decide to going
forward on the way of democracy in Egypt AND then when Mohammed el-Baradei CAME

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to Egypt, WE WORKED together with Mohammed el-Baradei and I was eh with the other
people eh and we did a lot of events in Egypt from this time to eh TRY to change eh the
situation, to call ATTENTION for the people that we eh have a problem in Egypt and, we
have to eh (arificate?) our our eh political ehm situation or – the process eh that's I call the
democratization of eh society and states to get a parallel (..), (...) because during my work
right now I discovered that we have a problem in the Egyptian society and the THE STATE
also because as, as I said before that's until today from the time until eh since the revolution
of 1919 until today we have Egyptian society that’s I mean has been facing the same
problems, problems related to the situations towards minorities in Egypt, it’s like religious
minorities in Egypt, or the eh eh ethnic minorities in a way and eh problem toward the
Islamic renew- or what does it exactly mean, the Muslim Brotherhood until today they didn’t
give us what does exactly mean the Islamic renewal, and eh rela- also a lot of questions
related eh to the nationalism in Egypt and its manifestation in eh, in the, eh in economic and
in the society, because today (‘) Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is still using this propaganda from
nationalism and Egyptian nationalism or something like that. AND, the last questions that we
have been facing also since 1919 until today that’s related to eh (Pause) to eh human rights
and democracy. SO eh, eh and then it was Mohammed el-Baradei as I said, I worked with
him in the eh (Pause) eh national association for change. AND after the revolution we tried
also to put our question to the military. & BUT – THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS that I
have to mention here that’s after (coughing) Mubarak eh (stowned?) eh the people left the
Tahrir Square and I called NO, we couldn’t do that, because it’s a military coup, we couldn’t
lift our place, because it’s our power and we have to keep this our! We have to STAY IN
TAHRIR SQUARE! It’s our power. But the Muslim Brotherhood at this time they have eh
they have a connection and they have eh contact with the Egyptian army, and they called the
people that they have to lift Tahrir Square to, as they said at this time .. to begin the process
of democratization in Egypt (.) But at this time it’s like I’m saying, do you understand that,
that Mubarak lift the power and then he gave it to the army force, the Egyptian army - IT’S A
MILITARY COUP ANYWAY! Because civilian people they didn’t get the power and eh
after Muhammad Morsi came to the power and so, I was against the Muslim Brotherhood,
because I think the Muslim Brotherhood it’s not a democratic organization because I studied
sometimes the Islamic movement in Egypt and eh I worked in Türkei also in a project around
2003 until 2005 about the FUTURE of the Islamic movements in the Arabic countries
because at the first time PKD or Erdogan’s party (..), (...) in Arabic countries eh they called to

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get the same model from this time, and I worked with (Ahmad?) (..), (...) at this time, he eh
the foreign minister I think so, (Ahmed?) (..), (...) & if you know him, he is very famous, and
ehm, yeah, he was participated in the eh (Pause) demonstration against Muslim Brotherhood.
But after the military coup - I refused the military coup in Egypt; I refused it,
COMPLETELY refused it – WHY? Because it was the FIRST (Pause) eh the first democratic
election that we did in Egypt, and we HAVE TO respect that. BUT the eh Egyptian
intellectuals and the opposition in Egypt (..), (...) they … called the army, and they made a
coalition with the army. I was – it’s something we say in Arabic – I was IN THE KITCHEN,
so I say, I saw everything at this time, and I refused this thing, and I talked about it with
Mohammed el-Baradei; “Professor Mohammed, we couldn’t accept it! It will be more
catastrophe in Egypt” because it’s, it’s UNACCEPTABLE. He told me, alone we couldn’t eh
face the Muslim Brotherhood alone, we have to be in coalition with the Egyptian army, I said
okay but we will pay the price and the Muslim Brotherhood & because also they have a lot of
problems anyway the Muslim Brotherhood, they did eh bad things or they did eh something
they, they (laughing) were stupid anyway (laughing) because they don’t UNDERSTAND the
concept of THE STATE in Egypt, what does exactly mean it, and ALL THE STATE, from a
long time, and it’s paved under the colonial rule and Cromer as the Lord Cromer, he FAILED
(?) the states and ALL the states in the Middle East. We have to UNDERSTAND the
CONCEPT of the mechanism to be more eligible to UNDERSTAND, in order TO
UNDERSTAND the Egyptian society and the interactions between civil institutions, INSIDE
this, this, this (Pause). BUT, unfortunately the Muslim Brotherhood they DIDN’T eh do that
and eh. AND eh 2013 yeah I participated in these demonstrations but I REFUSED what it
became after that, because eh when Abdel Fatah el-Sisi called to stop the constitution in
Egypt and eh he called for - he didn’t call for the new election in Egypt. It was more
important because the people when they went to the streets they called to the NEW
ELECTION but Abdel Fatah el-Sisi he DIDN’T CALL to the new election. To understand
that, because it was a military coup, it was a military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood
(talking very fast) AND – THE PEOPLE – went to the streets and I think so he achieved
TWO military coups in Egypt in this time. It was eh, very eh, (laughing) very interesting time
because + as the first time we were demanding to the eh election, the NEW election but he
DIDN’T accept it and he did a lot of things. AND BEFORE he eh, before the massacre of
Rabala in Egypt it was a catastrophe I REFUSED THAT, AND I SAID: NO! we have to
protect the Muslim Brotherhood, because it will be, eh it will be more difficult for the

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Egyptian society, eh for the Egyptian STATE to eh, to see the people that ehm they will (h)
KILL in the streets and they will eh stay under preparation AND eh I said also for the
Egyptian army because we had a meeting with the Egyptian army at this time; if the Egyptian
army is going to do that, OR the egyptian society, we pay the price. Because and eh after the
massacre of Rabala (..), (...) the Egyptian society became more VIOLENT and the people
they couldn’t understand how to protect (..), (...) and to protect THE STATE, BECAUSE WE
HAVE TO PROTECT IT, what does EXACTLY MEAN, we have to eh do some
REFORMATION, but we have to eh protect our state FOR DEMOCRACY! Not through
violence. Because it’s, it’s, it’s eh we, we could be as a new example ALGERIA, because
they had the same eh experience. It’s like election and eh the people eh chose the Islamic
parties and then the Algerian army (..), (...) did the military coup and then they went to the
street and do the eh clashes that’s violent and it was VERY BAD experience and I
COULDN’T accept this (clearing his throat) (clattering tableware).

Interviewer M: Okay ahm I would like to come back to the 2011 uprisings - ?

Interviewee 2: I will (.) take it! (talking about the sweets that we brought and offering some
to us).

Interviewer M: (Smiling) Okay, thank you (Interviewee 2: You’re welcome). AHM so the
2011 uprisings. Ehm, you took part in the eh Tahrir Square and yeah. Could you maybe
describe what a normal day would look like during these 18 days of the uprisings?
(Interviewee 2: yeah) and like?

Interviewee 2: (?) Did you see my article? This article about ME, about my
PARTICIPATION in the revolution? (towards Interviewer O) (Interviewer O: Mhm, the
civil ones, yes!) (Interviewee 2 naming the article) (Interviewee 2 chewing) Mhh (chewing) I
have to wait a little (laughing). (Interviewer O: Take your time!) I remember that it was
(chewing) ahm in the national association for change (still chewing) we called for eh civil
events in Egypt. So I organized protests against Mubarak and I think one month or two
months before it, it was the killing of Khaled Saeed, and Professor Mohammed el-Baradei
went to Alexandria, and I was with him, and a lot of our eh friends (Pause) activists. And we
organized a protests before the house of eh Khaled Saeed and then eh we came back with (..),

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(...) and eh two .. or one month after that we called to organize a different protest of events in
Cairo in different places. But we discovered that eh 25th January is the time eh the
anniversary of the Egyptian (police?) and we decided to participate in this event (..), (...)
Khaled Saeed (saying the slogan in Arabic) called for this first mass protest and we decided
to be as a part of this from this protest or demonstrations. AND after that it was a wonderful
time because it was the first time we called in the Tahrir square .. the people want to bring
down the regime (saying it in Arabic again), it was very nice time .. and I REMEMBER this
moment, it’s .. very, very important.

Interviewer M: And how – could you describe the atmosphere (Interviewee 2: Wow, ..
wow) in the Tahrir Square? (Interviewee 2 laughing)

Interviewee 2: Oh! (Pause) Do you know (exhaling loudly) I don’t know if you-, one, one day
CATCH THE FREEDOM in your hand, you remember this? It’s like something - YES,
everything it was .. FREEDOM. You can say everything, you can do everything, you can …
Ya! It’s, it’s, ... it’s a good feeling! It’s freedom! FREEDOM! Exactly freedom! (smiling) I
don’t know if you see the or watched the film of ‘brave heart’ (Interviewer O: Mhm,
Braveheart) It’s wonderful! I think this film is my favorite film (Interviewer O laughing).
You have to .. (Interviewer M smiling) .. Braveheart, Mel Gibson. And he called
‘FREEDOM’! It’s like (whispering) time of freedom, always struggling, still struggling for
the freedom YES! It’s a great moment. It’s created transition on life because I was born under
Mubarak and lived under Mubarak, working under Mubarak and we hidden all the time that
Mubarak will be the president in Egypt forever. And his son will be the next. AND it was A
GREAT moment (.) it’s a great moment.

Interviewer M: And how did you feel like can you describe how YOU felt?

Interviewee 2: That’s more DIFFICULT. But just now I said, if you catch the freedom, this is
OUR POWER, freedom, exactly the power anyway ... Ja. Freedom is the power. Freedom is
the power. This is the new film, Egyptian film, yeah? (joking) (Interviewers O and M
laughing).

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Interviewer M: Ahm… (Interviewee 2: Yeah) would you say that back then you were
rather optimistic or pessimistic, could you.. eh do you remember that?

Interviewee 2: Yes, exactly, I remember everything (drinking) (very loud background noises)
It was effort. (Interviewer M: Effort?) Yeah. That means I have (Pause) because I saw that
the .. Egyptian opposition .. they didn’t have a vision for the next system after Mubarak.
AND this was a problem. And this is our problem in Egypt. Because if Abdel Fatah el-Sisi,
(Pause) IF Abdel Fatah el-Sisi steps down or (..), (...) lifts the power, which are vision for the
next system (..) this is the most problem in Egypt. WE DON’T HAVE A VISION about the ..
political future in Egypt. Because, most important thing and it’s led to a bigger problem in
Egypt because after when Mubarak stepped down and the army take the place or took the
power in Egypt in this time, the Muslim Brotherhood, not only the Muslim Brotherhood, all
of the political spectrum in Egypt (Pause) they couldn’t stand up to give a new vision. Or to
MAKE a (coalition?) And this led to the ideological confrontation in Egypt because (Pause)
every movement on the political spectrum saw the revolution in his ideology. SO, the Muslim
Brotherhood at the first time said that the solution is in our Islamic ideology. The liberal said
the same thing, that the solution is in our liberal ideology. The communist in Egypt, they said
the same thing so it was a problem because they left the requirements or the eh actually eh the
demanding of revolution, freedom and democracy, (.) they left it. And they make a center
around the ideological concept. This was a problem until today. SO I was very, very, eh very
(offended?) at this time because I saw everything that we couldn’t make the vision for eh this
time. Ehh we organized a lot of eh table discussions and lots of things with the Egyptian
movements in this time to get a new idea, develop our vision. But unfortunately, we didn’t
(Pause) couldn’t, didn’t get any result in this way. So this is still our problem until today.
Where are the visions? Because the visions at the first time needs organizations (..), (...)
political organizations & yes of course, we have crackdown in Egypt, BUT we eh have to
build (spoil?) organization and we have to to BEGIN with this, eh with this organizations like
political party and diaspora, support, supporting in other times this solution AND the
movements, because we didn’t have movements, SO this problem still until today without
solutions. Where are the visions of the Egyptian people?! Do you know (..), (...) other time
abroad and I have strong ties with the (-) political eh with the political (..), (...) in the states
and (..), (...) and in Germany AND I’m still facing the same questions. Where is the vision?!

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Interviewer M: Do you – (Interviewee 2: Where – ?) sorry - do you have a vision?

Interviewee 2: I couldn’t say that I have a vision, but I could say that I have a PART from
vision. (?) Do you know why, because I am alone! And we HAVE TO MAKE a coalition
with other people, to exchange our ideas, to change our vision, and to get the results, eh about
this vision. The framework, (.) part of the vision, the framework – for – our – vision for the
Egyptian future eh (Pause) has to be democracy and freedom. This is our goal. Democracy
and freedom. If we can okay, freedom and democracy. And then it’s like something we say in
Arabic, the small things are more important, this is freedom and democracy. (..), (...) And we
have to organize ourselves. Political party, or movement, or anything. We have to get
ourselves in touch with others, (‘) the diaspora or something, and with the Egyptians (‘)
inside Egypt, because I HAVE a contact with them because I know, I know, I know a lot of
them but we HAVE to develop our eh idea and our future.

Interviewer M: Do you think back about the uprisings today? Frequently or –


(Interviewee 2 signalized that he didn’t hear) – do you think back about the uprisings in
2011 today?

Interviewee 2: On the questions! It will be the best solution (..), (...) or not?! Because we
didn’t have a (..), (...) in Egypt. I see what happened in Egypt it’s its not eh from the side of
the state, (‘) we have just like a coalition between the eh, eh institutions (Pause) army and the
police and eh the Egyptian bureaucracy and something like it, (‘) because we don’t have a
REAL state, okay? It’s a collapse in a way. AND after the massacre of Rabalah because I
think so it is the more important moment in the Egyptian society, it’s a big transition. As I
said, more violent, and the people (..), (...) and the state, to get in the streets and KILL it’s,
it’s, it’s unmistakable transition in the Egyptian society, and the Egyptian state. SO, and
we’ve been until today paying the price. And (‘) WE WILL CONTINUE. In this way.
Because what happened just now in in Sinai something like it because they have a problem
just now (..), (...) and I see the people who live in there as a minority .. and it is from the
situation from the Egyptian society (..), (...) were minority, yes? (..), (...) I can explain
something, my grandmother was Coptic in Egypt. And my grandfather was Muslim.
Marriage it was eh okay in Egypt in this time but today NO WAY! (laughing a bit) NO
WAY, mh? It’s sectarianism. And SO, (.) the first thing, if I’M thinking to the solution in the

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uprising, new uprising, the first, the next step, it could be eligible, it would take the society
and the state from the collapse, (..), (...) do you know that, because the people who still today
in the prisons, they have a problem with Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, people who stay in exile like
me, they HAVE A PROBLEM with Abdel Fatah el-Sisi and the other people, so, the best
solution for that, the national conciliation in Egypt and the first step to (‘) SOLVE this
problem in Egypt. (.) But anyway I, just now I wrote an article about the future of the
national conciliation in Egypt and it will be appear in the Frankfurter Allgemeine. It will be
in German. They said me that they will publish it. I hope that’s eh in the next month when I
get it, I will send it to you. And I, I, I talk in this article about (‘) seven or .. six ehm points,
the first what does it exactly mean national conciliation for the Muslim Brotherhood, they
have to reform the Islamic ideology, and they have (-) to separate between religion and
politics, and, what does exactly mean for the Egyptian army, because it’s very (laughing)
very complicated + to stay in the power, ok? And then eh what does exactly for the elite in
Egypt, the opposition, and for eh the reform of the security institutions in Egypt, and .. YES,
for minority (..), (...) And I think so the problem of the revolution or the uprising, the (..), (...)
in Egypt have to get the answers to (..), (...) eh it was our generation, eh it’s not ready to get
the answer for the historical questions, it’s not (laughing) + because Egypt in the time of the
revolution in 1919, the Egyptian society and the Egyptian people were LIBERAL, but today,
it’s not liberal, because if you read the constitution of 1923 it was liberal constitution in
Egypt because the minorities, the Coptic minority, the Jewish minority in Egypt, cause I’m
studying now the rest of Coptic minorities, of Jewish minorities in Egypt, (‘) they participated
TOGETHER at this constitution. And they REFUSED! To write that the Islam is eh the
source of eh legitimisation of Sharia, like Sadat when he was (..), (...) and they called that
Egypt is an Arabic country and Islam is the religion of the state, and Arabic the language of
the state, it was a liberal time. (.) The second thing I wrote it’s eh the questions I mentioned
before it’s like the situation toward minorities and Islamic renewal and something like it. (‘)
WE DIDN’T GET ANY answers for this question. And it was the task of the revolution, of
the uprising, TO GET THE ANSWER! Well I’m not eligible to do that. It’s more important
anyways. SO we HAVE, we HAVE to deal this historical problem with the current situation.
(..), (...) Because I couldn’t separate between eh the (.) historical context of Egypt and
situation today because we have eh the SAME questions and we have I think so we have the
same situation. BUT eh the Egyptian society as I said became more violent, this is the

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problem. Especially after the massacre of Rabalah, and HAVE to deal with this problem
through the national conciliation in Egypt. This is more important.

Interviewer M: Mhm Just to go one time again back to the uprisings ehm, if you think
about them now, how do you feel about it?

Interviewee 2: Hm. THE TIME OF REVOLUTION. THE TIME OF FREEDOM. IT JUST,


it’s my freedom. It’s my COUNTRY. The LOVE to my COUNTRY, not the Egyptian
regime, this is the important transition. Because in this time under Mubarak we lose the hope
to get the country again. And we said all the time this is not our country. It was the country of
the NDP. Like country of Mubarak and his sons. It’s like special or private institutions. After
the uprisings, … we get again this feeling, this is our country, the loyalty to the state, it’s like
Germany, it our state, we have to say it, and we will be there and we have to struggle for
democracy and everything, and this land is my - our country, it was a FEELING of loyalty
the first time, transition. It was a GREAT moment anyway, because you know the first time
eh we were there and we didn’t have any hope to change the situation and just (Pause) for
once again, this is OUR COUNTRY!, WE FOUND IT AGAIN! THIS IS MY SON! I
FOUND HIM! COME HERE! It’s exactly! It’s exactly same thing! Okay? From this is not
our state the transition to loyalty. (..), (...).

Interviewer M: Okay, now I would talk about the current political situation. I mean you
already said a lot about it, but ehm maybe you can say a bit in general how do you
evaluate the political climate in Egypt right now?

Interviewee 2: (Breathing in) Ehhhh (like singing, very high voice), do you know, I think so,
for the first time like transitions inside Egyptian regime, the transition from the dictatorship
as autocratic regime, to the authoritarian regime, that means the regime of eh one person,
okay, it’s like you will stay in the power indefinitely, and eh I think so he will change in a
way the constitution, stay a long time indefinitely in the power. So it was very important to
understand that, and I think so, eh yes, I feel just the situation and the crackdown is
(laughing) incredible in a way + because we have around 100.000 persons in prison and
10.000 or more than it in eh, in the exile. And everyday we have extra judicial killing in the
society and we have a lot of things in the Egyptian society and we have to eh support (..), (...)

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because at this time it’s not easy at the first time I have experience with the Egyptian regime
because if you read this eh, this, the story that was published (..), (...) media in Germany from
the Egyptian embassy, it was after my participation in the problem of Tiran and Sanafir. It
was eh Abdel Fatah el-Sisi at this time said that his two islands shall belong to Saudi Arabia
and eh he disappeared a lot of the historical plans, and then I went to the Bibliothek of Berlin,
StaBi, and put everything about the circumstances and published everything and talked with
the mass media and I said this is our, our, our, our eh, this is our islands. From this point (..),
(...) it was like eh the transition situation for me in the Egyptian regime, because they had a
feeling that I discovered everything and will be as a eh, (‘) a scandal for this regime. And I
sent it to the lawyers in Egypt and they went to the court and they presented it to the court
and through this we HAD this issue about the two islands. I was as a source (laughing) of all
the historical plans +, and then the interaction from the side of the Egyptian regime, they
CANCELLED at this time my scholarship and then they FIRED me from my job at the
university in Egypt. & But just now I have a scholarship from Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and
from (..), (...) university also (..), (...) (laughing) my name is anyway eh + in the blacklist
because I’m a (..),(...), ha ha. And SO I see this is eh, this was eh a DIFFICULT moment and
ehm they tried to take away my Pass, my passport, and when I talked with the university, the
university told me don’t give away the Pass, because when they take it they’ll disappear it,
and they will say (changing his voice) ‘he is Egyptian, but we don’t have any information
about him’, and then the deportation to eh, to Egypt & and then, the Egyptian politicians will
say ‘WELCOME TO EGYPT AGAIN! WE NEED YOU! He! (speaking in a high voice). We
need to talk with you!’. SO, this is the problem. That in Egypt we have just now this Egyptian
regime as transition, inside the Egyptian regime from the dictatorship to the totalitarian
(authoritarian?) regime and (..), (...) (sounds of mugs).

