watching Cairo

Let me limit myself to my immediate environment, rather than Egypt. I’ve been very quiet for many weeks now. Left the country a week before the 30 June anti-Morsi protests, and only returned to Cairo the day two squares were emptied of Morsi supporters, hundreds of whom died in the process, all in full and thus “embarrassing” view, and accompanied by a plethora of conflicting descriptions, interpretations, spins on what was really going on.

The facts are not obvious but the blood is real. The brothers are not in charge any more, if ever they were, but now who is, and in charge of what? The state has been dysfunctional for a long time already, what’s the plan? I’ve long since lost the urge to opinionate, and the more intense the media bombardment of pundit talk, the more I need an affirmation of life.

Marjan & I did our favorite city walk last weekend, wandering Zamalek, Bulaq, downtown and Islamic Cairo. Hours in the vicinity of old Cairo’s bazaar and tourist trap Khan El Khalili resulted in seeing no other foreigners. A city back to normal but utterly devoid of one of its life lines. Someone alerted me to some great pics of Cairo in 1910. Lots has changed but surprisingly little if one thinks century. 

The international circus has quickly moved on to Syria. Has anything changed here in Egypt? What is even worse: has anything changed in Syria? I’m pretty sure not much. I guess, for whatever that intuition is worth, that the generals, despite their statements to the opposite, are quite happy with the Syria thing, the pressure’s off. I also guess, with a lot more confidence, that whatever the outcome of the current Syria debate, most of its normal citizens will not be better off for it. But who cares about them, right?

I have totally conflicting intuitions about what kinda music appropriately expresses the dance macabre ours species seems to be doing here. A mental blend of the two below is not the answer but at least illustrates some of what it evokes.


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