In this video, I ask Denis why he chose to structure his book in the way he did.
Throughout Breathing Hope and Fear, Denis provides key tweets which sum up what was going on in Tahrir Square and across Egypt, and then links these to geopolitical occurrences across the globe.
He was inspired to do this by The Understudy, a book by the author and playwright Elia Kazan which he read at university. Denis’ use of tweets is an homage and reimagining for the digital era of Kazan’s use of letters in The Understudy, which in that book told the tale of an actor and his junior. Denis then bookends his work with a retrospective on what happened between 2011 and Breathing Hope and Fear’s 2018 publication.
An extract from Breathing Hope and Fear
In 2008, the youth quietly organised themselves on Facebook into the April 6th movement. Ahmed Maher and Ahmed Salah used the online platform to mobilize support for striking industrial workers from El-Mahalla El-Kubra. They told the Carnegie Institute, “being the first youth movement in Egypt to use Internet-based modes of communication like Facebook and Twitter, we aim to promote democracy by encouraging public involvement in the political process.”
@DailyNewsEgypt April 6 movement plans demonstration, undergoes training to deal with detention #fb
RT @ramyraoof tomorrow @ Cairo, April 6 movement is organizing a March. A network of 27 NGOs & about 50 lawyers are ready to provide
@Advox Egypt: Using Online Media & Digital Devices to Release Detainees: Earlier this month, the April 6 Youth Movement…
@NohaAtef The April 6th Youth Movement Facebook group has over 80000 members and no leader … #foreignresearchersknowitall #FB
From Facebook they organised demonstrations. These were cat and mouse ‘quick strike’ actions where they would appear, protest and mostly be gone before police could get there. The actions would be filmed and appeared on YouTube where other youth would then post them to their Facebook pages to show unrest across Egypt. Indeed, having a cell phone with video capabilities gave one a powerful and unobtrusive means of capturing and quickly uploading film of anything:https://geni.us/breathing
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.
- What Caused the Egyptian Revolution of 2011?
- Why Did the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 Ultimately Fail?
- Why Write About Egypt?
- Why Did You Structure Your Book Like This?
- What Has Changed in Egypt Since 2018?
- What Has Changed in Egypt Since 2011?
- What Is the Most Memorable Moment of the 2011 Revolution?
- How Did You Come to Be Personally Involved in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011?
- Do You Have Any Other Works?
- One Key Takeaway for Westerners
- 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.