Interviewer M: Ah, so you were very involved in this eh in this debate about the two
islands (2: YES!), but WHY did you feel the NEED to be involved, to do something
about it?

Interviewee 2: DO YOU KNOW, it’s something like (Pause) They try, and still trying in a
way, to write another history. To make a farse from our history. And this is (‘) MY
MOMENT, because I see myself as an academic person and as intellectual, okay! It’s like
Gramsci when he used this eh this, eh this word, and Edward Said also, I don’t know if you

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read his book about ehm this book is culture and intellectuals. (Interviewer M: No!) It’s very
important, it’s more important, I think so, for the academic people and who eh will be
involved in the political eh .. atmosphere or environment. And they have to read this book,
because, and anway, I love, eh I like, not love, Edward Said, I love him anyway (Interviewee
O and Interviewers O and M laughing) and ahm I decided in this time to go to StaBi to find
this things because he was in the conference and he said ‘we don’t have any historical
evidence that eh we that these islands were given’. And as academic person, I know that we
have a lot of evidence because I’m WORKING on it, I’M working on the history of the
Egyptian (..), (...) and I saw a lot of documentations about it, in several countries and I met
the Egyptian diaspora in several countries also, the states France, ehhh London, several
countries anyway. So, I said ‘NO! he is a liar anyway, and I HAVE to get the evidence’. I
went to StaBi and I brought everything from StaBi, published it. And from this time, started
the problem with the Egyptian – not for me, but the people discovered that Abdel Fatah el-
Sisi is a liar, he’s a liar! (whispering loudly) Because you know it’s strategic, how we can,
imagine this if a person comes and says this is my glass, REALLY? This is not your glass!
Because I have evidence! Witnesses. And the people, they know it is MY GLASS! So, ehm
and I get a lot of things, I got a lot of things and sent it to the guard (..), (...) in Egypt and they
presented it to the court and then we got eh the eh (Pause), this eh (Pause), this trial, this
Urteil, eh? I don’t know, I forget this word in eh in English. So and after that I was eh not
under the radar but (laughing) up on the radar, a lot of times + they see and eh the observation
what I said, what I’m still doing (..), (...). So I, I have a problem with the Egyptian regime, I
think so Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, he talked ABOUT ME, he talked about me and he said at this
conference, ‘don’t believe any person, who come from outside and published anything (..),
(...), DON’T believe him, because we have to believe our institutions!’ – what institutions do
you mean?!? The institutions that’s still under your control?! So it’s (laughing) and I
discovered in this moment, and I said to myself, oh my god, Sisi is just (laughing) speaking
about ME, (Interviewer O laughing) ja, it’s exactly + and then I got a lot of information from
other people, and calls from my friends, and abroad, ‘hey, Sisi today talked about YOU what
are you going to do?’ – nothing! I will stay in Germany (laughing).

Interviewer M: So you weren’t afraid when you heard that he talked about you?
Interviewee 2: NO! Do you know why? Because I noticed this is my (laughing), is my task!
My preposition + not every but the problem is with my family, so I have a problem because

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my parents are in Egypt, since 3 years I didn’t see my family, so yeah it’s more difficult,
yeah.

Interviewer M: Okay. Ahm, I would like to talk about the electoral campaign –?

Interviewee 2: Beuuhh! Next election coming (talking with a very deep voice) (Interviewer
O: laughing).

Interviewer M: And (still a bit laughing), maybe you could elaborate on how do you see
the current electoral campaign?

Interviewee 2: (Offering some of the sweets to us we have brought him) You know this is
very important things, that I wrote before, it’s like (..), (...) Sisi destroying all his political
opponents before the end of January in order to become the only candidate in Egypt. Eh left
on the election stage. The reason being that the deepest Egyptian state is in fact in contention
and is blended and it is loyalty and support (-) towards him. He is incompetent in his ability
to form and come to the election in the same style that Mubarak’s NDB did 30 for years. He
doesn’t have a (..), (...) working for him and therefore (..), (...). So the political situation with
Sisi, he didn’t face the situation of 2013 because in this time he was as a hero for the
Egyptian society and now it is changed. So I think we are talking about the ehm it’s like the
cost of Mubarak, because, he’s not Mubarak. He wanted to be but he couldn’t. It’s not
eligible to be Mubarak, anyway. So he doesn’t have NDB like Mubarak, okay, to (..), (...) the
elections like Mubarak AND he’s not a Mubarak. Because Mubarak has a political
experience, he was the vice president and he was the president for around 30 years. & But
Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is not a politician, he comes from army (..), (...) and just he has the same
idea about army and and eh the state & that’s I mean he couldn’t distinguish between the
structure of army and the structure of state. And eh he is not eligible to deal with the Egyptian
society, because the army is another environment, has a another structure, so I mean the civil
society has other things, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi he is not (laughing) able to understand that,
that’s exactly +, because he said I give the order and the people have to do this’ – NO WAY!!
(talking loudly and laughing) WE ARE NOT IN THE ARMY! + We are living in the state!
Civilian society! And YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT! But he doesn’t understand it
and he doesn’t WANT to understand it anyway, both of them, ok? Yeah, and I think so, this

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is the first thing, and I’m writing an article in Arabic eh in Arabic newspaper called ‘al arab
el jadid, I don’t know if you know that or not, because I’m a columnist and I’m writing every
month one article about the situation in Egypt and this was my last article, and I don’t know
if you know the Carnegie institution, the institute in Carnegie, this ehm eh the senior of
Carnegie eh Mrs. Michelle Dunne, I don’t know if you know her or not, she also used my
article for her last article about the eh election in Egypt. SO eh we have different problems in
Egypt, we don’t have political parties in Egypt (-) and because, he arrested a lot of (..), (...)
two days before his arresting I called him (laughing) (..), (...) + and asked ‘do you have a
problem’ and he said no, I don’t have a problem because we have to FACE the reality for this
regime, the regime has to accept that, it’s unacceptable. And it will be like a joke, the next
election, it will be like, eh Sisi, eh (Pause) as I mentioned he couldn’t be the eh he couldn’t be
Mubarak (..), (...) and I think so he needs something like. Something like not like elections
but will be, will be AS a election, but NOT real election to say to the American people we
have an election, yeah yeah’ and to say this eh I’m the king and I will stay in the power and I
have another candidate in Egypt and he supports me he supported me all the time’ but it’s,
it’s, it’s incredible (laughing) because the other person is called Moussa Mustafa Moussa, he
organized a lot of conferences to support Abdel Fatah el-Sisi (laughing a bit), he didn’t
CHANGE his opinion, not CHANGE his opinion +, because first the institution or the army
called him and said by this day you have to (..), (...), this is the thing.. but we don’t have any
elections, it’s like, something like, stereotype (..), (...) or something and not a reality election,
real election in Egypt. Eh (..), (...).

Interviewer M: Did you support any of the former candidates? (Interviewee 2: Mh?)
There were other candidates before, there was like a list of other candidates, did you
support any of them or?

Interviewee 2: Do you mean eh other people like (Abdel Futur?) or?

Interviewer M: No, like for the elections now there were other candidates, now they’re
only 2 but-?

Interviewee 2: Because they closed the door of the election or eh the time of the elections eh
it’s finished just now and eh eh no other could apply for eh the next election & anyway, it’s

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like something, we don’t HAVE any election I mean. BUT Abdel Fatah el-Sisi he didn’t want
any people who will eh be as, as, as a danger for him or eh represent as dangerous against
him like Anan, because when Anan said that he wants to be a candidate in the Egyptian
election, Fatah el-Sisi arrested him because … he eh sees Anan as a danger (..), (...) because
he eh has the same context, the same experience, and he has popularity in a way & and ehm
he has supporters from INSIDE the institutions, army institutions I mean, and the Egyptian
brokers, what’s important, LIKE ME, I DON’T LIKE ANAN, but eh (Pause) I WANT to
support him, or Ahmad Shafir, I’m still against Ahmad Shafir because he participated in
Maqat al Jamr in Egypt, eh, several events in the revolutions, or the uprisings, ehm but this is
the next, we need to make a coalition with the people who are still inside the state and eh
democratic state that’s like the employer eh the other politicians, AND WE NEED ALSO to
MAKE this eh coalition, ... the Muslim Brotherhood, I hope that they will be as a part from
this coalition, we eh shall to build it because I think so it’s more important, SO eh, this is my
answer to the next election in Egypt.

Interviewer M: What did you think about for example Khaled Ali?

Interviewee 2: Yeah. Khaled is my friend anyway, and eh because I sent to him a lot of things
eh from the eh islands, and he visited me anyway here in Berlin and we went together as a
next time eh second time to the eh library of Berlin, I can eh show you the photo, we have a
lot of photos, (Interviewee 2 searching the photo on his phone for some time). This is Abdel
Futur, he was here in Berlin, and eh he requested to visit the StaBi, and I eh I went with him
there and eh (-) showed him the plans of Tiran and Sanafir, because eh, (?) did you see this
photo? From Abdel Futur? So here are the other photos .. and this is our photo from the StaBi
Berlin, and eh the other things I- , this is our photo of Arabic food (Interviewee 2 and
Interviewers O and M all laughing) it’s pretty delicious, foul! Foul al Tajine! (laughing very
loud) ehm I have a photo also that’s Khaled, here in StaBi also. It was me in StaBi here, me
in StaBi, and eh we were together at StaBi because he carried this plan and took a lot of
photos for him and eh yes, this is also for StaBi, but in Potsdamer Platz, and ehm ... we have
a lot of photos, and he is my friend in a way, but eh despite he is my friend, but he has a
problem, (Interviewer M: A problem?) Yes, exactly! He doesn’t have a vision. Yeah, he
doesn’t have a vision, and eh, I saw the problem of his party, it’s very weak. The BEST
program for the political party in Egypt was the program of (Abdel Minimar Futur?), this

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political problems, WONDERFUL! (?) Because do you know why? I think so he could deal
… with the eh with the problems of the Egyptian society, and eh defied .. the rule of religion,
in, in eh the Egyptian society, and he SEPARATED between politics and, and, and, and. and
eh religion. Khaled Ali belongs to (Link?) and they have the same problem, as all the big
parties in the world, they have a problem, they have to reform, to make development in the
ideas because when you think about the time of 1960 and 1970, it was the time of
REVOLUTION, and he is MY FRIEND anyway, yeah, because I supported him, and
participated in the writing of his political program for the election, and I told him I would BE
behind you (..), (...) but when Anan appeared I told him HEY MAN, you have to lose,
because Anan is from the side of the institution establishment, and so we have to support him
in order to get out of Abdel Fatah el-Sisi. This was our eh our call at this time, but (..), (...).

Interviewer M: Ehm would you say that the electoral campaign or the upcoming
elections somehow motivate you to be more politically active?

Interviewee 2: (laughing) No! Disappointing anway (Interviewer M: Disappointing?) Yes,


exactly +, because do you know why, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi just now lives constructed his eh
his ideology, constructed .. his propaganda, eh through the mass media and through the
police, AND he eh deconstructed the other side .. the structure of the state, the state of the
institutions .. and to respect the constitutions, and he deconstructed ALL OF IT. (?) Do you
understand that? Everything is (making a hand gesture) Ma3a alsalama! We have a new state
just now in Egypt and it is the time of the night of the power, this is the time of Abdel Fatah
el-Sisi, he represents the constitution, and when you criticize Abdel Fatah el-Sisi that means
you criticize the state, the army, the institutions, you criticize everything in Egypt, and it’s
not allowed (..), (...) so it’s incredible in Egypt, unmistakable and I think so he has a paranoia
(laughing) hundred percent. Because all the time he speaks about himself and eh ‘you don’t
know me! If you want any information about me, you have to ask me, the army – heh!’ This
is this is this is, eh still doing it ‘hah!’ hah!! I’m Sisi! I’m Hitler, eh?! (laughing) ‘cause that’s
like it, yeah. I’m Sisi, you don’t know who is Abdel Fatah el-Sisi‘, okay?

Interviewer M: When you see these videos or speeches, how do you feel then? How does
it make you f-?

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Interviewee 2: PARANOIA!! It’s paranoia!! All paranoia!! Paranoia! But how we can (..),
(...) the wall of fear in Egypt just now, this we need a lot of discussion I think, (laughing) so.

Interviewer M: Ehm, do you expect a high voter turnout during the elections?

Interviewee 2: No. (Interviewer M: No?) No. (Interviewer M: Why not?) It will be like ...
strike. I will be like strike. The people they don’t like him, spite he is using right now the
propaganda, and eh the mass media, and eh calls the people to go to the election, and vote for
the candidates as he said, but (..), (...) eh he just needs the photo. Do you know, just needs
then photo and then, in all over the world, (-) mass media all over the world, (.) ‘we have real
election and the people they went to the elections because they have feelings of democracy
and they are living in the state of democracy, in the state of human rights, in the state of
freedom but I think so they have they will not go to the election, I’m sure about that, I’m
sure.

Interviewer M: Okay. Ahm are you planning to vote?

Interviewee 2: Nööö! My god (laughing) dit, dit, dit, dit, no and I COULDN’T go to the
embassy, because the ambassador knows me personally (laughing) +, and still if I didn’t have
this problem with the, I eh I’m still I call for (not voting?) for this election because it’s not
real, it’s NOT OUR election, it’s like eh ... something as I said eh ... it’s, it’s, it’s, eh it’s just
as propaganda for the Egyptian regime but eh (Pause).

Interviewer M: Ahm do you sometimes compare today’s political situation to the


situation before 2011?

Interviewee 2: (Pause) Mhhhh … no. (M: No?) No. Because .. I think that … ehhm (Pause)
it’s like eh, because we have another situation anyway, because under Mubarak, Mubarak
represented or eh respected the structure, the constitution, everything, and just, completely,
just now we have a different situation. Just now I’m saying all the time, freedom and
democracy and see how we can get Abdel Fatah el-Sisi away yeah.

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Interviewer M: Uhm since you mentioned uhm your family uhm, how do you feel about
them being in, in Egypt right now, also like related to your, all the struggles with the
embassy and so on?

Interviewee 2: So uhm my father, he is a teacher and my mother uh she is not working, she
stay in uhm at home, because you know that’s in Egypt we have a tradition, it’s like the
people who come from uh the upper Egypt, but in a way we have a lot of my friend and I
have my cousin and uh uhm, uhm and my (..), (...) in a way she uh, she, she, she works in a
way and you don’t have a problem (..), (...) stay at home because my father said if you want
to stay at home ok! If you, if you, if you don’t want you can, you can go to work. She, she
told him no, I don’t like to get a work, I am staying home. And my father, he is an honorable
person, it’s like usual, it’s, he’s, he is, he doesn’t involve in the political situation in Egypt
but, and only uhm, want to know anything about me, just like I called him, hello my, hello
dad, I will be in two hours in uh, in BBC, or in Al Jazeera or another TV uh and the usual
questions: which work, about what about Egyptian (..), (...) I said please, please it will be
difficult, this man is, he is (..), (...) exactly and be careful my son, be careful because we need
you in a way and it’s, it’s, it’s good make a damage uh from us and I told to my father, I do
you know I like you, I like Egypt in a way, it was country and I like Egypt. We started our,
our struggle and we have to continue with the struggle in a way. And uh he told me, and uh
he made his uhm, uhm recommendation all the time. My son you are uh my, my only son, (.)
because I am alone, I don’t have sister or a brother, I know it’s a special case in Egypt, uhm,
uhm, uhm I am everything. Ha, ha, ha. So uhm, uhm but I, I, I tell him all the time: please my
father give me, give me a freedom to do everything, you know because it’s a relationship
between me and my father it’s like we are friends in a way and we uh are discussing
everything uh that’s belonging with Egypt and the situation and uh we’re still supporting each
other in a way. But he is my father in a way and he has special feeling toward me and so in a
way I said, I say him, uhm don’t worry about it but uh and uh every day uhm he said uh God
bless you in a way uh and I said thank you very much my father. (..), (...) But most thing (..),
(...) I have problems, I miss my family in a way ‘cause since I am here I haven’t seen my
family, so yeah! And I hope after I am back from the States that I can meet my family,
because I will invite him, uhm invite my father mh my parents to uh visit Germany and to
stay together around two months or uh, uh I hope and I am waiting for this moment so and
uhm I hope that we can get together again because it’s more difficult and I have problem just

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now (.) because really I miss, I miss, I miss my parents, I miss, I miss them. So I need to, I
need to see my father and my mother again, yeah. .. Because they, they are very kind persons,
they’re very kind persons and we are laughing all the time together like uh yesterday I talked
with my father & I called him and uhm around two hours, speaking to him, how are you
doing, just like that, how you’re doing and how is your relationship with women in Germany
(laughing) and it’s like something uhm good + and it’s what about your study and uh when
are you planning to go to the States and uh how long will you stay there and a lot of things
like that and you have money or haven’t money. I need a money, I need money. Could you
please send me (laughing) and I am why my father something like it +. So uh this is a
relationship is a friendship in a way, so I like my family in a way, it’s my father and my
mother, I miss, I miss, I miss, I miss them (..), (...) since three years I, I haven’t seen, seen my
parents and it is more difficult in a way, I couldn’t describe this, this feeling in a way.

Interviewer M: Yeah! Uhhm do you have contacts in Egypt who are politically active?

Interviewee 2: Yeah! (Interviewer M: Still, yeah?) Yeah! (Interviewer M: Uhm and) A lot
of, a lot of people, because .. just now I, I, I can see that, I, I, I became a famous person
through my uhh uh participation in Tiran and Sanafir. And there weren’t any persons just
now immediately in Egypt speaking about Tiran and Sanafir, speaking about ME. Ahh here is
this person (is snapping with his fingers) who just now lives in Germany and who discovered
the plan and will bring the pro, the plan of Tiran and Sanafir. And when you are going to
write my names to Arabic or into English, in, in Google you will find this, this, this
relationship between me and Tiran and Sanafir (laughing). So, so I have a contact, exactly, I
have a contact, because people they see me, see me as well of intellectual people is, uh, uh,
uh stay in abroad and uhm uh CRITISIZE the Egyptian regime all the time in mass media and
writing against the Egyptian regime and advocating the uh democracy in Egypt and trying to
get a new chance for uh the uprising, new uprising and revolution. Uh and uh they, they say,
they are saying all the time that we have different intellectuals peoples like (name of
interviewee left out) and he can uh, uh put us in touch with, with, with him to uh, to get a
solution or VISION for the this situation in Egypt and I, I, I, I uh want to uh, to, to tell you
something, because after the upris-, after the military coup the Egyptian uh government
called ME and they said me, we need uh young people like YOU to be as a part in this
government. And you will be as, as, as a part from this government as a vice, uh it’s like a

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vice Ministerium from the uhm, uh forget vice Ministerium, but they told me that we uh, we
uh, we choiced you as, as, as uh one of the members of government. And I, I, I told them,
sorry for that, because I don’t have a time, I have a scholarship and I have to go to Germany,
because I need to be more educated and, and, and uh in this time and uh to uh, to get a new
knowledge and uh (..), (...). And I refused it in a way, because I couldn’t work for, with this
regime. Forget, forget yeah, in a way this is my principle. AND uhm SO yeah I have, I have,
I have a lot of contacts. I have a lot of contact. (Interviewer M: And uh) AND EVERY
WEEK I have around three interviews in TV. Yeah, every week I have around three
interviews in different with Al Jazeera, with BBC and (..), (...). And I am writing uh every
month. You can write so my name in Google that you can find anything in a way in this, in
this issue.

Interviewer M: So the fact that you’re quite known in this issue, uhm how does it make
you feel, what would you say?

