Sunday, February 27, 2011

The New Egypt

Young Egyptians have a new sense of ownership of their country. In the conversations I've had with Egyptians about how they feel about the revolution, most of them mention that they are so proud of being Egyptian.  This pride has been translated into a pride for the country itself and its physical appearance.
Here's the link to this video:

Here some more photos I took of young people I saw today who were spending the day painting.  They invited us to join them in the painting, but we were on our way to a brunch hosted by a faculty member at the university.   

I've heard many stories about young people around the city helping to clean and paint 'their Egypt'.  A couple teachers at Cameron's school talked about how kids aged 12-16 came by their apartment building seeking contributions for paint.  One of the teachers told a story about a child who saw someone litter and went up to them to say "Two pounds please". This was designated as the fee for littering, with all fees going toward cleanup efforts and painting.  The person who had littered did pay the young person the 2 pounds.

I was walking down the sidewalk a couple days ago when I saw a man walking a large dog.  The dog did it's business on the sidewalk and the man didn't pick up after the dog.  The passenger in the car going by called out to the man with the dog saying he should clean up and shaking his finger at the man when he didn't.  The driver of the car also honked at the man with the dog motioning that he should clean up.

This self-policing to try to keep Egypt clean is completely new and seems to be quite widespread.

Things also seem to be getting back to normal in some respects with people enjoying ordinary pleasures like a walk in the park.  
Here's a short video of a family or friends playing some type of handkerchief game in the park:

Here's a photos of some of the many newly painted curbs.  

Many of the grassy areas are looking much cleaner.

There is a feeling of patriotism seen in many ways, such as tree painting.

This car has the Egyptian flag painted on it.


On a different note, I was at a breakfast for students in our graduate program at the university when I learned that the protest the night before in Tahrir Square had been broken up by force in the middle of the night.  Here is a New York Times article about what happened.

The Egyptian Gazette published an article later saying that the Egyptian Army has apologized for actions taken the night before to remove protesters from the Square.  Here is a link to an article about this:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

How will Egypt's Constitution evolve?

On February 14, Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced that there would be a committee of justices appointed to draft amendments to Egypt's constitution and that they would have 10 days to complete the revisions.  The proposed revisions would then be submitted to the public for referendum within 2 months.

Though there hasn't been any announcement yet from the committee working on amending the constitution, there are approximately 6-7 articles of the Constitution that are expected to be revised for now:.  Here are some of the changes that may be proposed:

*  limit the number of terms a President can serve, probably to two terms (changing it from the current article which allows unlimited terms);

*  limit the ability of the President to suspend the constitution;

*  change the way in which the constitution is amended (so the President isn't the only one who can propose amendments)

*  authorize the judicial system as the body that oversees the electoral process;

*  allow numerous methods by which candidates can be nominated to run for President.  Previously, it was virtually impossible for anyone who wasn't from the Democratic National Party (Mubarak's party) to be nominated for president.  The proposed amendment could be allowing three ways for a candidate to be nominated:  1)  candidate obtains 30,000 signatures of voters in 12 of the departments (i.e., different regions) of Egypt; 2) obtain signatures from 150 members of parliament; 3)  be nominated by one member of Parliament.

If you'd like to read more, here is a BBC article with a more detailed analysis.

Many people think that the proposed amendments are simply the start of much longer process that would include major revisions or a rewriting of the Constitution once a democratically elected Parliament and President is in place. 

Here's a video of a young man I met in a cafe in Maadi (our neighborhood in Cairo).  Our conversation included his opinions about Egypt's Constitution.
Here's the link to this video if you have trouble viewing it on this blog:

On paper, it does seem that Egypt's constitution is decent on many human rights issues, with the main catch being that the emergency law which has been in effect for the past three decades effectively suspends many of these provisions.  

Here is a sampling of some of the rights provided in Egypt's constitution.  For the full list of articles in this section, click on this link:

All citizens are equal before the law. They have equal public rights and duties without discrimination due to sex, ethnic origin, language, religion or creed.
Art.41:  Individual freedom is a natural right not subject to violation except in cases of flagrante delicto. No person may be arrested, inspected, detained or have his freedom restricted in any way or be prevented from free movement except by an order necessitated by investigations and the preservation of public security. This order shall be given by the competent judge or the Public Prosecution in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Art.42:  Any citizen arrested, detained or whose freedom is restricted shall be treated in a manner concomitant with the preservation of his dignity. No physical or moral harm is to be inflicted upon him. He may not be detained or imprisoned except in places defined by laws organizing prisons. If a confession is proved to have been made by a person under any of the aforementioned forms of duress or coercion, it shall be considered invalid and futile.
Art.46:  The State shall guarantee the freedom of belief and the freedom of practising religious rights.
Art.47:  Freedom of opinion shall be guaranteed. Every individual shall have the right to express his opinion and to publicise it verbally, in writing, by photography or by other means of expression within the limits of the law. Self criticism and constructive criticism shall guarantee the safety of the national structure.
Art.48:  Liberty of the press, printing, publication and mass media shall be guaranteed . Censorship on newspapers shall be forbidden as well as notifying, suspending or cancelling them by administrative methods. In a state of emergency or in time of war, a limited censorship maybe imposed on the newspapers, publications and mass media in matters related to public safety or for purposes of national security in accordance with the law.

