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Martyrs and TrickstersAn Ethnography of the Egyptian Revolution$
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Walter Armbrust

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162645

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162645.001.0001

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Copts and Salafis

Copts and Salafis

Dueling YouTube Videos on the Edge of a Precipice

Chapter:
(p.140) Chapter 7 Copts and Salafis
Source:
Martyrs and Tricksters
Author(s):

Walter Armbrust

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691162645.003.0008

This chapter assesses the most important period in the revolution, namely the last three months of 2011. By that time the revolutionary forces—those that stayed mobilized or that remobilized periodically throughout the year—had articulated a series of demands that went far beyond the ubiquitous but vague “bread, freedom, and social justice” slogan. They included the cleansing of institutions from Mubarakist elements, greater autonomy and political freedom within universities and al-Azhar, independent labor unions, the cessation of military trials for civilians, unambiguous civilian rule, and redress for those killed or injured by the security forces. None of this had anything to do with an institutionally nurtured “democratic transition” that occupied the attention of political scientists; none of it was acknowledged by institutions or powerful public figures, who never deviated from the line that the revolution was incoherent, and merely the product of a few feckless youths. Hence, chants at demonstrations of “down with military rule” were heard by March, but it was a series of massacres and street battles beginning in October and lasting until early February of 2012 that brought anti-SCAF (Supreme Council for the Armed Forces) sentiment much more openly into the mainstream than anyone could have dreamed, given the deeply institutionalized reverence for the military in Egyptian public culture. At that point, the military had little choice but to push ahead with elections that it knew would result in a transfer of power to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Keywords:   revolution, revolutionary forces, political freedom, democratic transition, massacres, street battles, military, Egyptian public culture, elections, Muslim Brotherhood

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