Interviewee 2: That’s not easy, that the people they see you as a hero for the situation in
Egypt. Because it’s more difficult just now and uh it’s like the task and you have to deal with
this, with this task in the future and uhm and (‘) you have to carry it out, it’s not easy in a
way, (‘) it’s more difficult just now because do you know & you are going to speak with
other people and the people think you are the part of, of, of this revolution, of the Egyptian
revolution, (‘) it’s more difficult, it’s not easy in a way, it’s not easy, it’s not easy and you
can’t, this is, this is uhm this is more difficult to, to be a part from this, from this process. But
in a way I am seeing myself in other time outside of the establishment, I am seeing myself as
a intellectual people, is like my own person, because uh, uh, uh we have to be more, I have to
be more like Edward Said out of the establishment or like (Tabuki?) in uh in Italian and, or
Gramsci in a way uh. Also the intellectual people who still criticizing the uh, the regime and
uh to get the new chance and a new reality for the Egyptian and (..), (...) the situation in
Egypt and my, my neighbors and uh my uh friends still saying all the time (‘) (name of
interviewee left out), be careful please (.) and you have to, to choice your, your private life,
please (..), (...) you be safe. And I am saying ok, cause I am not an, an uh, an animal to, to, to
life all the time for my life, private life. After I participated in this change the process of the
change in a way, we have to do something for the next generation and we need it in a way
and we have to build out principles and to carry out our principals and to discover the gap in

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our principles, to fill this gap in a way, because it’s like the experience and we have to get,
just now we have be uh, be uh (..), (...) experience (‘) and we have to develop our ideas
through this experience and do something for the next generation, as this is my country in a
way, it’s my homeland and I HAVE TO PROTECT MY HOMELAND from anything just
now. And I am seeing some person doing something in Egypt, it’s my (..), (...) uhm, uhm the
second home for me is really Germany, I like Germany, but I -, and I like Germany because
when I came to Germany it was to stay of, of, of my study (..), (...) in a moment it’s change
to be the EXILE, it’s not my (..), (...) So I said, I discovered myself in a way just now (‘) and
I am writing a book in, into Arabic about the situation in Egypt uh to uhm to write everything
happened in Egypt everyday ‘til .. this day. I am so, I think so it’s, it’s more important to
understand, to actual (..), (...) to the society in Egypt (..), (...) this is my task in a way, and I
have to carry it out. It was the first, (‘) the second uhm MY DREAM to find in one day to see
Egypt like Germany. (Interviewer M: Ah yeah?) As a democratic land, yeah!

Interviewer M: And so does, does this, as you said, like they see you as hero kind of,
does it, uhm does it motivate you to engage more?

Interviewee 2: Uhhh (..), (...) I didn’t see it that way, or still not seeing it (..), (...) it doesn’t
matter! Because I have a principle and I am following my principle all the time. Just quiet!
(Interviewer M: Ok!) Is it ok? Because it doesn’t matter for me. I have an orientation, I have
principles and I am living in this, in this society in this time (‘) to carry out my principles.
Just everything when uhm, BUT when any, any anybody persons criticized me, yeah that’s
very important, (‘) I have to see this criticism and to understand why you criticized me,
because I think I have a problem and I have to fix this problem in a way. So it’s very
important, but we will see. HERO, but HERO, intellectuals, intellectuals, famous and famous
- it doesn’t matter to me and I am, I am following my, my principle, my, my way in a way.
So!

Interviewer M: Ok, mhh! Uhm could you say what difficulties political activist have in
Egypt right now, since you have a lot of contacts?

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Interviewee 2: A lot of things ha ha! Just (Interviewer M: Of course!) if you are gonna to do
anything .. you will face the prison. You will be there. I think so it’s enough, it’s enough, it’s
enough for any person.Yeah!

[Change of Interviewer]

Interviewer O: Uhm you were talking a second ago about uhm first of all how you came
to Germany and, and second of all how it is with, with your family right now? Uhm first
of all, how did you decide to leave Egypt, like what happened that made you think, I
have to leave, was it about your studies, was it about something else?

Interviewee 2: (?) In Egypt does, that’s do you mean? (Interviewer O: Yeah!) When I was
in Egypt I think? (Interviewer O: Yeah, and then you left!) I think it’s related to the
problem of the Egyptian education, because we don’t have strong, uh, … we don’t have uh
enough, uh not enough strong education in Egypt. Uh even we have the uprising because one
of the reasons for the uprising in Egypt was the fix of the problem of education. And in other
time I saw thought that I need to get a new, new uh educational system. And uh (..), (...) and
something like it. AND uhm it was my, my first uhm, uh my first country that I, that I want to
be there was GERMANY. When I was eleven years, because I like, I like Germany in a way
because uhm, uhm I, I have read a lot of, of books related to the uh, uhm the German
philosophy. And to and I think so uh, uh when I, I read I read Edward Said “Orientalism”, he
convinced me that the Germany is the best, the best country for, for my study to, to continue.
& So I decided to, to go to Germany and uh, uh as, as I said I, I, I, I read a lot of, of, of books
related to the German philosophy, it’s like for Volkshochschule and uhm, uhm, uhm … it was
really interesting just now and it was MY DREAM and now I’m, I am living in Germany and
after that uhm, uhm, I am uhm, uhm looking forward, sozusagen, to be, to be in, in Harvard
or at Princeton and then I, I achieved this, this dream and then uhm, uhm, uhm I am looking
forward to be the President of Germany or the Kanzler of Germany and ha, ha, ha, ha!
(laughing) It’s, it was my goal and so I am looking forward to do something for my country
and for the demo- democracy in the, in the Middle East. (.) So this is my, my, my, my use,
my, my good at the, at the first time, yeah.

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Interviewer O: Uhm, when you decided to leave Egypt was it uhh was this, was this a
hard decision to make?

Interviewee 2: (..), (...) It was, it was a difficult moment, because (clearing his throat) (‘) I
uhh, I couldn’t sleep and this time I see this is uh as propaganda for the mass killing in Egypt
and it will be the first that Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the state as the Egyptian regime will do
that everytime. Because just now if the people in Egypt uh, uhm thinking to get uhm, or to go
uhh, to go outside in the streets, I think so they will uh facing the uh, (.) the crackdown and
the, the killing from the side of, of the Egyptian regime (..), (...) and everything. And uhm, uh
in this, in this way I decided in a way to leave Egypt because I thought that the Egyptian
society, as I said, told before, (-) is getting more violent and this is a back transformation in
the Egyptian (..), (...) and this crackdown will be a part from the life of, of, of the Egyptian
state, of, of the new regime in Egypt and uhh we will uh, uh facing uhm would be facing
STRONG, I guess STRONG, STRONG CAMPAIGN from crackdown that we didn’t have
uhm never be seen before (.) and, and so I, I said uh for uh my, my friends and for my family,
I don’t accept that because if I am still against the Muslim Brotherhood, but I couldn’t accept
the killing of the Muslim Brotherhood in, in the streets, because it will effect and have an
impact on the transition, the democratic transition in Egypt in the future and, and, and, and
today. And uh this time I remember that this time I uh, I gave an interview uh in BBC and uh
the other person was against me, he, he was a general and, (.) and uh I think so he was in the
army. And uh he called that we have to kill the Muslim Brotherhood because they are
terrorists & and in this way I, I said I refused I uhm, uhm, uhm I am refusing that because it’s
against our principles and it’s against the concept of the state, because we couldn’t
understand that the state (..), (...) in the street and el-Sisi to kill the civilians uh, uh, uh the
people, the uh, uh, uh it’s people because it will be as a transition and the, and the concept oh,
of uh civilians, of uh, uh, uh of civil society and we have to protect our, our society and we
have to protect our state from this problems, it will be as, as a HELP and if I am going to, to
enter the state, we couldn’t uh, we couldn’t uh got out uh, uh, uh in one moment we will stay
in this (..), (...) I think (..), (...) around ten years like the, the Algerians or something like it
and uh I refuse in a way this is (..), (...) I remember this interview, BECAUSE AFTER this
interview I decided, I decided to, to leave Egypt to go to Germany and then I decided I left
uhm, uh Egypt to Germany (.) and from this time uhm, uhm, uhm I am staying just now in
Germany.

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Interviewer O: And when you made this decision, what did your family and what did
your friends say about it?

Interviewee 2: No uh, uh they didn’t have a problem because it was my uh for, for the study.
And my, my, my family welcomed that, well uh ok you going to study, ok! Uhm, uh have a
nice time and uhm, uh we hope that uh you can find yourself in this, in this, in this issue.

Interviewer O: Are they expect you to come back, or?

Interviewee 2: I visit-, I visited Egypt in 2014 and 2015, it was the, the last trip to Egypt,
because after that .. uhm I hear something from some persons who works in the police
station, and he told me my name is in the blacklist. Yeah! (.) So uhm I decided uh that I have
to uhm, to stay in Germany, I couldn’t go back to Egypt, yeah.

Interviewer O: Mhhm! Uh right now do you have any prospects of going back to visit,
or (Interviewee 2: No!) are you still uh?

Interviewee 2: NO! No because, you know that after the problem with the Egyptian embassy,
it was a big problem, it was like a SCANDAL for the Egyptian embassy in Berlin, because
uhm they have a little bit of a bad reputation in a way since they persecuted the activists in uh
in abroad and they wrote reports about them and we have uhm, uh two cases of (..), (...) or uh
uh that the Egyptian ambassador wrote uh, uh a report about two journalists or something like
IT and uh when they get back to Egypt were arrested. & And so this was my case, but my
problem was bigger (..), (...) as a problem because in this, in this, in this problem the uh
Egyptian uh the, the NEWSPAPER wrote about that and discussed it in large uh, a discussion
and uh, uh, uh and I, I uh CRITICIZED uh, the uh Egyptian embassy in Berlin in Al Jazeera
and BBC and a lot of things, because this was a confrontation I said this, I did a lot of things
for, for uh my country and just now I am still under the political (..), (...) and they prosecuted
me and they tried to uh get my passport and to CANCEL my scholarship. And I refused that
because uh, uh, it’s uh, it’s, it’s, it’s uh against the democracy and the uh, the uh, it’s unfair in
a way because I, I got this scholarship and I have to continue my scholarship and uhm. And
uhm and then, the uhm, the German foreign minister in a way called to the embassy and said

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everything .. have to stop, because it’s not acceptable in Germany to do that and from this (..),
(...) it’s, it’s, it’s make a situations more difficult in a way and so it’s-. In Germany, it’s like a
PUNISHMENT in a way, after I uh, I uh discovered this, this, this, this problem of Tiran and
Sanafir and the Egyptian regime decided to uh punish and to uh, to punish me that’s like uh
to do something uh against me in a way.

Interviewer O: You have mentioned that uhm besides your issue with the embassy uhm,
you were in principle ok, (safe?) in Germany uhm, but you also mentioned that what
worried you was your family back at home!?

Interviewee 2: I am not sure just now, (?) you know why?! Uhh yeah uhm, uhm, uhm, I’m
still (..), (...) with my family, (?) because you know why just now?! I see this as, as transition
uh in the Egyptian regime. It could be as, as a (sharp asset?) in other time uh (sharp asset?)
they arrested the activist and the MEMBER and the FAMILY of, of the activist, and just
now, what did the Egyptian parliament, uh one week ago (?), he uh changed uh the law that
uh, uh, don’t allow to arrest the member of the activist and know they just changed this, this
law and uh, uh, uh, uh, in uhhm, and this law (..), (...) uhm allow the, the (‘) police in Egypt
to arrest the, the activist and uh and their families. YES EXACTLY, I, I have problems with
my family. BUT I HOPE they couldn’t do anything against my family, because they are, it’s
my family, my father is an old man and my mother is an old woman. So, uh, uh I hope uh it
would be, everything would be good for my family, because I think so this problem belong to
me and I AM NOT SURE about the Egyptian regime, but I think so they know that uhm, uhm
I am living here in Germany and that I have contact with uh the Egyptian uh politicians,
people something like it AND THEY WILL TRY to uh, uh, to uh, to uh, to provide uh this,
this (new sacandal?) because if they are going to do anything I will contact with the media
and I will do anything for my family. (‘) And just, and I think so Wall Street Journal will
publish uh one article about my uh my problems with the Egyptian society ‘cause they
contacted me and I give, I give, I send to them all the history of, the story of, of, of the
embassy uh in Berlin.

Interviewer O: Mhhm! Uhm have you talked to your family about this, about?
Interviewee 2: No! (Interviewer O: You prefer to-) (?) I think so yes. It’s easy, but then
why (h) I don’t, I don’t talk with them, but I think so when, when I, I will meet with them

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here in Germany I will (..), (...) because it will be better (O: face to face) face to face to
speak. Yeah, exactly!

Interviewer O: Of course! Uhm when, when they come over to Germany are you
planning to ask them to stay with you? (Interviewee 2: NO!) in Germany, or?

Interviewee 2: NO! (Interviewer O: They will go back to Egypt?!) back to Egypt. My


father, I KNOW MY FATHER and I know his mentality. He couldn’t live here. (Interviewer
O: Ok!) Yeah!

Interviewer O: Do you think that if you explain them the situation like face to face will
change something?

Interviewee 2: NO! I know my father in a way! I know my father!

Interviewer O: Ok, uhm besides this on a, on a different note uh and after the time you
have been in Germany, uh do you still struggle with uh living abroad or have you
somehow found, as you said a second ago here in Germany you have a network of
people, friends (Interviewee 2: Yeah!) and how is that?

Interviewee 2: I, I answered this question I think so, ‘cause I said, that I have contact with uh,
with activists and uh, uh … people who … uh, uh are living IN EXILE in several countries in
Europe and America. And I have strong ties with them and, and we try meeting all the time to
discuss a lot of issues related of Egypt and the situation in Egypt. So I think so it uh one part
of my, my, uh task to develop the idea and to contact with other people.

Interviewer O: Ok! Uhm what, you talked about politics with them of course, but uh
(Interviewee 2: Yeah sure!) also about other, other things?

Interviewee 2: (Probably?) life something like it but in other time uh, the most important
thing is our uh political situation in Egypt, developments anything, (‘) AND HOW WE CAN
uh get the solution for this problem.

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Interviewer O: Mhhm. Do you think this network gives you support, does, does it
encourage you to continue in your (Interviewee 2: Yeah!) political activism?

Interviewee 2: We need in a way, this, uh this, these contacts, because you know uh we
discuss our situation and uhm .. we saying all the time it will be very interesting when uhm I
uh, uh say uh, I wonder uh when Egyptians will uh surmount (the total sphere?) of the streets
again so we try to (..), (...) but it’s not easy (laughing) (Interviewer O: Sure!) + but yeah we
have to do.

Interviewer O: Mhhm! Do you also plan activities with them, projects uh or would you
say that you mostly work uh on your own from here?

Interviewee 2: I don’t understand that!

Interviewer O: When, when you carry out activism you mostly do it in the form of uh
journalism on your own or do you sometimes also think of group activities with other
activists?

Interviewee 2: (..), (...) but uh the muslims, that I, I uh know all the time (interrupted by
waitress).

Interviewer O: Uhm uh yeah I lost uh the, where were we?! Yeah ok, so you do carry
out both kinds of activities (Interviewee 2: YES!) you are in contact with them and plan?

Interviewee 2: Yes, yes exactly because uhm yeah, because of the, we need a MEETING with
others and INTERVIEWS to discuss writing, to write article and uh and everything, yes. And
I see it is really nice, really, really you know why that’s because exchange ideas and uh
exchange experiences and discuss about the atmosphere and the ideas and the vision. (‘) It’s,
it’s everything in order to get a new vision for the situation in Egypt because it’s, it’s, it’s our
struggle just now to get a new vision, and I think so once we have to get the, the, the, the
vision I think so we put our, our, our fuss on the way of, of the solution.

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Interviewer O: Mhm, ok! Uhm being far from home is sometimes hard to know exactly
what’s happening, so you need reliable information (Interviewee 2: Right!) sources
(Interviewee 2: Exactly!) right?!

Interviewee 2: (‘) BECAUSE YOU KNOW I give interview three times in the week and I
have to be uh, uh UPDATED all the time (for the situation?) in a way, it’s not easy. Yeah!

Interviewer O: So uh-

Interviewee 2: (‘) I don’t know if you, if you have my twitter account or not?

Interviewer O: Yes, we do! We do have it. (..), (...) Uhm so what would you say are your
main information sources, what, where do you read your news from?

Interviewee 2: (That main sources?), yeah? (Interviewer O: Yeah!) YEAH, the media, it’s
like the uhm and the PEOPLE and uh the, uh group activities in Egypt in, in, in, in, in a
different way, yeah, in a different ways it’s I mean like the people who uhm, uh interested
you in, in, in, uh, in the, uh, and the people in, in, in, in political issues or women uh, uh
activities, human rights issues and uh I, I get all of this information and TRY to build my uh,
my, my, my (Bild?) about the situation and development. Because every day we have a new,
uh, we have a new situation in Egypt, we have new rules, we have new reaction, we have
everything, and just now I’m, I am going to observe the situation, what does it exactly mean
for the Egyptian people and uh how can I uh say that I (..), (...) how can I save the narrative,
because you know that we have every day a new narrative and we have every day a new
situation and we have new uh events and uh we have to ANALYZE it and we have to give uh
our idea about it and I think so, if you are still thinking about the situation you have to, not
you have, but I think so, you can get new, new idea about, about, about, about, about this, this
issue. & So I think so update is very important and every day is very important for me. Uhm,
uh, uhm, I am waking up at six o’clock and working my dissertation uh until twelve or uh one
o’clock and then will be free, ha, ha, ha. (Interviewer O: Ha, ha, ha!) + Uhm, it’s my
strategy in a way – tactic!

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Interviewer O: Ha, ha, ha! So you try to remain open regarding the media that you
choose?

Interviewee 2: From (..), (...) as from the uh, uh (women?) activism in Egypt, from the other
people and from the, uh, from the, uh, uh official websites uh of official media and from the
uh foreign uh, uh medias and from like uh Der Spiegel, Die Zeit here in Germany, uh the
Guardian, uh, uh news, uh, uh, uhm, uhm, New York Times, Washington Post and uh, uh,
Arabic uh, Arabic, Arabic newspaper. So for the sources I think so we have to do, (to refer to
it?), (?) you know?

Interviewer O: And uhm when you uh read uh these news, what you everyday do, is
there a general feeling that you have? How do you react?

Interviewee 2: As uh, uh, as I said, that is one of the most important newspaper for me it’s ..
it’s from (..), (...) because it’s as, as, uh, as liberal uh newspaper and uhm I get every day in
the news and analyze this, from this, from this, from this site & especially for the uh issues,
all things related to, to, to (Sinai?) because they have a wonderful (experts?) uh, who uhm,
uhm, uhm, uhm ... writing uh, uh, uhm a new analysis about the uh developments and the
new evidence in (Syria?) and I think more important to, to know what uh what’s, what’s still
happening there & because we don’t have, uhm, we don’t have uh resources for this
information. (‘) BECAUSE YOU KNOW, uh just now uh the Egyptian uh army blocked all
of (website and decided that the people they uh couldn’t get the new information from any
other resource instead?) the speakers of the army and I think so they give, they give us not the
reality (..), (...) that is false information and it’s like FAKE NEWS (..), (...) and in a way it’s
like Israel (..), (...) because I’m, I’m reading Hebrew in a way, because I AM SPEAKING
FOUR LANGUAGES and I am reading Hebrew in a way, so I, I get an array of, of, of the
information from the Israeli uh, uh, uh, uh newspapers uh and uhm, uh, yeah sometimes uh if
I’m, I’m gonna get a new information from a newspaper or from uh, uh, uh New York Times,
like, or Washington Post I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m, I am focusing on the new analysis. Because it’s,
it’s really important for me that INFORMATION, uhm, it’s like uh it’s information for me
it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s not enough, (?) do you know why? because this time (and still in other
time?) to get the information and uh, the next step, uh, uhm, uhm in this, this is, this is issue I
will be as, as Hegel described it like the fox of, of information. (Interviewer O: Ha ha ha!)