Art.58:  Defence of the motherland is a sacred duty and conscription shall be obligatory in accordance with the law.
Art.59:  Safeguarding, consolidating and preserving the socialist gains shall be a national duty.

Art.54:  Citizens shall have the right to peaceful and unarmed private assembly, without the need for prior notice. Such private meetings should not be attended by security men. Public meetings, processions and gatherings shall be allowed within the limits of the law.

There are also some bold articles on economic justice that I assume were drafted during the years of Gamal Abd Al-Nasser's rule (1952-1970) who was known for his socialist initiatives involving nationalization of some businesses (such as the Suez Canal Company) and agrarian reform.  Here are a few articles from the section in Egypt's Constitution on "Economic Constituents":

Art.23:  The national economy shall be organised in accordance with a comprehensive development plan which ensures raising the national income, fair distribution, raising the standard of living, solving the problem of unemployment, increasing work opportunities, connecting wages with production, fixing a minimum and maximum limit for wages in a manner that guarantees lessening the disparities between incomes

Art.26:  Workers shall have a share in the management and profits of projects . They shall be committed to the development of production and the implementation of the plan in their production units, in accordance with the law. Protecting the means of production is a national duty . Workers shall be represented on the boards of directors of the public sector units by at least 50% of the number of members of these boards. The law shall guarantee for the small farmers and small craftsmen 80%of the membership on the boards of directors of the agricultural and industrial co-operatives.

Art.37:  The law shall fix the maximum limit of land ownership with a view to protecting the farmer and the agricultural labourer from exploitation and asserting the authority of the alliance of the people’s working forces in villages.
Art.38:  The tax system shall be based on social justice
In other news, there was another  good-sized protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square today.  The news reports said there were thousands of people; the photos looked like it might be tens of thousands.  The journalists covering the rally discussed several reasons for the protests: 1) urging that more of the protesters' demands be met such as lifting the Emergency Law and releasing the dozens, perhaps hundreds of political detainees; Some protesters also asked for a new prime minister since the current one was a Mubarak appointee; 2) solidarity with the pro-democracy struggles happening in other countries around the Middle East; 3) remembering those who died in the revolution.  The feeling in the square was also reported to be celebratory.

Meanwhile, we are all carefully watching and worrying about Libya.  I heard yesterday on one of the news channels that the death toll was probably over 2,000.  Gaddafi was said to have ordered mercenaries to go from house to house searching for and killing protesters.  Libyan diplomats around the world have been resigning.  It's estimated that 37,000 refugees have fled Libya.   I heard on the news a couple days ago that Gaddafi's forces were blowing up or otherwise destroying the roads between east Libya (now controlled by protesters) and Tripoli where there is still much violence.  They're doing this to prevent protesters from the east from coming to help those in Tripoli.  

The international community is starting to take strong steps.  Obama announced that the U.S. would be imposing sanctions against Libya.  The UN Security Council is working on draft resolution to refer Libya (i.e., Guaddafi) to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to investigate whether war crimes have been committed.  There is a recommendation that Libya be suspended from the U.N., a proposal that would require 2/3 of the General Assembly to vote in favor of it.   France and Britain have proposed an arms embargo and financial sanctions against Libyan government.  NATO agrees to do an arms embargo and a travel ban against Libya.  

The Libyan ambassador to the U.S. spoke out urging international help for the people of Libya.  He reported that Gaddafi said in a recent speech that either he will rule over them or he will kill them, destroy them.  The ambassador ended his speech by saying, "Please, save Libya."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Foreigners in Cairo: Those who stayed and those who are returning

As you've seen from my other blog entries, I've been working on interviewing people from different backgrounds about the 18 days of Egypt's revolution.  This entry is the first of a couple dealing with what happened with foreigners living in Egypt when the revolution broke out.

The decision whether or not to leave Cairo when the U.S. Embassy was recommending all Americans evacuate (and other embassies were doing the same) was not an easy one to make.  For some people, like Fullbright scholars, 'non-essential' U.S. Embassy staff, and many people working with foreign companies, their jobs required them to evacuate, sometimes on very little notice.   Soon after January 28, we were discovering one friend after another was leaving.  I called the Turkish woman from my Arabic class to see how she was doing and she said she was at the airport, about to leave.  A day or two later, I called a Ugandan woman from my Arabic class and discovered her cell phone was shut off.  She later emailed to say she'd had to leave with very little warning so just had time to pack and get to the airport.

