What Remains of Tahrir Square? Is there anything left from the promising early days of the Arab uprisings, most powerfully symbolized by the pluralistic utopian community of Tahrir Square and the renaissance it ushered in? Ever since the Egyptian military deposed Egypt’s first elected president in July, despair has washed over Egypt’s political class and authoritarian rule has returned with a vengeance. The other most important Arab state in revolt, Syria, appears trapped between an abusive dictator and an extremist undemocratic opposition. Is there any hope for reform and for pluralistic, accountable politics? What can we expect from Egypt in the next phase – and what can Egypt’s journey so far teach us about the ferment, and likely prognosis, for the Arab revolts in the years to come?
Thanassis Cambanis is a writer who has covered the Arab world for more than a decade. He is completing a book on Egypt after Mubarak. His previous book, A Privilege to Die, chronicles the rise and evolution of Lebanon’s Hezbollah. He served as Baghdad and Middle East bureau chief for The Boston Globe, where he writes The Internationalist column. He contributes to The New York Times, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and other publications. He is a fellow at The Century Foundation, and is based in Beirut.