How Tahrir is reshaping Cairo

Joseph Dana writes: Jamel Mubarak leans over the side of his balcony overlooking Tahrir Square and makes a simple observation: Cairo, the city of his birth, is not as pretty as it used to be.

For 40 years, Mubarak has lived in a 10-story building on Cairo’s most prominent public square. In that time, he’s watched it transform from a downtown traffic roundabout and symbol of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime to become, last year, a ground zero for the overthrow of that same regime.

And now, nearly two years after the first protest of the Egyptian Revolution, the square has again sprung to life as a center of opposition, this time in protest over the drafting of the country’s constitution and sweeping new self-granted powers of its Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, who took power democratically after Mubarak’s fall.

Looking down at the tens of thousands of protesters filling the square below him, waving flags and chanting slogan’s against the country’s ruling party, Jamel Mubarak (no relation to the ousted leader) notes that the once-peaceful square is not likely to quiet down anytime soon.

“People are angry with Morsi and emboldened by the fact that they removed one Egyptian president,” he said, speaking loudly to be heard over the din of chants emanating from the square below. “They might try to do it again and one thing is for sure, the entire process is going to unfold in Tahrir.”

It’s no exaggeration to say that Tahrir Square has emerged as a living laboratory for the social shifts sweeping Egypt’s densely populated capital city. [Continue reading…]

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