North Africa, West Asia

The hidden triumph of the Egyptian revolution

A message to the revolutionaries of Egypt: you can no longer recognise your pre-2011 self.

Amro Ali
25 January 2016
7326665582_f21cd868dc_z_0.jpg

'Thank you, you united us.' Flickr/Gigi Ibrahim. Some rights reserved.To those who cast doubt on the success of the Egyptian revolution. Step back, look around you, and reflect for a moment. As a result of the revolution, your social relations have been dramatically reconfigured.

You have made new friends of strangers. You speak a new political language never known before. Your relationship to the state and public has been redefined. You have been involved in an unprecedented archival culture that narrates everything that has been happening.

For every document, photograph and video will aid the next generation in resuming where you have finished off. For you cannot move forward without defining your relationship to the past.

Every document, photograph and video will aid the next generation in resuming where you have finished off.

Your understanding of history has been permanently altered. The 2011 revolution ruptured the political and social timeline giving you a new source of historical legitimacy.

It gave you a critical juncture that emits a wave of vivid memories of sacrifices, victories, and betrayals of your hopes. The 2011 revolution gave you a new validity to hold onto, and to rival any previous validity.

No longer do you live in vain waiting for a future democratic “paradise”, you now realise that such a paradise needs to be shifted from the future to the present, from a goal to a process, to be instigated in small doses to the best of your human capacity.

The revolution in effect destroyed the previous dominant situation and cannot consolidate the new dominant situation, which can easily be clouded by the smokescreen of arrests and crackdowns.

That is what the revolution achieved. It did not arrive to give you a choice of regimes. It arrived to initiate a new beginning, one that is already on its course.

You, among many, have been given a shared fundamental worldview that will determine the course of events when the climate is ripe in your favour.

In a marvellous transformation, you can no longer recognise your pre-2011 self.

 

This piece was first published on Amro Ali: Writing on Egypt, Middle East and other peaceful places.

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics of class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this a chance to realign around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData