Tweets From Tahrir

Egypt’s revolution as it unfolded, in the words of the people who made it


Foreword by AHDAF SOUEIF

“My favorite bit is Hosni Mubarak has tweets in this book...I don't think it's really him.” —Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

“Deeply moving, a record of great courage, mostly by young people, facing Mubarak's legion of goons and regime thugs.” —Robert Fisk, The Independent

“Without the new media the Egyptian Revolution could not have happened in the way that it did. The causes of the revolution were many; deep-rooted and long seated. The turning moment had come – but it was the instant and wide-spread nature of the new media that made it possible to recognise the moment and to push it into such an effective manifestation.”—Ahdaf Soueif, from the foreword

Read live tweets from Tahrir Square by the contributors to the book

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About the Book

The Twitter accounts of the activists who brought heady days of revolution to Egypt in January and February this year paint an exhilarating picture of an uprising in real-time. Thousands of young people documented on cell phones every stage of their revolution, as it happened. This book brings together a selection of key tweets in a compelling, fast-paced narrative, allowing the story of the uprising to be told directly by the people in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Many of the activists were “citizen journalists”, using Twitter to report what was happening. Others used the social network to organize, communicating the next steps necessary for the revolution to move forward. Nearly everyone online gave instant reactions to the extraordinary events occurring before their eyes.

History has never before been written in this fashion. The tweet limit of 140 characters evidently concentrated the feelings of those using Twitter. Raw emotion bursts from their messages, whether frantic alarm at attacks from pro-government thugs or delirious happiness at the fall of the dictator. To read these tweets is to embark a rollercoaster ride, from the surprise and excitement of the first demonstration, to the horror of the violence that claimed hundreds of lives, to the final ecstasy of victory.

Many of those tweeting also took photographs with their phones and these illustrate the book, providing remarkable snapshots from the heart of the action.

Edited by young activists Alex Nunns and Nadia Idle, an Egyptian who was in Tahrir Square when Mubarak fell, Tweets from Tahrir is a highly original take on one of the most important and dramatic events in recent world politics. The result is as gripping as any thriller – but it’s all real.

“A compelling and unique story of the popular uprising that rid Egypt of a three decade-old dictatorship in just 18 days” —Bob Garfield, On the Media, NPR

“I just got my copy of “Tweets from Tahrir”!… Lots of great #Jan25 revolutionaries in there. Yalla #Egypt!” —@MonaEltahawy, award-winning columnist and an international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues

“A feat of nearly real-time publishing.” —The New York Times

Publication April 21st 2011 • 234 pages • Black and white illustration throughout
paperback ISBN 978-1-935928-45-4 • ebook ISBN 978-1-935928-46-1

About the Editors

Nadia Idle is half-English, half-Egyptian, grew up in Egypt and now lives in London. She studied the odd and wonderful combination of Anthropology, Theater and Biology at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and later obtained an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS, London. She works at War on Want, is a member of Barking Bateria, and campaigns against injustices big and small as a way of life. Her great beef is the privatisation of public goods and spaces, and don’t even get her started on bottled water.

Alex Nunns is a writer, editor and activist. He worked as Jeremy Corbyn’s speechwriter from 2018-20. His book, The Candidate won the 2017 Bread and Roses Award. Tweets from Tahrir, which he co-edited, was the first book to use content from Twitter as the basis for a historical narrative. As a journalist he has written for Le Monde Diplomatique and Red Pepper, among others.

Born in Cairo, Ahdaf Soueif is the award-winning author of a number of widely-praised books, among them The Map of Love (1999), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has sold over a million copies.

In the Media

Eutopia Institute of Ideas, March 5th 2013

On Islam, February 13th 2013

The Browser, May 23rd 2012

Lapham’s Quarterly, March 30th 2012

The Atlantic, February 16th 2011

Net Effects – International Institute for Strategic Studies, December 9th 2011

Boing Boing, September 28th 2011

The New York Observer, September 25th 2011

The Believer, September 6th 2011

New York Times T Magazine, August 19th 2011

Huffington Post, August 16th 2011, August 11th 2011

Underground Voices, August 1st 2011

The National, July 15th 2011

Época, June 21st 2011

Cairo 360, June 2011

Los Angeles Review of Books, June 14th 2011

Boing Boing, May 26th 2011

The Independent Florida Alligator, May 12th 2011

The New York Times Magazine, May 10th 2011

McClatchy Washington Bureau, May 9th 2011

Enet, April 30th 2011

The Brian Lehrer Show, April 27th 2011

The Daily Show, April 25th 2011

The Independent, April 23rd 2011

Firedoglake, April 23rd 2011

On The Media, April 22nd 2011

Brain Pickings, April 21st 2011

Exame, April 18th 2011

Unt, April 17th 2011

Alternet, April 15th 2011

The Guardian, April 14th 2011

Red Pepper, April 2011

Alternet, April 9th 2011

Libération, April 8th 2011

The Daily Wired (Italy), April 4th 2011

Mondoweiss, March 29th 2011

PBS Mediashift, March 25th 2011

Indio, March 22nd 2011

BBC Arts Extra, March 21st 2011

Publishing Perspectives, March 15th 2011

BBC Word Service Newshour (skip to 35:55), March 13th 2011

Medien Milch, March 9th 2011

Yahoo! News, March 9th 2011

Entertainment Weekly, March 9th 2011

Lettera 43, March 8th 2011

Acua Litté, March 8th 2011

Associated Foreign Press, March 8th 2011

Forbes, March 8th 2011

Noticias de Navarra, March 7th 2011

Christian Science Monitor, March 7th 2011

Mashable, March 7th 2011

The New York Times, March 6th 2011

The Book Bench, March 4th 2011, March 4th 2011

designTAXI, March 4th 2011

All Things Digital, March 4th 2011, March 4th 2011

The Cutline, March 4th 2011

FDL Book Salon, March 2011



A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Egyptian grassroots revolutionary movements campaigning for democracy.

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