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Must reads: One year after Egypt erupted

January 25, 2012 | 12:05 am

Protesters occupy Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo in February 2011.
Wednesday marks a year since protesters first took to the Egyptian streets. In that year, the democratic dreams that first brought people flooding onto Tahrir Square and bloomed into the "Arab Spring" have jostled with the complex realities of this volatile region. Jeffrey Fleishman put it beautifully in a recent article for The Times:

Here in Egypt, the army rules. It has killed protesters and stifled civil liberties even as the nation votes for a new parliament. Security forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad gun down protesters daily. Yemen is beset by warring tribes, Al Qaeda militants and deadly political intrigue. Bahrain is an island of royal repression and rifle shots in the night. Moammar Kadafi met a brutal, surreal demise, but Libya is torn by clan animosities and militias.

You can find all of our coverage of Egypt here, including a timeline that tracks the last year. As we look back at this tumultuous year, here are some of the stories from Egypt that stick with us most:

-- Early in the protests, theMuslim Brotherhood mutes its religious message.

-- The tale of the poorest Egyptians in a humble bakery, who toil at the edge of revolt.

-- A Nobel Peace laureate becomes convinced that peaceful change is impossible. "It’s the people versus the thugs," he said.

-- The euphoria of victory. “We will fight for a new Egypt, a better Egypt. But first, we party!"

-- The secular reformers leading the revolution find themselves eclipsed by religious groups.

-- "When and how did you first hear about the demonstrations of Jan. 25?" Egyptians rush to document the uprising.

-- The story of a homeless boy in Tahrir Square. "They lived poor before the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February; they live poor now."

-- "The revolution has lost its freedom." A liberal Islamic scholar whose brother founded the Muslim Brotherhood reflects on a year of hope and disappointment.

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-- Emily Alpert

Photo: Anti-regime protesters occupied Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo in February 2011. The atmosphere was more festive than in days past as crowds filled the square. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

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