Nael Shama, Daily News (Egypt), Egyptian Revolution – (Interviewed by Noha Hassan)

Nael M. Shama is a political researcher and freelance writer based in Cairo. He has a PhD degree from the School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews, UK. His writings appeared in a number of Egyptian and Arab publications, such as The Egyptian Gazette, The Art Review, Al-Shorouk, Al-Hayat, Weghat Nazar, Al-Arabi, Sawt Al-Umma and Al-Wafd. He is currently a columnist for Daily News (Egypt). He could be contacted at:, or keep an eye on his blog at

I usually look for positivity within any situation, always keeping in mind: “It is an experience to learn something and to grow.” But this time, while following what is happening in Egypt, I almost gave up and was left confused. This is when I approached Nael, with the following one question interview, to help me figuring out a positive aspect to the situation now in Egypt:

Q: With all what is happening now in Egypt, especially with the rise of sectarian violence, how can we keep “positive” when it comes to the country’s future?

A: “This is a good question particularly that many people in Egypt have started reacting quite hysterically to the recent developments in Egypt, especially the sectarian violence and the instability that sent shock waves through the country. There are many approaches to look at the current situation, and perhaps, luckily, ones that can make you feel better.

First, there is the comparative approach. You can simply compare the situation in Egypt today with what we witnessed earlier in other countries in our region like Iraq or Lebanon. You may protest by saying that I am comparing Egypt with the worst instability-ridden cases in the Arab world, but that is exactly the point: to put things into perspective. There is no need to discount the severity of our current situation, but there is no need to exaggerate either.

Secondly, you have the historical approach. If you take, for example, the human cost of the 1919 revolution (around 4,000 fatalities when Egypt’s population was around 12 or 13 million) and compare it with the 2011 revolution, you will realize that we’ve seen worse in this country. Remember also that Egypt lost more than 10,000 souls in the 1967 War, and the psychological impact was overwhelming. But we did not break down; we bent, but we did not collapse. The same can be said of today’s situation: they are tough times, but they are bound to pass.

Thirdly, you have the cost-benefit approach. The human and economic cost of the revolution is only to be considered vis-à-vis the benefits accomplished, politically, economically and morally. The long-term socioeconomic effects of the revolution, alone, may surpass its short-term costs. We are talking here of less corruption, more equity, more local and foreign investments (with the abolishment of the networks of monopoly and nepotism that have precluded free competition) and hence less unemployment. And we also have the significant political and moral gains that, unfortunately, cannot be measured, but should nonetheless be part of the calculus of benefits and costs. For example, how can you measure the ousting of a dictatorship, the establishment of a democracy, the worldwide promotion of a positive image of Egypt and its people? These are huge steps, and they should not be overlooked when we assess the impact of our revolution.”


Love & Lights


The Whole World is Keeping an Eye on Egypt for Inspiration

The Whole World is Keeping an Eye on Egypt for Inspiration


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