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Cairo burning…

I’m not going to predict the outcome of this unfortunate turn of events in Egypt right now.  But it does worry me that if Mubarak steps down now that V-P Sulieman may assume power. A mistake. He is not in favor of either democracy or human rights. He was our point man for “rendition.”

A small story.  Suzanne Mubarak, daughter of a pediatrician and British nurse, has a masters degree in sociology.  Her thesis was entitled: “Social Action Research in Urban Egypt: A Case of Primary School Upgrading in Boulak.”  She was instrumental in the rebuilding of the glorious Alexandria Library.  Suzanne was impressed by the work of the National Curriculum Center where I worked and suggested to her husband that he visit.

He did.  Before his arrival, the roofs of all the buildings around the Center were cleaned and potted plants placed about. When it was pointed out that such measures had been taken for his arrival, he replied: Well, then, the more I visit around Egypt, the more improved it will be! Ah so. True.

Again, we encountered immaculate groomed streets as the smiling President drove through Alexandria with a waving Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya. Afterward told his audiences that he and the leaders of the surrounding Arab countries “agreed 100%.” Always “100%.”

This is not a defense of President Mubarak, but he did live a life apart, protected from unpleasantries by a bubble that is often created to protect autocrats.

Tomorrow—Friday—will be key in this movement.

A Guest Entry from Morgan Lambert:

When I moved to Cairo with Linda during her educational consultant work, I quickly found several part-time jobs to keep me busy.  One of those was as a journalist (reporter and page editor for the English language Middle East Times).  That background has made me especially sensitive to the security and safety concerns of reporters on the streets of Cairo during this dangerous and violent period.

The government censorship during the 1989-91 period was nothing like what is being attempted now, but I did get a little taste of it.  It was during the first Gulf War.  The Middle East Times was edited and published in Athens, Greece, and the owners were the so-called “Moonies.”  I expected some censorship from the Moonies but got none; but the Egyptian censors took some offense at an article I wrote that was a little critical of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.  They didn’t shoot me or throw a Molotov cocktail at me…but I did have to substitute an article about a restaurant or something else a little less offensive.

During that first Gulf War, things remained generally peaceful and orderly in Cairo.  The only time we felt we were in serious danger was when family members called and, reacting to the news headlines back home, asked us if we were still alive!?  Yes, we were. I don’t think we could be as calm and confident in today’s circumstances.   And tomorrow, Friday, the day of prayers for Muslims, when thousands turn out in Cairo’s mosques, will be a crucial turning point.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 at 8:43 pm and is filed under Education, Family, Leadership, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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