Murtaza 's Reviews > A Revolution Undone: Egypt's Road Beyond Revolt

A Revolution Undone by H.A. Hellyer
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it was amazing

When the Egyptian revolution broke out in 2011, it quickly generated scenes of popular mobilization, solidarity and protest that captivated the imagination of the world. For eighteen days until Mubarak fell global attention was focused on the hundreds of thousands, Muslims and Christians, who had gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square roundabout. When Mubarak finally resigned, it seemed to herald the possibility of a new dispensation not just in Egypt but throughout the Middle East, stagnating as it was under military dictatorships.

Things didn't work out that way in the long-term, or at least not yet. This book documents the Egyptian counterrevolution, and comes from one of the most trustworthy and evenhanded analysts on the country. Hellyer lived the Egyptian revolution, undoubtedly a genuine popular uprising as he shows, and also charts how the mistakes made by all camps: the revolutionaries, the Muslim Brotherhood and the old regime, put Egypt's brief democratic experiment in the deep-freeze. He doesn't spare anyone and he refreshingly avoids the normal cliches (such as the utterly false "Islam vs. Secularists" framing of the 2013 coup) which characterize analysis of post-revolutionary Egypt. The MB had ample opportunity to avoid its fate by governing as a consensus-based party, helping nurture the nascent Egyptian democratic consensus. Instead they tried to go it alone, something that proved to be fatal in a country as-yet lacking in a strong civil society that could protect against undemocratic interventions such as coups.

Hellyer's book is mostly academic but offers a number of touching personal reminisces of the uprising. For those of us for whom the Egyptian revolution provided an inspiration, its a refreshing reminder that what happened and what seemed possible during that time was real. He is also, unlike many other observers, still an optimist about Egypt and its democratic prospects in the long-term. This comes above all from faith in its people and what they have shown they can accomplish. I've always trusted his analysis, non-partisan as its always been. This admirably fair-minded book does much to buttress that trust further.
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Reading Progress

March 21, 2017 – Started Reading
March 21, 2017 – Shelved
March 23, 2017 – Finished Reading

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