Leila Fadel

Leila Fadel is NPR's international correspondent based in Cairo.

Before joining NPR, she covered the Middle East for The Washington Post. In her role as Cairo Bureau Chief she reported on a wave of revolts and their aftermaths in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria.

Prior to her position as Cairo Bureau Chief for the Post, she covered the Iraq war for nearly five years with Knight Ridder, McClatchy Newspapers and later the Washington Post. Her foreign coverage of the devastating human toll of the Iraq war earned her the George. R. Polk award in 2007.

Leila Fadel is a Lebanese-American journalist who speaks conversational Arabic and was raised in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Egypt has undergone profound change over the past 10 days. The military has overthrown an elected Islamist president and is back in control of the country amid deadly clashes between Islamists and the state security forces.

There's been another change as well: Egypt's police, long reviled by much of the population, have become unlikely heroes for opponents of the now-ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

During Egypt's 2011 uprising, revolutionaries fought pitched street battles with the police force, the protector of the autocratic regime.

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Friday saw a very tense situation in Cairo. Anti-Morsi crowds filled Tahrir Square and pro-Morsi crowds gathered on the Sixth of October bridge. There were skirmishes between the two groups but no major clashes. There was also almost no police presence in the area, except in helicopters flying above the fray. There were also confrontations in Alexandria.

Since the military coup on Wednesday that toppled Egypt's first democratically-elected civilian president, the army has been cracking down on his Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. There are, however, many in Egypt who continue to support the ousted Islamist government.

Egypt is about to get a new ruler. A caretaker head of state is being ushered into power Thursday following Wednesday's dramatic military coup. President Mohammed Morsi was forced from power just a year after winning the country's first free election. He lost the public's trust amid a failing economy and fears that he was imposing an Islamist agenda.

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SIEGEL: In Egypt, the military, backed by millions of protestors, has ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Celebratory fireworks and laser lights are lighting up the crowd in Tahrir Square. Elsewhere in Cairo, crowds are gathered to demonstrate on behalf of Morsi and, they say, mourn the death of democracy.

Many of the militia fighters who rose up and ousted former dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have refused to lay down their arms and are still challenging the post-revolutionary government.

Yet the militias are facing a challenge of their own. They now come under verbal attack on one of Libya's newest radio stations, Radio Zone.

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Egypt is settling in for what looks to be a hot and painful summer with power cuts, price hikes and political stagnation. All that could spark renewed protests against President Mohammed Morsi and his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptians who believed in the promise of revolutionary reform are frustrated.

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And I'm Audie Cornish. Today, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is deeply concerned about guilty verdicts and prison sentences handed down today to pro-democracy activists in Egypt. Forty-three people associated with non-governmental organizations were convicted, including at least 16 Americans. The investigation began nearly two years ago, after the ouster of the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Little boys play soccer in the afternoon heat at a makeshift camp near Libya's capital Tripoli. Their homes, or what's left of them, are in Tawargha, a small town about 20 miles from the Mediterranean coast.

The town has been empty since August of 2011. Its residents fled in cars and on foot, under fire from rebel militiamen from the nearby town of Misrata.

The siege of Misrata was one of the bloodiest battles of the Libyan war. Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi shelled Misrata relentlessly, killing hundreds.

Egypt's capital, Cairo, is now synonymous with protests and sometimes violence. Late at night, the once-bustling downtown streets are largely empty these days. People worry about getting mugged or caught up in a mob.

But the recent Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival is an attempt to revitalize the area with music, art and culture in the old and forgotten venues of downtown Cairo, like the Qasr El Nil Theater.

Our perspectives on personal space — the distance we keep between the person in front of us at an ATM, the way we subdivide the area of an elevator — are often heavily influenced by the norms of the places we inhabit.

Jerry Seinfeld once focused an episode of his sitcom on the concept of personal space, giving us a new term: the "close talker."

Since Egypt's revolution began, tensions among Egypt's Muslims and Christians have only increased. Earlier this month, it once again turned deadly. Tit-for-tat killings left three Muslims and at least six Christians dead.

That and other religious violence is prompting a public debate about religious identity in Egypt. One group of young Egyptians wants to remove religious labels from national ID cards.

'Where The Trouble Starts'

It's 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night, and Bassem Youssef's show is on TV screens at cafes throughout downtown Cairo.

It's the Egyptian political satirist's first show since he was summoned to the prosecutor general's office to answer questions about the jokes he makes on TV. After the interrogation, he was released on about $2,200 bail.

On this night, the show opens with a joke about Youssef himself.

Two years after the revolution, Egypt is in a deep economic crisis. It's running out of money to purchase crucial imports like wheat and fuel, both of which are subsidized by the government, and an infusion of cash is desperately needed.

While a delegation from the International Monetary Fund is in Cairo continuing negotiations on a $4.8 billion loan, Egyptians are strained by the rising costs of food — and the gas needed to cook it.

For Mosaad el Dabe, it's a disaster.

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