My short bio: I'm a Middle East Correspondent for the Wall Street Journal based in Cairo, Egypt. Here's my profile with my latest stories:

My Proof:

Comments: 346 • Responses: 78  • Date: 

wasthespyingendless107 karma

What is the most tea you have had to drink in a day during back to back interviews?

tamerelg129 karma

Clearly you've covered Egypt at some point.

Critical_25 karma

What flavor of hookah has elicited the most fruitful interviews?

tamerelg63 karma

I don't fox with hookahs

Stoooooooo65 karma

What news/topic is largely being ignored by the media in general that you thinks deserves more attention?

tamerelg104 karma

The treatment of prisoners in Egypt's opaque jail system. This is something I hope to probe more in the coming weeks and months. Many of my colleagues have valiantly tried to access this story with varying degrees of success, but the regime is very keen on keeping this out of the news.

albadil35 karma

Some of your colleagues are in there; journalists - foreign and local - are not exempt.

tamerelg51 karma

Yes. This is troubling.

TheOverSeerDeems48 karma

What are your thoughts on Bassem Yousef's decision to cancel his show?

tamerelg59 karma

It's a sad reflection of the contracting space for freedom of speech and a stark reminder that people who don't toe the government line are subjecting themselves to danger both from the public and the regime.

YoussefV39 karma

First of all من امتا والمصريين بيستاعملوا ريدت؟؟

Second, i really admire your very objective answers, so thank you for giving Reddit a more civilized look at egyptians! You are smart, witty, funny and very wise in your answers and I applaud you for that

حبيب قلبي

tamerelg32 karma

HAHA. This is my first time on Reddit! Thank you for the kind words.

biglebowskidude6 karma

You fit right in! Please come back often.

tamerelg2 karma

That's very kind. I intend to!

ThePowerFul32 karma

If you could send one message to the population of Egypt in hopes of restoring normality, what would that message be?

tamerelg109 karma

Stop honking your car horns so much.

ThePowerFul31 karma

"Honk if you're from Egypt, Don't honk if you're in Eygpt"

We need a kick starter for these bumper stickers.

tamerelg26 karma

I'm in for a couple of bucks.

Sehs20 karma

Once I was in the car with my dad driving from Dokki to Ahram, we ended up driving along the same path as a microbus for a good 15 minutes. He would honk at 10 second intervals, regardless of whether there were any cars near him or not. It was very frustrating.

tamerelg31 karma

I've been on empty roads with cab drivers who honk out of pure instinct in similar intervals.

tekaldas29 karma

What sort of role do you envision for yourself in the soon to be established Handsome Man's Club in Cairo?

tamerelg46 karma

Member at large.

Dal3211 karma


tamerelg42 karma


Vanillanougat23 karma

This is almost certainly a futile question, but when do you predict that Egypt will develop a major tourism industry that is considered "safe" by westerners?

tamerelg44 karma

It's not a matter of when. Egypt's tourism is closely linked to the perception of stability and security for obvious reasons. I can tell you, however, that now is a great time to visit: the beaches are mostly empty and hotel prices are a steal. Live like a king on a pauper's budget.

Vanillanougat16 karma

As someone who has possessed a perennial urge to visit Egypt for as long as I can remember, and who has always been cautioned against doing so, your assurances are more heartening than I can describe.

Thank you so much for your work, and best of luck.

tamerelg25 karma

Thanks so much. Just come on over and hope for the best. Like any other country in the world, Egyptians appreciate respect and curiosity.

MA5TERHANZ18 karma

If you had to sum up what's happening in Egypt right now with one sentence, what would it be?

tamerelg62 karma


stardust717 karma

What's the most dangerous situation you've ever been in?

tamerelg58 karma

It wasn't in Egypt. It was in the south of Lebanon during the Israeli air bombardment in 2006.

chooter17 karma

What's the most interesting aspect of your job?

tamerelg38 karma

Wow. This is a difficult question to answer briefly but I would have to say that being a witness to a critical moment in Egypt's modern history is both daunting and exciting. Also, trying to explain what the Wall Street Journal is to regular Egyptians during street interviews is always amusing and challenging.

