A Tale of Two Egypts: contrasting state-reported macro-trends with micro-voices of the poor
By SOLAVA IBRAHIM
ABSTRACT: Poverty, inequality, unemployment, torture and corruption were among the main reasons why millions of Egyptians protested to end 30 years of Mubarak’s rule in January 2011. The speed with which the regime has fallen and its fragility surprised the world. This is mainly because of the false image of a stable, prosperous and progressive Egypt propagated by the state, ignoring another Egypt, a poor, suffering and repressed one. The failure to see the latter Egypt led to the fall of the former. The aim of this article is to tell a ‘tale of two Egypts’ by contrasting the experiences and voices of poor Egyptians with them is leading figures reported by the state. The analysis shows how the state was able to provide Egyptians with growth without equity, education without inspiration, employment without security, health services without care and voting without any real impact on political processes.