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He described the people who will get their information is like the fox of information, he
trying all the time to get new information, it’s not my uh, uh, my uh, my important things I
do, BUT ANALYSIS to understand the (dynamics?) of conflict and (dynamics?) of
interaction inside the Egyptian society and institutions and the transition in the Egyptian
society. So I think that’s very (..), (...). And (I am meeting?) uh for a lot of people, but for the
first time uhm, uhm, uh, first time I’m organizing all my time, my, my times. First time from
six o’clock until twelve or thirteen a’clock, thirteen a’clock I’m, I’m working at my
dissertation and then free to (..), (...) the best solution in Egypt and the other and write
something on my twitter account, because you can see something and uhm, uhm respect the
weekend, (?) because weekend I am trying to spend my time with myself, ok?! (Interviewer
O: Mhhm, of course!) As the first time (laughing) and uh but every day I’m, I’m writing
tweets in uh at, at thirteen or twelve a ’clock before, before that I uhm, uhm, I am going to
see anything (..), (...) Uh, and I said if we have uh, uh, uh, a big problem like, like, like (..),
(...) or something like in Egypt (..), (...) I know that the, the media and uh the TV will, will uh
call me to, to get a new information for that.

Interviewer O: Mhhm, ok! Uhm, uh, as I am sure you know last week uh the
Constitutional Court ruled on the Tiran and Sanafir issue and gave uh authority to the
legislative assembly (Interviewee 2: Mhhm!) which is the end of a long (Interviewee 2:
Mhhm!) struggle as you know. How did you feel when you heard the news?

Interviewee 2: … Actually we have a problem with this court, because it is, it’s not uh, uh, a
(..), (...) court, it is a political court because you know that the, the, the President of, of Egypt
employed huge parts of this courts and this not an uh, it’s a normal court, so I, I, I
EXPECTED that from the first time because uh the Egyptian regime from the first time uh,
uh used all of, of, of, of, of this apparatus to uhm, to go to the results in a way, to get the
results, because I know that when it will be uh for the uhm court from this decision of court it
will be the same and I expected that. & And I remember that uh, uhm in, in, in one interview
by Al Jazeera, I think so I will, I, I will try to find it and send it to you. I SAID that I accept
that the uhm this court, the position of court will be in the side of the Egyptian regime and the
President because he employed the, the members of this court and uh I couldn’t accept that
they give a new order for the outside because I think so they consider as a part of the
Egyptian regime and uh I think so after the uprising in Egypt we demanded that we have to

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uhm, uh, uhm, to uh, uhm, to (cancel?) like this court, this court, we didn’t have uh, uh in
any, uh, uh, in ANY political regime uh an example for this court because we don’t have in
Germany this court, we don’t have uh, uh in France or (..), (...) and this court, uh this court,
uh have to be uh, uhm or have to (be cancelled?) and uh, uh the same with the constellation
of this court because we don’t need it because it’s, it’s, uh, it’s playing a political role and uh,
it’s uh, it’s, it’s damaged our, our, our STRUGGLE and it’s, it’s still as, as, as, as, as an
instrument from the or as an apparatus from the Egyptian regime (‘) and you have uh to CUT
it in a way.

Interviewer O: Mhhm! Mhhm! Well since you were so involved in the Tiran and
Sanafir uh dispute, as you mentioned, uhm how do you, how do you still see a possibility
to change the issue? Do you still see a possibility to fight uh on that specific issue or how
do you see that?

Interviewee 2: For me or for the Egyptian people? (Interviewer O: Both! Whatever you
want to take!) Yeah! Yes, so I can, I can do something, yeah! I COULDN’T CLOSE THE
HOPE (?) do you know why? Because the hope uh is still all the time that we can get the
democracy in a way and that we can do that because we have (certain?) experience in several
countries like, like, like, like, like Latin America in a way, we had this experience in Chile
and in other countries. & And I think so .. uh the most important things we that have to carry
out our principles and we have to, uhm, to discover the, the gap in this, in this ideas and this,
these, these principles and we uhm trying to fix it and to give a solution for the problem and
the struggle is, is a part from our life so uhm we will stay in that because that’s our way in a
way. So, yeah I think so. But I can say something for you in this in this situation, I think so
that Abdel al-Fatah el-Sisi, he will be the leader of a new uprising in Egypt. (?) Do you know
how? (Interviewer O: How?) Because if you are going to do anything (..), (...) against the
people and (..), (...) they will not from their own time uh stay under this (repression?) (..), (...)
and I think so this time if it uh (clearing his throat) happened in Egypt I think it will be as ..
the end of the military rule in Egypt .. and in this time (..), (...) and after that I, I, I can say
that we will uh, uh, uh start a, a new phase or a new, uhm, a new uh beginning from, uh from
uh political struggle because we will be uhm on the same way from Türkei because from the
first time they had a problem with, with, with uh the Turkish military and then they uh, uh,
they uhm, they (..), (...) out the military coups and uhm then they fixed the problem and they

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discovered it and they STRUGGLE still until today and how we can uhm get the, the military
out of the political process. And so I think so after Abdel el-Fatah al-Sisi I mean because we
have to focus on the future I think so it will be our uh, our, our uh, our, our uh, our struggle
will be that uhm new … uhm, uhm (..), (...) we have to begin this and to deal with these
things, because I think Abdel el-Fatah el-Sisi is a member in this institutions and he uh, he is
not alone, he has uh, he has different people who (‘) STILL with him and support him uh him
in a way uh it’s like a (..), (...) something like it and uhm he is one uh, uh, one person from
this persons and, but he is in the front of, of, of, of uh, or the LEADER of, of these groups
and I think so after, after Fatah el-Sisi I think so our struggle will, will start with a new uh, a
new phase … that we have to, to uh, uhm, uh, uh, to, to find the way for democracy in Egypt
and uhm Abdel el-Fatah el Sisi (..), (...) because it is a strong problem and he build again the
warfare (..), (...) I think so that we can get a new a, a, (.) a new starting for, for, for, for Egypt.

Interviewer O: I want to ask you about uhm how you keep yourself so hopeful so to
speak from everything that has happened it must be hard sometimes to still feel like
change is possible. Is there anything that you personally do?

Interviewee 2: (NOT ALL THE TIME?) change is all the time still, still, anytime or (..), (...)
because I know that uh that Syrian people work, work in, in, in Germany, THEY HAVE uh
(..), (...) nothing uh, uh nothing uhm still uh, or uh nothing has uhm, has STABILITY on the,
on the, on the ground uh unless the change. That’s I mean that’s everything, CHANGE is
there all the time, so I think it’s our uhm, uhm, uhm, our believing in this, in this issue, so I
think uhm we have to continue in our struggle and uh we have to uhm how (..), (...) can we
fix this (vision?) & because uhm it’s like the uhm ... it’s like the, the normal process, it’s like
the CIRCULATION OF, OF THE LIFE, change because (..), (...) this, this, this is like the
feeling or the relationship with the States it’s grown with the time the relationship with the
States like the relationship with uh, with, with, with this person is growing at a time, also IT
TAKES TIME, it takes Mut sometimes and I think so that the change as, as a process is
taking time and it takes time and we have to understand that and we have to, to deal with that
and to be ready, to be more eligible for the next step and to think in, in, in, in the future and,
and we can fix our problem and we can, we can REPEAT our, our mistakes again that is very
important in this time, BUT CHANGE IT’S NORMAL, a normal process it’s part from the
circulation of our life in a way, yeah!

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Interviewer O: Are you sometimes frustrated about how slow change can be?

Interviewee 2: You know (?) sometimes we are going to speak about the change from uh, uh,
the age of, of people or the Volk. (?) You know fifty years it’s, it’s (gonna be?) it’s, it’s, it’s
(related?) from, from, from the age of, of, of, of, uh, of the people. SOMETIMES THE
CHANGE takes about hundred years (laughing) and sometimes fifty years + and the, the
questions just now was that how we can or how we shall be a part from this uh … from uh,
uh part from this, from this uh process of change. It’s, it’s our, uh I DON’T KNOW it can
happen tomorrow, but after tomorrow I am not sure, but I have to (help?) the way for the
change for the next generation for the, the future in Egypt uh we have to be uhm, uhm, (..),
(...) MORE ELIGIBLE yeah exactly mhhm to understand the uhm, the, the, the, the process
of it, it takes time and if we don’t understand that I think so it will be difficult uh to stay in
the struggle. Yeah!

Interviewer O: Last time that we talked, you have mentioned that uhm, that you, you
(..), (...) you said that Fatah el-Sisi would be on power for at least six years until the
change, uh until there is a chance to change him from power?!

Interviewee 2: The most problem that I think so that’s the PEOPLE, they have an idea about
the Egyptian regime that the problem is Abdel Fatah el-Sisi. IT’S WRONG! IT’S A
PROBLEM WITH THE EGYPTIAN REGIME and Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is a person, is a
member from this regime. But he is (laughing) this is, uh the difficult or uh +, this is, uh this
is a DIFFICULT PROBLEM that Abdel Fatah el-Sisi his time is, is uh, is, is, is very, very,
very difficult for the other people. BUT after Abdel Fatah el-Sisi our struggle will start with
the Egyptian regime but it will be not like the struggle with Abdel Fatah el-Sisi BECAUSE
HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND the rule of the state, the struggle of the state, the structure of
society and this, he uh, uh, uh, it doesn’t just (..), (...) a constitution or uh or anything else but
the person who will come after Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, I think we can use him. I don’t know if
he will uh, uh, uh, a member from, from, from the military or outside of the establishment
maybe or uh, or not. Because I am not sure but we have to see because I think so Abdel Fatah
el-Sisi will uh the last person from this, from this process and after Abdel Fatah el-Sisi uh,
uh, the uh (coughing) the change, not the change but the uhm, the atmosphere or (coughing)

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the process will, will, will, will, will be more uh, uh will, will (..), (...) itself this time but
slowly not, not, not, not quickly because and then we will start with the struggle with, with
the Egyptian regime (‘) and we have to, to enter in the process of the national constellation (.)
and then uh to deal with this, with this problem and this issue.

Interviewer O: Mhhm! So, so you see this in a very long-term way and you don’t
(disparage?) much about change, but do you think your fellow activists back in Egypt
or maybe living abroad, do you think they share this perspective or have you seen them
frustrated at times?

Interviewee 2: (Sighing) I think so it’s uh, I think it’s the uh most, the most important thing
we have to know that after Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is my (way?) back to Egypt in a way and we
will start a new ha, ha, ha, ha, a new uh, a new struggle in a way in Egypt + because just
know we, we uh are still in abroad and thousands of people who staying abroad and they
waiting for uh, uh, for, for, for, for (get?) back to Egypt (and I think so when they go back to
Egypt?), I think they will care, we uh, uh WE CAN, to uhm, to start uh this, uh this, uh this
new struggle uh with a new concept of struggle because just now we have an older struggle
that we have to struggle against Abdel Fatah el-Sisi & because he is an, uh a dictator and uh
just with the time we have & but after Abdel Fatah el-Sisi that I mean that we can uh deal
with another concept of struggle because we were talking about uh conciliation & because I
think it’s the first step for a democracy in Egypt. If we can uhm, uhm, uhm make uh
conciliation as, AS A BANNER for our struggle I think so we can, we can own the, the, the,
the time and we can, we can REACH our, our, our, our, our principles in a way to make the
banner national conciliation (..), (...) because it means that’s ALL the people they have to stay
together and to discuss about the future in Egypt and they have to discuss about the
POSITION of the other (institutions?) in Egypt to fix the problems which Abdel Fatah el-Sisi
did this time because we need a lot of time to fix this problems Abdel Fatah el-Sisi did,
because he has done a lot of things in Egypt, he CHANGED the believe of, of, of, or the uh,
the ideas of, of military that the military have to protect the land. He uh, he (..), (...) to Saudi-
Arabia. It’s, it’s, it’s a transition in a, in a way, because we had before a war against Israel
(from, from the?) (..), (...) and just now it’s, (‘) it’s too easy to give it hey this is for you, take
it! (..), (...) So I think we need a time (..), (...) as the first time the people (..), (...) this parties
and a lot of things before they take uh our uh going to take NEXT STEP, the next step, the

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important step for the political uh change in Egypt that have to start with, with the national
conciliation (‘) and WE HAVE TO MAKE IT as, as I said, as a banner for our struggle
because that mean, ok just now we have uh to start with a new uh struggle, with a new
concept in Egypt and IN ALL THE TIME I am speaking about this uh, this things because uh
you asked me about if I had a vision I, I told you that I have a part from this vision the first
things is democracy and, and, and FREEDOM, BUT THE FIRST STEP for (..), (...) national
conciliation in Egypt.

Interviewer O: Would you say that amongst uh former activists that people who were
active before 2011 or near 2011, do you think uh there has been a tendency towards
more activism, towards less activism in the last years?

Interviewee 2: When exactly? (Interviewer O: From 2000, from 2013 all the way to
today.) Yeah! I, I’m (..), (...) the situation and I said .. we will uhm face uhm strong (.)
crackdown that we uhm, we haven’t seen it before. Because this was (clearly?) in a way and
I, I, I said from the first time after the (..), (...) Mubarak, we have, uh that we have ... uh that ..
we have uh started just the a new, uh, uh, a, a, a, a NEW SITUATION and because uhm it, it
was (clearly?) for the other people, for the uh, uhm, uh (experts?) who, it’s, it’s not
acceptable and (incredible?) to say this mass killing in uh, in uh (..), (...) that you thinking
about uh, uh, uh the next step after that will be democracy (laughing) it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s
(incredible?) in a way + and it’s, and I, all when Abdel Fatah el-Sisi said we have to change
the constitution (..), (...) the constitution and we have to start a new constitution or something
it’s a new military coup, after the military coup uh it’s more difficult to, to come to a
democracy. W e h a v e t o s t r u g g l e a g a i n.

Interviewer O: Mhhm! So how do you inspire the people that were back in 2011 and
maybe are today a bit scared that maybe are today are a bit (pathetic?) how do you
inspire them to come back?
Interviewee 2: That we need a change and we can make it again. And Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is
not Mubarak, Mubarak was (in power?) around 30 years and we need a CHANGE and we
can carry a little bit of it. So it’s, it’s (..), (...).

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Interviewer O: But will you have to wait for el-Sisi to leave office or wait for him to
make a mistake or is it possible to have the same kind of support from the people right
now?

Interviewee 2: I don’t understand the questions (?), what (Interviewer O: For example-)
what does it exactly mean?

Interviewer O: For example you mentioned .. you mentioned that with uh the arrests
that are happening throughout Egypt there is a certain atmosphere of fear for people
back at home, so in this kind of context it might be hard for them to decide to go out on
the streets and to protest like back in 2011. My question is how do you mobilize them?
How do you inspire them?

Interviewee 2: Yeah. (waitress interrupting) I think so, (Pause) I think just now after the
uprising in Egypt the people ... uh they couldn’t understand this situation in a way. And uh,
uhm they understand uh the uh, uh, uhm, uhm, uhm (..), (...) change in the Egyptian society
through the uhm, uh, in, in, in, uh, uhm economic situation, political situation and the
different things (..), (...) because after the uprising I think they (‘) thought that they will get a
new uhm, uhm, uh a NEW SITUATION that I mean that they could get a BETTER LIFE and
just now uhm they, they, they (saying?) that or they (say?) that it’s, it’s became more (..), (...)
than before and it’s, it will be as a motivation for the people to get out. Because the people,
because the persons uh of the Egyptian uh revolution I think so uh, uh the (just?) people
around sixty persons (they presented as?) I think so around sixty persons and I think so uh,
they will uh drive the narrative in the, in the, in the future. They did the uprising and then
they could uh, uh, they will be eligible to do that again. (Interviewer O: And maybe uh-) (‘)
SO I SAID after Fatah el-Sisi, he will be the leader of the next uprising ha, ha, ha, ha.

Interviewer O: Yeah, ok! Uhm and maybe as a question to conclude uhm (Interviewee 2:
Zusammenfassung, Gott sei Dank!) Zusammenfassung ha, ha, ha. Uh, in the future uh if
protests were to break out in the coming years at some point uhm first of all would you
feel motivated to fly back and, and protest? Uh how would you do it?

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Interviewee 2: Uh I will do that. (Interviewer O: How, how would you engage?) Back TO
EGYPT, back to Egypt and struggle from Egypt in a way and put myself in touch with media.
I, also I have uh contact in a way and uh the first time t o s p e a k a b o u t t h e n a t i o n a
l c o n c i l i a t i o n i n E g y p t (‘) THE BANNER OF MY STRUGGLE just now because
we have to start with (‘) a new CONCEPT OF A STRUGGLE. This is national uh
conciliation - nationale Versöhnung! Should be achieved in a way should be achieved
because this is uh, this is the uh, the best solution for the situation in Egypt and we have an
example in, in different countries and I think we have to do that.

Interviewer O: Mhhm and with that in mind is there anything different that you would
do different anything that you do different this time than back in 2011? Something that
needs to change from that (..), (...)?

Interviewee 2: I think so we will be more sure if we thought that we can repeat the time of
2011. Because this time .. had uh special uhm special reasons, have special .. special
environment. I think so just now we, we got a new environment in all the region and, and the
national stage in a way because we see what, what happened in the States uh, TRUMP
became as a president, (he is a racist?) in a way and what happened in, in Russia just now.
It’s more uhm, uhm involving in, in, in, in Syria. And what happened in, in, in, uh in (China?)
like today there is a change of the constitution. And it will be the motivation for the Egyptian
regime and to, to make his propaganda to make it a propaganda and the media yeah uh China
change (..), (...) we have to change for the president and wow, (?) you understand? (..), (...)
(coughing) I THINK uh this uh, we have, we have, uh we have refugees in a different
environment and we have a different situation but we have the same, the same reasons for the
uprising. So I think so, BUT (.) but uh I am sure that the people in one day they will be in the
street again, I am sure about it! Please write it! I am sure! I am sure! I am sure! Ha, ha, ha.

Interviewer O: Perfect! Is there anything else that you like to add?

Interviewee 2: No, thank you very much! (Interviewer O: No, thank you!) Ha, ha, ha, ha!

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VII. Transkript Interview III

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
Interview 3
13 March 2018
th

Gender M Profession Academic

Age 40 Home town Cairo

Interviewer O: Ok, so having explained the conditions, would you be able to tell us
briefly, or long, what are you doing right now, how long have you been in Berlin, what
is your main activism?

Interviewee 3: My name is (name left out), I am 40 years old, I’m originally from Cairo,
borned and lived most of my life if not all my life in Cairo, I moved to Berlin last December,
so I've only been here for a few months, and euhm I'm doing my doctoral studies, I’m doing
my PHD on Egypt’s dirty war, maybe you coming from Latin America you can actually
relate to some of the stuff yeah, my main argument is that the so-called war on terror which
Sisi is euh, euh, has been fully engaged in since 2014 is actually another form of a dirty war
which you can find parallels with the case of Argentina, and other Latin American countries
and the strategy and tactics that are widely used can be traced back to euh former dirty was or
counterinsurgency campaigns, whether it is the French and the Americans in Vietnam, the
French in Algeria, British in Kenya, I believe that there is like a theart binding all of these
campaigns, and I’m trying to investigate the Egyptian situation. Before that I had left Egypt
by the end of 2015, I mean I didn't come straight from Cairo to Berlin. I’m actually among
ahm you know ahm I would say few but it’s not a large number of activists who decided to
stay after the coup, uh I mean here the activist who were involved in the leadership of
different organisations, but I decided to leave by the end of 2015 so I left for Doha in Qatar
where I work for ahm ahm executive producer for ahm Egypt plus, its a digital projects run
by Al Jazeera, so I was among the founding team the was launching the Arabic service
because there was only at the time English and Spanish, ahm, now there is French, that was
just launched after I left for Germany; so I went to Doha and worked there for a couple of
years before I came here. Ahm before that I became involved in the Egyptian left, ahm I'm
not a founding member but I am part of the second generation euh that joined euh the

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Egyptian left in the second half of 1990’s, I don't know if I should go into details about this
but I'll just give you a brief background. The history of the Egyptian left is divided into
waves, as we call it in Egypt. The first communist wave is from 1919 to 1924, the second
communist wave was late 1930s to 1965, the third communist wave was 1968 to - wellI mean
it was defeated catastrophically in the 1977 bread uprising in Egypt- that was actually the
focus of my MA, but it was officially declared dead in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet
Union, so I was part of the generation that basically rebuilt the left on the campuses in the
late 1990s after it was completely destroyed whether it’s by regime crackdown and the dirty
wars we had in 1990’s or because of the rise of islamism. I was part of a handful of atheists
who was responsible for the launch for the 4th communist wave, I was a student activist at
the time in the 1990’s, and then later I went into journalism, after I finished my BA and MA,
I did my BA in economics, and my masters in Political Science. Initially I had intended in
going into academia, but because of my security file I was banned from teaching so I went
into journalism euh and that - and I worked for different ahm ahm ahm array of local and
international media outlets in Egypt, I also did some works for human rights organisations
whether its local or international, euhm among the things I’m really proud of is that I’m one
of - not the first one but one of the first who uncovered the extraordinary problem of the war
on terror problem, like the Gulag run by US. … You can find the report that I recovered in
2005- it’s online, it’s called (name left out). Eum and starting in 2006, I basically was part of
the first wave of the what we call the blogs revolution, I was part of media activist who
started pushing towards like independent online journalism at the time, my blog for a very
long time .. I mean I stopped blogging in 2012 for a long time it was the main source for
news regarding the labour movement in Egypt and police brutality. I was interested in those
two. Euh what else, I mean during the revolution I was a part of the politburo of the Egyption
revolutionary socialist, socialist, this is like the biggest leftist movement at the time (Pause).
And I guess that's basically it … I mean yes I’ve been detained a few times, but that was
mainly before the revolution, I was tortured once in 2000 also by state police, police ahm.

