Monday, January 20, 2014
"The Square" shows the tragic backsteps in Egypt's Arab spring
“The Square” ("Al Midan" ), by Jehane Noujaim, traces, with interviews, videos and artwork, the history of the Arab spring revolution in Egypt since 2011. It has gone through different phases, first to oust the secular dictator Mubarak (supported by the US), to be replaced by military rule and then Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, himself finally removed.
Revolution often leads to a more oppressive regime than the one it replaced. Paul Rosenfels used to say that (Books, April 12, 2006). Late in the film there are discussions among the men (races and backgrounds are mixed) about the difference between revolution and politics.
The oppression under Mubarak involved torture, sometimes with electrocution that caused scarring and body hair to fall out. But it seemed to get even worse under Morsi.
Originally, the people wanted freedom to worship under Islam or Christianity. Under Morsi. It was reversed and Islam was enforced.
The star of the film is activist Magdy Ashour, who says that the people need a conscience if they are to have a good president. But, despite the solidarity and unison demonstrations, he says that every one who came to Tahrir Square was a leader.
The official site for the film from Gathr, Participant Media and Netflix is here. It has limited theatrical release, such as at the West End in Washington.
Remember, the Arab spring shows the problems with Facebok (in particular) requiring users to supply their real names to the site for visitors.
Wikipedia attribution link for aerial of Cairo