Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Egypt's paper anniversary, another Salon piece

It's been a long time since I last posted, and a lot has happened:

  • CASA's fall semester ended.
  • I spent a month at home, saw tons of family and friends, and traveled to New York and Boston.
  • Apple replaced my defective laptop, ilhamdulillah (praise be to the big man).
I returned to Cairo last week ahead of the start of the spring semester and just before another major event in Egypt: the first anniversary of the "January 25th Revolution." Conversations with Egyptian and American friends, activists, and random cab drivers and the like revealed one constant theme: No one knew what was going to happen today.

Questions abounded. Should Egyptians celebrate or stay somber, in deference to the martyrs and unfulfilled demands of the revolution? Will small groups of thugs take advantage of the crowds and spark violence in Tahrir Square? How will the military and Muslim Brotherhood act on such a symbolic day?

In Tahrir today, I witnessed the largest demonstration I've seen since arriving in Cairo in May, with diverse faces and chants giving the gathering a celebratory but political feel. Egyptians are dissatisfied with the ruling military council and the slow progress of change, despite the fact that what has been lauded as Egypt's first (relatively) freely and fairly elected parliament sat for its inaugural session Monday.

But to some degree, today's demonstration just felt like a larger version of previous protests in the square. I don't think it was any sort of major turning point.

Meanwhile, I spent the last few days interviewing young people from all walks of life for an article I wrote for Salon. Check out my piece, "Growing pains for Egypt’s youthful revolution," here.

So many people. (If you can't see the video, click here.)

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