Thoughts on the Revolution

These are exciting times in Egypt. This page includes a variety of ‘snapshots’ of what the Revolution looked like at various points since things started in January 2011. During the Revolution’s first year I developed several pieces summarizing key threads at a variety of moments, the first written soon after we were evacuated to DC during the first week of February, and the second later in the month just before we returned, the third in April, and the fourth in early July. I summarized why I’m bullish on Egypt’s outlook (October 2011), wrote a snapshot of the lethal spike in violence and revolutionary spirit in freshly occupied Tahrir in November 2011, a glimpse into what a SCAF government could look like by analyzing their performance as road builders (November 2011, a version of which was published on the Bridging the Divide blog), a description of the chaotic improvisation on display at the opening of the elected Parliament in January 2012, a snapshot of Egypt around the opening of the NGO trials in February 2012, some thoughts on Morsi’s presidential election victory in June 2012, and in August 2012 argued that the reported anti-America rhetoric of one of SCAF’s leading general required a more nuanced analysis. I contributed three chapters to Daring to Care, a recently published compilation of pre-revolution social commentaries edited to draw out post-revolutionary themes. Nora appeared twice on NPR discussing the US/Egypt assistance relationship, here and here, and several times in the New Yorker, latest mention here.

Recommended additional analysis includes the International Crisis Group’s analysis of Mubarak’s fall written soon after he left in February; Pew Research Center’s analysis of public attitudes toward key election issues; Amnesty International’s comprehensive compilation of human rights abuses during the revolution, particularly a day-by-day summary of the revolution’s key events; quite an insightful paper published by the Woodrow Wilson Center in summer 2010 predicting imminent chaos in Egypt’s future; Gene Sharp’s masterly analysis of the challenges of transitioning from dictatorship to democracy that served as a toolkit for some of the revolutionaries; Yasmine El Rashidi’s blog in the New York Review of Books; Wendy Steavenson’s Nile View blog in the New Yorker (including a blog post exposing the role that Nora’s aunts and uncle and their hired thugs played in trying to take advantage of the chaos of the revolution by breaking into our home, more on that story here); local Economist correspondent Max Rodenbeck’s summary of the volcano of rage that eventually dispatched of Mubarak and his regime; and the pre-revolutionary PhD thesis of W. Judson Dorman explaining how Egypt’s regime could hold such perceived power, yet so little influence in the ordinary lives of Egyptians. Josh Hammer’s pre-revolution profile of Gamal Mubarak in the New Yorker remains a useful overview of the dysfunctional political arrangement that sparked the revolution, as is Max Rodebnbeck’s July 2010 profile in the Economist “The Long Wait” which touches upon the tightening climate in Egypt pre-revolution. A 2003 Atlantic article by Mary Anne Weaver sets the stage and correctly predicts much of what would happen nearly a decade later. Foreign Policy ran an insightful piece on how the Brotherhood’s democratic posturing is not to be trusted. The best daily news in English from Egypt is probably Masry Al-Youm, now re-titled Egypt Independent.

Noteworthy graphics coming out of the revolution include a collage of newspaper front pages the day Mubarak stepped down, as well as two collages of key revolutionary photos, here and here.

About jkbharris

Living in Cairo.
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