In this video, I ask Denis which moment from the Egyptian Revolution sticks out most in his mind, a decade later.

Brutality. That’s the only word that sums up what Al Jazeera English captured in the Cairo city morgue. Protestors, covered in bullet holes. Angered and no doubt frightened by the damage this footage might cause them, the government then shut Al Jazeera English down. Moreover, they ‘hunted’ the journalist involved, to use Denis’ phrase.

An extract from Breathing Hope and Fear

If the Battle for the 6th of October Bridge was a key turning point, the AlJazeera live broadcast by Dan Nolan from inside the city morgue in Cairo would set the country’s rage further ablaze. Dan stood sombrely in the middle of an overfilled morgue showing partially covered bodies of badly beaten and bullet ridden young protestors.

@BreakingNews 30 bodies were taken to El Damardash hospital in central Cairo, including two children, hospital source says – Reuters

@Farrah3m‎ OMG! watch on JAZEERA, the morgue in Cairo full of dead bodies covered in blood! TEARS! #jan25

@mithaldu‎ Morgue officials in Cairo outskirt confirmed dead egyptian protestors were killed by life ammo.

@iyad_elbaghdadi‎ Angry scenes outside morgues in #Cairoand#Suez#Egypt#Jan25

Coming a few hours after Mubarak’s non-speech, this was the one image no one in the Government wanted the world to see. Indeed, the Government earlier claimed that half of the bodies in the city’s morgue were police and security personnel, but it was clear from Dan’s photos that these were young men brutalised by the police.

Morgue officials confirmed the men died of bullet wounds from live ammunition rounds fired directly at them from close range. The filing of this live report made Dan an instant target of Mubarak’s thugs and he was shortly forced into hiding. This was the same kind of report that mobilised Tunisians against Ben Ali and it would surely have the same affect in Mubarak’s Egypt.

In a tweet conversation shortly after he left Cairo out of concern for his safety, Dan and I conversed on Twitter:

Denis Campbell @nolanjazeera good luck & Godspeed. Your report from morgue, full marks! Cannot imagine your nightmares. Get back in the game when you can!

Dan Nolan @UKProgressive haunting images for sure but ones the world needed to see. thanks for all ur support!

Buy Denis’ book in ebook and print formats from your preferred retailer:

Egyptian Revolution 10th Anniversary Series with Denis G. Campbell

In this tenth-anniversary video series, I sit down with Denis G. Campbell, author of Breathing Hope and Fear: Egypt Since 2011, to discuss what led up to the 25 January Revolution, what the key moments were during it, why it failed, and the learnings we can take from it. I also ask him directly about his book: why write about Egypt, and why use the innovative tweet-based style he did? Posting every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday until the 26th – and, of course, on 25 January itself – I attach a relevant excerpt from Breathing Hope and Fear.

  1. What Caused the Egyptian Revolution of 2011?
  2. Why Did the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 Ultimately Fail?
  3. Why Write About Egypt?
  4. Why Did You Structure Your Book Like This?
  5. What Has Changed in Egypt Since 2018?
  6. What Has Changed in Egypt Since 2011?
  7. What Is the Most Memorable Moment of the 2011 Revolution?
  8. How Did You Come to Be Personally Involved in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011?
  9. Do You Have Any Other Works?
  10. One Key Takeaway for Westerners
  11. Could Another Egyptian Revolution Happen Soon?

About the author

Denis has provided Americas, Middle East and business commentary to global television networks (BBC, ITV, Al Jazeera, CNN, MSNBC), radio (BBC, China International Radio) and various magazines and newspapers for the last 14 years. An American/British journalist and author, he is based in Wales. Denis was significantly involved in covering the 25 January Egyptian Revolution at the time.

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