Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egypt & Iran: two revolutions, a generation apart

"Although Iran’s and Egypt’s revolutions share a date, Feb. 11, the comparisons end there. Millions welcomed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on his return from Paris. In Egypt, there was no charismatic figure of stature.

Unlike the Shiite Muslim clergy in Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood is neither led by clerics nor based on a clerical organization. In many ways, it represents a lay middle class. The very dynamics are different, too: cassette tapes of Ayatollah Khomeini’s speeches helped drive Iran’s revolution, whose zealots sought to export it. The Internet helped propel the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the medium’s own diffusion helping carry it from the backwater town of Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia to Tahrir Square in Cairo.

Perhaps most importantly, the revolutions occurred a generation apart, a note echoed in the Brotherhood stronghold of Munira, along streets of graceful balustrades of the colonial era and the utilitarian architecture of Mr. Nasser and his successors." --Anthony Shadid

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