Egypt's Arab Spring "revolutionary period is over," lamented Georgetown University Arabic literature professor Elliott Colla on June 25 at the anti-Israel Washington, DC, Jerusalem Fund before about twenty listeners. With stereotypical academic bias, his presentation, "The Poetry of Dissent," ignored political dangers from an "Egyptian revolution" celebrated, in his leftist view, for "many, many accomplishments" of popular culture.
Seemingly unconcerned by the possibility of Egypt becoming a sharia state after dictator Hosni Mubarak's overthrow, Colla focused on literary "documents of a social movement that tried to change a regime but stumbled." His slides were reminiscent of a college English seminar, examining genres such as "Literary Journalism," "Literary Memoirs," and "Graphic Novels" among the "expressive cultures of revolutionary Egypt." He described the "speed of publication" as "remarkable" for the various forms of literature that appeared between Mubarak's February 2011 fall and the July 2013 overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)-dominated government. "Everything tends to become melodrama" in soap opera-like novels from this period, he observed, while the "Collective Memoirs" presented in a slide were "open-ended and polyphonic." Such minor details somehow interested him more than, say, a MB revocation of Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.
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