Egypt: A state built on sand

The country fails to thrive under autocrats or democrats, writes Ezzedine Fishere

The World Today Updated 4 February 2021 Published 5 February 2021 3 minute READ

Ezzedine Fishere

Former diplomat, currently teaching Middle Eastern politics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

Ten years ago, Egyptians rose up to bring down a regime. They had lost faith in Hosni Mubarak’s atrophied rule many years before. But the dawn of a new millennium had seen the emergence of a generation with higher hopes than its predecessors.

After a decade of pressure for democratization from outside, combined with domestic activism and the breakdown of the state’s monopoly over communication, this generation became bolder. The fall of Ben Ali, Tunisia’s ageing dictator, raised their hopes even higher. When a day of protest in Tahrir Square on January 25, 2011, turned within three days into a mass uprising, these hopes became focused on replacing Egypt’s 60-year-old authoritarian regime with democracy. 

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