Dialectics of Hope and Despair in the Arab Uprisings

Alaa Abd El-Fattah and Ahmed Douma, leading Egyptian revolutionaries, wrote these words in 2014 for the Mada Masr piece “Graffiti for Two…Alaa and Douma.” Abd El-Fattah and Douma have spent most of the last decade in jail, much of it in solitary confinement. The uncomfortable coexistence of hope and despair in the experiences of a single revolutionary such as Abd El-Fattah challenge common understandings of the 2011 Arab uprisings. Abd El-Fattah’s story, along with the experiences of so many other individuals, show that it is misleading to conclude that hope for change dominated a decade ago only to be replaced now by despair at failure.


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