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Egypt and Ireland

10 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 19 October 2011

Owen Bennett Jones introduces insight, wit and analysis from correspondents around the world. In this edition, Yolande Knell on the fears that Egypt's revolution could lose its gains through sectarian violence; Kieran Cooke in Dublin remembers an awkward meal he once shared with Martin McGuinness.

The tale of a Coptic "Che Guevara"

There are two big questions in Egyptian politics just now. First, has the revolution effectively been hijacked by the army leadership - the very same leadership that used to work so closely with Hosni Mubarak? And second, has the revolution opened the way to ever more blatant and even violent expression of sectarianism?

After the violence of last week, when the Army and Coptic demonstrators fought in the streets and several were killed, Yolande Knell in Cairo has been assessing the state of Egypt’s new political reality.

An ode to a trout

Martin McGuiness is one of the most controversial politicians in the UK. He used to be a prominent member of the IRA, a group which used violence to advance the claim for a united Ireland. Even after a long and mostly successful peace process in Northern Ireland, he has plenty of detractors. Among those who disparage him are British soldiers, once deployed in Northern Ireland at the height of the violence; and also those Irish Republicans who still think violence should be part of the campaign to break away from London once and for all.

Kieran Cooke has known McGuinness for a long time - long enough to know of some of his more unexpected qualities - and those memories have been brought back by the former IRA man's new campaign - to run for the Presidency of Ireland.

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