The Revolution for Real
Penniless Press Publications
"O roar of the universe how am I chosen
I come home from Alexandria via Tanta to find the Revolution beneath my bed …"
Opening with the above Arab Spring poem inspired by Beat Generation luminary Allen Ginsberg's The Lion for Real, the Egyptian journalist Youssef Rakha's new book features an unusually diverse range of writing, most of it quite engaging.
The Revolution for Real includes straightforward reporting from Tahrir Square at the height of the uprising and in-depth analysis of the events that followed, an examination of the relationship between Copts and Muslims, observations on life and politics in Beirut, and even an open letter to the former International Atomic Energy Agency chief and liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei.
Readers who are not intimately familiar with the history, politics and culture of the Arab world, particularly Egypt, may find this book a bit challenging in some places, but Rakhas's sharp prose and fascinating insights, both political and cultural, more than compensate.
* Paul Muir