Egypt on the brink
With Alain Gresh, Nadia Kamel and Mustafa Can
The Arab Spring is over and people have been forced to leave Tahrir Square in Cairo, as the tensions increase among various power blocs and social undercurrents. The army is still in power more than sixty years after the generals carried out a coup d’état in 1952. Nadia Kamel and Alain Gresh both have family stories that reflect many of the dramatic incidents and ethnic, religious and political tensions that characterise the recent past and present in Egypt. Kamel is an Egyptian film maker whose documentary Salata Baladi (Mixed Salad) tells the story of her own family, whose mixed Jewish, Catholic and Muslim background extends to countries such as Turkey, Italy, Ukraine and – most controversially – Israel and Palestine.
Alain Gresh is of Egyptian-Jewish-Russian descent, the former editor ofLe Monde Diplomatique and a commentator on Middle Eastern affairs. His father, Henri Curiel, was leader of the Egyptian Communist Party, which in its time fought for a liberated Egypt and supported the 1952 coup that brought General Nasser to power. However, Curiel himself was forced into exile in 1950, and in 1978 he was murdered in Paris – a case that remains unsolved to this day. Now, Gresh and Kamel meet on stage in a conversation with the Swedish journalist and author Mustafa Can on the development of contemporary Egypt and how the larger conflicts that have affected this country are reflected in their family stories.