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Arab uprisings one year on – Egypt cannot afford to miss the signs of a revolution twice, warns report

On the first anniversary of the Egyptian uprisings, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) releases new analysis of why and how the Arab uprisings began and what this means for human rights and public policy.

One year on from the Egyptian uprisings the country's new parliament led by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood has just held its first session, while the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) continues to hold on to power. Against this uncertain backdrop, new analysis by a group of Egyptian scholars and activists suggests that diplomats, policymakers, the media and many academics are continuing to fail to “see like citizens” in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries – and this ultimately threatens to compromise on democracy.

The analysis, published in the IDS Bulletin: The Pulse of Egypt’s Revolt, examines the moment of rupture that changed the face of the Middle East. The authors identify a clear need for new ways of capturing the pulse of the street. They explain why it was widely believed a revolution was impossible, and how new thinking is needed around the true agents of change and our understanding of how collective mobilisation happens.

Mariz Tadros, IDS Research Fellow and editor of The Pulse of Egypt’s Revolt said, “We need new ways to capture what is happening on the ground through the eyes of these countries' people.”

She continued: “Neglecting to understand and address citizen-led politics that occur outside of the formal arena will  not only bear a cost in lives, but will bring international actors under increased accountability for supporting forces whose policies compromise on people’s rights, dignity and well being.”

The publication will be launched at an event in London on 25th January 2012. The event will bring together Middle Eastern academics from different disciplinary backgrounds and viewpoints to debate the extent to which the revolution’s slogan of “bread, freedom and social justice” is closer to becoming a reality, and how well the old international policies are equipped to deal with the challenges of a very different polity today.