Interviewer O: Thank you very much, I wanted to ask you first of all, you’ve told us
about what exactly you did as an activist since you started all the way up to now, but
how did you first become a political activist, was there a specific moment that led you to
it?

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Interviewee 3: Not a moment but it was my political upbringing I guess, my father was an
leftist, he was not a member of ay political organisation but he was close to the CP, the
communist party, He was an academic who lived in the Soviet Union for 5 years, actually
there is an entire generation of egyptians in the 1950’s and 60s who all went to live in the
Soviet Union, and tok theri PDHs and did their postgrad studies there, ahm, so yeah my dad
is, he’s part of those who have like between like communism and nationalism and I guess that
Stalinist form of Communism can allow for such variations, so I was mainly brought up as an
arab nationalist, a leftist Arab nationalism, ahm the Palestinian cause certainly played a
central role in my political education, the moment I left nationalism and became a Marxist
and you know a revolutionary socialist, this was in my 3rd year in university, this was in ‘98,
that's when I joined the movement, it was completely underground at the time, and I guess
like the main, I mean the main departure point for me at the time was that number 1 was, was
secular, I didn't like the islamists and the time, and they had the upper hand basically in
everything, ahm their presence on student campuses, was, they were everything, and the
radical wing like the Islamic jihad and (Jemai Islamis?) were involved in government on a
ongoing dirty war in the 90’s and I mean at the time I was just looking around, searching for
alternatives I don't know how much you are following the Arab-Israeli conflict and history in
general but the 1990’s were not good times for the arab nationalists when suddenly you see
Arafat and (Kreiz?) together, you're only left with negotiating, so I mean for an Arab
nationalist like I was definitely getting more and more disillusioned and looking for
alternatives, until I found at the time revolutionary socialist, so I joined this was my third year
in university 1998, I was a part of our efforts to rebuild leftist cells at the time at different
campuses, there is not a point where like I decided to become like an activist but it was like
evolution basically.

Interviewer O: And going into marxist socialism in 1998, how did you become aware
that there was such a thing? Was it a rally at university, or what was it like?

Interviewee 3: Again this is the 1990’s at the height of the dirty war so this kind of mass
mobilization did not exist, it was mainly one on one basis, so and I was actively seeking
something to join at the time, and I was like moving in the leftist circles, you know, and
sometimes somebody picks you up like a fish in a fish net. I was introduced then to the theory
of state capitalism, for this me this was eye opening, in theory, it explained to me how Soviet

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Union was not actually socialist and that it was not a model for us, and that Nasar was
another form of state capitalism, I started reading more the revolution socialist just to give
you an idea we are Trotskyists, it's a different tradition. This definitely gave me a much more
approach that made sense other that the communists I was bumping into, old stanilists
basically, and I was like yes that makes sense and that’s when I joined.

Interviewer O: So you definitely had context and reasons to join but on an everyday
basis would you say you had a particular motivation to go out to the streets today?

Interviewee 3: Again you have to differentiate between different phases of my activist life
that also reflects the situation in Egypt, in 1990 it was not like “let4s go to the streets”,
actually part of the fame that I obtained was the fact that I organized the first rally ever in the
university, that was I meant something that was quite unprecedented, totally unheard of
before at the time. Euh, my main motivation was that I wanted to see Egypt better, my father
always had a saying that “Egyptians deserve better”, I was so pissed off about corruption in
Egypt, I was so pissed off about poverty although I myself was not poor, I came froù a
middle class family, my also main central drive was the Palestinian cause, how can we
liberate Palestine, and actually this was also my introduction to Marxism, the person who
recruited me, we had long discussions over this, he convinced me at the end that the road
through Jerusalem passes through Cairo, we want to liberate Palestine we have to liberate
Egypt first. We have to liberate the arab countries first and then we can talk about about
engagement. And the main obstacle was actually Mubarak, we have to get rid of Mubarak
before we engage. So I would say definitely the Palestinian cause and just looking around,
you know Trotsky has a theory that is called combined and uneven development, he talks
about how capitalism was introduced in the so called 3rd world worries, it's not like
Germany, Britain or France where basically you had a bourgeoisie who evolved and formed a
class and revolution bla bla bla, our case of egypt and russia and elsewhere it’s part of old
feudal and elite who came late to the scene who started to industrialize, your society is full of
contractions. On one hand you can have a very modern factory in the middle of a fuck hole
with a peasant using a (Shadouf?) that's like 4000 years old, you know what I mean, I can be
in the (name left out) which was considered one of the elitist universities in the middle east at
that time, it’s in downtown Cairo and it’s like surrounded by slums, so such contradictions,
you see it in your daily life, my father came from a working class family, who used to work

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in the railways, in the nile delta north of Egypt. Very poor family, he lost brother and sisters
to disease. He didn't have running water or electricity, traditional stories of self-made middle
class person during the age of social mobility. And you now whenever went to (name of
place) I can see the poverty. These were definitely radicalising factors, you know why isn’t
anything happening about this. So it wasn't like I have to go to the streets today, but it's like
how can we change Egypt, how can we confront Israel, how can, we help the palestinians,
how can we have some sort of renaissance, our region. So these were like you know the
driving motivations at the time.

Interviewer O: Within this context of early 2000’s, where were you when you first heard
about the January 2011 protests?

Interviewee 3: I was one of the organizers.

Interviewer O: Ah! Ok. Then can you explain to me when you were doing it, what was
the feeling like, did you think it was gonna be successful?

Interviewee 3: Since december 2006 with the first textile strikes in the nile delta, one of the
biggest in the Middle East, ahm you know we started to have industrial actions and the curve
is like going up, in addition to what was happening in 2010, police brutality (Halid Said?)
who is like the icon of the revolution, I remember I wrote a blog post, it’s there, I think it was
in October 2010, just a few months before the revolution. What I was something it there is
something in the air I can feel it. There is a class war on the making and I believe we might
witness something soon and I was always optimistic. But the funny thing is on like, on
January 25th 2011, anyone who would tell you “I was expecting a revolution” would be a
liar, including any of the organizers, no one was expecting a revolution. We were expecting
maybe good mobilization, good protests. The slogans for that way were about impeaching the
minister, and we were just- you know it's also on police the 25th January, so we are also
taking the piss out off the police, taking the piss on their day. By night, when you had also
must like suddenly like a turnout in Tahir square of almost half a million it was also almost
like we’re shocked. Just to be clear, I was not in the protest on the 25th, yes I was part of the
organizers you know there is also division of labour, I was part of logistical support,
everyone was feeding me info and I was disseminating information it online. I was in my

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office at the time I was the editor of (name left out) and I was like disemitanting the info on
the official portal and blogs. And I was like a one man show agency at the time and shocked.
And I even recall on Twitter some pundit on that day, some pundit was asking me “who are
we witnessing a revolution today” and I was like “nah”. But by night, all of us were like,
wow half a million people, like when I first got a phone call saying [name left out] there is
half a million, I was like ha ha of course are you mad. And then I was getting the picture and
I was like but since I've already had my hopes dashed so many times before, I was like let's
wait and see if the mobilisation continues. By the 27th, 2 days on the row and the internet
shut down on night of 27th before “Friday of Rage”, it was like a fully fledged revolution is
gonna be. So actually the first time I stepped you know on the streets was on the “Friday of
Rage”. We burnt the police stations. By the way we were modelled around the French CRS.
The Egyptians were so impressed after 1968 seeing the CRS beating the shit out of the
students that they copied the experience.

Interviewer O: So after “Friday of Rage” you started - ?

Interviewee 3: Actually before it, on 27th, the Friday was 28th of January. By the 27th I was
like “it’s happening”.

Interviewer O: And what exactly did you think was happening?

Interviewee 3: A revolution, that we will overthrow Mubarak, that finally we will get million
out on the streets and we will overthrow Mubarak. Like it is happening.

Interviewer O: Did you at that time have an idea of what was happening, expecting?

Interviewee 3: No No, of course not. Again no one had a plan at the time. The revolution was
just massive, it was just bigger than anyone of us. It was just massive. No one new how this
evolved into, but at the same time I had a compass, you know my ideological compass, was
like “we cannot win this revolution as long as we are in Tahrir Square and actually it’s not us
in Tahrir Square that toppled Mubarak. Mubarak could have stayed for a much longer time if
it was just for Tahrir Square. But on February 5th the stupid assholes part of trying to
normalize the situation they opened factories and opened the government offices and workers

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went back to the factories and started striking. There was a strike but it was an enforced strike
by the regime that closed everything, no banks, no ATMs, no rails no nothing, etc it part of
trying to strangle us. But the, art of re-naturalising the situation, they reopened all offices
again and workers went back to their factories, and they started striking. And I was like “ok,
now we have hope”. The Suez factories were definitely on the front, in the city of Suez, and
in Suez specifically they've issued political statement and not just bread and butter issues.
Public transportation workers also started their time on 8th February, euh and pff I mean the
whole country was on fire, strike, strike, strike everywhere and it’s thanks to those strikes that
the military felt that Mubarak had to go, to it as just “get rid of him”.

Interviewer O: How would you describe the general atmosphere in Tahrir?

Interviewee 3: It differed from time to time of course, like I mean to be honest on 28th
January during the Friday I was just looking and- you know on 28th January like basically we
descending on Tahrir Square from 4 directions East West North South,, I was part of the
wave that came from East, my neighbourhood, so when we went out and started the march, it
was like a marching army taking over square fighting with the police for hours, defeating the
police, etc, and not at some point tens of thousands of people, I started remembering how
marginalized and isolated we were in the 90’s you know like these are like the “radical leftist
freaks who want to chant against Moubarack” etc.. So I mean, I was definitely, it was very
emotional for me, on times also, I mean also the square sometimes I was looking around and
I was like wow finally, part of it was like self vindication. It is happening, and everyone that
used to ridicule us and piss on us at the uni, who’s laughing now. And ironically and I know
this may sound like the movies but on the 28th January I even saw some of my former
colleagues who were with me in university in 90’s and I saw them and I was like laughing
about it.

Interviewer O: What would they say, did you come to them and spoke?

Interviewee 3: I didn't put it that way but with one person who was very anti-leftist and anti-
anything radical and I saw him and he was together with his mother and sister and his whole
family was in the protest and we are getting tear-gassed. The other one was a long time friend
of mine and he was among the earlier people I used to give our underground magazine in the

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90s, we would not sell it in public but only give to trustworthy people and I saw one of the
guys and he was one of the earliest people he was an Arab nationalist. He wasn't very keen on
joining us. I saw him on that day, he was there which I thought was very ironic.

Interviewer O: But in the end you all came together and ahm ..?

Interviewee 3: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer O: Today do you sometimes think back about the uprisings?

Interviewee 3: Of course I mean it’s part of my life, it wasn't just like some outing at the
cinema, I do think about it everyday.

Interviewer O: Is there a specific moment you think of or a series?

Interviewee 3: I wouldn't say, ehm, no I can’t say one, but different stops during the
revolution whether it is during the uprisings or .. I would find something on Twitter or I
would find some discussion with someone, but, the memory is quite vivid.

Interviewer O: Do you like having that memory, is this - ?

Interviewee 3: It depends because I went through severe depression in 2014. Some people
right after the coup said it’s game over. I still had hope, by mid 2014 I was like it’s over and
there would never been anything else anytime soon. It would take years for a revival to
happen, I believe it’s gonna happen, but unfortunately it’s not gonna happen anytime soon.
We got defeated catastrophically. Yeah, I mean on times it as very depressive. I would find
myself just having some nervous breakdown like you know in my own office or room, crying
or just depressed. But definitely I don't want to lose any memory because I am very proud of
what we did and I believe that it will happen again and we need always to accumulate
experience and not restart or reinvented the wheel every time.

Interviewer O: Ok, so let’s go back to today, on a very general level how do you
evaluated the political climate right now?

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Interviewee 3: It’s shit, absolute shit, there is no political climate, again we are facing I mean
a counter revolution since 2013 that turned into a full scale dirty war. This dirty war is not
just against Islamist terrorist. As you know Sisi announced in the beginning, it’s everyone,
like you know artists, euhm secularits, leftists, atheists, homosexuals, gays, queers, I mean
you name, it everyone is under attack. There is no room for organizing anything any longer. I
mean this is a part of why I left Egypt. I mean you know if there is even 1 percent hope that
we could do something on the ground I would have stayed but you know we have reached a
situation where Morsi is our Pinochet, so I can imagine I mean, that's the kind of climate we
are having, he’s no different that any Latin American military fascist that you had in the 70’s
or 80’s.

Interviewer O: So right now is there any specific debate that you are involved in?

Interviewee 3: Not a debate, but I mean I haven't cut my links. I do tons of logistical things
and media support. But our main focus is the detainees at the moment. I mean you have
roughly 60.000 political prisoners / detainees in Sisi’s jails at the moment. And that's like you
know our main priority, we have to get these guys out, so I’m involved in campaigns, but
there isn’t really any debate happening.

Interviewer O: The last issue that kind of created- if at least some every some isolated
protests was the issue of Tiran and Sanafir I thought maybe since you mentioned that
you used to be Arab nationalist you had a development from that?

Interviewee 3: Ok, here’s the thing, I, euhm, it really depends who you speak to from the
Egyptian revolutionary circles. I mean everyone adopted the nationalist stand like this is our
land, it’s being sold to the Saudis. Definitely it cheered my heart to see like protests
happening although I know it wasn’t significant and gonna evolve into anything bigger. I
reached the conclusion in 2014 that it's game over and saying game over does not mean that
there will never be protest. I mean actually there are strikes happening in Egypt. If you want
to read more about it euhm there is the Arabic network for human rights information ANHIR
which is run by a human rights lawyer who was among the view human rights lawyers who
Merkel conferred with when she visited Sisi to do her, her dirty deals. I mean they always

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come to do their dirty means and they always confer with a human rights’ lawyer you know,
like she couldn’t know it from a google search. So actually the curve of strikes is going up. It
happened like there were outbursts of protests but this is not gonna turn into something
accumulative. I’m an internationalist, at the end of the day. These borders that were drawn, I
mean I know (name left out) that you interviewed, he’s obsessed about this. He went to the
library to get the maps, and I respect his efforts, but I’m against definitely the sale but I come
from a different ground. Like (name left out) and the others are like obsessed, “these are the
maps from the Ottoman Empire”. But I mean fuck the Ottoman Empire, why go back not to
Ramses the Third? When our borders were actually all the way back to Turkey? Where do
you actually stop in history? But for me as an internationalist, what happens like - I’m against
anything - how can I say it- I’m just trying to translate- my compass is: what can drive our
liberation and what stales our liberation. The Saudis are the main financiers and backers of
the counter revolution in the Arab World. Any step or any deal that will empower the Saudis,
that stalls our revival, so I’m against the sale of the islands not just because of the “strategic
position”, but again I’m talking here in 21rst century. Anything that delays our progress and
liberation I would be against it. Definitely you are empowering the Saudis, I would be against
it. But I mean for example I have a different position regarding our fight with Sudan
regarding the (Halaib borders?) in the south. It’s the Brits who drew this line in 1922, and
I’ve been to (Shelatyn?) in 2010 and the Egyptian presence there it’s military occupation?
You have people with completely ethnic background who have completely different culture,
who speak completely different dialects to the nile valley residents, they are marginalized and
they just have one huge military camp there with the flag in Egypt. I would be for having a
referendum. But I wouldn't do the same with with the Saudis. Like do you understand where
I’m coming from? So, ok because borders are like fictitious. I’m just thinking what will help
our revival and what will not at the end of the day. Definitely people like (name left out) and
the others would take a nationalist point of view. Well ok well 1700 BC we had all the way to
Iraq. Should we claim Syria our own? Should we claim Palestine and half of the Arabian
Peninsula? You know definitely I have a different logic. But again it's not that popular, like
you know I’m the representative of a small sample. I don't want to give you the impression
that most of the Egyptian activist would think of this.

Interviewer O: And I guess this brings us to the next issue of course which is the
electoral campaign?

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Interviewee 3: It’s a circus, I mean Sisi is just running against himself, like each time I read a
statement of this guy Mousa Mustafah, like you know its a complete joke, everyone knows
he’s gonna win. I was sort of those who was favoring that Khaled Ali would run. I was part
of his campaign. I supported his decision to withdraw and I think that he did the right thing
by withdrawing, and you know that way he exposed the entire regime, and by the way
supporting Ali does not mean I believe that he had a chance of winning, but as a Marxist is
not the elections that are gonna bring change but it’s a battlefront among to so many
battlefronts that you have to engage in. And I as well as many other leftist, I was hopeful that
the campaign of Khaled Ali would open up some space for maybe some activities on the
ground where we could start organizing but of course at the moment it’s a circus.

Interviewer O: Why was it the right thing to withdraw?

Interviewee 3: I mean it just became clearer- I mean again it's not because like “he didn't have
a chance to win”. I mean from the beginning we all knew that. Supporting Haled Ali was
about creating some space on the ground again but it has become clear that even that small
space would not be present. His withdrawal served to expose the Sisi regime even more. His
campaign shed light on the Egyptian circus. Now you read the NY Times, the international
press, they have negative coverage in general, it’s all about “the egyptian circus” etc. You
know.

Interviewer O: With Haled Ali out of the race, euhm, do you think these elections still
provide some kind of opportunity ?

Interviewee 3: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no it’s over, and again to explain the decision of
Hale Ali to withdraw, it was because there was no space at all, I mean there wasn't any space
at all so he left.

Interviewer O: So in this context do you expect a high voter turnout?

Interviewee 3: It really doesn’t matter, you know how it works, as in Latin America we are

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all brothers and sisters you know, you give 10 Euros to workers and they go and vote, it
really doesn't matter, he will still win.

Interviewer O: Are you personally planning to vote?

Interviewee 3: No, of course not!

Interviewer O: Based on this, would you compare today’s political situation to the one
of Mubarak time?
Interviewee 3: It’s worse definitely, it’s definitely worse. But I am not going to do what some
people are doing saying I wish we would go back to Mubarak times, no. We had a dream and
we had a chance, and what is happening today is a counter revolution, that's what happens in
counter revolution, things get worse basically, there is a metaphor it's a big disgusting, it’s in
Arab,we say Mubarak was the cover of the sewage, so when you remove Mubarak, all the
cockroaches and the insects and the sewage just exploded. Mubarak is the reason why
everything was clogged and filthy in the beginning. So no, I mean, I don't regret helping
overthrow Mubarak, I don't regret the revolution, but definitely the situation is much, much
worse, much worse.

Interviewer O: And do you think in this worse situation there is any sort of room for
struggle or for change?

