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The View from Cairo: Dispatch 3

When the demonstrations began in Cairo, communication with the staff at our newest distribution partner, American University in Cairo Press was immediately disrupted. AUCP editorial director Neil Hewison has been sending dispatches to update us on events and the state of the Press itself – which is situated close to Tahrir Square.  We continue to wish our colleagues in Cairo well, and hope to continue receiving periodic updates. You can read Neil’s previous accounts here and here.

Photo by Lesley Lababidi

The mood of celebration in Egypt after the resignation of the president is uncontainable. Egyptians know there are unanswered questions and uncertain times ahead, and the country’s woes have not been wiped out overnight, but they have achieved something that a few weeks ago was unthinkable, and they are proud not just of that achievement but of the way they did it: The 25 January Revolution, as it is being called here (from the date of the first protests), has been an incredibly impressive peaceful mass movement (sometimes confronted with sickening violence) of young and old, men and women, rich and poor, whole families, all out there day after day in Tahrir, a name now as familiar to the world as Tianenmen (though with happier connotations). The indomitable spirit of the people, cowed for thirty years by a coarse and brutal dictatorship, was humbling. The scenes of the protesters cleaning the square before leaving—sweeping up, clearing garbage, repainting fences and curbstones, washing graffiti off tanks and walls—were the sign of not just a new-found voice but a new-found pride and determination to clean up the country both literally and metaphorically.

One of our authors, Lesley Lababidi, posted this great collection of photographs on Picasa, which give a good idea of the message and the spirit.

And how’s this for a great song of the revolution? (Click on the cc button for English subtitles.)

In the meantime, we’re putting our vandalized offices that overlook Tahrir Square to rights and are very happy to be back at work since Wednesday, with great plans for a whole range of new books on the new Egypt that aim to reflect and catch up with the spirit of this extraordinarily intelligent, creative, pacifist, determined, patient, total people’s Revolution.

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