Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two Weeks in Another Town: Cairo

Obviously I have not been in Cairo these past two weeks, but it felt like it. I took the title from Vincente Minelli 1962 movie (Remember? Kirk Douglass and Cyd Charisse…) In two weeks anything could happen. From what has been going on in Cairo there is no need to spend a whole year living dangerously like in Peter Weir film to follow de development of a revolution. That’s how the times are changing.

On Friday Jan 28th I connected the Al Jazeera English language news channel in my TV. It comes along with some 200 other channels in my cable satellite that, before now, I very seldom connected. It so happens that my current working schedule allows me to use my time at leisure, and I can well spend a whole afternoon slouched in my couch watching the tube. And I got hooked. In these past days I have connected Al Jazeera for a half an hour early in the morning, three or four hours in the afternoon, and some more at night, half excited half horrified by what I was witnessing.

I guess this is the first time anyone has been able to watch a revolution live.

Over the weekend I went down to the beach and dipped my hand in the now cold Mediterranean waters, as if to send a message of solidarity through the sea to the shores of Alexandria from this side of our little pond, our sea, Mare Nostrum.

No one knows what is going to happen in Egypt, but I still am hoping for the best. The behaviour of the Egyptians keeps amazing me. There are a very ancient country and lived through vary many different experiences. There have been for 5.000 years this people have called themselves Egyptians, many centuries, not all very happy, but they have survived as a nation. I just hope this time they will overcome the Mubarak regime and reach a more just and fair future.

One of the things have surprised me more has been the containment of the Armed Forces deployed around Tahrir Square. It looked peculiar the discipline and obedience to whoever was issuing orders and the lack of incidents by men with weapons in the midst of rioting crowds.

The other is the tremendous power derived from the social networks, Facebook and Twitter and You Tube by keeping people connected and informed of the events as they happen. From now on revolutions will have to be on the open.

Now I’m watching Al Jazeera through the Internet just as they have announced Mubarak is going to address the country, most likely to announce his retirement from power.

Mr Suleiman, the purported successor, does not look to me a Kerensky figure, even though looks like the preferred figure by the US and the Israelis. He is much of a CIA man.

It looks like it’s gonna be more than two weeks…

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