Interviewee 3: Euh no, not now. I mean things cannot continue like this forever, but at the
moment and again this is the conclusion I reached in 2014, that you know it's over and it will
take us years to start doing the revival. At the moment all we can do is that some of the
contacts that have not been demoralized- you know actually the biggest weapon that has
destroyed the political and revolutionary organisation at the time is demoralization it's not
security crackdowns, like you know someone would be willing to leave his work and come to
a meeting to you know prepare something for the following day because you know we have
hope. Why would you know leave let’s say your shift and come to a meeting when - it’s over.
People are just hopeless at the moment, they don't have hope, there is no room whatsoever to
do things. There is still some room online and that's what we are trying to exploit. We are
trying slowly and modestly that the contacts who have not been completely demoralised stay

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in touch as much as possible to keep the circles alive so that you know when a revival
happens there is something we can build on. If there is nothing and then a revival happens,
it’s very chaotic. But at least if you have a core, then you can start acting you know in a much
more organized way.

Interviewer O: I was wondering you said you started working for the campaign of
Haled Ali, from the very beginning you had no hope that he would win but it was still a
matter of struggle, a matter of being there so to speak?

Interviewee 3: It’s for very pragmatic reasons, because there is nothing to be done and
electoral campaigns sometimes can create some room for you to go and distribute some
leaflets, to have some banners, maybe to appear on TV and say maybe something, to break
the model a little bit, but Sisi wouldn’t have any of this so you know.

Interviewer O: When you were talking about the demoralisation of activists in Egypt,
you talked a bit about your own experience before 2011. Concretely today, what
difficulties do political activists face in Egypt?

Interviewee 3: At the moment? Security situation is very horrible. Anyone can disappear, can
get kidnapped, can get killed, it's a dirty war, a serious dirty war. Up until today, people
cannot come up with a pattern about how victims were selected during the American dirty
war. Most of the people who got killed in Argentina were not a part of any insurgency.
School children- I mean there is a famous case in Argentina where like 8 school children
organized a protest because their bus fares got raised so they organized a protest and got
tortured and killed.
You had women or female insurgence who got pardoned because their Christian name is
similar to the Christian name of the daughters of the jailers. And other women who are not
involved in political got raped and killed. What’s the pattern, like you know on what basis
were you like targeting people. Moreover, to be more specific, the leftist insurgency was
decimated completely and destroyed by 1976. Two years after the coup, but the
disappearances and torture skyrocket after the end of the insurgency.So it is like an issue of
like debate among historians but why and what's this pattern. And the opinion I am very close
to and that what I'll be trying to as in my doc thesis in the case of Egypt is that there was like

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an intentional randomization, like yes the victims were random but it was intentional. And
why is that, for two reasons. Although the army is probably the most centralized institution
ever, there was a high level of decentralization when it came to choosing the targets for the
death squads in Argentina. Euhm and it as left for low ranking operatives and low ranking
officers to choose the victims and how to engage with them. So naturally there used to be like
for example death squads that literally would go cruising downtown to look for beautiful
women just to abduct and rape. People got killed in sexual rivalries. There were infamous
cases where like one of the generals basically he had a mistress so he arranged to kill her
husband on pretext that war on terror and he's a terrorist. Disputes between neighbours,
suddenly you would find the death squads intervening. Then you know Oscar would
disappear after a fight with Hussain simply because Hussain is an officer and you are an
ordinary citizen. You might regard this as personal incidence or like corruption but actually it
was deliberate it was a policy that was allowed by the higher echelons on the argentinian
army as part of a bonus for the officers and and an additional incentive to be loyal so you will
do whatever shit you want to do and you will never be accounted what you in exchange that
when you are told to go and kill someone you do it because you are already involved in so
much other shit so this is like a salary and bonus and you can do what you want to do, it’s an
intentional policy, the second thing. By this intentional randomization it creates a general
paralysis in society so that- because as human beings, you know, we can't live in chaos.You
want some stability, you want a system, that’s your instinct for survival. Should I go to this
bar around the corner or would I be at risk? Should I say hello to my neighbour? It creates a
kafkaesque kind of situation because human beings in that situation and its part of a defence
mechanism, they refuse to acknowledge that it’s random. It must have happened for a reason.
There must be a rational explanation for it. If somebody gets killed, there must be something.
This is the situation in Egypt. Tomorrow, a friend of mine who has already been detained
over 100 days, his pseudonym is (name left out) he’s one of the famous bloggers. He is an
atheist and a nihilist. He’s been kidnaped from the street more than 100 days ago and they
accused him of being part of an Islamic terror organization but you know, he’s an Atheist.
Everyone is trying to rationalise this, maybe it’s because he took part in the 2011 protests.
But actually, it’s random and it’s intended to be random so if you ask me the situation in
Egypt that’s it, it’s random. People are disappearing with no reason. Only two weeks ago a 72
year old activist was deported from his home. So they are going after this this intentional
randomization which is like a dirty war tactic, and that’s the reality that Egyptians are living.

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It's a very, very, very bleak situation, we’ve never had it that bad. It was never that bad.
Never that bad.

Interviewer O: You have mentioned that you had had encounters with the security
forces before 2011 however would you say that after that happened, did you feel afraid
when you were out in the streets, did you feel like that influenced you in any way?

Interviewee 3: Euhm like euhm well it had the contrary effect. I was detained three times and
I was tortured once. This once is the first time. There is a rule for torture in general. If you get
tortured and you don't speak, they don't torture you again.The ones who get fucked the worse
are those who speak. They slap you in the face. That’s how it works. So the kind of political
education we use to have in underground organization is that you just don't speak. From the
beginning you don’t speak. You say expect like “my name is bla bla bla” and that's where I
live bla, but anything you say “I will not speak expect in front of a prosecutor or in the
presence or an attorney”, you keep repeating. You act like a CD on a replay. That’s how you
live it, the torture. Once you start speaking, you'll get fucked. I didn’t speak, I didn't give
them any sort of info, I was detained for four nights. Definitely there is a post-trauma even if
you don’t acknowledge it, and I survived and they didn’t get any information, but it was also
a carte blanche, I know they would not torture me if ever I got arrested again. They would
blindfold me and start giving you psychological threats, but they didn't touch me afterwards.

Interviewer O: Were you ever worried about other people around you? Friends,
family?

Interviewee 3: Definitely, I already like you know ehum, I stayed away from my family for a
very long time expect my mother, but like my extended family I had very, very limited
relations and it was primarily because I don't want to get them into any trouble.

Interviewer O: Beyond that was that ever a reason so say “I shouldn't have”?

Interviewee 3: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I believe, I was doing the right thing and even if
they had been, no it never crossed my mind this way and I was like even if they target them,

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it will be the states fault, I'm not gonna feel guilty, I'm doing the right thing and will continue
to do it because I want our liberation.

Interviewer O: Before it happened, before you got tortured, do you feel you were more
afraid of it than after it happened?

Interviewee 3: Of course and you know the worst form of torture is psychological torture, and
even if they beat you, after ten times you don't feel the pain your bod is already drugged. But
if you are blindfolded with psychological threats, adrenaline like bumps into your body and
you’re just waiting and you even like you start wishing like ”just do it and get over with it”.
Some of the worst forms of torture is that you just throw them in an isolated cell, you go mad
after a while.

Interviewer O: So how did that look specifically before being tortured, would you think
twice about going out?

Interviewee 3: No, think twice but I had a routine which I have for the rest of my life, you
look behind your back, don't speak over the phone about certain things, you burn papers,
whenever you sit down everywhere you look who is around you does anyone look familiar,
where’s the exit you know in case you need to run, like you know there are security
procedures. But after a while you start being programmed, you chose like you know, I mean
long streets between two streets I would actually take the empty one so that if I'm being
followed I would find out easily, if I'm going to someone who lives on the second floor I
always take the elevator on the fourth floor and then descend.

Interviewer O: I wanted to ask you, how did your decision of leaving Egypt come
around? What was the context?

Interviewee 3: Euhm a few things I mean one was I mean first I was like demoralized like
politically and I already had been demoralized for a year I was like very, very depressed
secondly you know I was bankrupt. During the years of the revolution it’s full time work but
no one pays you, it’s a voluntary work and I woke up in 2014 and my bank account was like
there is nothing, no money. At the same time I’m a journalist and let me tell you not many

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people would give me jobs with a profile like mine. I mean you know after the coup, I was
already working at a job that I absolutely hated and our ceiling went down, and that's when
you know I applied for this job with Egypt Plus and so I have to leave Egypt for a few years
knowing that I will not be able to return as long as Sisi’s still there. Euh because someone
with my profile, I don't know how much you are following this whole Arab politics but you
know Egypt and Qatar, someone with my profile going to Doha to work for Al Jazeera means
I’m going to exile. There is no way I would be returning and my fear was vindicated because
state security police detained my wife in Egypt, they sent her for interrogation in 2016 and
they detained her to like two hours, they didn't touch her or do anything physician but the two
hours 90 percent of the time was questions about me, what I was doing in Doha, how she
knew me, and then, and they really humiliated her. They were fucking rude bastard. They
issued a deportation rule against her, I don’t know how much you know about the Gaza
situation, so they turned down her request of residency in Egypt and at the same time she
finally managed to leave Gaza. We worked also on her residency in Egypt, they turned it
down reissued her an immediate deportation issue since she is a threat to national security. So
they arrested her and took her to a prison truck to the Cairo airport, because she was given
two options. Either to send her to the women’s prison in (Moukarata?), so thn to to stay in
prison until the crossing is open which will happen in who knows and then they would deport
her, or to deport her to Malaysia, because Malaysia accepts Palestinians without a visa for 30
days. So she spent in a detention cell a day and a half and they were fucking rude, they were
real bastards. I mean Egyptian police and just like shitholes, and euhm and we reserved for
her a ticket on Qatar airways so that the plane would stop in Doha and tried to pull all strings
to get her an entry in Doha. So that when the plane transits in Doha we could reunite which
we did. So they told her at the airport before deportation that there is three cases involving
national security issues against me, I mean, I already have lawyers in Egypt. I have the power
of attorney in case my name pops up and they told her “go and get him and come back” and
anyways months later I also found out that they arrested a young Egyptian who lives in Doha
who I don't know I mean at all, but they wouldn't release him until he promised them that he
would spy on me in Doha. And anyway I found like about this because the guy who went to a
lawyer who is a common friend and he basically told me this happened you better watch out
so they are definitely interested about my trial but again talk about randomization, why did
they allow me to leave Cairo. In the case of Argentina again there isn't a unified policy. Ok,
now they said that there are cases against me awaiting trial but at the same time they renewed

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my passport, while others you know and you know some other people I know that are part of
the brotherhood, their names are actually part of an ongoing trial, they renew their passports,
while others who are not part of anything, they refuse to renew them. It’s very random, they
say they do it.

Interviewer O: And beyond your wife, euh how did your close friends and family react
when you said you wanted to leave?

Interviewee 3: My mum was very happy. She was for a very long time encouraging me to
leave. I know that some friends were upset that I left and euhm for them this was an
additional reason to be demoralized. I mean, I knew that later from some people who spoke to
me, but in general most people were understanding, I got so many messages from people who
said you did the right thing, there is nothing to be done here at the moment, we need people
abroad, so that when a new wave starts we would still have most of the people alive at least.
So actually yes my friends were supportive.

Interviewer O: From these people, why did you think they were upset?

Interviewee 3: Against it because like this is another sign that it's a hopeless situation. If
(name left out) himself left, there is really nothing to be done. They don't blame me like, “you
betrayed us”. No it wasn’t like that.

Interviewer O: This criticism, have you heard it?

Interviewee 3: No no, I mean, I am sure that some people might have felt that way, but at
least no one told me this to my face. But you know in general Egyptians are very I would
have found this online, you know.

Interviewer O: Within this decision of leaving, you had mentionned that you went
through a depression in 2014, was your decision of leaving also related to this of some
reason? How specifically?

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Interviewee 3: If I’m depressed, there is nothing to be done and my health was deteriorating. I
was almost like skull and bones, smoking a lot and just living-off coffee and cigarettes, I quit
more than a year ago, but yeah!

Interviewer O: And do you think that leaving has given you some distance, do you feel
better?

Interviewee 3: I feel better, definitely there were days when I thought “did I do the right thing
or not” I was very conflicted especially because I didn’t like my job that much, but like I used
to get into a lot of fights with the management, euhm so I mean definitely there were times
when I was like, like fuck did I do wrong thing bla bla bla and then I look back and I think
yes I did the right thing, I don't know.

Interviewer O: These moments when you thought you did the wrong thing how would
you convince yourself that it was actually the right thing to do ?

Interviewee 3: If I get into this mood that I did the wrong thing, I would stay with this mood
for some time. Euhm but euhm (hesitation) human beings are animals that way, you adapt
even if you hate whatever situation you're in, you start finding your own place, you start
looking at the positive sides, you start trying to find a little bit of hope.

Interviewer O: Is it still a struggle to be away from Egypt?

Interviewee 3: Of course I miss it. I’m 40 years old, I lived in Egypt for something like 37 or
36 years of my life. It’s 36 years in the same block. And you know life here in Berlin as much
as I like the city you know, it's not a welcoming city. Wouldn't say the people mainly, but the
government doesn't wanna make you feel at home. Like you know, so many times at the
Ausländerbehörde doing my papers and, and you know like they refuse to speak English and
I’m like you know, it’s the fucking foreign office and you don’t speak English. And you
know, maybe if I learn German I would feel a little bit better, but it’s very alienating, it’s, it’s
euh, euh, euh, I'm not fantasizing about Egypt, probably you as Westerners, if you going to
live in it, it's not going to be nice, but again it's the shithole I grew up in. I have my parents,
my library, everything you know. Here it’s definitely there are days where it like it’s …

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Berlin is a vey crushing city, and euhm and like if in the situation changes in Egypt, then
definitely I will return at home. If, if I had to live like somewhere in Europe, I hope, I don't
get stuck here in Germany, no offence. It's not a welcoming country. It has its beauty, I mean
it’s Berlin at the end of the day, so much history, I meet, meet you know leftists, we share
ideas, and then you walk back to Weißensee at night and it's a creepy place. Euhm and even
like you now the hit places Berlin like if you got to Kottbusser Tor, there's something wrong
man. Like you can't put your hands on it, but you feel it’s, I don’t know how to describe it,
like people think it’s hip, but actually it's not hip, it’s poor refugees, young kids who are like
completely hopeless, completely on drugs, thrown everything, everything reeks of urine and
reeks of weed. I mean I love weed but like you know it’s, I mean, silence, everywhere, you
see people who are just. And then I see people completely hopeless and their hands are
literally falling. It’s very traumatising for me. So I mean I have my PDH I hope I manage to
do well, it’s something that I've been working on it for years, investigating the different dirty
war tactics But then next step I honestly don't know, it's still too early to decide, if the
situation in Egypt improves maliciously, something which I find very unlikely, definitely me
and my wife would return to Cairo. If not then we will see like you know how we can
relocate and see somewhere else. Europe is getting more like a fortress. The Fascists and the
fight and just on the right everywhere. The neonazis here are like in parliament, 13 percent of
the vote! In a nation Italy is like, all Eastern Europe it’s gone, you have guys running on a
platform of like banning kebab, I mean like (laughing) fuck you! You know, you don’t .. like
you're blessed to have kebab! Even me and my wife we’re trying to decide, should we go to
Poland, they just had a march of 16 000 Neonazis, we just think, where should we go? And
again, I’m not one of those people who say Egypt is so beautiful, and I mean I know that life
is tough in Cairo. And again it’s a shithole, but it's the one I grew up in, it’s the one I grew up
in! I have my mother, extended family nearby, my friends.

Interviewer O: Do you have any special way to keep in touch in Egypt?

Interviewee 3: I mean euhm, I don't use whatsapp. I use signal private messenger, it's the app
we use widely. I’m not on facebook, I’m on twitter, I mean I know everything via feeds, via
social media, those I care about I stay in touch by signalm about it stay in touch by signal,
euhm I mean it's not like a ritual, I keep in touch with a few number of people on a daily
basis.

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Interviewer O: And I also wanted to talk to you a bit about what you do in Berlin
because you've mentioned that you're an activist ?

Interviewee 3: I mean that would be exaggeration I mean, I did attend a few protests in
support of Palestine, which was honestly shock for me the amount of security enforcement in
the Palestine protest is just crazy, crazy. I haven't seen anything like this, again, I don't speak
German, but I've been told how the German press has been covering it, antisemitic. I've even
found the twitter feed of the Berlin police saying they had arrested five people for raising the
IS finger. I’m like, what? I even wrote “you fucking assholes, this is not the IS finger, that’s
what Muslims do, that’s how Muslims communicate. It’s, it's, it’s crazy, and you go for a
protest and they spend half an hour searching people, issuing directives “you’re not allowed
to say this, you’re not allowed to do this you’re not allowed to say this” like for half an hour,
not allowed to raise flags. I feel like I'm going to a lecture, I mean it's a protest. I always go to
anti Nazi mobilization whenever there is a chance, that's even more important than
Palestinian protest for me, Nazis and fascism that’s the real devil, that’s the worst thing that
exists. Any sorts of counter mobilization you always have to help out and not give these
people any sort of chance to resurface somehow. I’ve been also to some pro Iranian protest,
you know when the Iran protests were happening, I went in solidarity. I also gave a talk at
Rosa-Luxemburg, I will be given other talks over there. I’m trying with the Egyptian here to
try to, I wouldn't say to lobby, but you know to raise some awareness and try to meet with
parliamentarians in the future and trade unions leaders to try and get their solidarity euhm
with what’s happening in Egypt. You know Germany is a very important trade partner with
the Sisi regime. Euhm and they are selling Sisi submarines they are selling Sisi all sorts of
arms. Euhm, and we need to stop you know we need to cut this flow of arms. So I’m still
discussing with others how to start lobbying like a campaign to serve these ties or at least to
diminish them, not that I’m really optimistic in the end, but at least if of they do something it
will come with the cost just like in Britain Theresa May reselling to the Saudis fighter jets,
missiles. With each deal there is a scandal, it's eating up from the credibility and this is not
happening here and I want this to happen here, even if you're gonna continue doing business
with the devil, you should know that there is a price to pay for this. I mean you know that
there is a price to pay for this. So that’s politically. Culturally I try to go with my wife to see
places every weekend historical weekends, it’s a very beautiful city in terms of architecture.

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I’m very öuch interested in urban planning, in how this city is you know functioning or
dysfunctioning, we go to museums, we go to public parks you know that's how much green
space each Caireen gets, if you divide the total number of green by the population density,
that’s how much green place we have and we don’t have much green space in Cairo. For me
having all this green, it’s very relaxing.

Interviewer O: So to some extent you have been active at least in going to protests, have
you also been active against Egyptian politics?

Interviewee 3: Online yes, on a daily basis. Like on the ground, like nothing you know.

Interviewer O: Have you come into contact with of the Egyptian activist beside [name
left out]?

Interviewee 3: Yes, I’ve met a few and I’ll meet them again.

Interviewer O: How would you say is the general atmosphere amongst activist in Berlin
?

Interviewee 3: Everyone is depressed, demoralized and yeah demoralized!

Interviewer O: Do you think they share your impressions on it?

Interviewee 3: They, yeah I believe we agree on so many things, but yeah I mean Sisi has
bleaked out the situation, it’s completely bleaked out and I don't think that there is anyone
really who sees any sort of light in that situation at all.

Interviewer O: And is there anyone who is active on the ground or who is trying to
coordinate some activities in Egypt from here?

Interviewee 3: No, but again like as I was explaining, there is not a lot of space for this in
Egypt, all of us we’re still connected with our comrades and colleagues and friends and

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families back home, and you know things with the internet minute to minute basis we know
what's happening but it’s not that you know there is much happening at all on the ground.

Interviewer O: Do you personally however, how important are these contents, do you
feel supported?

Interviewee 3: No, it’s still too early. I’m still in the process of meeting people, I mean my
wife is like the source of support mainly. Euhm, our families respectively are our source of
support, but they are not here in Germany. No, I wouldn't say that about the Egyptians here.
There is actually some German and American leftists here who are very, very sincere people,
and they are the ones who volunteered to come with me to the Ausländerbehörde, if I need to
do like any paperwork for any governlent institution, they would be there to help, do the
effort at waking up very early and be there with us at 6am so that we can queue, I’ve really
met fantastic people here, Germans and Americans who have been here for a long time.

Interviewer O: And how about when you were back in Doha, was there some sort of
community of Egyptian activist?

