Podcast: "Once Upon a Revolution: What's Left of Egypt's Uprising?" with Thanassis Cambanis
March 6, 2015
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Middle East Initiative
An audio recording from Thanassis Cambanis, Fellow, The Century Foundation, New York, on his new book Once Upon a Revolution.
On January 28, 2015 at MEI, Thanassis Cambanis presented his new book Once Upon a Revolution, which follows two Egyptian revolutionaries from early 2011 up to the present day and gave his assessment of Egypt's Revolution four years on. Tracing the stories of the two revolutionaries, he developed an argument that a monumental shift in Egyptian politics occured from 2011 on, despite current appearances that the revolution has been sidetracked or co-opted by the "deep state". Rather than understanding the revolution as a brief opening, quickly closed by entrenched interests, he emphasized the diverse backgrounds of the protesters, including his two subjects, and argued that despite appearances, contestation and pluralism are quietly and irreversibly building in Egyptian society. Believing that current president Abd el-Fattah el-Sisi is merely a shell of his autocratic predecessors, without the deep ruling coalition of coercive institutions controlled by presidents Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak, Cambanis argued that another, successful revolution is imminent in which invigorated democratic actors move to consolidate pluralist politics.
Listen to the full recording of the January 28, 2015 event here:
About Thanassis Cambanis:
Thanassis Cambanis is a journalist who has been writing about the Middle East for more than a decade. His first book, A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel, was published in 2010. He writes “The Internationalist” column for The Boston Globe and is a correspondent for The Atlantic. Thanassis regularly contributes to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and other publications. He is a fellow at The Century Foundation in New York City. Thanassis lives in Beirut, Lebanon with his wife and two children.
About Once Upon a Revolution:
An award-winning journalist tells the inside story of the 2011 Egyptian revolution by following two courageous and pivotal leaders—and their imperfect decisions that changed the world.
In January 2011, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, a group of strangers sparked a revolution. Basem, an apolitical middle-class architect, jeopardized the lives of his family when he seized the chance to improve his country. Moaz, a contrarian Muslim Brother, defied his own organization to join the opposition.
These revolutionaries had little more than their idealism with which to battle the secret police, the old oligarchs, and a power-hungry military determined to keep control. Basem was determined to change the system from within and became one of the only revolutionaries to win a seat in parliament. Moaz took a different course, convinced that only street pressure from youth movements could dismantle the old order.
Thanassis Cambanis tells the story of the noble dreamers who brought Egypt to the brink of freedom, and the dark powerful forces that—for the time being—stopped them short. But he also tells a universal story of inspirational people willing to transform themselves in order to transform their society…and the world.
For more information about this publication please contact the Middle East Initiative at (617) 495-4087.
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