C------15 karma

Are there more restrictions on the press now than under Mubarak? What's the state of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities? What sort of political system do you think Egypt will have in the future?

tamerelg27 karma

Mubarak's durable regime survived by allowing a modicum of opposition, eventually succumbing to an opening up of limited press freedom. This current system appears to be less tolerant, as evidenced by the jailing of both local and foreign journalists. As for the museum: sorry, no idea.

Eternally6510 karma

I seem to remember reading that the Muslim Brotherhood provided some level of basic services before the election. Are they still doing this, and do they still have significant grassroots support?

tamerelg17 karma

After the Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organization by the military back regime, their activities were criminalized so it is hard to gauge how open they and others are being about the large network of services they once provided. As for grassroots support: I believe they still enjoy sizable support.

Father_Goose10 karma

Hi Tamer - how do you think Sisi will handle Egypt's coming economic crises?

tamerelg23 karma

Unclear, but the few statements he's made on the topic suggest austerity and a heavy reliance on Gulf aid.

tamerelg9 karma

Thanks everyone for the hilarious, sincere and probing questions but it seems I must get going. I really enjoyed this.

wasthespyingendless9 karma

How long do you think Sisi will remain the president? What are the chances of a third major upheaval? Where might it come from?

tamerelg20 karma

Hard to say. It took Mubarak nearly 30 years to be taken down and Morsi just one year. Predicting the aspirations of Egyptians and the machinations of Egypt's political stake holders is nearly impossible. As for where a possible third upheaval might come from: it's safe to say nothing will happen will happen without, at least, the appearance of a popular will.

AlGamaty4 karma

Hi Tamer. Where do you stand on Sisi's coupe/revolution? Do you think Egypt would've been better off with Morsi?


tamerelg17 karma

By definition, what happened on July 3rd was a coup. As for the second part of the question: we will never know.

EsCaRg0t8 karma

Have you ever walked like an Egyptian?

tamerelg24 karma


mnemontalek8 karma

If I hang around with the Egyptian upper middle class (lawyers, doctors, et cetera), what's their general impression of the country's government?

tamerelg18 karma

I think you'll find vastly different opinions among any class of Egyptians.

cairocad8 karma

Are you and your colleague Matt more of a Starsky and Hutch-type duo? Or is it more like a Laurel and Hardy relationship?

tamerelg15 karma

Miami Vice meets Cairo.

BreakfastsforDinners7 karma

Hi Tamer, Do you think there will be any significant public response to the absence of Bassem Youssef or is this just a small ripple? Do you think he had any material impact on the freedom of speech? Do you project that media freedoms will improve or worsen over the next couple of years?

tamerelg14 karma

Bassem Youssef, while innovative and brave, was a polarizing figure here in Egypt even before Morsi's ouster. Many people will mourn the cancellation of his show while others [both statist and Islamist] will celebrate it. I think freedom of speech in Egypt is still a moving target regardless of his cancellation that will better be gauged by how many journalists/citizens will continue to be jailed or intimidated by the state.

DonCaliente7 karma

A lot of people seemed genuinely happy with Sisi's election. What percentage of the Egyptians do they form, you think?

tamerelg22 karma

It's hard to say. What is true is that "the state" can't manufacture joy. But if the election results are to be believed, only about 47% of Egypt's eligible voters came out to support him. That suggests there's a great deal of antipathy or outright hostility towards him. The supporters I've spoken to are either firmly in his corner or see him as yet another vehicle toward desperately needed and wanted economic stability and security.

taamiya6 karma

What's your opinion on gargoyles?

tamerelg31 karma

I wish to know more about them. They seem extraordinarily patient.

NorbitGorbit6 karma

How do reimbursements work? Do they give you a budget plus a card, or must you finance everything, then submit claim to the editor?

tamerelg35 karma

I have a corporate card that fronts my expenses but I have to submit receipts and reasons to justify the charges. I am very conservative with that. I don't #ballsohard.

feihtality14 karma


tamerelg45 karma


ingeniousdevices5 karma

Long time listener, first time caller.