Interviewee 3: Euhm, yes and no, meaning that most of the activists in Exile in Doha are
from the muslim brotherhood so for a long list of reasons, it’s not necessarily -you know I
mnea- the kinds of circles I would go in, with few exceptions, I had like a few very good
friends who were at of the Brotherhood and at least one of them was back on Doha. But again
like I don't know if you know life in the GCC countries, it’s like you wake up, go to work,
finish work, go home, tired, sleep, wake up the following day, it’s not like there is so much
room for social activities and stuff to be done like that. It's designed of a stable family life,
make good money, you stay with your wife and kids, the weekend you go to the mall, you
save some money so that the summer you can travel. It wasn't really fitting for someone like
me, it was a really depressing place.

Interviewer O: If you allow me I’m gonna also ask you about your wife, is she also
politically active, what does she do?

Interviewee 3: Back in Gaza, she used to work in civil society in Gaza. She’s a leftist, but not

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a member of any organization, so yeah definitely she’s highly political. She goes to protests
whether we go together or whether she goes by herself. She’s like also cutting edge on
Palestinian politics, I learned a lot from her even after all those years, and one of our dreams
if Sisi would disappear from the picture and the Gaza crossing would be open is that we will
go back to Gaza and ty to relocate there and settle there.

Interviewer O: How would you think that she feels in general about the political
situation?

Interviewee 3: Yes, she feels the same way as me, she shares my views.

Interviewer O: Do you talk to your wife often about these feelings?

Interviewee 3: Yes, there are no barriers about this. She also misses home, she misses Gaza.
The situation of her family is also much more complicated actually than mine. Part of them
are in Gaza, they can’t go out, the other part some of them are refugees in Sweden- that's why
we went the past few days to visit some of them, her brother had to go to Canada, it is another
diaspora that they are living in, I mean they do keep in touch via also internet and everything,
they have their own family group, they talk, I mean she misses her home definitely. But that’s
the shitty situation. She cannot go back, you know now she is not allowed to enter Egypt
again expect if she brings me you know back. Euhm, and the only way to Gaza is via the
Rafah crossing. The other way round is that she has to take a visa to Jordan, if they allow her,
and then get an Israeli permit to go via the Erez crossing, it’s almost impossible you know to
do that.

Interviewer O: Do you think that euh a new wave of protest is likely to -?

Interviewee 3: Not anytime soon.

Interviewer O: Do you think in your lifetime maybe?

Interviewee 3: It will be in my lifetime, but it’s not gonna be anytime soon.

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Interviewer O: And what specific conditions would have to be met? Aside of course of
Sisi stepping down.

Interviewee 3: I don't wanna like personalize it, it’s not really about, it's not just about Sisi.
It’s a military regime, euhm, there will, how can I say it - you know there is always, when the
Gods have their own fights, then the ordinary human beings can start moving a little bit.
Things are not that stable over there, there are you know some things happening. Definitely a
section of our ruling elites you know, they feel that Sisi has taken them on a really long trip.
Like they were happy that he crushed the Brotherhood. They were happy with him killing the
revolutionaries in 2013/14. But now they feel that things have evolved in a much more
extreme way and in that context, euh you can understand why someone like (Samia Anan?)
who was former army chief declared that he was gonna run against Sisi before Sisi put him in
prison, and he wouldn't have run on his own, you know, there must be also others you know
on top who like gave him the green light. We hear rumors, we see signs that there is conflict
between the military intelligence and the general intelligence, that there is friction between
the security services. So I don't know how this will translate itself into, but definitely one
pretext for a revival would be when you start getting some splits on top, that's when you can
start moving. But those are your enemies. I know that some people think they will outsmart
them, but it’s bullshit. I mean, I was against support (Anan?) in any form when he declared
he was running against Sisi, but I guess this confusion on top would create some room for us
to move. Euhm secondly, and that's like the much more tricky part, in such (dismal?)
situations sometimes international pressure helps, like I would be against Merkel like you
know intervening and telling Sisi what do to or what not to do. But I would be more than
happy to go to a German trade union leader, to issue a statement, and he or she would lobby
his own government into stopping the arms sales in Egypt. Like you know you find lots of
Syrian activist who are like you know “go and force bomb Assad and bla”. No, no I don't
know any sort of foreign government interference, but I am more than happy to have the
support of non-government actors. So I think that we should try to build up an Egypt
solidarity campaign. In the same way that there was solidarity campaigns Salvador and all the
other American countries who were going through the dirty war, to try to cut the arms sales,
to try and create a sanctuary for some activists to flee abroad, to protect them, to stop the
surveillance technology that is being sold to Egypt and this kind of thing. Again I hope that I

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get proven wrong but I don’t think this will happen any time soon. I hope i’m wrong but I’m
not that optimistic.

Interviewer O: Is there anything else that you would like to tell us?

Interviewee 3: I don't want you to misinterpret my feelings towards Berlin and Germany
(laughing - conversation about Berlin with everyone).

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VIII. Transkript Interview IV

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
Interview 4
5th June 2018

Gender F Profession Academic

Age Home town Cairo

Interviewer E: Do you wanna start by maybe introducing yourself?

Interviewee 4: So my name is (name of interviewee left out) uh I am doing my PhD here in


(institution left out) with uh Professor (name left out), who you all know. And I am doing my
PhD on Affect, Emotion and Political Transformation in the uh sort of after (..), (...) the
revolution in Egypt. Uhm my case study uhm is on, uhm, an uhm, an urban poor
neighborhood in Cairo, uh very close to the Tahir Square, it’s called uh Mespiro triangle and
it is a part of a neighbor-, a bigger neighborhood called (..), (...) which is also a (..), (...) to
Tahir. Uhm, uhm this neighborhood was uhm under sort of a reconstr-, like transforming the
neighborhood and now it’s gone, (.) they removed the neighborhood basically. Uhm yeah,
because part of the PhD is new forms of political participation that came out of the revolution
which was the neighborhood committees & so we are studying the area as a part of this. Uhm
I’m in supposedly my last year of the PhD, so I am writing up, I finish-, I finished my field
work. But I will be going for like a short follow-up in the end of, in the end of the year. And I
have been here for two years now. Yeah! (?) What else do you need to know?

Interviewer C: So you will go back to Egypt then, or?

Interviewee 4: Yes, in September.

Interviewer C: Ok! And you will return to Germany or?

Interviewee 4: Uhh I am going back in September for a follow-up, I still have a year to finish
my PhD. Hopefully I am finished by then. After that I have no idea. (Interviewer E: Good
luck as you are (..), (...) writing up!) Yeah exactly (laughing), so I am in that uh process +.
Yeah!

Interviewer E: Ok, so I am just gonna start with the questions we wrote down, if that’s
fine?
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Interviewee 4: Of course!

Interviewer E: Uhh do you wanna start by telling us why uh when you start -, when you
first became involved in uhm political activism in Egypt. How you started out uh?

Interviewee 4: Mhh, so uhm, so I studied Political Science in Cairo University. And uhm, it’s
uhm, it’s quite uhm, uhm, so Cairo University has always been politicized, especially around
uh several causes like the Palestinian cause and uh causes about uh university politics and
things like that. (.) And I mean I studied Political Science, so our faculty was like very
involved. But uh during my university years I tried to be uhm, doing a bit of student activities
BUT NOT like demonstrations uhm and things like that. So my first demonstration ever was
the 25 of January, it was the revolution. Uhh before that I didn’t go to any demonstrations or
th

anything. (‘) But I did a lot of student activities like in the university, so a lot of student
activities, but nothing that is like uh, I didn’t join any political party before & I, I joined after
the revolution a political party. But before the revolution I didn’t join any movement or any
political party. & Uh, it was more student activism. & So if you uhm form a sort of political
activity with the revolution and, and then after I joined a political party.

Interviewer E: Ok! So your motivation was more student-based rather than an


ideologically or family or socially?

Interviewee 4: I had uhm, I, so my father was uh sort of had a long uhm .. history of doing
leftist activism. Uh and my grandfather from my mother’s side. But uhm so when I went to
university I started, he was part of uh a movement called “Kefaya” or “Enough”. And so
when I went to university I was sort of contemplating .. whether or not to join the movement,
(?) you know? But I uhm, and he didn’t really pressure sort of me at all. Uh but I had this in
the family, so he was always involved in like supporting a candidate in some (..), (...)
elections or uhm .. going for uh meetings, so this was all we had some political meetings at
home or I, I have pictures when I am really young, when I am playing in one of the uhm
political, in the party headquarters of where he used to work, so. BUT I never joined like one
of his parties or like. Yeah! So it wasn’t formalized that way. Yeah!

Interviewer E: And so when you decided to get engaged, could you describe your
engagement during the 2011 uprisings. Maybe uhm what a day would be like for you or
like how it evolved!

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Interviewee 4: So the first time I went was on the FIRST DAY, uh, uhm there were before
like uh protests where Edward Said which I wanted to join but I didn’t for, (.) because of
work and things like that. So, but I, I really was in the headspace of wanted to do this. On the
first day I went alone actually because I had work and my friends were already there. And I
was uh very, very scared uhh because I went alone & and I am a woman (.) and I was really
uh terrified. Uh, but then I met my friends and things got a bit easier and I really then felt
safer and I enjoyed the environment which was really nice. Uhh my family were freaking out,
but then yeah, then they felt like there is no point, I am going to do it anyway. Uhm so that
was like the first day. The second day I had work, so I didn’t go. The thir-, uhm on the 28 (h)
th

so on the 28 we were planning to sort of wake up on Friday and just call each other and
th

meet. And then of course the communication was cut off, uh so it’s a long story. I had to go
with my mum to Shubra where my aunt used to live. So I went t h e r e and then I went out
there but it was tremendous violence and also Shubra is sort of a populist area and uh the
cameras sort of where not there, so there was even more uh violence. So it was very, it was
really scary & and I was alone. Uhm but from then on, I think after the 28 now everything
th

broke down and there was uhm, uh, (.) then I was full-time revolution mode. Uh so from the
29 on I was almost going there every day. So I wake up, uhm and depending on if someone
th

is picking up someone, if someone is picking me up, uh I take my car, I pick up a few people
and then I don’t know park my car somewhere and then we spend the day there and the night,
I mean I don’t know until whenever, there were no plans so to, to speak & and if I need to go
home because my mum is completely screaming on the phone or because I need to get some
food or I don’t know whatever, I go back then. So that’s sort of the same rhythm every day.
Uh sometimes I would bring some supplies, uh some people will send me stuff with them,
sometimes we would just randomly buy stuff before we go. Uhm but yeah I was, I was uh
more of a participant than an organizer. Uh but then we would all just also just very randomly
get supplies and things like that. But I wasn’t really sort of part of the organizing uh.
Sometime, I mean it’s also the organizer participation was very fluid because sometimes they
went saying we need some people on the gates to, to check people coming in and out and
then I would volunteer. So this was also some stuff I, I did. AND THERE it was, it varied so
from just sitting and singing to running uh because there were c l a s h e s, uhm to just
discussing different things with p e o p l e. So it was, what, what was happening there was,
was to going back home to fight with friends and family about what’s really happening t h e
r e. So uhm the rules or like the duties were uhh also very fluid. Yeah, changing.

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Interviewer E: And when you said you were scared on that very first day, did you felt
scared just on that first day?

Interviewee 4: Yeah!

Interviewer E: Do you think you knew what to expect, or do you think (Interviewee 4:
No!) you were scared because it was overwhelming, or you?

Interviewee 4: (‘) I was really scared of violence! ESPECIALLY of violence against women.
So I was really scared of being HARASSED or RAPED. Or uh sexually assaulted which they
do, they have a history, the state has a history of doing in a way against female protesters.
But also I was scared of men in general, so police officers, uh men who looked different, who
looked like thugs, uhh men with beards. So, so any sort of men uhh who could assault me,
beat me harass me, uhm. (‘) And I remember when I first got in I, I found some people with
cameras, so I assumed they were journalists or something and as a long as I was alone I stuck
to THEM. Just the sort of idea that if somethings happening to me they will capture it and
this, that was the logic. & Uhh but I was mostly not scared that I would be killed or, (‘) and
even the fear about being arrested was really related to then I would be raped or I would be
sexually assaulted (.) ‘cause this is the first thing they do to uh women protesters. So that was
my, my biggest fear.

Interviewer E: Ok! And more generally about uhm the, the, the whole days, did you
have any concrete expectations, maybe that, that must have of course changed during
the course of the days. But did you have any expectations about afterwards, about what
would happen?

Interviewee 4: Mhhh ... I think after the first two or three days it was clear, AT THE
BEGINNING the idea was that the Min-, (..), (...) the Minister of Interior should go. So that
was the ex-, the minimum expectation. Mhh, but then after, after two or three days, uhm with
the people dying and uhm, and everything that was going on it was clear that Mubarak should
go. That was the expectation .. that he should leave. … Uhm there was a list of demands, so
people used to say that you don’t have demands and things like that, there, and then it was
funny because they printed a huge list of demands and then it was in one of the tallest
buildings of the square. So there were like a list of ten demands and they were part of also
Baradei campaign before the revolution. So if I remember some of them was to change the c
o n s t i t u t i o n, to ensure that Gamel does not inherit sort of the p r e s i d e n c y, to ensure

211
fair e l e c t i o n s. I mean, so and this, and this list of demands had a bit of consensus uh, uh
from the people. & And they were sort of seen as the minimum, so Mubarak goes and then
Mubarak is put on trial & and uhm of course the, the whole change of the whole cabinet and
then constitution, a new constitution. So this, this sort of big list of ten, it wasn’t a big list, but
like this ... uhm we had an imagination of course and some of us who were in the campaign
for Baradei, that Baradei would come as a president and there would be constitutional change
and then new president elections and then Baradei is gonna win and then Egypt is gonna be
very different. Yeah!

Interviewer E: So your personal expectations were, they were probably the more
general ones, you didn’t have any as a woman maybe or as an, as an activist any -?

Interviewee 4: For me it was par-, for me as, as a woman it was part of this so sort of uhm,
uhm ... I think by, by the time I started this maybe it was not very clearly there at the
moment, by the time I started to more and more see that the women’s rights or the feminist
agenda is part of the parcel of the democratic agenda .. of Egypt. So uhm, so this is, I mean ..
like this is sort of not subsumed or un-, unprioritized, but it’s part of uhm the more general
changes, yeah!

Interviewer E: And you think that you would have described yourself back then as
optimist about the outcome or more pessimistic?

Interviewee 4: YES VERY! Yeah!

Interviewer E: Ok and during the whole - ?

Interviewee 4: Yes! I was very dur-, I mean, I was very, very optimistic (.) until maybe the
virginity tests Which was very short after, so. No actually until the 8 of March, on the 8 of
th th

March, on women’s day .. right after the revolution we had uh organized uhm, uh a pro-, a
demonstration in the, in the square and then we were heavily attacked, verbally and
physically and chased out of the square by other protesters. Some people say they are like
regime thugs but maybe not. Uh, they could also be just other protesters. Uh and then I
started to, THEN FEEL THIS IDEA that women’s rights agenda is, (.) is not part of the
whole agenda, it seems. And so I started to be a bit pessimistic and then the, uh, the virginity
tests happened, I think one month after. & There, there was a very small group still in the
square uhh and then they were violently dispersed on the 8 of April I think, arrested and then
th

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they performed on them, they sexually assaulted them basically under the pretence of doing
virginity tests, to make sure that these women are virgins are not. Uhm so and then I started
to be more and more pessimistic, BUT AT THIS TIME we also used to go regularly to the
square so we had uh, every Tuesday and Friday or something. So uh we, we were still very
active in, until Mubarak was, so there was (h) uh uh a wave of protests until Mubarak was in
jail and then another wave of protests and the demands differed a bit .. and but, uhh I think
starting April or May .. uh I already said being pessimistic. & BUT I joined a political party
in, in March. Uh it was a new political party that was founded after the revolution and I
joined right after.

Interviewer E: Ok! And uhm how do you think would, could you describe the
atmosphere during the protests and uhm and how you felt?

Interviewee 4: Mhh, uhm (clearing throat) (.) I have troubles remembering many things. Uh I
have troubles with the chronological order, so I don’t remember what happened before what.
Uhm but I, what I remember is that .. I was, I felt that I was sort of floating. So it was uh, I
uh, for example I lost a lot of weight (laughing) during that time +, uhm we were walking a
lot and I am not a walker, I don’t like walking and I was, I usually (h) I, I love food, so it’s
not normal for me that I forget to eat. So and this is the only thing I could sort of I mean
remember I could have compared to what that is that when I was first in love & so this idea
that I was floating and didn’t care about eating & I was walking a lot and not getting tired.
Euhm, but there were also moments that I was really really scared, a lot of anxiety and a lot
of heartbreak because you go home and then you read about the people who d i e d, or you
hear comments from some family that are horrible about who these people really a r e, so
there was a lot of f i g h t i n g and c r y i n g and euh and euh and anxiety & and I was
feeling like I was hurting my f a m i l y but I was also feeling that I have to do this and then
they slowly and slowly understood that I had to do this so I cannot say that I was just happy.
There were of course moments when I was very very happy and safe but they were spatially
related to being there .. euh, and then once you move out you start, you watch what they say
on TV or (.) like you start feeling like anxious and angry, hum. AND I was really, really,
really scared the first day like not even the first day, sort of the first half an hour, I was
REALLY scared, but then euhm since then, at least when -I would be scared when I’m
outside with my friends when there are clashes and I’m outside I would be really scared for
THEM but then as long as I’m there I didn’t feel scared after that moment & I mean you had

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moments when you had sort of I mean I don’t know these fighter flights flying over you and
you really didn’t know if they were gonna bomb you or you didn't understand why they are
there, maybe surveillance or- but you had a sort of (h) I don't know I wasn't afraid to die
there. I mean you knew that it’s a possibility, they kept saying there were s n i p e r s which
probably there was, and then you see fighter things, and there were tanks, and you never
know what's gonna happen. But I was not- as far as I remember as long as I was there I was
more scared that we lose the s q u a r e or that euhm a violence on this person this person but
not for my own personal safety which is in very direct contrast to how I felt walking in.
Because when I walked in all I cared about was my own personal safety, euh yeah.

Interviewer E: And my next question is, well we know you're writing about this for your
PDH so of course you must think back about it but I ask anyway, do you think back
about the uprisings today and how do you feel when you think back to that?

Interviewee 4: I really have mixed feelings, so sometimes, (.) some days or depending on
who I’m talking to, what I'm reading or what I'm writing. I would think about them very
fondly, so sort of the best days of my life, and I would feel very inspired, but sometimes I
would think of them … euhm you have this other - it's not maybe very different “oh I was so
n a i v e”, and yeah I was so not stupid but I was so naive and maybe too o p t i m i s t i c s, I
didn't have enough e x p e r i e n c e, how come that that I thought that, or why did we think
or that I think that it could change so quickly and so smoothly, and I’m worried that get- that
I never read anything about history (?), why didn't I assume that it would go very wrong (?)
euhm euhm BECAUSE I’M like some people were already very sceptic but I wasn't, I wasn't
sceptic at all at that moment. Euhm, but generally euh - and I like to remind myself that there
were moments of fear and there were moments of of anxiety because euhm we tend to close
those over, but (‘) generally I still believe that these were some of the best days of my life. …
Euhm I have euhm yeah it was as euhm I cannot think of it as anything but a very positive
experience … REGARDLESS of sort of some of the disappointments and the consequences
of that so maybe the result of living that is that the consequence of it was not so
PRODUCTIVE maybe for me but still it, I just think of that experience alone I think that I
was very, very lucky to be part of this.

Interviewer E: Ok, so now we are going to move on to a few questions about Egypt
today, about the political situation!

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Interviewee 4: Yaaay!

Interviewer E: (Laughing) Maybe generally, how do you evaluate the + political climate
in Egypt right now?

