Wednesday, October 1

The Revolution That Wasn’t


Here's an excellent overview of the train crash disaster that is Egypt. Let me lay my opinion up front. The brotherhood presidency was bad but overthrowing it has really made a bad situation worse. A liberal democracy does not happen overnight. Look at India. It took years. It made many mistakes. But it's a good country. Same with the uk and USA. Some common themes. Enlightened leaders. Rule of law. Freedom of speech. Army under control. Free media. Religion firmly kicked in the balls and controlled. Good institutions. Free judiciary. But egypt keeps on making mistakes and keeps on being stupid. What? 5 revolutions in the past century? 

The army is the biggest problem. Second problem is the religion and the religious leaders. Third is the judiciary. And and and. Thousands have now died and now it's back to what it was few years back. Disgruntled Islamists. Army in command. Economy fucked up. Population in distress. 

The solution is clear but the Egyptians don't have patience. Heck the Egyptians laughed at Pakistan and there's an Egyptian quote which said that they don't want to become Pakistan. But with the democratic transition in Pakistan, Egypt will do worse. They would be lucky to be like Pakistan. I do not have a good prognosis about Egypt. Another decade of decay beckons. 



LRB · Hugh Roberts · The Revolution That Wasn’t

Hugh Roberts

  • The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life by Roger Owen
    Harvard, 248 pp, £18.95, May 2012, ISBN 978 0 674 06583 3
  • Adaptable Autocrats: Regime Power in Egypt and Syria by Joshua Stacher
    Stanford, 221 pp, £22.50, April 2012, ISBN 978 0 8047 8063 6
  • Raging against the Machine: Political Opposition under Authoritarianism in Egypt by Holger Albrecht
    Syracuse, 248 pp, £25.00, October 2012, ISBN 978 0 8156 3320 4
  • BuySoldiers, Spies and Statesmen: Egypt’s Road to Revolt byHazem Kandil
    Verso, 303 pp, £16.99, November 2012, ISBN 978 1 84467 961 4

Western opinion has had difficulty working out what to think, or at any rate what to say, about Egypt. It now seems that the pedlars of hallucinations have been cowed and it is no longer fashionable to describe the events of 3 July in Cairo as a ‘second revolution’. But to describe them as a counter-revolution, while indisputably more accurate, presupposes that there was a revolution in the first place. The bulk of Western media commentary seems still to be wedded to this notion. That what the media called ‘the Arab spring’ was a succession of revolutions became orthodoxy very quickly. Egypt was indispensable to the idea of an ‘Arab spring’ and so it had to have had a revolution too.

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