Reading Mahfouz after Mubarak

Ullekh NP (2020) ‘Reading Mahfouz After Mubarak,’ Open Magazine, March 6. Full Text

Excerpt: According to Hakkı Taş of Hamburg-based GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies, Mubarak’s legacy is the institutionalisation of a personalised authoritarian regime in post-Cold War Egypt. He says, “Sure he built on the legacies of [Gamal Abdel] Nasser and Sadat, but the current power dynamics and political practices [crony capitalism, corruption, the military’s expanded prerogatives, etcetera] took firm shape in his era.” […] Taş says that there is a message indeed for authoritarian regimes all over the world from Tahrir Sqaure. First, he notes, we are inclined to focus on the ruptures and turning points but the Arab uprisings should be considered together with what came before and will come next. He adds, “Second, now authoritarian regimes are more aware of the potential of the streets and the social media. That is why they resorted to new repressive techniques, which they copy from each other [examples are the anti-terror laws or government-paid troll armies terrorising or dominating the social media], leading to the global diffusion of authoritarianism.”

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