08 February, 2012

You say coffee, I say كافية

Nasser the hero, Mubarak the enfant terrible

18C and sand was the weather prediction yesterday.  Growing up in Taipei, I remember days when sandstorms from the Gobi Desert would blanket the sky with an ominous cloud of dust.  But it was never like Cairo.  Here the desert is much closer and does not have to cross an ocean to reach me.  New York City may be dusty, but at Cairo I return to my hostel everyday with a film of grime on my face.

For the past two days, a friend and I have been crisscrossing Cairo, meeting realtors, and looking at possible housing options.  Walking and taking the Cairo Metro is a fine way to explore the winding alleyways and sample street food.

As I am drafting this entry, the Egyptian government's prosecutor is discussing on television the prosecution of foreign NGO workers.  While I do not understand the unfolding discourse in Arabic, from talking to the Egyptians in the hostel, it is their belief that foreign funding is enabling criminal elements to destabilize Egyptian society, and should be punished under Egyptian law.  Although I know that American foreign assistance is never given without an agenda or strings attached, the concept that organizations dedicated to democratic and civil society development would participate in criminal enterprise is challenging indeed.    

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