This month marks the second anniversary of the revolution in Egypt that ousted the former president, Hosni Mubarak. The uprising in Egypt was a major part of the Arab Spring, and inspired protesters in Libya and Syria. Recent events have led many to believe that the revolution is far from over.
There are many ways to tell the story of what has happened in Egypt over the past two years. Journalist Christopher Lydon wanted to discover what he calls, "some original truth in the turmoil," which is why he says he sought out Egypt’s leading novelists, architects, poets, musicians and painters to interview for his Radio Open Source podcast series: "Arab Artists in a Revolution." Lydon explains, "I went looking for artists to reflect on events in Egypt. I came back thinking of the ongoing mass revolt in Tahrir Square as, in itself, more like a work of art than anything else."
Alaa Al Aswany, one of the Arab world's best selling writers, believes that the real achievement of the revolution is that Egyptians are, "no more scared." He embodied that bravery when he challenged the sitting Egyptian Prime Mister, Ahmed Shafik, in an unprecedented debate on Egyptian public television in 2011. Al Aswany's indictment of Shafik and his association with Mubarak was so powerful and illuminating he was forced to resign the next day.
While artists like Al Aswany are making the news, others are portraying it with powerful emotion. Tahrir Square is peppered with wall paintings illustrating current events and reflecting the mood of the country during a time of continued uncertainty. Christopher Lydon describes these paintings as "profoundly Egyptian" and reminiscent of the pharonic wall paintings of 5,000 years ago: "The oldest paintings we know of on earth are these wall paintings…and suddenly the tradition is reborn in a way that the world can understand."