“The Egyptian Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet”
I had dinner with Robin Wright this week after she delivered the 2016 Grayson-Kirk lecture at Miami University.
Egypt was one of seven countries she discussed (along with Iran, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Tunisia), after a lengthy description of what she saw as the main issue in the region.
One way to see the changes in government wrought by the Egyptian uprisings is as a set of military coups, she said.
The first coup occurred when the military refused to open fire on Egyptian citizens, ultimately resulting in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak.
The second was the military ouster by force of the government of of Muhammad Morsi.
During the lecture, she emphasized that Egypt’s politics have “gyrated” since the uprisings, ultimately returning to autocracy. Yet the underlying problems that led to the uprisings have never been resolved. The economy continues its downward spiral, youth unemployment continues to grow and the willingness of the government to violate the constitution in the name of security creates an atmosphere of fear and anger.
“Is the real revolution yet to come?” she asked.
She was even more emphatic over dinner. When I referred to the Egyptian “revolution” she corrected me:
“Uprisings,” she said. “The Egyptian revolution hasn’t happened yet.”
Robin Wright is a war correspondent and journalist whose work for the last several years has focused on the Middle East. She has written for the Washington Post, New York Times, Foreign Affairs and many other venues. She has been a fellow at Yale, Duke, Stanford, Dartmouth, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Robin is the author of Rock the Casbah (2011, Simon & Schuster) and Dreams and Shadows: : The Future of the Middle East (2008, Penguin).