January 25th and the Egypt the Revolution Has Made

Author: Steven A. Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
January 25, 2012
Foreign Affairs

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Ain Sukhna is stunningly beautiful. After a two-hour drive east from Cairo through the featureless desert, the road rolls toward the steel blue waters of the Gulf of Suez. Nestled beneath ocher-colored hills, the town is a string of industrial buildings, ramshackle half-built structures, and the weekend villas of Cairo's well-heeled. This is where the falool - the former officials, businessmen, and intellectuals who, for almost three decades, rationalized for the Mubarak regime - fled when their leader fell. With its manicured lawns, pristine infinity pools, and towpaths to the beach, Ain Sukhna couldn't be more different from the threadbare and creaking Egypt that former President Hosni Mubarak bequeathed to his people.

The falool remain convinced that Mubarak's fall was a tragic error that will bring lasting ruin to their country. They still believe the refrain that was so familiar on the eve of the uprising - that Egypt was an emerging democracy with an emerging economy. They cannot understand how their fellow Egyptians failed to grasp how good Mubarak was. According to their circular logic, Mubarak's progressive politics brought about his demise: had Mubarak not been a modernizer and democratizer, the protests never would have been permitted in the first place. Hence Suzanne Mubarak's furtive phone calls to her courtiers, reportedly asking, "Doesn't anyone see the good we did?"

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