Revolution in a social and political vacuum

Martyrs & Tricksters. An Ethnography of the Egyptian Revolution

EGYPT 10 YEARS AFTER: Walter Armbrust has written about the time after the first eighteen days of the revolution: If one considers the revolution on Tahrir Square in Cairo as a rite of passage, there are several good reasons why it went wrong.

Ten years ago, in late 2010, the Arab Spring began when the Tunisian people demanded change. It evolved into The Jasmine Revolution, and when we got a little into 2011, the new winds spread Egypts. Here the revolution did not get a name as such, and it may be related to the fact that we identify it to that extent with Tahrir Square. For eighteen days, the attention of the whole world was focused on the square in central Cairo, until 11 February 2011, when Hosni Mubarak acknowledged his defeat and announced his resignation from the presidency.

Those were euphoric days. Many were hoping for new times in Egypt and the Arab world, and many articles and books have been written about it. But the normal approach is to enumerate a number of reasons for the Egyptian revolution, and then assess the outcome based on those parameters, and that of course provides plenty of common sense and also plausible explanations as to why spring ended in disappointment.

However, there is also another way to go and it has Walter Armbrust selected. He is Professor of Modern Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford and, and in his latest book he has chosen to take a closer look at the time after the first eighteen days of the revolution. He believes that this is where we can study the whole dynamics of the revolution and become kl…

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Hans Henrik Fafner
Fafner is a regular critic in MODERN TIMES. Resides in Tel Aviv.

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