Cultural Revolutions

Summer of Sharia

So here we are a year and a half after the start of the protests of Tahrir Square in Cairo, which Tom Friedman and the rest of the Arab Springers had promised would give birth to a New Middle East, where democracy and liberal values would reign from here to eternity, and Arabs and Muslims everywhere would turn out to be “just like us.”

Instead, we spent the month of June wondering whether Egypt would be ruled in the coming years by a bunch of Muslim fundamentalists who hope to impose sharia on the country and to turn the members of the Christian minority and Egyptian women into second-class citizens, or by the members of the old junta and the Mukhabarat (the security services).

Hence, after the expectations about the Facebook Revolution, led by all those young and hip and internet-savvy Egyptians, were raised to the stratosphere—with promises to extend human rights, equal rights, women’s rights, religious rights—the citizens of the largest Arab country faced a choice between life under the 84-year-old and anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood and the remnants of the group of military officers that has been controlling Egypt since 1952, represented now by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.  These reactionary and antiliberal political forces chose as their respective presidential candidates two 60-year-old and very uncool guys who probably...

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