Cario – My City, Our Revolution.
By- Ahdaf Soueif (Bloomsberry Publication )
Post Elections- Egypt Retrospectively
An election-monitoring organization funded by the United States is the flouted debacle. In a political context the idea of a sponsor of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former army field marshal, who was conceived as the candidate of the state much before the swarming.
With Egypt’s swarm of former military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after his victory score being settled at 96% of the vote in the recent presidential elections, we witness sweeping statements being made in the favour of change, in particular undoing the past. All this was accompanied with boisterous celebration at the Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Scenario being somewhat similar in India we see, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi election is seen as investor friendly. What does election mean to the world outside? How and by what means Egypt will alter or undo its past? These questions are normatively explored in the Book I have recently picked up to review.
Amid the undercurrent of Arab Spring and fuelling democratic change; I believe this would alter how the world understood a singular nation under the umbrella of the Middle East banner. As each will separately demarcate their own destiny.
To be Political, is to live in the polis, as Hannah Arendt tells us, means that everything is to be decided through words and persuasion and not through force and violence. So, placed in the context Egypt to be fixed well in the global power index will have to toy with arbitration, negotiation and deliberation, just as it embarked on NAM, with India and other newly decolonized countries.
As poignantly remarked by David Landes, “one good anecdote is worth more than a number of questionable statistical tables”.
Ahdaf Soueif, a novelist, a commentator, and an activist articulately takes us through her city and maps out the revolution that is redrawing her country’s future, for years to come. She conjointly weaves together both narratives – personal, political; intimately hers and collectively Egyptian. The tenacity of her private cum public life worlds are tenaciously bend in an opaquely held ambiguous universe.
It was 15th day of the Egyptian revolution, when people flocked to the tahrir square to be lead towards reconciliation and hope. The journey is taken in retrospect of reason, an address to the city of her childhood and youth.
Fiction with melancholy beginning – The book begins with a deep sense of regret of attempting the intended each time, but failing unflinchingly. But the project began, apart from the residues of lamentations she speculates and address the last years Tahrir square uprising from a context, placed personally and build assiduously. (28 January, 2011)
Her words and understanding is nuanced, certain untranslated Arabic words add to the subtlety of the portrait. She digressions into the political scene with interspersed personal life, intermittently adds to the manifold narrative. On the hand what she works against is cynicism which seeps in through quickly with each dimming possibility of forestalling a progressive regime through a resolute and flexible regime. She rekindles the subdued idealism tempered with reality and of those, idealistic people who held the strings of the bus; when most was being virtually played over, until they brought down the Mubarak regime. Her opposition for the Mubarak regime comes out starkly in the narrative, which she unabashedly agrees to.
The book is divided into three parts – Beginning with the pushy start of the 18 days protest at the heart of the city, graduating to her sporadic digressions of her relationship with the city, her personal insights infused as a cairenne watching her city metamorphose and the region, she longs to experience and belong to and finally, returns to the political drama to Tahrir Square. Adequately paints the medley of Cario’s political trajectory; Salifists and feminists and liberals. She vividly foresees the difficulty of a transitional period of a nation at the time of its birth.
Being born and brought up in Cario, Ahdaf Soueif writes a Riveting, compelling and a poignant book almost leaving with a sense of a personal record keeping journal.’ The Witness’, calls the book to be the moving memoir of life in Egypt and most rightly so. Being practical without being starry eyed, is characteristic of her idealism she personally leaves me with a visceral sense of dislocation in a city full of revolutionaries.