Follow Us

Follow on Twitter    Follow on Facebook    YouTube Channel    Vimeo Channel    Tumblr    SoundCloud Channel    iPhone App    iPhone App

A Portrait of a Revolutionary: Hossam El-Hamalawy on the Role of the Egyptian Army (Part 2)

[Hossam El-Hamalawy. Image from Jadaliyya Interview] [Hossam El-Hamalawy. Image from Jadaliyya Interview]

Jadaliyya is hereby presenting the first installment in a interactive (see below) series called "A Portrait of a Revolutionary," featuring interviews with an Egyptian journalist and activist who was at the forefront of the Egyptian protest movement. Hossam's vantage point is quite unique, and his broad knowledge of the Egyptian political landscape as well as history positions him to provide an unparalleled account of the the context and developments that have led to the resignation of former Egyptian President, Husni Mubarak, and the aftermath.

Below is the second part of the interview. I opted for presenting it first, however, because it is in English (the first (on the role of labor/unions) and third (on the role of elites) parts are to be posted soon). Among other issues, it deals with the role of the Egyptian Labor Unions in tipping the scale during the last days before Mubrak's resignation.  It is in Arabic). 

This interview deals with the role of the army (then and now) in a quite candid and courageous manner that demystifies the halo that was created around that institution. The details that are brought to bear in the interview, and he analytical context in which they are lodged, are quite valuable for any observer/researcher.

I would like to make this a somewhat interactive interview by asking readers to pose their own questions to Hossam after watching the interview. I will relay the most productive questions, so please feel free to post your (clear/concise) questions under the comments, below). 

The third part will be about the role and prospects of the political and economic elite, before, during and after the revolution. 

Hossam El-Hamalawy is an Egyptian journalist and activist who maintains the popular site

Portrait of a Revolutionary: Hossam El-Hamalawi (Part 2) from Jadaliyya on Vimeo.

Click here for Part 1: The Role of Labor/Unions in the Egyptian Revolution

Click here for Part 3: The Egyptian Elite and the Egyptian Revolution

10 comments for " A Portrait of a Revolutionary: Hossam El-Hamalawy on the Role of the Egyptian Army (Part 2)"


What role did judges and human rights lawyers play in the revolutionary movement?

James Rosberg wrote on March 05, 2011 at 07:44 PM

This is a fantastic interview. I look forward to many more! Thanks, Hossam and Bassam.

Lisa Hajjar wrote on March 06, 2011 at 01:28 AM

Excellent, very informative analysis. It also explains why there are still so many political prisoners and clear evidence of torture by the army and even crimes like the military trial of Amr El-Beheiri, while everyone keeps praising the army and insisting that the revolution has accomplished its objectives.

That's been driving me crazy, frankly, but Hossam's interview has helped me to understand what's really going on, behind all the pretty words.

I have never been prouder to call myself Egyptian, and I am in awe of those who are carrying out this revolution. They are noble and brilliant and determined and very, very hard to fool.

The enemy may be cunning but he's no match for the Egyptian people, especially with sharp-eyed, outspoken analysts like Hossam and youth like the ones who collapsed the regime and collapsed the Amn el Dawla and who will continue to break every chain and remove every blindfold and gag from our people.

I also love your blog.

Ines Hanna wrote on March 06, 2011 at 06:25 AM

Given that the military historically protected its wealth through a one-party dictatorship, is it possible that it could tolerate a multi-party parliamentary system with trade-union freedom? Or do you think it is inevitable that it will try to return to a Mubarek-style dictatorship?

Kit Wainer wrote on March 06, 2011 at 07:06 PM

At the very end Hossam asks Bassam whether he's seen some three-part thing online? Can anyone clarify what he was referring to? Thanks.

Henry Norr wrote on March 07, 2011 at 12:03 AM


m radwan wrote on March 07, 2011 at 09:34 AM

Thanks for all the info and analysis! Many questions but here is one. Is there political organizing being attempted among lower ranking officers and regular conscripts of the army? Can you give a sense of some of this effort?

Peter Landon wrote on March 07, 2011 at 10:13 PM

Can you comment on the idea of the Egyptian Army and/or Air Force intervening on behalf of the international community in Libya?

KGC wrote on March 11, 2011 at 02:37 PM

i am so verymuch impressed with this site may Allah almighty take you from strength to strengh,ameen please give me the email address of Houssam el Hamalawi wasalaam, Mohamed

mohamed carloo wrote on March 13, 2011 at 03:48 PM

Illuminating interview. A warning to those activists who are placing their faith in the army to uphold and even continue the revolution.

Paul Feldman wrote on March 15, 2011 at 04:54 AM

If you prefer, email your comments to




Apply for an ASI Internship now!


Political Economy Project

Issues a

Call for Letters of Interest


Jadaliyya Launches its

Political Economy




F O R    T H E    C L A S S R O O M 

Roundtable: Harold Wolpe’s Intellectual Agenda and Writing on Palestine


The 1967 Defeat and the Conditions of the Now: A Roundtable


E N G A G E M E N T