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The Egyptian Intifada: Why now? What next?

February 17, 2011 19:00

Tagged as: culture repression social_struggles solidarity workers_struggles

The Perseverance63 Lambs Conduit Street, WC1N 3NBLondon, United Kingdom

Places: holborn

 

The events in Egypt have come as a surprise to most, with even President Obama questioning US intelligence agencies’ failure to predict the uprisings in the Arab world. The drive behind the January 25 revolt is a genuinely popular democratic movement, but its outcome is still unclear. Who are the main players determining events – the military, the Muslim Brotherhood, young protesters, workers, the elite? And how should we characterise what Twitter calls #Jan25 in the absence of obvious leadership of the movement?

The uprising seems also to put paid to the idea that democracy is exclusively Western, and not a universal aspiration. Yet the reaction from Western elites has been ambivalent at best: can Egyptians bring about a ‘stable democracy’? Fears about an Islamist takeover are voiced as much by Westerners as by President Mubarak. What do we make of calls from foreign ministries for an ‘orderly transition’, especially in light of Western powers’ history in the region? What does the revolt mean for the balance of power in the region, and for American hegemony?

Speaker: Karl Sharro, architect and writer; blogger on Lebanese and Arab culture and politics