In Cairo collages, the large-scale political, economic, and social changes in Egypt brought on by the 2011 revolution are set against the declining fortunes of a single apartment building in a specific Cairo neighbourhood. The violence in Tahrir Square and Mohamed Mahmud Street; the post-January euphoric moment; the increasing militarisation of urban life; the flourishing of dystopian novels set in Cairo; the neo-liberal imaginaries of Dubai and Singapore as global models; gentrification and evictions in poor neighbourhoods; the forthcoming new administrative capital for Egypt – all are narrated in parallel to the ‘little’ story of the adventures and misfortunes of everyday interactions in a middle-class building in the neighbourhood of Doqi.
-Magd dedicated an entire chapter (Abul-Magd 2017: chapter 3). These officers have been regarded as an emerging new class of business managers who seem to be the dominant players in the reconfigured market economy, standing in clear competition with the former neo-liberal Mubarakist tycoons. If one speaks of an open-air camp, then the question of the ‘state of exception’ (Agamben 1998) remains vital for interpreting the extreme opacity of information and the increasingly precarious state that confronts the citizens in daily life. But the militarisation of urban life, and the
of Cairo experienced two parallel but contradictory phenomena. First, the occupation of public spaces as an emerging global configuration of political activism witnessed a novel turn after 2011. It proved ephemeral, however, as it was terminated by the predictable, overwhelming military intervention. It was an immense disappointment that the brief, euphoric momentum of the Tahrir effect brought about the further militarisation of urban life and increased public visibility or tactility of the military in all aspects of civil life. And yet, some would argue that the
bodies moving around the city is omnipresent in both Rabii‘ and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, evoking once again the disfigured face of the young, middle-class Alexandrian Khaled Said, who was tortured and killed at a police station in 2010, after a bag of hashish was forced into his mouth in an attempt to incriminate him in his own death.14 The militarisation of urban life, the erection of buffer walls by the army, and the checkpoints that devastated the Downtown landscape are all present in these novels. Last but not least, the life-world of the sprawling ‘ashwaa’iyyaat is clearly