Cairo isn’t get­ting on my nerves as much as it did the last time I was here. The key, I think, is to have low (or at least appro­priate) expecta­tions.

The first time I visited this city I arrived here from Bei­rut. Leba­non is like the Star Trek uni­verse com­pared with Egypt. (Mean­while, Egypt is Star Trek com­pared with Iraq, and Iraq is Star Trek com­pared with Afgha­ni­stan. I don’t know where a place like Soma­lia fits on this scale.)

Some of the wealt­hiest parts of this city look like the drea­riest sec­tions of com­mu­nist-era Roma­nia. At the same time, though, I’m fin­ding it slightly easier to find a decent res­tau­rant and an aet­he­ti­cally pleas­ing café to hang out in. The eco­nomy does seem to have advan­ced somewhat in the years I’ve been away, at least in the richer parts of the city. (The poorer neigh­bor­hoods look just as bru­tally run-down as they did before, and they’re pro­bably suf­fe­ring more now that the post-Muba­rak eco­nomy is on the skids.)


Here’s somet­hing that’s unusual in the Arab world: there are no pos­ters of a dicta­tor any­where. The govern­ment is a mili­tary junta, but it’s not entirely clear which indi­vi­dual is in charge of this place. It feels like nobody is.

Hardly any tou­rists are here right now. Poli­ti­cal tur­moil has dri­ven all but the har­di­est and most advent­ur­ous away, though this isn’t Dama­scus where the regime is machine-gun­ning dis­si­dents by the hund­reds. And it seems the touts who prey on for­eign visi­tors have given up and are stay­ing home because I am not being hass­led on the street nearly as much as I was a few years ago. Almost eve­ryone I’ve met so far, from my hotel staff to my inter­view sub­jects, is excep­tio­nally polite and plea­sant to be around. Arabs are taught good man­ners by their parents and their cul­ture, and Egypt, now that most of the touts have craw­led back under their rocks, feels more gentle and wel­coming than it did before.

We’ll see if I still feel the same way after han­ging out with thou­sands of revolutionaries—including the Mus­lim Brot­her­hood and the Salafists—in Tahrir Square.

I’ll have some in-depth repor­ting for you here shortly after I’ve had time to gat­her enough mate­rial. Until then, please remem­ber that I don’t have a salary or an expense account and can’t do this at all wit­hout your sup­port, so please pitch in what you can. This isn’t the most expen­sive place to visit, but it’s not free eit­her.

You can make a one-time dona­tion through Pay Pal:

Docu­ment har copy­right på Tottens artik­ler, og har betalt for det. Om leserne vil støtte Tottens jour­na­lis­tikk er det vel­kom­ment. Han er en av de beste.

Cairo After Muba­rak

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  • NRKs egen stjerne­rep­por­ter, Sidsel Wold bejub­let revo­lu­sjo­nen, for nå skulle det bli demo­krati og frie valg.  Mus­lim­brød­rene kon­so­li­de­rer og nytt nazi­parti er under etab­le­ring.

    A group of Egyp­ti­ans have announ­ced their intent to estab­lish a Nazi
    party with “a con­tem­po­rary frame of refe­rence,” an inde­pen­dent Egyp­tian
    news web­site said on Wed­nes­day.

    Al-Badeel, a left­ist news por­tal, quoted foun­ding mem­ber Emad Abdel
    Sat­tar as say­ing the party would bring together pro­mi­nent figu­res from
    the Egyp­tian society. The party’s foun­ding deputy is a for­mer mili­tary

  • MiLaAd

    I et Nat Geo pro­gram (en litt tenden­siøs doku­men­tar om Det mus­limske bror­skap) kom det frem  føl­gende: Det bor 60 000 men­nesker, de fat­tigste av de fat­tige, på Kai­ros grav­plas­ser. Det utgjør nes­ten 1 pro­sent av befolk­ning i en by med ca 7 mil­lio­ner (Stor-Kairo har ca 14 mil­lio­ner).

    De kop­tiske kristne er hen­vist til å være hoved­sta­dens reno­va­sjons­ve­sen. Det er et godt bilde på hvor­dan mus­li­mene ser på folk som ikke pas­ser inn, – som søp­pel …

    Det å finne påli­te­lige demo­gra­fiske sta­ti­stik­ker er hakke før “tenk på et tall”. Som en av incoming tur­ope­ra­tø­rer utryk­ker det “sta­ti­s­tics about the popu­la­tion are pro­ble­ma­tic because it is so large
    and much of its popu­la­tions lives, so to speak, under the radar of the
    government”( Og Stor-Kairo er ikke engang defi­nert.

    De som kom­mer til mak­ten etter høs­tens valg skulle i det minste finne ut hvor mange inn­byg­gere lan­det har gjen­nom en folke­tel­ling som er kva­li­tets­sik­ret. Ikke minst når det gjel­der Kairo og omegn. Og hva med å tømme byens nekro­po­lis for okku­pan­ter og gi dem noe å gjøre i de leven­des land? Og hva med å gi kop­terne mulig­he­ter til utdan­nelse og fritt yrkes­valg uten at må de døm­mes til et liv på søp­pel­dynga?

    Det er mange utford­rin­ger. Til det trengs det nye kos­ter. Kan­skje noe for en bli­vende lands­mo­der. Hva da med ei kris­ten kvinne som ny pre­si­dent? Det vil iall­fall ta luven fra mus­lim­brød­rene!