Egypt Through the Lens of Iran’s 1979 Revolution

Ever since the crowds flooded into Tahrir Square, I’ve begun talking to the living-room television. “Drop that hand!” I shouted at the raised fist of a pro-Mubarak thug a few days ago. On Friday, watching the fireworks over the skies of Cairo, I enviously mumbled: “How come we didn’t do that?”

We, as in the young Iranians who flooded Tehran’s own equivalent of Liberation Square, Azadi, on the same exact day 32 years ago. I was 12 at the time, but the events of that year remain my existential paradox, my life’s most cherished trauma.

The pundits now breezily call Iran’s 1979 revolution “Islamic.” But at the time, religious and secular, villagers and urbanites, educated and illiterate, all equally angrily, were marching in the streets and demanding the removal of the Shah. Iran’s future was as unknowable then as Egypt’s future is now.

“Egypt Through the Lens of Iran’s 1979 Revolution.” Time Magazine, February 13, 2011,8599,2048791,00.html