Back to normal?
The government released a statement to say that the protesters can stay where they are, but that Egyptian life will carry on around them. As a result, Maadi was bustling today. In fact, aside from the tanks still guarding the entrances (I looked, but kept my camera in its bag), it seemed just like any other day. There was lots of beepy in the streety, plenty of shouty from the mouthy, probably some poo without the loo, and definitely some spitty in the city. There wasn't much looky at the booby however, largely due to there being not many ex-pats left in Maadi.
There is a tension in the air. An uncertainty about the future. I noticed it manifested in an increased suspicion of me when walking around, acknowledged when an old shouty Egyptian lady approached me after seeing me take a picture of a
gladiator* donkey. Sonia confirmed (when I called to talk to her about work) that there is a mistrust of foreigners at the moment. When it matters, it's interesting to note that this is how Egyptians respond to foreigners. I suppose we all do that to some extent. It doesn't matter if it's justified or not, it's there nonetheless.
When I went to the barber shop later on, there was some extremely animated discussion going on about the BBC and Al-Jazeera, after a German minister on the telly talked about the importance of 'freedom of the press'. There is quite clearly an ingrained belief that Western media are shit-stirrers. After sitting glued to BBC World News this week, I have to say I sympathise with that view a little.
This picture shows quite a different scene to a few days ago. Despite the curfew still being in place, the vigilante bowabs (that would make a great movie title) have gone and the police are back. Seeing them standing there, they look like remnants of an old way of thinking. Icons of nothingness, who neither protect nor serve, and just sit about all day, doing bugger all. The only time in my two years here that this corner (which houses a bank) has needed to be protected, they were nowhere to be seen.
My question when I see these security/police (it's not clear what they are) guys back on the corner again is this: Has anything really changed?
Regardless of the seeming normality of today, I'm still anxious about the 10,000 or so still in Tahrir Square. They're going to feel like they're having the piss taken out of them (it's almost like they've all been sent to the naughty step to learn their lesson), and at some point they're going to get restless. At that point, I think I'd rather not be here. In addition to this, I feel uncomfortable, bored, irritated, and all manner of other unhealthy (for me especially) negativity. So...
...I'm outta this place for a while. Larissa is off to Cornwall to spend time with her family and friends, and I'm going to do the same in Edinburgh.
Anyone fancy a pint?
This entry marks the end of my unofficial 'return to Cairo' series. To everyone that has subscribed and commented, and to the nod from blipcentral with BOTW, thank you. I've been well chuffed, not least of all because there's absolutely no way raheny_eye will catch up with subs before the 3 year anniversary!
*Bonus points to anyone who knows why I did that.
- Canon EOS 1000D