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Egypt, From Tahrir Square To Hard Reality

Egypt. After uprising, ousters, military takeover and a vote on a new constitution – we’ll look at dreams and hard realities in Egypt now.

Election workers look at a tablet for electric registration inside a polling station for the second day in the country's constitutional referendum at the Gamal Abdel Nasser school in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. The vote is a milestone in a military-backed political roadmap toward new elections for a president and a ballot-box test of public opinion on the coup that removed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power last July. (AP)

Election workers look at a tablet for electric registration inside a polling station for the second day in the country’s constitutional referendum at the Gamal Abdel Nasser school in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. The vote is a milestone in a military-backed political roadmap toward new elections for a president and a ballot-box test of public opinion on the coup that removed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power last July. (AP)

Egypt was so moving when it stood up in the Arab Spring.  A new generation in Tahrir Square, looking to break free between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood for a new day of democracy.  This week, almost three years later, a trail of tears.  The Arab Spring has come and gone.  A freely elected Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi, has come and gone in a coup.  The military is large and in charge again, with a new constitution cementing its power.  This hour On Point:  the producer of a newly-Oscar-nominated documentary on the uprising and aftermath.  On Egypt.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nancy Youssef, Middle East bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers. (@nancyayoussef)

Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center, fellow at the Saban Center for the Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. (@shadihamid)

Karim Amer, producer of the 2014 Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Square.”  (@Karim_Amer33)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Egypt Holds Election Under Tight Security — “The violence has been fueled by the arrest of thousands of Mr. Morsi’s supporters and the killing of more than a thousand by security forces in street clashes. The government billed a “yes” vote in the constitutional referendum, which is scheduled to end Wednesday evening, as a stamp of approval for the military-backed government and its plans for a transition to democratic rule that include presidential and parliamentary elections.”

Politico Magazine: Hey General, It’s Me, Chuck. Again. — “Out of the 30 or so total calls, the U.S. government has provided 15 official readouts over six months, each with a similar set of messages to Sissi: Try to be less repressive and more inclusive. Egypt is the only country where Hagel has a regular, direct line of communication not just with the minister of defense but also the (effective) head of state, since Sissi happens to be both. With each passing month, the readouts become more surreal, with Hagel asking what has become one of the region’s more brutal, repressive regimes to be ‘democratic.'”

The Atlantic: The U.S. Is Giving Up On Middle East Democracy — And That’s A Mistake — “Today’s Middle East is a product, at least in part, of failed democratization, and one of the reasons it failed was the timid, half-hearted support of the Obama administration. That the U.S. is fundamentally limited in its ability to influence the internal politics of Arab states has been a consistent theme within the Obama administration as well as among analysts. No one denies that there are limits to what the U.S. can (or can’t) do; the question, however, is what those limits are.”

Watch A Trailer For ‘The Square’

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