The long revolution
November 3, 2015 11:21 PM   Subscribe

The Arab Spring was two centuries in the making. But is the Egyptian revolution any closer to ending the state’s tyranny?
Far from being a Facebook phenomenon, a foreign conspiracy, or an insurrection staged by a handful of street urchins – as members of the current Egyptian regime in their phantasmagorical delusions insist – the Egyptian revolution has a long and venerable pedigree. We, the people, have been in a state of constant rebellion for the past 200 years, and 25 January 2011 was but the latest phase of a long struggle to force the tyrannical state to serve its citizens, instead of us serving it.

Why has it proven so difficult for Egyptians to end our status as subjects in our own country and to force our state to treat us as citizens?
posted by maskd (7 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The MB were the first counterrevolutionary leadership. This government is the second, and has frankly moved right back into the position and many of the political and civil rights stances of the Mubarak regime.
posted by jaduncan at 11:51 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

"The political stalemate was broken in 1952, when Gamal Abdel Nasser and his junta staged a coup. They abolished the monarchy, suspended parliamentary politics, persecuted all major political players of the ancien régime, rounded up thousands of communists and sent them to remote prisons, and arrested tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members whom they subjected to indescribable torture. Those of us who were not tortured, imprisoned or exiled found ourselves marching in unison behind our leader, straight to a dark abyss."

A piece on the extent to which Egyptian politics has never escaped the post-colonialist Nasser authoritarian model would be fascinating. Even the Muhammad Ali Pasha regime was still an army-dominant authoritarian state which enthusiastically tortured.
posted by jaduncan at 12:06 AM on November 4, 2015

Any country where the military holds a quarter of the land is probably not going to be especially fertile ground for a populist revolution.
posted by Punkey at 1:10 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Any country where the military holds a quarter of the land is probably not going to be especially fertile ground for a populist revolution.
posted by Punkey

I hadn't heard this before - can you explain or offer more information? I was under the impression that though Egypt's population is huge, the concentration of people is for the most part centered around the Nile with other parts of the country be far less populated and developed? Couldn't that explain it?
posted by rosswald at 8:58 AM on November 4, 2015

Gwynne Dyer talks about ISIS, but goes on to talk about colonialism and the history of modern Middle-East politics, with some interesting implications about The Arab Spring.

Climate Change was already one of the big hidden factors pushing The Arab Spring behind the scenes. The first protests coincided with a spike in food prices, caused by severe droughts, which were often worsened by government politics.
posted by ovvl at 3:44 PM on November 4, 2015

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