Two years after the Arab Spring erupted, the streets of Egypt are again in turmoil.
Many of the same protesters who took to the streets to decry the corruption and tyranny of the Mubarak regime now say the Muslim Brotherhood is committing many of the same power grabs and other associated insults to the idea of freedom and democracy—the original impulse behind the revolution.
While it’s clear that the promise of the Arab Spring has not been achieved, further revolutions and evolutions might take us closer to fruition of that vision.
That’s why the new documentary Uprising is essential viewing—as both a look back at the populist promise of the Arab Spring and a reminder that the impulse can’t be contained by just another dictator, particularly one who tries to repress individualism in the name of Islam.
The story of this film is a saga in itself. The director, Frederick Stanton, had never directed a documentary. When the protests in Tahrir Square started taking off, he recognized history was happening and decided to document it in real time. He gathered a film crew and flew to Cairo. By embedding with protesters and conducting thoughtful follow-up interviews, as well as offering the perspective of Egyptian presidential candidates, foreign ministers, and White House officials, Stanton offers an in-depth look at a pivotal moment in history. Uprising is primary-source material that entertains while it educates.
I interviewed Fredrick Stanton at the NewsBeast offices about the process of filming Uprising and how the people in the film have greeted the unexpected evolutions of the revolutions and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. His take—and theirs—is surprisingly positive given the setbacks and ugly ironies. The technology that powered the uprising cannot be contained by a new regime—freedom always finds a way, eventually.