Egypt PM says won’t rule out Brotherhood role in new govt

Updated 17 July 2013
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Egypt PM says won’t rule out Brotherhood role in new govt

CAIRO: Egypt’s prime minister said yesterday he does not rule out posts for the Muslim Brotherhood in his Cabinet if candidates are qualified, even as police cracked down on ousted President Muhammad Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Hazem Al-Beblawi, who was appointed on Tuesday, told AFP in a telephone interview he was still considering the makeup of his interim government after Mursi’s overthrow in a popular military coup last week.
“I don’t look at political association ... If someone is named from (the Brotherhood’s) Freedom and Justice Party, if he is qualified for the post” he may be considered, Beblawi said.
“I’m taking two criteria for the next government. Efficiency and credibility,” he added.
“So far I haven’t approached anyone,” Beblawi said, explaining he wanted to decide on the best candidates before asking them to join the government.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already rejected an offer from Beblawi to join the new government, and called for a mass rally on Friday against what it called “a bloody military coup.”
An anti-Mursi camp meanwhile is reported to be planning a Cairo rally to mark the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan following Friday prayers tomorrow.
The rally planned in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, epicenter of the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran leader Hosni Mubarak, raises the possibility of further violence following a week of bloodshed after Mursi’s July 3 ouster. In the bloodiest incident, clashes around an army building on Monday left 53 people dead, mostly Mursi partisans.
Police were searching for the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, after a warrant was issued for his arrest on Wednesday, in connection with the violence.
Badie and other senior Brotherhood leaders are wanted on suspicion of inciting the clashes, judicial sources said.
After a year in power through Mursi, the Brotherhood is now in tatters, with much of its leadership detained, on the run or keeping a low profile following Mursi’s overthrow.
Mursi himself is currently being held in a “safe place, for his safety,” foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told reporters Wednesday, adding: “He is not charged with anything up till now,” he said.
Military and judicial sources have said the ousted leader may face charges eventually.
His overthrow by the military last week, after nationwide protests demanding his resignation, has plunged Egypt into a vortex of violence.
Thousands of Mursi supporters Wednesday evening joined those camped out at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City, to break the daily Ramadan fast.
They vowed to leave only when Mursi, the country’s first freely elected president, is reinstated.
“We are gathering here for Mursi. I voted for him and I want to know where he is,” said protester Mohammed, 47. “We will stay here either until the president’s return or martyrdom,” he said.

 


Jordanian princess brings displaced Syrians’ stories to the screen

Executive Producer Princess Firyal of Jordan and Director Alexandra Shiva (photo embedded) met with the Alhalabi family during ‘This Is Home: A Refugee Story’ New York Premiere Screening at Crosby Street Hotel on May 16 in New York City. AFP
Updated 5 min 54 sec ago
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Jordanian princess brings displaced Syrians’ stories to the screen

  • The documentary opens with shots of the devastation in Homs, where the families came from, making the point that out of the more than five million refugees from Syria’s civil war, only 21,000 have been accepted into the US, 372 of them in Baltimore
  • The idea began with Princess Firyal, a board member of the International Rescue Committee and a UNESCO goodwill ambassador

DUBAI: As the world marked World Refugee Day this week with the grim news that a record 65.6 million people around the world were forcibly displaced by the end of 2016, a new documentary aims to bring home the issue by following four Syrian families trying to settle in the US.

“This Is Home: A Refugee Story,” which streams online Friday on EPIX and won a Sundance Film Festival Audience Award this year, received some high-level help from Princess Firyal of Jordan, who told Arab News that it is important the issue stays at the top of people’s minds.
“It’s always been important: Every time is a good time, but now there seems to be no focus on the refugees,” said the princess, who served as the documentary’s executive producer. “Everyone is occupied with something else. And that’s exactly the story of the refugees: One day they’re on the front page and the next they’re forgotten.”
The idea began with Princess Firyal, a board member of the International Rescue Committee and a UNESCO goodwill ambassador.
“We help the refugees in Jordan the best we can … but I thought maybe we should reach them in another way.”
So she turned to her goddaughter, the American filmmaker Alexandra Shiva. “She’s a lovely and wonderful director and she proved it,” said the princess. “I thought ‘Hey, I have an in-house situation here,’ so I called her and said, ‘This is what I want to do’… She was convinced very quickly that this is a worthy cause so we went ahead and we did it and the rest is history.”

Alexandra Shiva


The documentary opens with shots of the devastation in Homs, where the families came from, making the point that out of the more than five million refugees from Syria’s civil war, only 21,000 have been accepted into the US, 372 of them in Baltimore.
“We did it to reach people, to reach people’s hearts, to maybe try to contribute our bit and educate the masses who don’t know anything about refugees, that they are people, just like us, just very unlucky,” Princess Firyal said.
Shiva’s crew followed the families who, with the help of the IRC’s Baltimore Resettlement Center, make their way through a dizzying list of new experiences, attending English classes, medical appointments, job interviews and group therapy sessions.
“For me, the most important thing is that the movie is from the bottom up, not the top down,” said the director. “You’re in people’s lives. It’s not all refugees. It’s four families. It’s very intimate. It feels small and yet big, I hope.”
It was a challenge to gain the trust of the families to get the intimate access that she did, Shiva said.
“Meeting people when they’re in the most traumatized, fraught period of their lives is never easy and then earning their trust and having them become comfortable with me, comfortable enough to really have the camera and the crew in their kitchens and in their living rooms and in their daily lives, was probably the biggest challenge, but it worked.”
With only eight months of assistance to get settled, it feels like the odds are stacked against the families, who are coping with what they have experienced in the war while going through culture shock in a country that often shows resistance to them. Most heartbreaking are the children, who process the same experiences on a simpler level.
“What if I’m being good in school but tell them I’m from Syria? What would they say? Will they be angry with me?” one of them wonders.
But it is heartening to see Americans in the Baltimore community reach out and befriend the families, something Princess Firyal hopes more people will think about
doing.
“Above all, we’d like to highlight that people should really make an effort to learn more about the crisis, and each one of us in some way can help,” she said.
“Nobody wants to leave their home. People are forced to leave their home. We coach them, we help them, but the crisis doesn’t go away just because we don’t read about it every day in the newspaper.”
“This Is Home” airs on EPIX on Friday at 9 p.m. ET.