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View Diary: Middle East Events Mothership with Action Item (133 comments)

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  •  Visit to Egypt Recently (12+ / 0-)

    I was in Egypt as a tourist at some time within the past few months.  Although we'd been somewhat conditioned to see the Middle East as unsafe, we felt completely secure.

    The Egyptians were extremely friendly.  At several of the major sites, we were semi-mobbed by charming groups of schoolchildren (visiting the sites on their field trips) who wanted only to say Hello, practice a few words of English, and get photos taken with the Americans.

    Everywhere we went, we were accompanied or closely shadowed by "Tourist Police" who were there for our safety -- but I distinctly got the vibe that they were there more for PR reasons and to make the American Embassy happy, rather than because of any real threat.

    The elections this fall were widely seen as corrupt and rigged -- situation normal -- by people we spoke with who were willing to be candid with us.  There is also a very large gap between the rich and poor.  Add to that the fact that the people see an ever-increasing police presence (not just the Tourist Police, either).  We should see this as a very broad-based protest, not as some kind of radical Muslin thing.  Not at all.  

    From our small, touristic experience, it seemed that Muslims and Christians got along just fine on a day to day basis, with Mosques and Churches side by side.  People shouted out Merry Christmas to us there -- I heard it more in Egypt than I did in the US this year.  After the bombing in Alexandria, I felt that my ability to speak of harmony got tarnished a bit -- yet, then came the shooting in Arizona.  Certainly that event in Arizona doesn't speak for all of the USA.

    I had nothing but good impressions of the Egyptians and wish them well today.

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