spring revolution

The continent-shaking Arab Spring began with the public self-immolation of a despairing fruit vendor in the bitter winter of 2010. Within a few short years, dictators had been brought down by the masses in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen.

What flows from the deaths of as many as ONE HUNDRED AND FUCKING FIFTY PEOPLE in a tower block fire which was explicitly caused by external cladding installed to appease the wealthy residents of neighbouring mansions - when the current government minister for fire safety is one of 72 Tory slum landlord MPs who voted against a motion to make social housing ‘fit for human habitation’?

That’s for us to decide.

Asmaa Mahfouz (b. 1985) is an Egyptian activist, responsible for sparking the mass uprising that led to the 2011 Egyptian revolution. She is one of the founders of the April 6 Youth Movement.

After her video which encouraged Egyptians to stand up for their basic human rights and fight the Mubarak regime, over 50,000 protesters followed her lead in Tahrir Square, Cairo. She received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for her contributions to “historic changes in the Arab world”.

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Various depictions of the “People’s Spring” of 1848, such as the Battle of Buda, the Five Days of Milan, the slaughter of Galician nobles by Polish peasants,  the declaration of the Serbian Vojvodina, the short-lived victory by the revolutionaries in Berlin, and the victorious return of Royal Danish troops from the First Schleswig War.

Every revolution, being a normal outcome, contains within itself its legitimacy, which false revolutionists sometimes dishonor, but which remains even when soiled, which survives even when stained with blood. Revolutions spring not from an accident, but from necessity. A revolution is a return from the fictitious to the real. It is because it must be that it is.
—  Les Misérables, iv.i.iv
Anastasia the Musical
  • Hail our brave new land!
  • It’s the rumor, the legend, the mystery…
  • Who else could pull it off, but you and me?
  • I’ll be here all week!
  • They said I was found by the side of the road.
  • A girl with no name and no memories but these.
  • Keeping up my courage, foolish as it seems!
  • I know it all will come back one day. 
  • I dream of a city beyond all compare…
  • You don’t know what it’s like not to know who you are.
  • I’ve seen flashes of fire, heard the echoes of screams.
  • I don’t like being contradicted!
  • I’m only human, don’t forget!
  • We’ve all been frightened, well, slightly, now and then.
  • I feel a little foolish-am I floating?
  • If I can learn to do it, you can learn to do it. 
  • And soon it will be spring.
  • Revolution is a simple thing.
  • My mother said he died of shame.
  • And I was no longer a boy.
  • God bless my homeland. 
  • Heart don’t fail me now, courage don’t desert me.
  • People always says life is full of choices, but no one ever mentions fear.
  • Years of dreams just can’t be wrong!
  • Home, love, family, I will never be complete until I find you!
  • One step at a time, one hope then another.
  • Let this road be mine and let it lead me to my past. 
  • But then you see her eyes and something in them tells you that she absolutely lies.
  • I feel a strange connection I can’t allow.
  • Someone holds me safe and warm…
  • Far away, long ago, glowing dim as an ember.
  • Things my heart used to know, things it yearns to remember.
  • And a song someone sings….
  • Halfway between all I lost and all I’m learning.
  • On the breeze is a whisper that’s almost a prayer.
  • Summer used to last endlessly. 
  • So grasping, so lacking!
  • Will you ever come running home to me?
  • I’ve believed so long, I have dared to hope.
  • Tell them I close the door. 
  • Once I had a palace, here merely a flat. 
  • Let’s live in the land of yesterday!
  • We’re out of second chances. 
  • Why are we here except to forget?
  • I still think of that day now and then.
  • I tried not to smile, but I smiled. 
  • With the sun in my eyes, you were gone.
  • In a crowd of thousands, I’d find you again.
Egypt’s January 25 Revolution in Photos

Inspired by The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters swept through the streets of Egypt on the 25th of January, 5 years ago, demanding an end to the corruption and Mubarak’s 30 year rule as President.

25 January 2011: An anti-government protester defaces a picture of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak in Alexandria [Stringer]

26 January 2011: Riot police clash with protesters in Cairo as thousands of Egyptians defied a ban on protests by returning to Egypt’s streets and calling for President Hosni Mubarak to leave office [Goran Tomasevic]

A protester holds up a banner in front of a line of riot police in downtown Cairo.  [Unknown]

28 January 2011: A protester stands in front of a burning barricade as police and demonstrators fought running battles on the streets of Cairo in a fourth day of protests

28 January 2011: An Egyptian anti-government activist kisses a riot police officer following clashes in Cairo, Egypt [Lefteris Pitarakis]

28 January 2011: A man tries to protect himself with an Egyptian flag as police fire water cannons at protesters in Cairo

A masked protester throws a gas canister towards Egyptian riot police, not seen, near the Interior Ministry during clashes in downtown Cairo. [Tara Todras-Whitehill]

28 January 2011: A protester watches an Egyptian Army armoured vehicle burn in Cairo after President Hosni Mubarak ordered troops into Egyptian cities in an attempt to quell growing mass protests demanding an end to his 30-year rule

28 January 2011: Egyptians gather around the burning headquarters of the ruling National Democratic party (NDP) in Cairo [Khaled Desouki]

A graffitied smiley face on a wall constructed by the military to impede protesters. [Amru Salahuddien]

29 January 2011: The headquarters of the ruling National Democratic (NLD) party burns after it was set ablaze by protesters in Cairo [Yannis Behrakis]

