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Poetry and Revolution in the Midan: Cairo, 1972


Monday, March 27, 5:00 p.m.

The Hagop Kevorkian Center, 255 Sullivan Street

Elliott Colla, Arabic and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University

For much of January 1972, Egyptian university students staged massive protests on their campuses, holding mass assemblies and sit-ins of a magnitude not seen since the protests of 1968. When police shuttered Cairo University and Ain Shams University on January 24, the students took to the streets. By that evening, they had occupied Midan al-Tahrir. There they spent the night engaging residents and pedestrians with song, argument and poetry. This talk examines this earlier moment of Egyptian revolution through two poems written for and about the students by Amal Dunqul and Ahmed Fouad Negm, and explores what their differences tell us about the place of poetry in social movements.