The False Anxiety of Influence

Comparisons between Egypt’s current uprising and Iran’s 1979 revolution have become something of a cliché.

The mass demonstrations in Egypt against a US-backed dictator have reminded many observers of similar scenes from the Iranian Revolution of 1979, leading some to believe that another “Islamic Revolution” is in the making.   

This is a false reading of the Iranian Revolution of 1977-1979; and an even more flawed reading of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. 

This, above all, is a logically flawed assimilation of a unique historical event that was ignited in Tunisia, has now spread to Egypt and perhaps will expand even farther in the Arab and Muslim world, to the point of even casting aside cliché terms, including and the most colonially pernicious of them all: “the Middle East”. 

Meydan al-Tahrir in Egypt today, like its counterpart Meydan-e Azadi in Tehran two years ago (the two Arabic and Persian terms mean exactly the same: “Freedom Square”), is the epicenter of a planetary reconfiguration of world politics.

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