Pinterest People take part in Friday prayers in Tahrir Square before a mass rally on 25 November ahead of parliamentary elections.
Support Aeon Donate now This is an historical perspective on the Arab Spring — particularly in Egypt, but generalisable to some extent to other Arab countries — from a historian by education and practice. A peculiar personal experience drew me from being another Egyptian protesting in Tahrir Square in Cairo to the state historian of the Egyptian revolution.
Only one week after Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president, the head of the Egyptian National Archives together with the Minister of Culture appointed me as Chair of an official committee empowered to document the momentous popular uprising of January that captured the attention of the world.
I assembled a team of archivists, historians and IT experts. We set about planning how to accomplish the mammoth task ahead of us. Soon we found ourselves having to find answers to difficult questions: Or, more worrisome, given that we were a government committee: When did the revolution end?
With the constitutional amendments of March that banned the then ruling party, Egyption revelion parliament and called for fresh parliamentary elections?
With these parliamentary elections that were held in November ? With the presidential elections in June the following year?
Given that we were still attending funerals of friends and loved ones, running from one police station to another looking for demonstrators who had been arrested, and still demonstrating to demand Egyption revelion release of our comrades — given all this, was the revolution still going on?
Most difficult of all were questions not about when and how the revolution ended — if ever it did — but when it began and where it originated. Was it launched on 25 JanuaryNational Police Day, when we took to the streets to protest against the endemic use of torture in prisons and other places of detention?
Or a few months earlier with the beating to death of the young Alexandrian activist Khaled Said, who later became the icon of the revolution? Did it start in when thousands took to the streets all over the country in solidarity with the striking workers in the industrial town of Mahalla?
Or were its origins in with the birth of the Kefaya Enough! Did it start in March when we took to the streets protesting against the US bombing of Iraq and when we occupied Tahrir for a few hours?
Or did it begin in March when the Israeli Prime Minister paid his ill-fated visit to al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, prompting thousands of Egyptian university students to spill out of their university gates to demonstrate in solidarity with the Second Palestinian Intifada?
My colleagues on the committee and I pondered these questions, and probed even more difficult ones. Were we demonstrating against the endemic use of torture by the Egyptian police? Were we demonstrating against the debased choice with which Mubarak presented us, whereby he was effectively telling Egyptians: Or did the revolution have deeper roots still?
That revolution offered us another debased choice: Were we rebelling to assert our entitlement to have both kinds of rights — constitutional and political, as well as social and economic?
Egyptians who took to the streets on 25 January overwhelmed the police by our numbers, determination and tenacity in just three days. Or did the revolution have even deeper roots? Perhaps we were protesting against the intrinsic military character of the modern Egyptian state — a state put in place by Mehmed Ali in Mehmed Ali, a Macedonian adventurer, set about to change the status of Egypt from a mere province of the Ottoman Empire to a special realm that he and his sons could rule for a hundred years.
In doing so, he founded an army that would dominate all aspects of Egyptian life and forever change the nature of the country. Were we specifically rebelling against the state that was created as a result of founding this army, an army that forced peasants to serve dynastic interests that made no sense to them, to struggle for causes in which they did not believe, and to die in wars that were not theirs?Online shopping from a great selection at Books Store.
As Egypt's central security chief declared they "will not allow another revolution," the hashtag "the people demand the downfall of the regime" quietly became the top trending topic in the Arab. In Egypt and other parts of the Arab world, the protests and governmental changes are also known as the 25 January Revolution (ثورة 25 يناير Thawrat 25 Yanāyir), Freedom Revolution (ثورة حرية Thawrat Horeya) or Rage Revolution (ثورة الغضب Thawrat al-Ġaḍab), and (less frequently) the Youth Revolution (ثورة الشباب Thawrat al-Shabāb), Lotus Revolution (ثورة اللوتس) or White Revolution (الثورة البيضاء al-Thawrah al-bayḍāʾ).
This is an historical perspective on the Arab Spring – particularly in Egypt, but generalisable to some extent to other Arab countries – from a historian by education and practice. A peculiar personal experience drew me from being another Egyptian protesting in Tahrir Square in Cairo to the state historian of the Egyptian revolution.
Egypt’s Failed Revolution President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has unwittingly revealed more about his country’s political structures than anybody could have imagined. Nov 05, · Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, claims one of the world’s oldest cultures, descending from an ancient civilization that emerged in the 10th millennium BCE.