Thursday, October 13, 2011

There Never Was an Egyptian Revolution

Dissident Voice
Ahmed Amr
October 12, 2011.

The thrill is gone, the euphoria has faded and our mass delusions have been swept away to make room for the reality that there never was an Egyptian revolution. Eight months after deposing the old despot, Egypt is now in the firm grip of a new and improved military dictatorship – the Supreme Counsel of the Armed Forces. Any lingering doubt about the intentions of the generals to retain command and control of the ship of state vanished on Bloody Sunday.

Read the rest here.


Comment:  I published a policy brief on February 23, 2011, that argued for caution against the popular view that what was happening in Tahrir Square was an Egyptian revolution.

The peer reviewed brief (aimed at the South African government) was entitled "After Mubarak: The Politics of Modern Military Pharaohs" and you can read it in its entirety here.

This is the abstract:
"In recent weeks Egypt has seen perhaps the greatest destabilisation of its political, economic, and social order since the end of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1952. The ouster of President Hosni Mubarak came after an eighteen-day public protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that garnered the world’s attention. Some observers have gone as far as to proclaim the fall of Mubarak as a revolution brought on by public consensus and made possible by social-media technology. This Policy Brief does not discount the influences of public protest and social-media in building the momentum that forced Mubarak out of Kuba Palace. It does, however, press a more traditional approach to viewing what the post-Mubarak era may hold for Egypt. In so doing the emphasis is on understanding the centrality of the military in modern Egyptian politics. The overall argument is that the military has always sought to consolidate its power and privilege position in Egypt through four presidencies. In effect, the military is the most powerful political and economic sector of Egypt. The post-Mubarak era will not be any more likely to engage democratic reforms because the military is unlikely to give up its monopoly of power and privilege. South Africa and its allies must, therefore, act multilaterally to force the military’s hand toward democratic reform. Such action will necessarily require drawing together continental and international governments, including the United States, to pressure the military toward reform."
Power concedes nothing.  The military in Egypt had too much to loose.  They still do.  The revolution argument was just plain naive. 

And we are not free.



Anonymous said...

and you made the call 8 months earlier too ;>) it does help that you are a trained political scientist and not just sucking stuff out of your thumbs huh?


Ridwan said...

Lauren you are very kind. Thanks.

I received a call from DIRCO to discuss my policy brief when it was published so I know it was read there.

I did not go because I was not available.

Still it was encouraging that the brief was read nonetheless.

On the training side I will say that I am not impressed with the standard of training that doctoral students get in SA and the UK in particular.

Writing a dissertation should just be one part of doctoral training not the only part.

Trust your semester is off to a wonderful start and that your classes are full of energetic and thoughtful students.

Peace and luv,