Riot police use water cannons on protesters trying to cross the Kasr al-Nile bridge. [Peter Macdiarmid]  

30 January 2011: Protesters in Cairo hold a banner featuring a cartoon calling for Hosni Mubarak to step down [Asmaa Waguih]

31 January 2011: Egyptian film star Omar Sharif points to Tahrir, or Liberation, Square, in Cairo, Egypt [Lefteris Pitarakis]

31 January 2011: A protester holds a placard depicting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as Adolf Hitler in Cairo’s Tahrir Square [Yannis Behrakis]

1 February 2011: Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators march in Alexandria, Egypt [Ahmed Muhammed]

1 February 2011: An Egyptian man sits atop one of the lions at the entrance of Kasr El Nil Bridge, leading to Tahrir Square [Zeinab Mohamed]

2 February 2011: A pro-Mubarak rioter riding on a camel clashing with anti-government protesters in what became known as the Battle of the Camel [Chris Hondros]

6 February 2011: A Muslim holding the Quran (left) and a Coptic Christian holding a cross are carried through opposition supporters in Tahrir Square in Cairo [Dylan Martinez]

8 February 2011: Egyptian anti-government protesters perform the evening prayers as they gather at Cairo’s Tahrir square [Patrick Baz]

10 February 2011: Anti-government bloggers work on their laptops from Cairo’s Tahrir square on the 17th day of consecutive protests calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak [Patrick Baz]

10 February 2011: Anti-government protesters raise their shoes after a speech by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak saying that he had given some powers to his vice president but would not resign or leave the country [Chris Hondros]

11 February 2011: Egyptian women celebrate the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who handed control of the country to the military, at night in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt [Tara Todras-Whitehill]

11 February 2011: Celebrating the announcement of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in Tahrir Square [Jonathan Rashad]

18 February 2011: A girl attends Friday prayers in front of an army tank in Tahrir Square in Cairo a week after Mubarak resigned [Suhaib Salem]

18 February 2011: A woman waves an Egyptian flag on a balcony overlooking Cairo’s Tahrir Square as hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate the revolt that forced president Hosni Mubarak to step down [Mohammed Abed]  

Revolution and insurrection must not be looked upon as synonymous. The former consists in an overturning of conditions, of the established condition or status, the State or society, and is accordingly a political
or social act; the latter has indeed for its unavoidable consequence a transformation of circumstances, yet does not start from it but from men’s discontent with themselves, is not an armed rising but a rising of individuals, a getting up without regard to the arrangements that spring from it. The Revolution aimed at new arrangements; insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves, and sets no glittering hopes on ‘institutions’. It is not a fight against the established, since, if it prospers, the established collapses of itself; it is only a working forth of me out of the established.


Insurrection, it may be argued, starts with the individual refusing his enforced identity, the ‘I’ through which power operates: it starts ‘from men’s discontent with themselves.’ Moreover Stirner says that insurrection does not aim at overthrowing political institutions themselves. It is aimed at the individual overthrowing his own identity — the outcome of which is, nevertheless, a change in political arrangements. Insurrection is therefore not about becoming what one ‘is’ according to hu-manism — becoming human, becoming Man — but about becoming what one is not. Stirner’s notion of rebellion involves a process of becoming — it is about continually reinventing one’s own self. The self is not an essence, a defined set of characteristics, but rather an emptiness, a “creative nothing”,and it is up to the individual to create something out of this and not be limited by essences.

—  from War on the State: Deleuze & Stirner’s Anarchism, by Saul Newman
Revolution and insurrection must not be looked upon as synonymous. The former consists in an overturning of conditions, of the established condition or status, the State or society, and is accordingly a political or social act; the latter has indeed for its unavoidable consequence a transformation of circumstances, yet does not start from it but from men’s discontent with themselves, is not an armed rising, but a rising of individuals, a getting up, without regard to the arrangements that spring from it. The Revolution aimed at new arrangements; insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves, and sets no glittering hopes on “institutions”. It is not a fight against the established, since, if it prospers, the established collapses of itself; it is only a working forth of me out of the established. If I leave the established, it is dead and passes into decay. Now, as my object is not the overthrow of an established order but my elevation above it, my purpose and deed are not a political or social but (as directed toward myself and my ownness alone) an egoistic purpose and deed.
—  Max Stirner
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Rest in peace, Nathanael Greene.  Known as the Fighting Quaker, Greene enlisted in the Continental Army as a private and worked his way up to Washington’s right-hand man by the end.  It was his strategic retreat from Cornwallis in the Carolinas that led the Redcoats to march north into the waiting arms of General Washington outside Yorktown.  Greene died on this date in 1786 at the age of 43.

Stamp details:
Stamp on top:
Issued on: December 15, 1936
From: Washington, DC
SC #785

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: September 8, 1981
From: Eutaw Springs, SC
SC #UX90

Places I’d Like to Be in the Rain
  • A ship at sea
  • London, with a black umbrella, on my way to meet a stranger in a dark, little pub where we will plot a revolution.
  • A garden in April. Everything smells fresh and damp. 
  • The middle of the Amazon rain forest, joyfully diving into a river, the call of howler monkeys and green parrots accompany the pouring rain.
  • A moor. In Scotland. Preferably riding a horse.
  • A great library. The kind with sliding ladders, floor to ceiling shelves, and maps on the wall. And maybe a fireplace. Ancient tomes are stacked around me. I’m so immersed in the book in front of me that I barely hear the rain on the rooftop.
  • Kissing someone