ruminations about architecture and design

Saturday, February 12, 2011

in egypt

In January I made a series of predictions about 2011. I am proud to report that I was incredibly wrong about the year being politically dull. The Egyptian people overthrew Hosni Mubarak after four weeks of mass protest. The details of this event are described more comprehensively elsewhere--Al Jazeera's coverage has been excellent. The reaction of American officials, especially Obama, has been ingeniously subtle.
Here is a picture of the Mogamma building,l ocated in Tahrir square, which although designed by an Egyptian architect, was financed and programmatically inspired by the Soviets. It is a fitting monument to centralized bureaucracy and the philosophies of modern governing principles. Presumably, it belongs to the Egyptian people now and I hope that they can purge their nation of the cronyism, corruption and gross inequality that has persisted there--supported in part, shamefully, by my government.
In a nation known for its monuments, it is my hope that the Egyptian people have laid the foundations for something more powerful and of longer lasting benefit than any work of funereal architecture. I hope that they can build a nation that values freedom and never falls prey to the idea that stability requires the veneration of and enslavement to a corrupt monarch or a gang of fools and thieves.

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