Meeting Report

April 17, 2011

Ayad Al-Qazzaz

The Causes and Implications of the
Recent Events in Egypt

What has been taking place in Egypt since January is an uprising, not a revolution, according to Dr. Ayad Al-Qazzaz. He makes this distinction based on the peaceful nature of the protest as well as its leaderless, nationwide scope.

Approximately twenty-five of us gathered to hear Dr. Al-Qazzaz’s excellent lecture, presented with the refreshing ease of one who was born in that part of the world and is intimately familiar with its culture. Among his major points: one quarter of the world’s Arabs are Egyptians; Egyptian culture influences the greater Arab culture; and one of Egypt’s greatest challenges is reducing its population growth rate.

It’s too soon to tell what effect the uprising will have on US policy. Because the Egyptian army has close ties with the US military, it’s possible that we may keep a measure of influence there, but again it’s too soon to tell. It’s certain however that the uprising not only in Egypt, but also in several other affected Arab states, has destroyed the myth that “the Arab masses don’t count.” They clearly do now. As for the dreaded influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, Dr. Al-Qazzaz says it is overblown. He does not believe that they have the numbers necessary to be a threat; besides, if the Brotherhood is permitted to have a role in governing, they will become a part of the solution, not the problem.

The lecture was followed by a lively question and answer session. Thank you, Dr. Al-Qazzaz, for a very informative and interesting afternoon.

Report prepared by Roger Zabkie


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