Front row seat in Cairo

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Protesters marching, chanting and dancing down Mohammed Farid Street in Cairo in front of my hotel tonight.

I didn’t plan it ….. but I ended up in Cairo on the second anniversary of Egypt’s revolution that toppled Mubarak.  Or should I say the second revolution that toppled President Morsi?  

A few Egyptians I’ve talked with think the Army will restore order and throw out Morsi.  BBC suggests a military coup might be on the horizon.  And tonight we hear on TV that Morsi is traveling to Germany tomorrow.  Bad timing on his part.  Now there is speculation that the coup might happen when he is out of the country.

Facebook and Twitter are strange venues for watching the current events in Egypt, but that’s where I’m getting most of my information.  And from hotel guests who venture out to Tahrir.

The TV is usually turned to the local Arabic channels.  It’s more important that the Egyptian hotel staff have access to the news and the foreign guests respect that.  The local English newspapers are interesting but not helpful for keeping abreast of the rapidly changing events.

The big western hotel near the US Embassy was attacked by thugs yesterday.  The few guests that were still there have been evacuated.

I avoided Tahrir Square today where most of the clashes are occurring between demonstrators and the Army.  Last night an army vehicle was “captured” and torched in Tahrir.  Pictures of young protesters and Black Bloc members dancing near the burning vehicle were posted on Twitter and made me think of Lord of the Flies.

Facebook “friends” have been sharing their thoughts about the unrest in Egypt.  Some support President Morsi; some think he’s merely a puppet for the US and IMF; some believe there must be outside provocateurs agitating things here with the intent of overthrowing Morsi; and some are cheering the demonstrators on.

Most of Cairo is unaffected by the unrest.  Families are walking on the streets window-shopping, vendors are selling their items on the sidewalks, stores are open.  Men are sitting in the alley smoking sheesha. I visited a bookstore today and bought Naguib Mahfouz’s The Cairo Trilogy and Alaa Al Aswany’s Chicago.

Unlike the excitement I felt in January 2011 watching the revolution from my couch in Albuquerque, I feel a sense of sadness today.  I’ll explain that sadness tomorrow.

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Egypt

2 responses to “Front row seat in Cairo

  1. Linda Moscarella

    If Morse is thrown out, a vacum will be created which the army is most likely to fill. Don’t Egyptians understand that?

    • Yes! Exactly! I have discussed that point with Egyptians who work at the hotel. They trust the military. The military has announced it will not fire on the protesters. Unlike the police who are “bad”, I think many Egyptians support the military. Having them fill in the vacuum would not be such a bad thing, at least in the opinion of a few.

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