Does History Repeat Itself in Egypt?

tags: Egypt, Egyptian Revolution



Mohamed Soffar is a Professor of Political Theory and the Director of Civilizations Dialogue Center at Cairo University.

The recent designation of the Muslim Brotherhood movement as a terrorist organisation by the Egyptian interim government, following the bombing of a police headquarters in Mansoura city, north of Cairo, mark a dramatic shift in the political conflict taking place in the country since the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi on July 3. Among the most pressing questions now is; whether we are  witnessing a re-run of 1954 events. Afterall, the historical model of March 1954 - better known in the annals of history as the democracy crisis-  maintains a stronghold on the imagination of political actors in Egypt, although almost 60 years have elapsed since then.

Unfortunately, such a model does not help to open the doors for the future. Instead, it seals the fate of a society, in dire need of political creativity to transcend its present, by plunging it in an endless, irreconcilable, and even bloody hostility between its competing, if not warring, parties. The task will be to construct such a model - as a first step in an attempt to discard the historical model of 1954 and look beyond it to the future - by tracing its emergence and evolution in the writings of some leading Egyptian intellectuals.

It is noteworthy that every writer will paint this historical model with the colour of his/her ideological orientation, and accordingly, will view the present moment in that light. Nonetheless, the selected articles not only reinvent the historical model of 1954, but also, and most importantly, reveal remarkable awareness of the notion of the historical model and its theoretical problems and political implications....




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