Middle East Studies
April  2012
336 pp.
15X23 cm
ISBN 9789774165580
For sale only in the Middle East


Liberation Square

Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation Ashraf Khalil

A dramatic eye-witness account of the events of early 2011 in Cairo

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 was more than a spontaneous uprising. It was the end result of years of mounting tension, brought on by a state that shamelessly abused its authority, rigging elections, silencing opposition, and violently attacking its citizens. When revolution bloomed in the region in January 2011, Egypt was a country whose patience had expired—with a people primed for liberation. As a journalist based in Cairo, Ashraf Khalil was an eyewitness to the storm that brought down the Mubarak regime. He was subjected to tear gas alongside protesters in Tahrir Square, barely escaped an enraged mob, and watched the day-to-day developments from the frontlines. From the halls of power to the back alleys of Cairo, he offers a one-of-a-kind look at a nation in the throes of an uprising. Liberation Square is a revealing and dramatic look at the revolution that transformed Egypt’s modern history.
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Ashraf Khalil has covered the Middle East for The Times, The Economist, Foreign Policy, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Middle East edition of Rolling Stone. He worked as a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times in the Baghdad and Jerusalem bureaus and has been based in Cairo for most of the last fifteen years.

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To read an interview with Ashraf Khalil about the book, click here.

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“This compelling, nuanced, and engaging account of the end of Hosni Mubarak’s 29-year reign describes

“an intellectually bankrupt and cynical blank space of a regime” that collapsed, leading to a tectonic shift of power. Egyptian-American journalist Khalil, writing for Foreign Policy and the Times of London, blends astute observations with reportage of the demonstrations as they unfolded, sketching out parallel rationales for the downfall of

“a Middle Eastern dictatorial Forrest Gump” whose internal security apparatus broke down after its vilest abuses were widely publicized. In addition, he explores the role of social media in sustaining revolutionary energy and provides riveting accounts of the January demonstrations that clinched the end of the regime. The withering scorn heaped on the toppled government is deliciously expressed:

“The final days of the Mubarak regime featured a multitude of generally shameless, desperate, and tone-deaf reactions and tactics.” While it is left to Middle East scholars and political scientists to parse the next chapters in revolutionary Egypt’s staggeringly complex story, Khalil’s account is essential reading, evoking the urgency and vitality of the Arab spring’s Egyptian chapter. The author’s decades of experience and seasoned skepticism point up the central truth of the uprising and the government’s failed response:

“Mubarak still didn’t get it: The problem was him.”—Publishers Weekly<br><br>

“Intimate and chatty, . . . an insightful and often humorous account of Egypt’s revolution.”—The Economist

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