A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Four Years Since the "Battle" of Mohamed Mahmoud

Daily News Egypt marks the fourth anniversary of the "Battle of Mohamed Mahmoud" in November of 2011, one of the more violent confrontations between young revolutionaries and the military in Cairo in the months after the fall of Mubarak. As I noted at the time, it had special resonance for me since, decades earlier, I had lived at the corner of Mohamed Mahmoud and Yusuf al-Gindi Streets, right at the center of the "battle."

Mohamed Mahmoud became one of the symbols of that era (along with "blue-bra woman" and other outrages) and later became the site of the Revolution's most famous graffiti walls along the American University in Cairo's Downtown Campus.

Mohamed Mahmoud Street runs from Tahrir Square, the Revolutionaries' iconic headquarters, past the Interior Ministry. The several days of fighting were sparked by the demonstrators' attempts to march on the Interior Ministry, headquarters of State Security. Several died in he attempt and others were beaten or blinded when hit by tear gas canisters. The beating of well-known commentator Mona El Tahawy drew considerable attention.

Though the street became famous, for the Battle and the graffiti, I don't seem to have ever explained how it got its name. Mohamed Mahmoud Pasha (1878-1941)(link is in Arabic), an early Wafdist who had been imprisoned by the British along with Saad Zaghloul during the 1919 Revolution, but later split with the Wafd and joined he Liberal Constitutional Party. He served stints as Prime Minister in 1928-29 and again in 1937-1939.

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