|View from the Nile at Sunset|
As many reports continue to flood mainstream media and all the television stations, I want to take a break from all the violence ensuing, conspiracy theories and twisted words to talk about My Egypt.
My Egypt is really quiet and peaceful early in the morning. You can walk along the Nile and see fishermen and women washing clothes, grab some foul (beans on balady bread) at a Gad near you and decide what adventure you’re going to partake in that day. I’ve enjoyed setting out and seeing Shobra with my friend Andy (please see Got Shobra?), I enjoyed going to Al-Ahzar park with Natalia and looking out at Islamic Cairo, and I enjoyed going to Garbage City (Channeling Indiana Jones) and meeting a Coptic family who took me around to the cave churches. My Egypt also includes stable owner Nasser Breech who does his best to make your pyramid excursion an experience of a lifetime – just ask my family. My Egypt had my friends Ramy and Rasha taking my family around Alexandria, so excited to show us their city, in hopes that we would see why they loved it so much.
By noon, My Egypt is beginning to show signs of life. Cars hit one another, men get out and scream only to be shuffled back in their cars five minutes later to continue on their way. Everyone gets off of work and gets their Egyptian nap on to make it easier to spend longer hours at a café (or club/pub for some of us). In My Egypt, I’m able to go to Fishawy’s in the Khan el Khalili during the day and have the people say, “Your still here!” (Now, the night crew is a whole different animal).
In My Egypt, harassment ran rampant. However, in My Egypt, the people weren’t hurting one another. Kafeya should be a word that all of you know by now, it’s the Arabic word for “enough.” Now Egypt is calling out “Kafeya!” Egyptians are begging for things to stop, for everyone to stop hurting one another. We’re all one, even the foreigners still around. More so, there are already groups being set up with the help of Facebook calling for people to help rebuild Cairo.
For all of you watching the news reports, it is important not to be disillusioned with Egypt and Egyptians. I have lived here nearly three years and while you can read throughout my blog the many hardships and frustrations I’ve encountered, please also know that Egypt is and will always be a very special place.
|He was simply holding the canister up in order to show what police were using, he wasn't pointing out where it was made|
You are going to hear that Egyptians hate Americans with undoubtedly that picture of the man holding the teargas canister that says “Made in the USA.” Why do all of our news reports portray everyone as hating Americans? Most importantly, why do we listen? I was there in the protests on Tuesday and Friday and not only did people know I was foreign (for obvious reasons), most of them knew I was American. And guess what – they helped me get out of teargas and away from danger just like they helped their fellow Egyptians. In addition, every volunteer activity that I've taken part in here has been dominated by Americans (over 95% ratio). People remember who have helped them, even if our news depicts otherwise.
We hear all these reports that everyone is angry at our government. Believe it or not, most people are able to know that there’s a difference between the US government and Americans. And correct me if I’m wrong, but many Americans are disenchanted by our very own government so how can you expect others to be in love with it? My neighbor Khaled just knocked on my door not even five minutes ago to tell me that he returned from Turkey and wanted to see if I was okay and if I needed anything to just come upstairs. Countless Egyptian friends and their families have called me. Don’t be disillusioned by the reports, and give Egyptians credit – they were, after all, the ones that protected me and my house when no authority – military or police – seemed to be anywhere near.
So for all of you asking when I’m going to leave, well, I’m not going to leave until I’m forced because after all, this is My Egypt too. Keep Egypt in your prayers.
For other posts taken since protests began, please see:
View from the Heart of Tahrir Square Tuesday, January 25
Protests Rock Egypt Tuesday, January 25
Day 2 of Egyptian Protests Wednesday, January 26
Possible D-Day for Mubarak Thursday, January 27
Egyptians Send Shockwaves, Including to My Heart Friday, January 28
Looters and Rumors Saturday, January 29
Pro-Mubarak or Paid by Mubarak Wednesday, February 2
US Citizens Left Behind by US Government Wednesday, February 2