‘Anticipating’ the 2011 Arab Uprisings: Revolutionary by Rita Sakr (auth.)

By Rita Sakr (auth.)

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In 2011, Qasr el-Nil was the stage of protesters’ anger and death for the cause of ‘Tahrir’. Interestingly, Amal’s note on the barricaded television building, that is known as Maspero and borders Tahrir Square, is deeply resonant with respect to the clashes that occurred there in 2011 and 2012 as questions of political, social and spatial justice 12 were contested across the nation. In October 2011, a protest by Coptic Christians near Maspero turned into violent clashes that killed many protesters including the activist Mina Daniel who in Soueif ’s 2012 ‘Edward Said London Lecture’ is celebrated as a martyred defender of the initially unified, nationwide, non-sectarian struggle against human rights abuses and the denial of social and spatial justice.

We’ll pray together at the Anas ibn Malik mosque and I’ll introduce you to Sheikh Shakir, God willing’ (al-Aswany, 2004, p. 92). The political geography of the square and the mosque are thus intertwined in the ‘historical consciousness’ of the Egyptian revolutionary process. Moreover, in depicting Islamist students’ protests against the Egyptian government’s acquiescence to the American invasion of Iraq and collusion with Israel, al-Aswany reveals the potential of radicalized political anger spilling from the university to the central streets and squares of the capital and the repressive measures practiced by the Central Security forces who: were waiting for them in front of the university and the moment the students went out into the square, the soldiers, armed with huge sticks, helmets, and metal shields attacked them and started beating them savagely.

The political machinations and spatial re-configurations of mid-nineteenthcentury France become even more relevant to the present moment from the perspective of the counter-revolutionary shifting alliances that defeated the revolutionary impulse of 1848: Louis Napoleon’s manoeuvrings alongside powerful counter-revolutionary parties against the workers and the intellectuals have their own reverberations in the collisions and collusions among the Muslim Brotherhood, the SCAF, and Mubarak regime remnants at the expense of the majority of discontented Egyptians.

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