Neoliberal Authoritarianism in Egypt

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Neoliberal Authoritarianism in Egypt

Yanis Iqbal

The whiplash of authoritarianism is being ruthlessly used in Egypt. On January 6, 2021, Ahmed Khalifa, social news editor of Egypt 360 website, was arrested after publishing a series of reports on workers’ legitimate protests. He was falsely charged with joining a terrorist group and spreading fake news, and remains in detention to date. Before his arrest, Khalifa published articles about strikes at the state-owned ElDelta Company for Fertilizers and Chemical Industry.

In 2011, bold protest chants flowed out from Tahrir Square: from “The people want the fall of the regime!” to “Down, down with military rule!” – everything seemed full of new possibilities.... Today, all the dreams envisioned by those chants lie in tatters. Egyptians have gone through an unprecedented and dizzyingly fast-paced trajectory.

The Hosni Mubarak period (1981–2011) bore the stamp of neoliberal authoritarianism; the tumultuous 30-months long transition after his ouster (2011–13) was filled with hopes about a better future; the afterlife of a military coup (2013–present) has turned history full circle, back to an authoritarian age of austerity and pervasive violence.

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