Pulitzer Center Update

This Week in Review: Revolution, Interrupted

Image by Ty McCormick. Egypt, 2011.

Power Play

It is unfortunate that Naguib Mahfouz, the great chronicler of Egyptian life, did not live long enough to witness the Arab Spring. Two previous revolutions in Egypt are deeply embedded in his fiction, and no doubt the Nobel laureate would have had something instructive to tell us about the events that continue to roil the Arab World. Pulitzer Center grantee Ty McCormick, in Cairo for the second round of parliamentary elections, reports that the populist uprising of last January has morphed into a less-than-inspiring power struggle between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. Ty, an Oxford scholar, excavates the words of Mahfouz who observed that revolutions are “plotted by the clever, fought by the brave, and profited from by cowards.” Writing for The New Republic, Ty says, “It’s a wise line that only gains further credence from the current turmoil in Egypt, where the groups best-positioned to benefit from the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak are the ones that had long tolerated his rule in silence.”


After the capture and grisly execution of Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi, most of media pack moved on. Pulitzer Center grantees Bill Wheeler and Ayman Oghanna stuck around and dug deeper. As a result, they tapped into a rich vein of reporting on the plight of the sub-Saharan African migrants who became pawns in Qaddafi’s bid to stay in power. An update on their work can be found in Bill’s latest post on Untold Stories.


Kathryn Joyce is another grantee who has dug deep, traveling to remote corners of Ethiopia where adoption agencies use deception and intimidation to procure a steady source of babies for the lucrative international market. Her powerful story appears in The Atlantic.


With the Holidays nearly upon us, we here at the Pulitzer Center would like to extend our best wishes to you and your families.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor