On 25 January 2011, bestselling Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany joined a million protestors in Tahrir Square calling for President Hosni Mubarak's departure. This was the moment he and other pro-democracy activists had been working towards, but could never be sure would come. Why did Egypt unexpectedly revolt? In a weekly newspaper column Al Aswany had been exposing the injustices of the Mubarak regime for years, arguing that 'democracy is the solution'. Here the most incisive, prescient and urgent of these pieces are gathered together in English for the first time. He examines the conditions that made Egypt ripe for revolution, from Mubarak's monopoly on power and his determination to install his son as his successor, to the poverty in which half the population live. He also writes passionately about Egyptian society generally, including the treatment of women, free speech and the role of the State police.

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