If you had a million dollars and no risk of being called a spy or a foreign hand, how would you donate or invest the money to make Egypt a better country?

tamerelg7 karma

Ha! Let's talk privately.

Pawanjeet5 karma

What did you think of the documentary "The Square"? Is watching it a legitimate way to gain an understanding of contemporary issues in Egypt?

tamerelg9 karma

Haven't seen it, but my understanding is that it is less documentary and more love letter to the "revolutionaries" of Tahrir Square. It has been praised as being beautiful while criticized as unfair to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Thinkyt3 karma

How often do you declare yourself as a US journalist in trying to get scopes and stories? How often does it help and how often does it hinder?

tamerelg2 karma

It helps while trying to get access to high profile government officials or the business elite. It can sometimes hinder in a situation where you are trying to do reporting in local communities.

DazedRabbit3 karma

What is your opinion on citizen journalism, especially in countries where the media is controlled by the government?

tamerelg7 karma

The more eyes on a story, the better. But it's up to us as news consumers , in general, to vet what's being published and share it responsibly

wrexpowercolt3 karma

What is the Egyptian government's relationship with Israel ? It seems as if there are a lot of mixed signals, collaboration in the Sinai against terrorists, denunciations, the Gaza issue, many Egyptians angry at Israel.... I'm just kind of lost.

tamerelg9 karma

Me too. But it appears that Sisi's election is seen as a positive sign for Egyptian/Israeli relations.

blueboxpolice3 karma

Hello Tamer and thanks for the AMA!

  1. What would you say is the percentage of people who desire to have a regular daily routine where politics does not effect them versus the people who want only to forward their political agendas?

  2. Who would you say are the most likely groups to bring stability and prosperity back to Egypt?

tamerelg8 karma

  1. Stability seems to be winning goal here. It's becoming more apparent everyday that large swaths of the population never wanted the 2011 to happen and that the desire to go about their daily lives uninterrupted by political and economic turmoil trumps all. Then there are those who wanted democratic reform but have been fatigued by the process. It's a long process and people are adjusting and changing their minds.

  2. Right now, as painful as it is to admit, the military seems most poised to restore a semblance of stability. But even that is not clear

wq6781 karma

It's becoming more apparent everyday that large swaths of the population never wanted the 2011 to happen

I don't think this is true. Maybe now they don't wish it happened, but I think most Egyptians were optimistic after the Revolution

tamerelg3 karma

Many were. But it is my assessment that a majority didn't want a complete overhaul of the status quo, as much as a modification of the status quo.

royalrumblefish3 karma

What's the one piece of advice you would give to a recent Journalism graduate looking to break into the industry?

tamerelg9 karma

Ooof. Probably the hardest question of the night. But in all honesty I would say: avoid graduate school and just practice journalism at every outlet that will give you a shot. And read a ton.

Vanillanougat3 karma

In light of the controversy over the role of The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's recent politics, what are your views of that organization and their actions? What popular conceptions might you affirm or deny?

tamerelg8 karma

There seems to be a consistent argument here that "given time, the Muslim Brotherhood would have done xyz." I think this is severely flawed. We did not see what a Muslim Brotherhood back government would have done.

Dal323 karma

Your coverage of Egypt's elections has been stellar. What are some of the main challenges you face as a reporter in such a polarized environment?

tamerelg10 karma

Thank you! The main challenge is cutting through the noise and trying to access the story in a way that reflects the reality - regardless of who it pleases or upsets. The goal is to present the reader with an accurate portrait of the situation without being swayed by any agenda. The polarized environment can easily pull you towards a specific narrative.

tamerelg10 karma

also, a/s/l?

chairman_miaooww2 karma

Hi Tamer

Where would you recommend for the best kebabs in Cairo?

tamerelg9 karma

My grandmother's place.

