Monday, 31 January 2011

Why Egypt Has Risen Up: From The Yacoubian Building to The Guardian, Alaa Al Aswany Speaks

One of the most accessible ways to learn about the story behind Egypt's current crisis is to read Alaa Al Aswany's The Yacoubian Building. A best selling writer and practicing dentist, Al-Aswany has long been a critic of the Mubarak regime. Not surprisingly, he's been in the recent demonstrations, and wrote about the experience last week in The Guardian.

Why have Egyptians risen up? he asked rhetorically. "The answer lies in the nature of the regime. A tyrannical regime might deprive the people of their freedom, but in return they are offered an easy life. A democratic regime might fail to beat poverty, but the people enjoy freedom and dignity. The Egyptian regime has deprived the people of everything, including freedom and dignity, and has failed to supply them with their daily needs."

There is no better way in English to learn what he's talking about than to read the novel, published five years ago, or see the film made from it in two yearas ago.

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