Hannah Elsisi

Hannah Elsisi is a libertarian communist, living between Cairo and London. Working on a DPhil in History at Oxford, looking at political incarceration in twentieth century Egypt. Sometimes writes about contemporary politics for websites like Ceasefire and the Guardian.

    Year V

    by Hannah Elsisi

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    Photo of military officer and child carrying Egyptian flag overlooking the newly extended Suez canal, right caption: ‘Child with an Army’ and to the left is the iconic photo of Aylan Kurdi, dead on the EU’s shores with a caption reading: ‘Child who lost his army’. This image was projected onto a huge screen at the Alexandria toll gates.

    There is this not-so-rare occurrence which academics dread: you write something, but before it’s finished, someone else publishes the exact same thing and you’re left with dead words and the ludicrous task of nit-picking the other author’s argument for no obvious reason at all, simply because you need to publish. You have to make that REF exercise, or you’re fired. This is the first non-academic piece that I have written in several years and it's refreshing not to have to care. So I’m going to go ahead and open with almost the same sentence Alaa abdel-Fatah wrote for the Guardian from his cell in Tura prison, on 23 January 2016, just a stone’s throw away from me and my comfortable Cairo home.

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