68Pritch2 karma

Do most Egyptians know that their country continues to produce absolutely astonishing squash players like Ramy Ashour and Mohamed El Shorbagy? Or has the sport's profile in Egypt faded?

tamerelg4 karma

It's embedded in every Egyptian kid's imagination from day 1. There's lots of walls here, which make for excellent make-shift squash courts.

dailysupreme2 karma


tamerelg10 karma

Constantly asking for what I wanted while trying my best to prove I can handle the load. And being patient when I was told "no" or "maybe."

seewolfmk2 karma

Do you think Egypt will ever be able to become a modern democracy without a reform of the military?

tamerelg12 karma

Tough to think about democracy in Egypt without a military subordinate to civilian leadership.

majestic72 karma

Hi Tamer! What is your take on the travel warning certain European countries currently have in place for parts of Egypt?

tamerelg1 karma

It comes down to people's individual appetites to take a risk. I generally think that the danger is blown out of proportion.

wanttobeacop2 karma

Do you like your job?

tamerelg2 karma

Love it. Very much.

LuckyLucEK2 karma

Hi Tamer, if you had to give ONE argument to western media to shift more of their attention towards the developments in Egypt, what would that argument be?

tamerelg5 karma

Egypt is the most populous nation in the Arab world and a large exporter of culture, ideas and man power to every corner of the globe.

sidewalkchalked2 karma

How good of a dancer would you say you are on a scale of 1-10?

tamerelg1 karma

Depends on who you ask but I rate myself a sold 8

rt1682 karma

What are your thoughts on the election results and its impact Egyptian women? Will things take a turn for the better? I'm curious as to what you think about the misogyny associated with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood and how it is contrasted with the El-Sisi agenda. Many prominent women activists blamed the Morsi regime for its inaction regarding sexual assault against women. Do you think this is a valid point, or does this problem deeper roots than the government at hand, and more to do with underlying cultural and societal issues?

tamerelg3 karma

I generally think that government and legislation have little influence on social issues.

McFozan2 karma

Sisi or Morsey? Greetings from Saudi :D.

tamerelg5 karma

No comment! :-)

djgump352 karma

What is the single most annoying question I could ask you right now, and what is the answer?

Also, what do you think of the economic crisis and inflation of the US dollar and how it is affecting the world economy? How do you see the effect if any in Egypt?

tamerelg1 karma

HAHA. Your follow up question makes my head hurt. :-)

kawaiigardiner2 karma

1) If there is a Tamer El-Ghobashy do you have a brother called Vicious El-Ghobashy?

2) To what extent is the whole over throw of the Muslim Brotherhood regime an actual legitimate grass roots dissatisfaction or is it western media reporting on what they believe local consumption would find more palatable. The reason why I ask is that the Muslim Brotherhood along with al Nor have a majority in the Lower and Upper house so even if the presidential vote for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate was a protest vote then how does one explain the outcomes of the other elections other than it re-affirming an undercurrent of religious conservatism within the country.

tamerelg2 karma

  1. Depends on the time of day, but I usually am both.

  2. Great question that will probably require years of academic study to answer. I'm not trying to punt here, but it remains to be seen.

albadil2 karma

Why didn't the NDP help with Sisi's campaign?

tamerelg4 karma

Not clear yet that, as a whole, they didn't. Evidence appears to be anecdotal at the moment and worth probing further.

horatio_jr1 karma

why should I care what happens in Egypt? Why should or should not my country help militarily?

Thank you for helping me to understand.

tamerelg1 karma

What country are you talking about?

ChezMan441 karma

How much of an improvement is the current regime over the old one, in your opinion?

tamerelg2 karma

I hesitate to give my opinion but from the perspective of an observer, I'd say that the current regime is showing signs of autocratic behaviour that is more strident than the Mubarak regime.

stonedonacloud1 karma

Are you related to Mona?

tamerelg3 karma

Yes. She's my older, smarter and wiser sister.

pogue231 karma

How come the Wall Street Journal doesn't carry Garfield?

tamerelg1 karma

I know right?

