Egypt boils over: Harvard prof. E. Roger Owen explains how unrest rolled out, and where it may leadHistorians in the News
tags: Phys.org, Egypt, Harvard University, Egyptian Revolution, E. Roger Owen
The tension and unrest that arose in Egypt last month after the army ousted democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi exploded this week, with hundreds of people killed as security forces broke up camps of protesters demanding Morsi's return.
The widening violence raised questions about the democratic future of a key American ally and an important partner in Middle East peace efforts, and also cast a shadow over the durability of changes wrought in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
To better understand what's going on in Egypt, Gazette staff writer Alvin Powell spoke with Harvard's E. Roger Owen, A. J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History Emeritus, about the fighting and about what Egypt's future might hold.
GAZETTE: What is at the roots of the clashes going on in Egypt today?
OWEN: Well, I think there are two roots. One is a very long antipathy—or fight to the death—between the army and the Muslim Brothers. Most of the time since the [Gamal Abdel] Nasser revolution of 1952, the army has been involved in putting Muslim Brothers in jail. So there's no love lost between them.
But the other thing is that in any popular revolution in the Arab world at this moment, when you get to elections and constitutions and elections to the Constituent Assembly, the first elections are almost bound to be won by the religious parties, who will then be emboldened to use the constitution to try and shape Egyptian society in ways that they want, but which are resisted by other Egyptians...
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