Monday, 28 February 2011

Salon on Middle East

The Middle East Uprising: Why Now? What Next?
Wednesday 16 March

Old Broadcasting House
148 Woodhouse Lane
Leeds, LS2 9EN
6:45pm (for a 7pm start) to 8:30pm.

The events in Egypt have come as a surprise to most, with even President Obama questioning US intelligence agencies’ failure to predict the uprisings in the Arab world. The drive behind the January 25 revolt is a genuinely popular democratic movement, but its outcome is still unclear. Who are the main players determining events – the military, the Muslim Brotherhood, young protesters, workers, the elite? And how should we characterise what Twitter calls #Jan25 in the absence of obvious leadership of the movement?
The uprising seems also to put paid to the idea that democracy is exclusively Western, and not a universal aspiration. Yet the reaction from Western elites has been ambivalent at best: can Egyptians bring about a ‘stable democracy’? Fears about an Islamist takeover are voiced as much by Westerners as by President Mubarak. What do we make of calls from foreign ministries for an ‘orderly transition’, especially in light of Western powers’ history in the region? What does the revolt mean for the balance of power in the region, and for American hegemony?

The Speaker

Karl Sharro is an architect, writer and commentator on the Middle East. He previously taught at the American University of Beirut. Karl has written for a number of international publications, such as Springerin (Austria), Mark Magazine (Holland), Novo (Germany), Glass (UK) and Blueprint (UK), and he contributes regularly to the online publications Culture Wars and He has spoken on a range of issues such as art, architecture, urbanism and politics. He blogs at Karl reMarks.


The Egyptian uprising: on the universal aspiration for freedom, by Karl Sharro, 4 February 2011

Why Tunis, Why Cairo?, by Issandr El Amrani, London Review of Books, February 2011

The Egyptian uprising: ‘why now?’ and ‘what next?’, by Brendan O’Neill, Spiked-online, 8 February 2011

Egypt’s Bumbling Brotherhood, by Scott Atran, The New York Times, 2 February 2011

Overdue End of the Old World Order, by Mick Hume, Spiked-Online, 23 February 2011.

This is a free event but a voluntary contribution to cover costs will be asked for on the night. To let us know you’re coming please reply to this e-mail. If you’re not on it already, join our mailing list at:, and join our group on Facebook.

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