Needleinthehay491 karma

Have you been to Sham El Sheik?

tamerelg1 karma


undreamt_odds1 karma


tamerelg2 karma

It's a great question whose answer seems obvious but isn't. A lot of people would argue that Sisi is Mubarak 2.0 while others would say he's worse. Many others would say he needs to be given a chance. All signs point to a period of democratic set backs.

mrfuzzylips4201 karma

Do you think egypt will elect someone they trust?

tamerelg5 karma

Lot's of Egyptians seem to trust Abdel Fattah al Sisi. Lot's of Egyptians also don't trust Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. History dictates that democracy is a long and arduous process.

Dole19951 karma


tamerelg1 karma

why what?

GaiusMagnus1 karma

Hi Tamer! What's a good place to get Thai food in Cairo?

tamerelg2 karma

Sabai Sabai in Zamalek.

toleran1 karma

So, how's Egypt?

tamerelg8 karma

Hot! The breeze today felt like what I imagine the exhaust of a Boeing 747 would feel like.

armyflanker71 karma

I had that under Mubarak the military was beloved by the general population and see as a national source of pride. Was this true, is it now and does that influence at all how they act politically

tamerelg1 karma

The military here enjoys an outsized popularity through successive regimes, dating back to Gamal Abdel Nasser. For many reasons, not least of which is that every family has a father, son, brother or uncle in the armed forces due to conscription. Politically speaking, I believe the military's image has suffered since the 2011 revolt among large segments of the public because of their unprecedented public role in governance and the effects of that remain to be seen.

boycot341 karma

Do you think the people of Egypt have any means to overthrow el-Sisi if they desire, or will they be crushed by the army and be forced to become refugees?

tamerelg4 karma

I think this insightful blogger makes a fantastic point: that Sisi's biggest challenge lies in trying to de-politicize the Egyptian public.

cerberus_71 karma

What do you think Egypt's greatest strength is right now? And what's the craziest thing you've seen as a reporter in Egypt?

tamerelg5 karma

Egypt's greatest strength is that it is unpredictable. As for the craziest thing I've seen: the transformation of Tahrir Square from the telegenic epicenter of popular revolt in 2011 to the gathering point of state worship in 2014.

iamfromouterspace1 karma

Do you think Egypt will make any progress towards a more democratic system or is this what it is for the next 5 years?

tamerelg1 karma

Impossible to say but it seems the events of the last three years suggest no "system" is safe from overhaul.

mgsmus1 karma

Hello Mr. Tamer. What do you think about current status of journalism in the Middle East? I live in Turkey and critizing the government makes you a traitor, atheist, leftist, terrorist... automatically (This sentence also makes me one of them right now). What is the status in Egypt?

tamerelg1 karma

Egypt's private and state media have taken a sharp turn towards the state. It's too early to say if it will stay this way.

EDP1230 karma

Where is the best place in Cairo to purchase designer jeans?

tamerelg3 karma

I own only one pair of jeans. I'm lost.

notjabba0 karma

  1. Is the journal just another extension of Fox News?
  2. Do you or other reporters receive direction from management as to story choice and content?
  3. Why should I trust a publication that includes denial of objective facts, the existence of climate change, as a regular part of it's editorial section?

tamerelg5 karma

  1. NO!

  2. NO! Quite the opposite. We work with professionals who trust out judgement and often ask us for direction. As it should be.

  3. Up to you.

tropicalstormeric-1 karma

What impact does "the Egyptian Jon Stewart" have on the government? The protesters? Etc?

tamerelg1 karma

Please see my previous replies.

Gamila1-1 karma

There is a perception, perhaps rightly so that articles on Egypt have a negative slant, as if nothing good ever happens. The foreign media in particular have embraced the evil junta philosophy, which doesn't reflect reality on the street. How much influence do you feel publications such as the Journal influence American foreign policy?

tamerelg4 karma

I like to think President Obama doesn't start his day without reading me and my colleague, Matt Bradley's, latest article.

tekaldas-2 karma

When you're out spying for Obama do you prefer your karkadé martinis shaken or stirred?

tamerelg1 karma

Shaken. What's a martini?