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The Journey to Tahrir: Revolution, Protest, and Social Change in Egypt

Leading analysts of Egypt on repression, dissent and the dramatic revolution

The toppling of Hosni Mubarak marked the beginning of a revolutionary restructuring of Egypt's political and social order. Jeannie Sowers and Chris Toensing bring together updated essays from Middle East Report—the premier journal covering the region—that offer unrivaled analysis of the major social and political trends that underpinned these tumultuous events.

Starting with the momentous eighteen days of street protest that compelled Mubarak's resignation, the volume moves back in time to plumb the state's strategies of repression and examine the mounting dissent of workers, democracy advocates, anti-war activists, and social and environmental campaigners. Leading analysts of Egypt detail the demographic and economic trends that produced wealth for the few and impoverishment for the many. The collection brings clear-headed, first-hand understanding to bear on a moment of intense hope and uncertainty in the Arab world's most populous nation.

Reviews

  • Middle East Report is the best periodical (in English) on the Middle East—bar none.”
  • “No person, specializing or not in Middle Eastern affairs, can afford to ignore Middle East Report.”
  • “A great way to review late Mubarak Egypt and the January 2011 uprising.”
  • “Whatever the future holds for Egypt, The Journey to Tahrir offers a useful compendium for understanding the roads traveled to this point.”
  • “A great special issue of an academic journal.”

Blog

  • Eighteen Days

    Six years ago today, Hosni Mubarak resigned the presidency of Egypt, concluding three decades in power following sustained protests. Below we present an excerpt from Hazem Kandil's 2012 Soldiers, Spies, and Statesmen: Egypt's Road to Revolt that narrates the eighteen days of resistance that preceeded Mubarak's ouster. 



    Vice President Omar Suleiman announces Mubarak's departure. 

    The year 2011 was the year of the purported succession. Reports circulating around the country confirmed that Hosni Mubarak was planning to pass on the mantle to his son in September. With the father and the last of the ruling party’s old guard gone, there would be no court of appeal against the economic corruption and exploitation of Gamal Mubarak’s capitalist cronies. The day (January 25) was Police Day — a national holiday honoring that bloody morning in 1952 when the British killed dozens of Egyptian policemen because they refused to surrender their weapons and stood tall in defense of national dignity — a day that always highlighted the dark contrast between what the police used to be and what they had become.

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  • A Higher Standard

    "We know that the work for the left now is long and slow and that it requires force and numbers and commitment at a grassroots, community level. We must also recognise that the challenge for the left in 2017 is one of transnational solidarity: figuring out how to join up, link up and learn from global struggles." - Rachel Shabi looks back at a year of many challenges, and what we can do to build solidarity and resistance in 2017.

    Of course it wasn’t the worst year, ever. Those bewailing the myriad awfulness of 2016 know history has dealt worse than the year of Brexit and Donald Trump’s election, the year of deadly terror attacks around the world, a desperate refugee crisis and an alarming rise in far-right forces across Europe. Even ignoring swathes of history, recent years have been awful, too: the five since the Arab Uprisings have seen grotesque war in Syria, a deadly assault on Yemen, repression and human rights abuses in Egypt and Bahrain – as well as a harsh crackdown in Turkey, once considered to be a ‘model’ for the region. Egyptian analysts might well say the “worst year ever” was 2013, when a military coup put their authoritarian, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi in charge.


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  • Crisis and Conflict in the Middle East: A Reading List

    An agreement has been reached to evacuate civilians and opposition fighters from the besieged eastern districts of the city of Aleppo, a senior Turkish official and rebel officials have told the Guardian.

    The agreement has capped weeks of horrific suffering and violence that have left many dead and others in total despair, raising serious questions at the lack of response from the international community.

    People in east Aleppo have issued desperate pleas for rescue, posting farewell messages on Monday night and into Tuesday morning, predicting they would either die in the ongoing bombardment or be tortured and killed if they surrendered.


    As events continue to unfold, we present a reading list of key books which — through investigative journalism, graphic storytelling, and critical analysis – shed light on the unfolding crisis in the Middle East.


    Syrians leave a rebel-held area of Aleppo to go to the government-held side.

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