Yasmine El Rashidi is the author of The Battle for Egypt: Dispatches from the Revolution and the novel Chronicle of a Last Summer.
 (April 2017)

Follow Yasmine El Rashidi on Twitter: @yasminerashidi.

IN THE REVIEW

Robert B. Silvers (1929–2017)

Robert B. Silvers in his office at The New York Review of Books, early 1980s
From its first issue in 1963, Robert Silvers was either co-editor with Barbara Epstein or, after her death in 2006, editor of The New York Review. Bob worked almost to the very end of his life, which would be no surprise to those who knew him well, including those who have written these brief memoirs.

Caught Between Worlds

Mohsin Hamid, London, May 2011

Exit West

by Mohsin Hamid
There is a particular kind of gnawing at the soul that happens when you live in a city under political duress. The sort of place that dictates how you act and who you get to be. A city that forces you to curb or conceal desires, swallow and suppress ideas, hide beliefs, stand in the shadow of who, elsewhere, you might be. It is a matter of survival, fitting in. In these cities, such as Cairo or Lahore, the desire to leave is constant. Imagining a life elsewhere occupies you, even as you know, if only from literature, that exile will be equally fraught.

Egypt: The Misunderstood Agony

Bodies inside the Iman mosque in the Nasr City district of Cairo, before police raided the mosque and took the bodies to the morgue, August 15, 2013
They came to the Cairo morgue looking for bodies. This was nearly a month before the Egyptian police confronted the Muslim Brotherhood on August 14. A woman whose husband hadn’t come home in three days, a couple whose son had been absent for a week, three relatives looking for a man, Karam, who had been missing for nine days. He had last been seen on July 2, on his way to his mother’s apartment. He had taken a taxi there and neighbors saw him get out at the main street. There was fighting in the neighborhood between the residents and members of the Brotherhood, and people cautioned him against entering the alley that turned onto another alley that led to his mother’s building.

NYR DAILY

Cairo Without End

Still from Tamer El Said's In the Last Days of the City, 2016

In his quiet film In the Last Days of the City, Tamer El Said brilliantly captures a struggle I’ve had for years: how to pin down what it is about Cairo that leaves us feeling as if we exist in a no man’s land, somewhere between past and present, constantly searching, never quite there.

Egypt, Forty-One Months Later

Protestors during a lull in clashes along the Corniche near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, January 28, 2013

Dido believed fervently that anarchy was better than the despotism we had. My reservations were inherited. He had hoped I might turn out as political as he was, but I’d failed him in every way. He consumed literature voraciously, but thought writing in a country like ours to be an exercise in passivity, a luxurious musing, not a tool for change.

Egypt: Face to Face

Shirin Neshat: Wafaa, Ahmed, and Mona, from her

For those of us who were part of Egypt’s revolution, Iranian artist Shirin Neshat’s new series of works, “Our House Is On Fire,” captures a reality that surrounds us, yet has been all but overlooked in the continuing story of the Arab uprisings: the reality of a country struggling with despair.

What We Learned in Tahrir

Ahmed Hassan in Jehane Noujaim’s documentary The Square

That winter we all became activists. We opened Twitter accounts, many of us, and learned how to dress for winter nights in Tahrir Square. I thought, we all thought, that the euphoria, the sense of possibility, would carry the country for years. As Jehane Noujaim’s documentary, The Square, vividly depicts, not only did we forget, but the euphoria quickly dissipated.

NYR CALENDAR

A Tale From Baghdad

Chirine Al-Ansary’s performance at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Durham Cathedral will borrow from the tales of the Thousand and One Nights, with new anecdotes and insight from the present.