Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Crisis in Egypt, a different perspective

I have watched with shock over the past few days as a country I visited less than 4 months ago has descended into Chaos. You have all watched the news, heard about the protests, saw pictures online. There are many scenes of chaos and bloodshed, riots and violence. The Picture above struck such a cord with me that I have been looking at it throughout the night trying to put into words exactly what my thoughts and feelings are. This is a soldier, standing guard at the Museum of Antiquities in Downtown Cairo, to prevent and further looting of the priceless treasures contained within. I was there twice on my trip this fall. To the right of the soldier, out of frame of the picture, is the Main entrance, and a bit further down a 2 story walk up staircase that leads to a little cafe where Sasha, Joann, Sam and I spent about 45 minutes talking with our tour Guide Mohamed. It was a candid conversation where Mohamed expressed dismay over Police corruption, Government Corruption and the over hyping of Zahee Hawass.
Cameras are not allowed on the Museum grounds, so these shots taken from the bus are all that I have besides memories of that statuary garden out front of this Amazing pace. It sickens me that in the news reports I read, before the army got there, 2 mummies in the extensive collection were damaged by looters. It is a crime against all of humanity when these priceless items are destroyed.

As happens all to often in this era of 24 hour news stations pandering for ratings the real story if getting lost; This is about the People.
Why is it that the only thing we ever see about the Middle East on CNN, NBC and the like is this hatred and violence? If you were to watch the news you would think that all the people of the Middle East do is protest, throw stones and hold up signs. This is such a simplistic view of the area that we should all feel insulted, it is so much more than that. YES there is rampant corruption of both the Government and the Police. YES the people have legitimate reasons to want the ouster of "President Mubarak". Hell, if I was there I would probably join in the marches. This is not about Hatred of the United States or protesting a war. This is about legitimate concerns of the people against a ruler that has ruled this country like a Mafia Godfather and where Justice is only available if you can pay for it they have every right to protest and I hope the "President" is kicked out very soon.

You have all seen the violent protests on TV, so I will not be showing any more of that. Instead I want to show you the Egyptian people in their everyday lives, which are not that different from you or I. They smoke too many cigarettes, talk constantly on their cell phones, eat junk food, go to school, go to work, Watch CSI, go shopping for fun, go to bars and nightclubs and just love a good argument. They all work too hard for the money they get paid, want their Children to have a better life then they do, and did I mention smoke constantly? There are many places in Egypt that if it was not for the different Language would be indistinguishable from malls in America or restaurants in Europe. Beaches that look like Hawaii, and Airports that are as frustrating as LAX. The only real difference between the people in Egypt and most of the Western world is that they have never before been free to express their doubts and anger at the Government
Please, over the next few days say a prayer along with me for the people of Egypt. Pray for an end to the violence, Pray for Mubarak to step down, and pray for a peaceful transition to a new government. These people have the same hopes and dreams you do and Yes, they deserve a better life.

My first moment on Egyptian soil. The guy with the cell phone was named Mohammad and was my seat partner during the 12 hour flight.
Ok, What can I say, My first Super Cute Egyptian guy.

A son working with his father.

One of the tourist Police. Took $5 for him to let us climb on this temple.
My own personal security guard........after I bribed him. Still got Sasha and I into alot of places we would not have otherwise.........

Working on a dig sight near Giza

Kids working their way through school. (Just look at that smile! The Kids cleaned up on tips from our group I tell you!)

Not such a different scene from every Day in Dutch Harbor.

Waiters going that "extra Mile" for a good tip............and he had a crush on Sacha

Ok already, Yes, the Cameraman was super cute!

Boat Trip!
Our Wonderful tour guide.
The Egyptians are the masters of selling you stuff!

Though even birds beg for this case Pringles.

Airports, the preetier they are the less functional they are.
MORE SHOPPING! This market is Egypt's version of Wal-Mart.

Just hanging out in the park.
Yup, Teens even work the McDonald's in Egypt!

Mohammed my special towel boy friend..........
And the other Mohammed, our tour guide.

Kids playing in the street at night..........

And dancing the night away at a Bar!

Our wait staff was really great, even if the food was not.

I can never escape fishing, where ever I go!
Heck, The Egyptians even have Mountain Dew!

Sell, sell, sell, this time Alabaster.

The Ship's Captain! (Another thing I can never escape!)

Ok, So I miss My cutie towel boy. Leave me alone!

Selling at a cafe 1/2 way accross the Desert to the Red Sea

A picture of the hated man himself above in a town park. Egomanic! he lives in palaces all over the country while many people live like the following pictures............

Making Bread on the dirty side Health Code here!

Talking on the Phone and driving while being distracted by a friend. Gosh, this could be LA!

The Heroic Boat Captain who helped Sasha when she got panicked when Snorkeling.

A whirling Dirvish.........

More markets
These are some of the people of Egypt, not too different from you or me.

Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.