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Shayfeencom (Egyptian Arabic: We are watching you) is an initiative that started with three Egyptian women (a prominent TV newscaster, a university professor, and a marketing consultant) to help bring political reform and democracy to Egypt.
الجمعية المصرية للرقابة الشعبية و حقوق الإنسان
|Re-established in 2011|
Shayfeencom is a popular movement, working on monitoring the legality and integrity of the presidential and parliamentary elections in Egypt through the participation of the public. The movement aims to end corruption in the governmental and non-governmental institutions through public monitoring, and aims to educate the public to increase awareness of the principles of democracy.
Shayfeencom was officially established in 2005 by a group of non-politically oriented individuals, and started its first monitoring and observation experience in Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential elections. Within the first month of launching the initiative, 5,000 people volunteered and joined online, and over 1,000 volunteers actively participated in monitoring elections. Today, the movement includes over 10 founding members, and thousands of regular members.
Shayfeencom is a nonprofit organization, without political or economic ideologies; all financing to the movement is done through Egyptian individuals.
Shayfeencom has three primary goals: to end corruption in all public and private institutions through public monitoring, to enable the citizens as key fighters against corruption, and to attain electoral and judicial reform.
The main focuses are on:
Shayfeencom uses its large membership database, all types of social media, and a hotline to receive reports of corruption in the country; it then files a case against the specified party. If the party does not respond, Shayfeencom uses the media to expose what has occurred; they might also carry out sit-ins and other demonstrations.
Shayfeencom began in 2005, after President Hosni Mubarak announced that for the first time in 24 years, elections would allow for multiparty participation; this sparked demonstrations by Egyptians who denounced this move as a sham. When the government responded with a violent crackdown, Bothaina Kamel, Ghada Shahbandar, and Engi El-Haddad formed Shayfeencom.
For the 2005 elections, Shayfeencom armed supporters with video cameras and sent them to polling stations around the country to monitor the elections and document the political process. Supporters witnessed electoral fraud and voter intimidation. When Muslim Brotherhood candidates made a good showing in the first round of voting, security forces barred voters from entering the polls for the second round. By the third round, voters' frustrations incited violent clashes between protesters and police.
Although discouraged by a voter turnout of only 30%, the Shayfeencom leaders were heartened by the willingness of two judges to investigate election fraud carried out by eighteen of their colleagues. The judges found evidence of fraud, and Shayfeencom began rallying support for an independent judiciary. In spite of the prohibition against assemblies of more than five people, crowds gathered outside the Egyptian Judges' Club to show their support. Many in the crowd were arrested and beaten, including Judge Mahmoud Hamza. The three founders of Shayfeencom produced a short film, aired on BBC, about the plight of the judiciary. They encouraged the public to use all the technology at their disposal—radio, plasma screens, and the Internet—to support the May 25, 2006 "Judges' March for an Independent Judiciary".
The march and demonstration resulted in the arrests of thousands of civilians, who remained in prison for months. Though faced by a lack of money and failure to achieve earlier objectives, Shayfeencom continued its work. Co-founder Engi El-Haddad spoke to a group of world leaders (including former president George W. Bush) at the UN, describing the lack of political freedom in Egypt. In spring of 2007, Shayfeencom mounted a campaign against the government's proposed 34 constitutional amendments that would write parts of the Emergency Law into the Constitution.
Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution, Shayfeencom was re-established, with dramatically changed methods. They began preparing for the first Egyptian presidential elections months before it was announced, collecting thousands of volunteers from across Egypt and training them through YouTube videos and online seminars.
Members of the public watched for electoral irregularities and called a hotline to report them. Reports also came in through Twitter and Facebook. Alleged violations would immediately appear on Shayfeencom's website; a few minutes later, official monitors would either confirm or deny the reports. Two days into the first phase of Egypt's presidential elections, Shayfeencom received reports of over 1,000 violations throughout the country.
Shayfeencom remains as a watchdog, anti-corruption movement.
- "Shayfeen.com: We're Watching You" (PDF). Independent Lens. PBS.
- Giovanna Loccatelli (May 28, 2012). "In Egitto votano anche i morti e al primo turno hanno scelto il candidato islamico" (in Italian). Linkiesta. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- Hafez, Ahmed (22 Aug 2012). "An Interview with Ahmed Hafez, Co-Founder of Egyptian Movement, Shayfeencom'". Muftah. Washington DC.
- Hassan, Abdalla F. (15 June 2011). "Muslim Woman Seeks Egyptian Presidency". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
- Nebila (Sep 26, 2011). "FILM SCREENING Egypt: We are Watching You". femnet. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Thornton & Ramzy 2007, Introduction
- Thornton & Ramzy 2007, Part 1: Parliamentary Elections
- Thornton & Ramzy 2007, Part 2: Fraud During Elections
- Thornton & Ramzy 2007, Part 3: We Need a Change
- Shayfeencom. إزاي تزور الإنتخابات (video) (in Arabic).
Thornton, Phil; Ramzy, Hossam (2007). "Egypt: We Are Watching You". Why Democracy?. BBC.