Interviewee 4: I, I to be very honest, I don't know (Pause) I mean I want to be also honest
about the headspace I’m in & so I see things very, very, very grimm. But I'm not sure if it’s
because, it's of course the way we see things is part of where we are and how we are. So there
is a crackdown on a lot of people I know p e r s o n a l l y, I’m now a f r a i d, so I was
thinking of going to visit my mum during Eid after RAMADAN, and they just arrested a
PHD student who was doing a field work in Egypt. So now I’m scared of going because I’m
personally - so now my fear about my personal safety and my friends who are writing me
some are being threatened some of them have to leave the country, (‘) OF COURSE, - maybe
someone else who doing - I don’t know who is working as an IT in a company who runs in
different circles sees things differently & so it’s also how I feel and how I analyse things is
painted by the current situation. So I see it very very grimm. The human rights situation, the
targeting of activist but not only that, so my work made me involved in with the urban poor
and their struggle for housing rights and the neighbourhood that I was working in has been
moved completely, so it’s not also, not also I think it's not also just about targeting some
leftist activists who are euhm talking about h u m a n r i g h t s, but also with the general
agenda, but it's also a crackdown on the urban poor. They’re doing massive urban upgrading
and restructuring, especially in Cairo but not only in Cairo, but then the uprising crisis and
they are taking its toll on middle class and lower middle .. to an extent that hasn't happened in
the last 10 y e a r s. Euhm, so, euhm, and now he- Sisi is having a second term and there was
no real competition and no they already started discussing changing the constitution so that
he can stay forever. So you know according to the constitution one of the few winnings that
we got is that the president stays for 2 terms only. And now there is a discussion now that of
course to change the constitution so he can stay as long as he wants.

Interviewer E: So in regards to that, how did you see the actual campaign in March?

Interviewee 4: I was there, (smiling) I was in Egypt for a personal vacation, and I think there
were a few interesting things. One is that you didn't have the same atmosphere that was in the

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first election. So you didn't have like many people going to the elections poles, or this
celebratory feeling.

Interviewer E: So during the day you mean, or during the campaign before?

Interviewee 4: During the campaign AND during elections days, there were I think 3 days. So
and I think he, the President, was really upset about that. And part of the crackdown on the
day after the elections has to do with this. Because he didn't get what he had last time. So the
celebrations, THEY STAGED IT, so a lot of the polling stations had their own DJ and they
would distribute flower. And last elections I went and voted against him. So I went to the
polling station, I saw that there were like not many, but I saw that there were organic
celebratory feeling and people were dancing and things like that. But this time I didn't go, but
I can also see that the polling stations are in every school so just everywhere you can just
walk and see a polling station. So I didn't see sort of -. And then you would ask people did
you go vote, “oh no not yet, maybe tomorrow”. So I also knew a lot of people lied about
going to vote but they didn’t. And euhm .. and euhm a close friend of mine was there as a
journalist. He lives here but he was there as a journalist covering the elections and he also
went and took pictures and told me that they were practically empty. And I think this really,
really, really bothered him, bothered Sisi. So that was one thing. The second thing is that
among the people who went, so there were some videos, (?) maybe you saw some of them or
not. They were quite hysterical, so quite scary actually. One of them is very famous and
circulated a lot as a joke is one woman … euh talking to someone. I don't know who, and
telling them that she was voting, and then she started shouting (..), (...) and then she faints. It's
like a religious cult you know, it was very creepy. Euh but I think it really captured the
historicity of the moment, I think it's a very interesting video. In case you haven't seen it
maybe I send it to you. And euhm and then there was another one, it’s the campaign itself &
so, and I have a picture of that I can also share with you. So one of the slogans of the
campaign was (..), (...) “you are hope”. And for me that was so, euhm, like, he uses very good
emotive metaphors and slogans. And in a way that Mubarak never did or Morsi never did or
no one ever did before him. And the way that he is being framed as HOPE was (Pause) quite
a-, at least his huge banners all over Cairo saying he was hope was quite interesting for me
who studies emotions and it was quite interesting how he and the regime are constantly
reappropriating these revolutionary narratives of hope. And euh being, I mean usually you
had Mubarak talking about the outlook to the future or I don't know ... but he's using really

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emotive metaphors about not love but hope and things like that. And that was quite
interesting in the campaign, euhm.

Interviewer E: Do you think then this aspect of the campaign or maybe another aspect
motivated you to become more politically engaged / active?

Interviewee 4: In what way?

Interviewer E: In the way that when you have no words when you describe how you
feel, so would you think that that would maybe push you to react?

Interviewee 4: Actually not, really, for me it was brilliant. The way it was done was brilliant
because IF HE IS HOPE, it also closes down your imaginary. Euh I think one of the things
that the revolution did was to make us naive enough to believe in whatever that could never
happen. And then if Sisi is framed as hope, regardless if you're with or against him. It of
course cements the idea that he is the savior and things, (‘) but it also really closes down your
ability to imagine or think beyond. I mean you had a revolution, all of this happened and then
Sisi IS HOPE. He IS HOPE. (Interviewer E: Well he imposes himself as hope) (‘) Yeah,
but it’s super imposing - he depicts himself as hope of course but it's also a aesthetically
super imposed on you and this reality. You're living now in a reality - a version of Egypt in
which Sisi IS HOPE. And this closes up your hopes, your imagination, I mean what would
you imagine could happen if this is the reality you live in. You are governed by a dictator
who campaigns in these terms, that he is the only hope. Euhm, and of course you’re
constantly struggling with the fact that unlike maybe Mubarak in the last 5 -10 years. He has
many supporters, (‘) so many people believe that he is hope. It's not that he just depicts
himself like that, but many people actually believe that he is hope. (Interviewer E: Yeah,
although the turnout was very low.) I mean ... we have no number, we have observations ...
we have some official numbers but we do not really know … how many people went.

Interviewer E: The next question has to do with what you said before ehm so we’re
talking about the situation, positive, negative. How do you compare today’s political
situation with that before the uprising in 2011 (..), (...)?

Interviewee 4: I mean, (?) you mean before? (Interviewer E: Before 2011!) Okay. Uhm. So,
in 2011, I was 25, I think or 24 ... so I would say I’m also young. I’m influenced by family
histories of a lot of oppression on both sides. So uhm, I was also very (h) critical and uhm I

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mean, I was sort of, I grew up in this idea of a lot of oppression .. in the family .. political
oppression. So it’s not like I think that before, that during Mubarak it was better or anything.
I think what is different, in the last, when I developed my own political sensitivity and
understanding, Mubarak was already much more hated than Sisi now. And I think that made
a big difference, because you could uhm in the last 5 years before 2011 … started 2005, there
was a lot mobilization happening in Egypt. As you could be much more outspoken about how
you hate Mubarak and get societal support than now. I think that’s the big difference, but
other than this … also, the last five years have sort of opened up a lot of spaces, not only
because he is president but also because of a lot of resistance. You had better run media than
now, you much more critical ... ehm cultural and social surroundings than now. But on formal
politics level, it was as corrupt, there were no e l e c t i o n s, there were no real p o l i t i c a
l p a r t i e s, there was not any organized a c t i v i s m. But there were much more social
criticism and … yeah. So, on formal politics, I don’t think it’s that different, but maybe on a
societal level, it was. (?) Does that make sense?

Interviewer E: It does. And, though it seems impossible to voice your opinion or


anything, do you still have contacts in Egypt who still do some level of activism?

Interviewee 4: YEAH, YES! Yes, so it depends. Some people who try to depict themselves,
they try to work along a bit depoliticized lines, or that the State does not see as so threatening.
So I have some friends doing gender research, and they let them, they do women stuff so they
don’t care.

Interviewer E: This is in universities back in Egypt?

Interviewee 4: Not in university, but a gender research institute. They have established and
they let them work, some of them do storytelling, and they survive somehow. Another group
working on the e n v i r o n m e n t, and then they let them. So I have some friends doing like
REALLY great work, very interesting work (Interviewer E: Inspiring) along these lines,
and then they’re allowed. & But once you start doing (..), (...) I have some friends who have
started doing human rights work, and some of them just recently got arrested (.) in the last
wave of arrests. (‘) And then you have things like Mada Masr for example, which is like (.)
sometimes they close it, sometimes they don’t. So that those who like really political and
human rights activism like straightforward, they live in a perpetual sense of “will they arrest
me today or tomorrow?”. But others who have tried to fly under the radar and try to do things

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that the state isn’t focusing on so much at the moment (..), (...). But of course there are people
there still working, definitely.

Interviewer E: Nice, and now we have an input for you.

Interviewer C: Yes, it’s a letter. I’m pretty sure you may have read it. It’s from Mahmoud
Abu Said. I don’t know if I pronounced it correctly. And uhm, he recently won UNESCO’s
press freedom price and he wrote this letter from prison. And more than 40 court-hearings
were postponed and so he was actually never acquitted from any crime. And I think there are
some key elements in this letter. He writes “how did officials judge me before the court”,
“darkness and justice” And more to that “how does a state or quasi-state, as the president
claims, demands that the law be respected, while being the first to violate it?”. And then in
the end, uhm “an overwhelming evil”, and I was just wondering, concerning our question.

Interviewer C: What difficulties do political activists face in Egypt right now? What do
you think about his whole situation and other ones at the moment? How is the overall
situation? How do you think and feel about it?

Interviewee 4: I wrote an article, anonymous ... that I can share with you. It’s not published
… so don’t circulate it. It’s, it will be published as anonymous here, but it will be changed
and edited a bit in German. And maybe the English article will be published in Mada, I still
don’t know. And it’s about this exactly. But I was talking about my own fear of getting
arrested, and it has a lot to do with being diaspora, so not being in Egypt. But I immediately
can (..), (...) this idea of darkness, this idea of (..), (...) – I also write about that - being in a
dark cell uhm and this idea of feeling isolated .. and alone, very alone. Even if you’re not
alone, and .. and I think that uhm it has been … I mean … we had a bit of discussion or I had
a hypothesis in my head about how during the 18 days they killed a lot of people, and in the
aftermath (..), (...). But Sisi is smarter than just shooting a lot of people on the street. So he
arrests activists, put them in solitary confinement, and I think this has to do with this idea of
darkness .. and isolation, and just let them rot there. (?) Just let them rot in a cell, you know?
So he’s not shooting people in the street, he’s in uhm instilling this feeling of isolation,
loneliness and darkness and no one would care for you or about you and .. then .. what are
you doing this far? You won’t be a martyr killed in the street, you will be living in a dark cell
alone ... and just waste your life there and no one would care, people will move on (Pause).
And I think I can – or at least personally – I mean, I don’t compare of course, but I think that

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even you’re perpetually having these feelings even if you’re outside of prison .. so you’re
isolated, you’re alone, you’re threatened, you’re in darkness and uhm .. what you do has no
meaning and no purpose and … and I think this is how most activists feel like .. at the
moment … when their inside, when their outside, Egypt inside, outside jail. (Interviewer E:
It’s all pretty hopeless.) It’s not just hopelessness, you can have hopelessness, and I think
you can have hopelessness, and yet you also have energy to do what’s right, to what’s just for
you and for other people. But it’s not just hopelessness, it’s isolation .. so you’re, you’re not –
And maybe I can only speak about myself – but it’s maybe also questioning (..), (...). No one
asked you to do this, why are you doing this, I mean for whom? And why? And if it’s for
yourself, then maybe it’s better for yourself not to be an activist in this conditions. So, it’s not
just hopelessness, it’s really lacking purpose, and an activist needs a purpose, and that’s all
they need to fire them up. But if you take away the purpose – if you take away the hope, they
can still bend their head against the wall, it’s all a lot of activists do. (‘) But if you take away
the purpose, the sense of community, the feeling of being wanted or needed or engaged, then
you take away their fuel.

Interviewer E: I’m gonna go straight to it, and then I’ll come back to the questions
about what we were just talking about, but ahm first of all maybe I’m gonna talk to you
about your activism here, are you in touch with any other activists from Egypt or, or
not here and ahm are they still politically active?

Interviewee 4: Yes and yes.

Interviewer E: In Berlin or abroad, I mean of course you mentioned your friend before,
but maybe here also you have a – ?

Interviewee 4: YES, I do ahm, we’re part of a small group that are trying to be active here ah
but we’re still negotiating many things. & So some of us cannot go back to Egypt, but some
of us go back. And then there is a lot of about what can we do or not do without harming ahm
those of us who’d like to be able to go in and out. And how much visibility, and then how
much can we do from here anyway (?). And is it always about doing things for Egypt or also
doing things for us, the diaspora community. So, yes, there are a group of political activists
here, who are still active or who are trying to whether to do advocacy eh with Germans, eh
German policy makers who don’t care at all about Egypt. Or I said whether it’s about doing
some eh giving out information about the human rights situation, ah but yeah.

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Interviewer E: Okay, do you amongst yourself – really personal question, so you don’t
have to answer – do you talk about the Egyptian politics often or not?

Interviewee 4: Yeah, yeah (Interviewer E: Yeah?) Yeah! (laughing).

Interviewer E: Okay and ah would you describe this atmosphere eh this group may be
hopeful for future political change although you’re abroad so change is difficult?

Interviewee 4: IT FLUCTUATES, so sometimes eh someone of us can be very hopeful and


say ‘this guy is not gonna stay, there is no way in hell he’s gonna live out his eh to a second
term’ or whatever. And ehm then some people say ‘we’re just gonna keep banging our head
against the wall because this is what we do, but he’s gonna stay’. So it really fluctuates,
sometimes they can be really hopeful and sometimes we set really small goals. And then if
we make sure that an agreement between Germany and Egypt doesn’t happen, that’s in itself
the HOPE, so if we just block an agreement or whatever, SO YEAH. But I cannot say it’s
like super hopeful or super pessimistic (Interviewer E: Okay, it varies.), ja.

Interviewer E: And those contacts are very important to you or-?

Interviewee 4: YEAH!

Interviewer E: Yeah ok. And eh do you feel supported in your ideas by these peopl -?

Interviewee 4: Yeah. It gives me the illusion that I’m doing something.

Interviewer E: Illusion (laughing) – interesting word. Ahm – is there any particular


activist initiative that inspires you or motivates you on an everyday basis? Maybe, you
were talking about the urban ah the neighborhood which obviously you’re working on
so maybe?

Interviewee 4: Uh yes, they inspire me a lot, but maybe I have to say it has to do with my
earlier .. mhm .. it’s the feminist activism. Feminist activism as is eh … and at some point I
studied in London and I worked in London and I was part of a group called ‘women living
under muslim laws’, they are In London. And they are a group of feminist activists from
different countries, aahm from Pakistan, from Iran, from Senegal. And I have to say those
long-standing 70 year old activists who are from Iran for example or from countries that
things never changed and maybe all – in their lifetime nothing will - are the most inspiring
(Interviewer E: Inspiring!) for me. And I think, at least for feminist activism or certain parts

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of it there has been a lot of work on this idea, especially from activists of those long-standing
FIGHTS, of sustainable activism and how you NOT DEMAND CHANGE your lifetime and
imagine that you could spend two-three generations in one cause, and THEY inspire me a lot,
ehh, yeah.

Interviewer E: Ehm maybe regarding women’s rights or the political situation in Egypt,
do you think eh do you see a possibility for activists to achieve something, even from
abroad or –?

Interviewee 4: YEAH! Yeah! Yeah I, I think so. It’s a lot of work, a lot of organizing, a lot of
networking a lot of – some support from other governments maybe (?), but it’s possible. I
mean, there is a discussion now to try and block the, mhm, if he proposes a constitutional
change, to try and block that. And I think if inside, outside, I don’t know if we managed to
block him from, if we manage to block him from doing a constitutional change, if he leaves
after his second term, that’s a huge win. I think it’s possible but it will take a lot a lot of
WORK and a lot of ADVOCACY WORK. I’m not sure if he can be able to pull it through or
not, and this is not, I’m not just talking about a small group in Berlin, it has to happen bigger,
ahm, framework and much more support, ahm … but I don’t think it is impossible.

Interviewer E: Okay. You say ‘we’ so you think that, eh, you think even from the
outside it would be possible to block him fr-?

Interviewee 4: (‘) NOT JUST FROM THE OUTSIDE, yeah. ... But part of the work (..), (...)
if the current state and the current status will also have to come from the inside.

Interviewer E: Okay. Now a few questions about eh you and your engagement from
here, eh you left Egypt to study (Interviewee 4: Yeah!) yeah, so was it I mean, a lot of
these questions were meant for a lot of people, so yeah if it’s too .. sorry, I’m really bad
at expressing myself, was it a hard decision to leave ahm Egypt after, after what you
went through?

Interviewee 4: Uhh, I was actually, (laughing) before I came here I was working in South
Sudan +. (Interviewer E laughing a bit) (cross-talking) No, no, it’s okay, so ahm.

Interviewer E: So you went even back when you left –?

Interviewee 4: It wasn’t even .. I didn’t even have the feeling that I’m leaving Egypt, so .. I
did my Masters right after the revolution, which was hard to leave Egypt in that time, but I
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also knew that I needed to do this. And then I came back and then I wanted to work in South
Sudan so that was ahm ... so I never felt like I’M LEAVING EGYPT, I never felt, it was just
I get my degree, I come back, I get some work experience, somewhere else and then come
back, the same for the PhD.

Interviewer E: And the Master in London, you said?

Interviewee 4: Yeah. (‘) And now that I am doing, now that I’m having concerns and I’m a
bit worried that I might be arrested or something, (.) that it started to set in a bit I might
consider leaving Egypt at some point. But I never, it’s just something that’s setting in, that
I’m struggling with, but I never had the feeling BEFORE this year that I’m leaving Egypt.
And it wasn’t really, I, I always knew I’m coming back, sort of. Which might be also the case
now, but .. (talking quietly) I really don’t know. But I still don’t have the feeling that I’m
leaving Egypt to be honest.

Interviewer E: Mh okay. And a few questions about receiving news from Egypt, does it
make you feel, what sort of feeling do you have, or first of all how do you receive your
news from Egypt, (cross-talking) maybe?

Interviewee 4: I’m OBSESSIVELY, constantly, eh I think but it’s, I don’t think it’s even
particular, it’s I think a migrant condition. I’m glued to my phone, and it’s family, friends,
activist, non-activist friends. Ehh, like, and I’m in like I have Whatsapp, Signal, Telegram,
Facebook messenger, all kinds of - they’re all open all the time. Yeah I’m in CONSTANT
(..), (...) connected situation. Ahh so, I mean I check of course news websites and things like
that, but I also have really reliant input from ah my friends who are active, some of them
journalists, bloggers, ah, researchers, yeah.

Interviewer E: Okay so that makes you feel closer or it makes you feel -?

Interviewee 4: I don’t know but I, I just feel like I need to know constantly what’s going on,
so. Not necessarily makes me feel closer, but I, I just need to know what’s happening.
(Interviewer E: Okay, yeah this is a migrant condition, yeah!) Yeah (laughing), chronic!
(Interviewer E: Yeah! (laughing)).

Interviewer E: And, I think this is the last section, talking about any future protests, ah
do you think a new wave of protests similar to the one in 2011 or any other sort of ahm
engagement is likely in the near future?

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Interviewee 4: I have no idea! That’s the honest question, ehh (laughing) that’s the honest
answer!

Interviewer E: Okay. I guess I wanted to ask you what conditions would have to be met
for a new waves of protests would be possible, but -?

Interviewee 4: I have no - I REALLY, I mean, there is the political scientist answer which I
can make up, but ehm ... the real genuine just personal answer: I really have no idea!

Interviewer E: Okay. And if a new wave of protests broke out, would you be willing to
participate?

Interviewee 4: YES. (Interviewee 4 and Interviewer E laughing).

Interviewer E: Uhm another question about that: is there anything you would do
differently if another new wave of protests ahm arrives, you would have done in 2011,
maybe you as a person, or you maybe as a?

Interviewee 4: Yeah, maybe I would, I would be ... I will try to be better organized, and I will
demand a seat on any and every table where there is any and every decision being made, and
ahm … and maybe then I was too young and too ambivalent to do that, but I think now ... I
will be even more forthcoming in sort of chasing any spaces where there is sort of any
decision is being made and be part of (..), (...) be more assertive about it.

Interviewer E: And as a last question: would you describe yourself as hopeful in general
for a future in Egypt?

Interviewee 4: (‘) NO! (laughing very loudly) (Interviewer E: (also laughing a bit) Okay!)
No. And maybe and again, this could be me today. And then tomorrow I will be: Yes of
course! Something will change! (.) But ahm at least in the near future I’m not hopeful, no.

Interviewer E: Okay. Is there anything you’d like to add that I didn’t ask you maybe
or?

Interviewee 4: No!

Interviewer E: No okay. Then I think, these are all my questions, so thank you so so
much!

(cross talking, everyone thanking her)


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