newmatilda.com: Charges against NM journalist Austin Mackell have been dropped after more than six months of uncertainty…

… the NGO case turned into a major fiasco for the Egyptian government, with all the American staff of the NGO’s being flown out to Malta on a military plane. All that is, except for Becker, who honourably decided to stay behind. As he told me over a coffee, he couldn’t abandon those who worked under him to face prosecution without him. Another journalist present dubbed him ‘the Inconvenient American’ as he wouldn’t just get out of the way and let the Egyptian authorities act tough on foreigners by prosecuting Egyptians’…

 

… Robert can usually be found in a trendy cafe, the make do office of many writers and journalists, on the exclusive island of Zamalek. He complains often about Egypt’s political class — some of whom he helped train — and their bumbling attempts at democracy. He rarely criticises the Muslim brotherhood.

 

As a formerly successful campaign manager in America, what frustrates him mostly is not any attempts to subvert democracy, but how astonishingly bad at it the liberal forces in Egyptian politics are, building campaigns around the separation of religion and politics, freedom of the press — playing into an identity game the Islamists will likely win, rather than addressing the issues that actually concern Egyptians: jobs and security, health and education.

 

He has adapted as best he can to the waiting game. You have to. Over time, living with the case in the background became the new normal, a fact of life…