All revolutionary situations are characterized by fear - and fearlessness. All tend to generate widespread suspicion. This is as true of the Egyptian uprising as of other revolutions. But fear and its opposite are not singular emotions. This article attempts to describe the different modalities of "fear" that have played a central part in Egyptian politics since Mubarak: fear of failure to achieve full democracy, fear of instability in everyday life, and fear that the revolution will be betrayed by the generals and the Islamists. A major theme in the unfolding events is the fear that national solidarity will be torn apart by sectarian conflict inflamed by reaction. This article takes up at length the question of secularism in the Egyptian context, and ends with an analysis of religious discourse employed publicly by a prodemocracy activist to urge fearlessness toward the repressive state.


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pp. 271-298
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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