The Square Explains All Sides

THE SQUARE Movie Trailer (Official Documentary Release 2013)

The Square, a documentary on the Egyptian uprisings which began in 2011, tells the story of Tahrir Square through the eyes of some of the people involved. The film premiered on January 18, 2013, then was updated to include more recent events. The updated version was released on Netflix Originals, and in exclusive locations across the United States on January 17th, 2014. [1]

The Netflix version has English subtitles available, but Ersjdamoo had to figure out how to enable them. Doing a search on “Netflix subtitles” provided info on how to fix that problem.

The Square is directed by Jehane Noujaim, who also directed a fine documentary called “Control Room.”

What is great about The Square is it gives you a good explanation of what has been going on in Egypt, and it allows different sides in the controversy their chance to speak. The “sides” in The Square include…

  • Idealistic Egyptians who dream of a civil, constitutional government where tolerance of all religions will prevail;
  • The Egyptian army, which really has the power in Egypt. An army Major drives and talks in his car and bemoans that the idealistic Egyptians are “children”, i.e., they do not understand the deeper levels;
  • The Muslim Brotherhood. A sympathetic character, Magdy Ashour, struggles with his conscience: Ought he to just follow orders from the Muslim Brotherhood, or is it better to listen to his heart?
  • The Camera, which has been the weapon of choice for the revolutionaries. Unfortunately, the Oscar nominated documentary, The Square, is not allowed to be shown within Egypt itself.

The Egyptian army Major who bemoans that the idealistic Egyptians are “children”, i.e., they do not understand the deeper levels, treads dangerously close to the dreaded “conspiracy theories.” What are the deeper levels in Egypt? Unfortunately the Major’s “children” remark is not pursued.

Ahmed Hassan, Khalid Abdalla, Ragia Omran, and Aida El Kashef represent the idealistic element of the Egyptian uprising. “The camera is our weapon,” explains the film’s web site, http://www.thesquarefilm.com. “The young revolutionaries in our film are armed with nothing more than cameras, social media, videos posted to YouTube, and a resolute determination to liberate their nation. The film is made in a cinéma vérité style, giving us an up-close view of revolution from the ground. New technologies show us that the voice of young people cannot be silenced in this digital age. Our characters are fighting an ancient war with new weapons.”

The Square portrays the Muslim Brotherhood as having made “a deal with the devil” when it negotiated with the Egyptian military and paved the way for the election of Mohamed Morsi as president. The military later though acted as a safeguard against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood when the Islamic president granted himself unlimited powers on the pretext that he would “protect” the nation from the Hosni Mubarak-era power structure. Morsi was declared unseated on July 3, 2013 by a military coup council. [2]

Also featured in The Square is Ramy Essam, “the unofficial singer-songwriter of the revolution with a massive following. From a small town outside Cairo, his songs become the soundtrack to the revolution.” [3] This is a singer with great talent. Even though he sings in a foreign language, Ersjdamoo greatly enjoyed the songs of Ramy Essam.

So what is next for Egypt? Mohamed Morsi wanted to set himself up as a Pharaoh, but the Egyptian military put a stop to it. Magdy Ashour, the sympathetic Muslim Brotherhood member who struggled with his conscience, has been arrested and detained post-Morsi according to a note at the end of The Square. Others, such as Ahmed Hassan, Khalid Abdalla, Ragia Omran, and Aida El Kashef, are not giving up their hopes for a better Egypt. However with the economic situation so dismal in Egypt, peace does not seem to be on the horizon. Someday, let us hope it is soon, the tourists can return to the ancient land of the Pharaohs. On that happy day, besides the monuments of antiquity, a new must-see location will be in the guide book: Tahrir Square.

——- Sources ——-
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Square_%282013_film%29
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Morsi
[3] http://thesquarefilm.com/about

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About ersjdamoo

Editor of Conspiracy Nation, later renamed Melchizedek Communique. Close associate of the late Sherman H. Skolnick. Jack of all trades, master of none. Sagittarius, with Sagittarius rising. I'm not a bum, I'm a philosopher.
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