TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

Egypt's Oasis in the Desert: Cairo's Lost & Found?

From The Brahmsky Report:

In her 1963 book, On Revolution, Hannah Arendt wrote poignantly of the “revolutionary tradition and its lost treasure.” What was this trove of priceless gems and relics, with a noble pedigree few are aware of and without a name? Why was it lost? And what’s this got to do with the events of January-February 2011 in Egypt?

Political freedom—the collective power of shaping the world we share by means of word and deed—comes and goes, Arendt observed. It springs up and disappears, like a fata morgana, though it’s no illusion. Real but ephemeral, it’s something that few think to tell the story of, in terms so consequential as those of History (capital-H). Its effects—unlike those of bombs, bacteria, or the birth of the internet—can be difficult to trace with certainty. Although, its unpredictable presence from time to time, here and there, can hardly be gainsaid, even by the most pragmatic, literal-minded or trepidatious souls.

For while History, after the postmodern “death of grand narratives,” might have started to seem like a monotonous desert we are lost in—a confusing if not empty space without guideposts, direction, purpose, or hope of getting anywhere—the desert in fact contains more life than some imagine, or are taught to expect. Deserts, Arendt observed, also harbor their sheltering, refreshing oases.

Read the full post here.

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