Generation Revolution unravels the complex forces shaping the lives of four young Egyptians on the eve and in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and what their stories mean for the future of the Middle East.
In 2003 Rachel Aspden arrived in Egypt as a 23-year-old journalist. She found a country on the brink of change. The two thirds of Egypt's eight million citizens under the age of 30 were stifled, broken, and frustrated, caught between a dictatorship that had nothing to offer them and their autocratic parents' generation, defined by tradition and obedience. In January 2011 the young people's patience ran out. They thought the revolution that followed would change everything. But as violence escalated, the economy collapsed, and as the united front against President Mubarak shattered into sectarianism, many found themselves at a loss. Following the stories of four young Egyptians - Amr, the atheist software engineer; Amal, the village girl who defied her family and her entire community; Ayman, the onetime religious extremist; and Ruqayah, the would-be teenage martyr - Generation Revolution exposes the failures of the Arab Spring and shines new light on those left in the wake of its lost promise.
Rachel Aspden became literary editor of the New Statesman in 2006, at the age of 26. She now reports for The Guardian and writes freelance for the New Statesman, Observer, Prospect, and Think magazine (Qatar). She lived in Cairo from 2003 to 2004 and worked as an editor and reporter for the English-language Cairo Times. In 2010 she was awarded a yearlong traveling fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to research activists working to fight extremism within Islam. She is currently based in London.