The Ambivalence of Revolutionary Cleaning in Mona Prince's Revolution is My Name

Main Article Content

Nada Ayad


Egyptian writer Mona Prince’s self-published 2012 memoir Revolution is My Name abounds with descriptions of transferring Tahrir Square into a domestic space during the 2011 Revolution: people nurturing fellow visitors and protestors; sharing of blankets, warm clothing and mattresses; cooking and eating; distributing Coca-Cola, endless cups of tea, cigarettes; and nursing the injured who clashed with the police. In one point in her chronicling of her political participation, she describes moving one of her friend’s mattresses out into the square and accepting food from whoever is offering it to her. She also details the square being cleaned by women of the elite class, heralding, in Prince’s imaginings, “a new people.” Focusing on descriptions of the cleaning of the square, this article argues that Prince expands domesticity’s political function while overlooking class and religious biases and blindness that undergird her theorizations of it. This blindness, I argue ultimately undermines the revolution’s attempt at total rupture from the unjust state regime of the past and extends insights into the entanglement of power, oppression and political resistance. Given that theorizations of cleanliness have been mobilized by the colonial project as an alibi for the gendered and racialized inequality of colonialism (and neocolonialism), cleaning here raises the specter of colonialism and highlights its mobility to function as a tool to measure complex class ambivalences.


Metrics Loading ...

Article Details