Saturday, February 26, 2011

Innocents Abroad in the 'New' Egypt

A piece in the New York Times shills for Egypt's newest hot spot for Western sightseers--Tahrir Square:
...Many tourist sites in and around Cairo are open again — from the pyramids to the Khan el-Khalili souk to the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. But these days the most sought-after photo is not one of Tutankhamen’s mask but of Tahrir (Liberation) Square, a mammoth traffic circle the world had stared at for three weeks on television. Named after Egypt’s 1919 liberation from the British, Tahrir Square is a top destination for many of the Western tourists who have begun trickling into Egypt in recent days.
“It is amazing what has happened here,” said Aart Blijdorp, a 60-year-old civil servant from the Netherlands. He had flown in a few days earlier to attend the seven-day anniversary of Mr. Mubarak’s resignation, a gathering on Tahrir Square that the protesters hope will become a weekly Friday event to remind the current military government of their continuing demands for reform. “The optimism in the air was so apparent on the news, I had to come feel it for myself,” Mr. Blijdorp said, after introducing me to two young protesters he had met in the square. They had become Mr. Blijdorp’s tour guides around Cairo.

“We have been taking him around because he is traveling on his own,” said Omar Ahmed, 23, a civil engineer, adding that they were off to the Citadel, but that Mr. Blijdorp wanted to come back to Tahrir Square first.

“The good news is he is seeing everything fast, because no one is here,” said Hamdy Mohammed, 24, a law student. “But we want tourists to come back because it is a new Egypt now.”

“So far, Tahrir is my favorite place,” said Mr. Blijdorp, who had visited the Pyramids the day before...
For obvious reason, Lara Logan might beg to differ.

Enjoy it while it lasts, people, because once MuBro Joe Qaradawi's religious types get their hands on things, seeing the sights in Egypt will be about as appealing and popular a prospect as is taking a trip to Iran.

Update: Sing it, Tori:

See the pyramids and Tahrir Square.
Join the throng, engage in protest there.
Just remember change is in the air--
Ikhwan's on the rise.

See the spot where Lara was attacked.
Hear them say the "Arab Spring's" a fact.
Realize sharia law's exact.
And it's on the rise...

1 comment:

Carlos Perera said...

Yeah, . . . it reminds me of the period of euphoria that followed the triumph of Castro's rebels in January, 1959. For several months after Batista fled the country, nearly everyone, including my parents (who had been strongly _fidelista_ while Castro was still in the mountains), managed to convince themselves that the millennium had arrived. And we all know how happily that turned out. (I will say, though, that no women reporters--and yes, several were on the scene--were raped by the jubilant crowds that filled the public squares of Cuban towns and cities.)