Liberation Square: A Street Level View of Egypt's Revolution
The revolution was televised. But the extraordinary uprising that overthrew longtime Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarek was fueled by a broad array of grievances and everyday indignities that rarely made it into the international press before the "Arab Spring." Egyptian-American journalist Ashraf Khalil has lived and reported from Cairo for 15 years. He offers a unique perspective on the Egyptian revolution, one year after the uprising.
Protests, Pop Culture And The Egyptian Uprising
The uprising in Egypt caught many inside and outside the country by surprise. But Ashraf Khalil points to a handful of events and developments in pop culture that (in retrospect) offered hints of the upheaval to come:
The Death of Khaled Said
In June 2010, 28 year-old Khalid Said was beaten to death in public by security forces in Alexandria. News of his death, and pictures of his badly beaten body, quickly spread across the Internet, and shocked many Egyptians. His Facebook memorial page "We are all Khaled Said", became an early focal point of online organizing.
Film And Literature
There were also signs within pop culture of a country reaching a boiling point. Khalil highlights "A Cultural Film" (Film Thaqafi) (2000), a film that "disguises itself as a slapstick farce about libidinous youth, akin to to the American Pie franchise; it is, in fact, one of the saddest portraits of Egyptian despair ever created." The film tells the story of three friends in their late twenties, consumed by thoughts of sex. But the film is really exploring the lack of opportunities for young people in contemporary Egypt.
Khalil also points to the popular reaction to "The Yacoubian Building", a 2002 novel by Alaa Al Aswany, a book that offered "lurid descriptions of the capital's seedy underbelly and...mercilessly accurate explorations of the hypocrisy, corruption, hopelessness, and all-around moral rot that came to characterize modern Egypt."
Read An Excerpt
From "Liberation Square" by Ashraf Khalil. Copyright 2012 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC:”