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Lecture | Studium Generale

Mental Health in Conflict: Counter-Revolutionary Trauma in Egypt

  • Dr Vivienne Matthies-Boon
Wednesday 11 April 2018
Anna van Buerenplein
Anna van Buerenplein 301
2595 DG The Hague

In this lecture, the speaker outlines the distinctly counter-revolutionary functions of political trauma inflicted on young Egyptian activists. Drawing on testimonial research conducted with young Caireen activists, I will narrate how the counter-revolution (comprising of both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership) inflicted grave physical and emotional violence on these activists, which crushed their assumptive world.  Through a charting of Egypt’s counter-revolutionary developments from 2011, it will become clear that political trauma in Egypt is systematic and purposefully inflicted to crush social transformation and a collective pursuit of social justice. In doing so, this lecture will make the case for a greater understanding of the distinctly political dimensions of trauma. And it will explain that purposeful traumatisation will not result in “political stability”, an illusion not only frequently upheld by Abdel Fattah el Sisi’s authoritarian regime of the “Absurd” but also by foreign governments happy to strike pragmatic deals with this regime. Hence, recognising Egypt’s political trauma also entails a direct call for greater political accountability not only of Egypt's government but also of our own.

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