Dispatches From Cairo: Keeping Up With Egypt
Editor’s note: We asked Lauren Unger-Geoffroy, an Arabic-speaking American who lives in Cairo, to share her perspective of life in Egypt after the revolution.
For God’s sake, American press! Hurry up! Get up to speed on the Egyptian revolution evolution! It is changing every day.
You journalists do deserve thanks for your international outcry about the abuse of power against citizens, notably women. Faces were red, small ignorant aggressive heads fell, the military boys are sorry and on best behavior and under the eye of officers (for now, and of course this is not static!). People are sitting on the tanks and sharing soft drinks with their soldier brothers again. They’ve turned the page, we’re on to the next chapter — this is EGYPT, my brothers. The people are forgiving, they do not hold a grudge: THE LOVE IS BACK.
If you are still howling about some awkward (and media-magnified) moments from weeks ago which have been resolved for now, thanks but stop whining for us (we’ll talk about Libya and who to whine to later). THE PEOPLE ARE HAPPY TODAY! Here in Cairo we have taken yet another big, big step in the direction of a solvent democracy and renaissance.
The New Egypt is real. Here we go:
The military has got its nervous confusion and loyalties sorted out for now. Internal power struggles seem to have weighted in favor of the New Egypt, demonstratively cutting vestigial lines of command from the old government. The army and the people are again one. Hosni Mubarak’s two sons are in prison awaiting trial, as are the corrupt officials and governors who have been removed from office, and those industrialists who have robbed this country are imprisoned and all their funds are frozen. Nepotism in government, military salary and position, and industry dealings has been outlawed.
Mubarak, our deposed president, has avoided arrest by being hospitalized — this is a ploy he has used before on the people; they are suspicious and asking why is he in a hospital which is not top-quality but which is in his feifdom, Sharm el Sheikh. So, the new minister of justice has ordered that he be moved to a top military hospital in Cairo, where it will be determined if he is truly too ill to stand trial. If he is not, he will be arraigned!
Today [April 15] there was no massive demonstration, as demands have finally been met, mostly, and the people are appeased and happy and optimistic again for the Egyptian Renaissance. Yes, some people must be let out of prison … and it is promised … this too will yield, inshallah. We will not forget the martyrs, we will honor them. We will build, and make their sacrifice our fuel.
Thanks for the solidarity and support, world — but follow quickly. Keep up with NOW. Don’t stagnate on those mass-friendly media-iconic outrage info bites. Come on, we’re moving fast — there will be SHIFT and new info bites at the blink of an eye — and today we are feeling satisfaction and motivation, and we can see a bright future, inshallah.
What everyone here is talking about today is:
The “Desert Development Corridor” project. (I have not yet seen this in the Western press but hope to do so tomorrow.) Dr. Farouk al-Baz, director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University and former NASA Apollo engineer, originally proposed this canal and parallel highway project for the arid desert between the Mediterranean and Sudan in 1985 (but the corrupt monopoly rejected it). It would reinvigorate the country and expand the living space near the banks of the Nile River, irrigating several huge agricultural areas and cities on the lower side, and the other, slightly elevated side, a vast flat desert with 362 days of sun each year, would become the world’s largest and most important producer of solar power. And there would be international industrial implantations along the highway and canal.
Following the recent revolution, al-Baz traveled to Egypt to meet with government leaders and the public to explain the plan. It was suggested that the project be implemented in two phases over 10 years. It would be financed by an initial public offering for investors.
The prime minister said the government is serious about this project. “It would create a corridor of trade between Alexandria and Capetown,” he added at the sideline of his meeting with Dr. al-Baz. He also discussed ways to develop scientific research by revitalizing the role of the Supreme Council for Scientific Research.
And the people are also talking about why President Barack Obama of the USA can’t put just one military aircraft carrier off Libya’s shore to let Gadhafi know. …
NATO sent a group of 40 planes (which was paid for by the Arab countries) that circled briefly over Libya and let one rocket fly and went home. The entire Arab world wants the USA to just show up — as does the entire world. Aren’t we the good-guy hero defending against bullies anymore? Just show up and flex — not take over. WTH? The USA must earn back respect from the world. Make a show of support quickly, in next few days: DO NOT show up late, after the country is broken and in its death throes, to grab the spoils like a vulture. The Gadhafi monster threatens to contaminate even the U.S. with its ignoble ugliness.
It is 7:35 a.m., and the brilliant Egyptian sun, the deposed god Ra, is blazing through my window, so I will leave for now these and a few other subjects that Egypt is talking about. As the old school of corrupt dictatorial Arab governments bites the dust, one tyrant after another, and the birthing struggles of a new era writhe and quake, one must relativize the significance and priority of problems to address. Egypt is on the way. We know it isn’t going to be a smooth or swift arrival. We must work through it and create it. It is a revolution! We are prepared to hang on to our love of this country and belief in its future through what may be long, difficult times and adjustments, so bear with us.
Egyptians have hope and strength and faith and solidarity with all Arabs and all people in difficulty and struggle, and, yes, they are all praying for Japan.WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
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