Exit, Stage North

“Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s son, who is considered as his successor, has fled to Britain along with his family, a US-based Arabic website reported.” [Times of India]


Could be wishful thinking…until it is confirmed.

I’m really not surprised though considering the explosive population growth, relative youth of their (Tunisa/Egypt) populations, the corruption and the lack of opportunities (economic/social/education).

@ManchuCandidate: True about the sourcing. And even if the story’s confirmed, it doesn’t really demonstrate anything, beyond general pants-shitting.

still general pants shitting is not a good sign.

@nojo: The Beeb isn’t reporting his departure yet, and they’re my go-to source on these sorts of things. Since he’s the heir apparent, it’s significant. Also per the Beeb, the activists are calling for a day of action on Friday afternoon after people go to the mosques, despite the announcement by the government that there can be no public demonstrations. Stay tuned…

@SanFranLefty: Is it a Fundamentalist uprising or a populist one- or both? What is at issue?

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Heh! I see Julian has dyed his eyebrows. O_o

@Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: It’s a mishmash of people who hate Mubarak: secular and Islamic, mostly poor. The question is, especially in light of the recent violence against Coptic Christians, if they’re successful, who is going to rule?

I don’t know how radicalized Islam has become, if at all, since I was there, but in Cairo and Alexandria, most Muslims are pretty open, accepting and kind. I became friends with a few, and I told them I was part Jewish just to see how they’d react. No one cared. The one thing I heard over and over again was, “We love the United States, but we HATE Bush [W]! Please go home and tell people that.”

ADD: The issues are many, but poverty and authoritarian rule are the main ones. I just hope they don’t trade one dictator for another. Mubarak’s picture is all over the place on billboards and whatnot. It’s amazing to read that people are defacing them.

I also met several Bedouins who had basically been yanked off the desert and relocated to ghettos outside Cairo. Slums, really. I was in a friend’s backyard in Abu Sir, and you could see Saqqara in the distance. Between the two was the largest pile of garbage I’d ever seen. Children were picking through it and setting feces on fire.

ADDD: I think they were setting dog feces on fire, not human feces. Their toilets (in that town) were elaborately-tiled holes in the ground with a place for your feet. Kind cool, actually. BUT I carried toilet paper around with me — even in Cairo. Drip dry sucks.

To avoid tl;dr, I’ll write some more here.

I didn’t do a luxe tour — I went the Lonely Planet way, and it was fabulous.

There are a lot of fucked up regs in Egypt. My friend wanted to show me Saqqara (if you have asthma, take your inhaler EVERYWHERE). Anyway, my trip from Cairo to Saqqara involved a river bus, some other bus and a jitneyish thing. When we got there, he couldn’t go in with me for fear that he would be arrested for not being a registered tour guide. I couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t go inside with me without proper gov’t paperwork.

I almost was arrested when we went to an Egyptians-only park (price of entry, about 5¢). Okay, I shouldn’t have been there or whatever, but what got me in hot water that night was that there are big boxes on the benches to prevent people from sitting next to each other. I was stupid and annoyed, so I leaned over the box to talk (ahem) to my friend. We were evicted by the “manager,” and the next thing I knew, we were being harassed by six cops with machine guns.

There are these managers all over the place. I went to a bar with another friend, and really, it was just a big room with tables and one type of warm, disgusting beer, and the manager came over to tell me I was sitting too close to my friend. After almost being hauled off to the hoosegow a few days before, I was like, Yeah, I’ll move.

THEN I was on a faluka with two other dudes. I’ve never sailed in my life. They decided to get high to the point of passing out, and they let my pilot the faluka. I almost killed us, but it was still a good time. Again, my run in with the cops was fresh in my mind, so I did not get high with them.

ANOTHER thing that burned me was that men can walk down the street holding hands, but a man and a woman cannot. A few women wore hijab, but they were more like flowy scarves than real head coverings.

I was allowed to enter the Citadel mosque. I didn’t have to cover anything (and I wasn’t all tarted up in Egypt anyway), but I took off my shoes. Beautiful building, but their museum dedicated to the Army was ick. I hated that.

@JNOV: Wow. Interesting. The OH’s mother was from Alexandria and they all moved there when he was a little boy. But went on to Jamaica.

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