Our cover page shows the White House lit up in rainbow colors. It was President Barack Obama’s way of celebrating the 2015 Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriages. The choice of the cover image seemed appropriate: the White House has a new occupant as of January 2017, and the change in U.S. administrations is likely to see a fight over gay rights as well as other social issues. In our lead essay, “The New Battle Over LGBTQ,” Lillian Faderman traces the history of gay rights in America and previews the struggles ahead during the presidency of Donald Trump.
Faderman’s piece is part of our Winter 2017 issue’s Special Report: Gender Trouble. In “Women of Egypt,” Miwa Kato takes a close look at the backlash against women’s rights that followed the Tahrir Square uprising in 2011. Farha Ghannam contributes “Story of an Egyptian Man,” a profile that explores the political, economic, and social challenges related to gender roles that confront Arab men today. In “Gender and Genocide,” Sareta Ashraph explores how gender-based crimes against men as well as women are used in campaigns of genocide to eradicate protected groups.
The political earthquakes of 2016 are explained by Stein Ringen in his essay, “The Year of Living Dangerously.” He cites the alarm sounded by the outgoing U.S. president: “Democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some special interest.” In “Picking Up the Middle East Pieces,” Perry Cammack writes that despite common perceptions, Trump’s realist outlook may actually foretell more continuity than change in U.S. policy toward the region. David Bell Mislan takes a similarly cautious view about Trump’s overall foreign policy in “Uncharted Waters,” arguing that American presidents are constrained by broad political and social forces.
For another take on our uncertain times, Cairo Review Associate Editor Amir-Hussein Radjy traveled to London to meet Indian novelist and essayist Pankaj Mishra, whose new book, Age of Anger: A History of the Present, is out in 2017. Liberal democracy, he told Radjy, is a bit of a sham: “It always concealed the fact that a whole lot of violence had gone into its making, and a whole lot of violence went into preserving it, and that violence was truly universal.”