What in 2011 was described as Egypt's peaceful revolution (which it never really was), two years later resulted in a counter-revolution that has left behind a trail of violence, death, polarisation and hatred. Trying to understand how it could happen, Samuli Schielke looks at the moral dimension of political violence, grounded as it is in the desire to fight evil by all means necessary and to establish purity and clarity – and purity is a very dirty business.
Samuli Schielke is an anthropologist working on the hopes, frustrations and life trajectories of people from northern Egypt. He works as a research fellow at Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin. He is author of Egypt in the Future Tense: Ambivalence, Hope and Frustration Before and After 2011 and The Perils of Joy: Contesting Mulid Festivals in Contemporary Egypt, and co-director (with Mukhtar Shehata) of the documentary film The Secret Capital that tells about revolutionary activism in the Egyptian countryside.