Welcome to the first issue of Midan Masr. The inspiration for the newspaper was the events that unfolded in Egypt beginning January 25th, 2011. Among the many changes wrought by those events, the revolution set free the voices of not tens, not thousands, but millions of Egyptians who, for the first time, felt that they not only had the free and unfettered right, but also the obligation, to let their voices ring out and be heard. There was a cacophony of voices, opinions, arguments, debates, and discussions – often visceral, contradictory, aggressive, but all for the first time expressed without fear and with passion.
Midan Masr’s mission is to be a focal point for this rich, passionate, and heated explosion of voices and opinions. Midan Masr will commit to reflecting the full spectrum of discussion and debate taking place regarding issues that affect Egypt. We are a neutral and independent monthly paper that solicits and publishes opinions from a cross-section of political, religious, ideological, and philosophical persuasions that reflect the full spectrum, richness, and complexity of the debate taking place in Egyptian society.
We strongly encourage and welcome first-time writers, seasoned writers, bloggers, photographers, cartoonists, and ultimately anyone who wishes to express his or her opinion on any of the issues affecting Egypt to submit their contributions in Arabic or English to email@example.com. The newspaper is available throughout Egypt. As you will notice, the paper is entirely bi-lingual. To ensure the widest possible readership for all articles, we translate all submissions and print each article in both Arabic and English.
What we publish will offer readers a mix of contributions reflecting a diverse and often contradictory set of opinions on political, religious, economic, development, and cultural topics. The articles will often reflect point and counter-point on issues. Our goal is to help inform and to encourage both an understanding of and appreciation for the rich diversity of opinions in Egyptian society. We solicit and publish articles from authors internationally that can provide insight, perspective, and lessons learned that may contribute to further informing and enriching the discussion of current issues taking place in Egypt.
You will find authors and articles you agree with and authors and articles that you disagree with (sometimes strongly) – however, in all cases, we hope the articles will be interesting, informative, insightful, and provide a reflection of the richness, complexity, and diversity of opinion that makes up the rich tapestry that is Egypt.
You will find topics and positions that will compel you to engage; we encourage you to do just that! Let us know what you think. Let us know why you agree. Definitely let us know why you don’t agree. In short: let us hear your voice.
While our inaugural site covers a broad range of topics and points of view – we are acutely aware that there are many points of view and ideologies that are not reflected in this issue. This is not for lack of attempting to cover those points of view; rather it is a reflection of the authors that we have been able to reach. We will actively continue to broaden the ideological and geographic diversity of contributors – with a particular focus on Egyptian authors from provinces outside of Cairo.
Additionally, the editorial board will publish a regular editorial that reflects the position of Midan Masr on key issues. The editorial and the contributed content will strive to continually highlight key issues and concerns that will impact the Egyptian polity, society, and economy and we hope will contribute to assisting in building a robust, informed, and on-going national dialogue.
We are adding new features and sections in each subsequent issue and we welcome your suggestions on ways that we can improve the quality and breadth of Midan Masr. One feature that we would like to point out is “Mesh Fahim?” You will notice quite a few stand-alone cartoons interspersed throughout the paper – each cartoon humorously raises a specific question or points out an apparent contradiction, conflict of interest, or something that just doesn’t “sound” right; and simply asks the question “Mesh Fahim?” We particularly welcome readers’ suggestions on future Mesh Fahims – the funnier the better!
Finally and most importantly, we owe a huge “thank you” to all the authors, volunteers, and supporters who gave so generously of their time and who from the beginning showed an incredible amount of faith in us and in our vision for Midan Masr. Without them we never would have been able to produce and publish the paper. “THANK YOU!!!” We hope that Midan Masr becomes your paper, as ultimately, it is a reflection of your voices, your opinions, your thoughts, and OUR Egypt.
The Midan Masr Team: Engi Ghaleb Kouchouk, Hala Youssef, Mai Eldib, Mohamed Abdel Salam, Mohammed Shazly, Mustafa Hashish, Nada El- Shazly, Naila Farouky, Nancy Abdel Messeih, Omar Abdel Wahab, Samir Mohamed, Tarek Shoeb.
Once again, we welcome your comments and submission of articles (in Arabic or English), photographs, illustrations, and Mesh Fahims? to firstname.lastname@example.org and we hope that you enjoy this and all forthcoming issues of Midan Masr.