History is written by two groups - the victors, and the middle classes.
I am reminded of this following an interview/book review with Egyptian author Ahdaf Soueif, by Julie Tomlin, in the current issue of the Camden New Journal. Ms Soueif, who divides her time between Cairo and London has a book to promote "Cairo My City, Our Revolution" and talks wearily of the 'betrayal' of the Egyptian revolution by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
What did annoy me was this little quote from Ahdaf Soueif's interview, where she states:
"The fact that people could act with such unity; that a civilian population could, unarmed and non-violent, force the removal of the head of a corrupt and brutal regime was a general cause for optimism."
She was a lot closer to the action than I was. But anyone following the news this time last year could see that the Egyptian people were anything but non-violent. How else can you describe the pitched battles in and around Tahrir Square between Mubarak's supporters and those who wanted change? How else do we account for the presence and perhaps critical involvement of Egyptian football hooligans in the fighting in Cairo against forces loyal to the dictatorship?
The good news is that the anti-Mubarak forces won, at least in terms of the battles of Tahrir Square. As the dust settles, it seems probable that they won the battle but lost the war. But that is no need to re-write history. I do hope Ahdaf Soueif's book is better than the interview suggests............