Thursday, January 27, 2011

Egyptian Revolution

I'm sure many of you are wondering about our silence on our dear country's revolution in the making. Honestly, I've been thinking about it a lot lately and we've been having many discussions in the evenings about the implications of the Arab world revolutionary phenomenon. I was brought to tears watching this overly sentimental video Bridget posted:

She points out the obvious one-sidedness of the video, and I agree to some extent. In discussing the matter with Tim, he told me about how when he spoke with a lot of Egyptian friends, they were very hesitant to discuss Egyptian politics (they loved talking American politics though), and if you ever openly criticized Mubarak or any aspect of the Egyptian government, you were admonished immediately. Since I did not get a chance to have long political discussions in Arabic, I don't have firsthand knowledge of the state of mind of the Egyptian people in regards to their government. I do know that Mubarak has been in power three decades, Egypt has one of the most bureaucratic systems I've ever experienced, and its people are poor, jobless, and frustrated. I remember hearing once about the minimum wage for government workers being somewhere around 1500 pounds (approximately $250) and I can't even imagine trying to live off of that!

Not to mention, there are thousands of bored police officers hanging around the city, who usually have nothing better to do than chain smoke, watch mini-TVs, and stare at Westerners walking down the street. The Egyptian police and military seem to be reveling in the excitement and power that comes with quashing revolutionaries.

In private, I pray that the revolution does not turn too violent, that our friends in Maadi will be safe. The faces of Hamdi and his children, the old smoking couple at the Maadi Club, the sweet woman who invited us to her daughter's second birthday party, our little friend Heidi who adored Amir and her father Said, they keep coming to me over and over again. I know it seems unlikely at this point that the revolution will turn bloody, but it worries me just the same.

I'd love to hear your take on the Arab revolutions of late -- like I said before, I'm not all that knowledgeable past what I've been reading in the NYT and listening to on the Guardian.

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