After a couple weeks, about half our foreign friends had left.  I remember being worried about running out of cell phone minutes (since for a couple weeks no stores had cell phone cards to put more minutes on your phone).  But as I scrolled down through my cell-phone directory, I realized half the people listed in my cell phone had left the country so I probably didn't need so many cell phone minutes.

Jeff and I decided to stay in Cairo because we felt were safe in our community (Maadi) which is more than a half hour train ride from Cairo's Tahrir Square.  We also wanted to stay to be in solidarity with the Egyptian people.  Our community, Maadi, has a high expatriot population (or it did before January 25) so businesses depend heavily on foreigners.  We have had many business owners, and ordinary Egyptians we pass in the street, say "We're glad you're here."  This blog entry will feature some foreigners who stayed in Cairo during the 18 day revolution and those who left, often because they were required to do so.

Here's a video of our first two friends to return to Cairo last week.
Here's the link to that video:

Here's a video of someone who stayed in Cairo and had an experience similar to some journalists:
Here's the link to this video if you have trouble viewing it on this blog:

This next video is of a man who told inspiring stories about his experiences with his neighborhood watch group during the week when things were the most challenging in Cairo.

Here's the link to this video:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Martyrs of Egypt's Revolution & many dead in Libya

The spark for Egypt's revolution started with this man:  Khaled Said, a 28 year old young man who was beaten to death after being pulled out of an cafe last June.  From this death came a movement triggered by a Facebook page:  We are all Khaled Said.  Here's a link to that facebook page:   Here's a New York Times article that describes more about the impact of this Facebook page which during the days of the revolution had 473,000 users.

This link takes you to a CBS article the tells more about Khaled Said's story and has a video that offers a two minute summary:
The video is narrated by, and an interview in it conducted by, CBS's news reporter Lara Logan, an excellent CBS journalist who later was covering Egypt's revolution from Tahrir Square on the night Mubarak resigned and found herself surrounded by people who thought she was an Israeli spy and ended up brutally beating and sexually assaulting her.  (Note:  From what I've heard, the use of the language 'sexual assault' in this case does not mean rape.)

Here's a video from Al Jazeera that I found online about Egypt's dead.  It was filmed before Mubarak resigned so begins with protests by mourners after the peaceful protests of Friday, January 28 turned violent.

Here are photos of some of young people who died in the revolution.  I took these photos of banners that were in Tahrir Square.  

This is the only woman I've heard about who was killed, but there may be others considering 385 people are estimated to have died.

Last Friday was a rally of more than a million people in Cairo's Tahrir Square.  The rally was to celebrate the gains of the revolution, to remind the governing forces that there are still unmet demands (like lifting the Emergency Law and releasing hundreds of people were detained for their political views or participation in the protests), and to remember those who gave their lives in the revolution.  Many of the Egyptians I saw there had this card hanging around their neck showing the photos of some of the people who died.

Unfortunately, I don't know anything about these young people and haven't been able to find their stories online, but work is being done to learn more about all those who died.  I spoke to an attorney from the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights who said that they are in the process of investigating this issue.  He said one thing that has been coming to light is that most of the people who died were workers and were from poorer neighborhoods.   This is not surprising considering that 40% of Egyptians who live on less than $2 per day.  

Another person who died was an Egyptian Journalist, Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud, age 36 , who was shot by a sniper when he was taking a photo of clashes with protesters in the street below from his Cairo balcony on Friday, January 28.   Here's a link to an article about this:

Here are two photos I found online of Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud.  This first one if from Democracy Now.  Here's a link to their story about this and other events.
This second photo of the journalist with his wife:

I've thought more about what conflicting emotions many Egyptians must have:  being thrilled about the revolution but also devastated by the loss of a family member or close friend.  Also, there are still many families who have lost a family member but don't know yet whether the person is detained somewhere or dead.  It must be very hard to be surrounded by such happiness and jubilation while also feeling so much pain.

News Update for February 22:

  •         The New York Times reported that three police officers were arrested in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city, and accused of firing live rounds of ammunition at protesters during the violence of January 28.    Here’s the link to that article:
  •         Egypt has said it would like the European Union to forgive its debt, though no formal request has been made.
  • Britain’s David Cameron came to Cairo to meet with Egypt’s Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafik.  Cameron told the press that one of the things on his agenda to discuss was the need to lift the Emergency Law that has been in effect for 30 years.  Here’s a link to an article about this:
  •  I went to my first class of the semester at American University in Cairo.  The class was moved from the downtown campus which is in Tahrir Square to the New Cairo campus about an hour away from downtown.  About half our class is composed of students who remained in Egypt for the past month, including several Egyptians, so it was a very interesting discussion. 
  •      Many people here are very concerned about what is happening in Libya where the government has had planes dropping bombs on neighborhoods that supported the anti-government protests and snipers shooting protesters and other unarmed civilians.   Human Rights Watch reports at least 233 dead; other accounts estimate hundreds more.  One man interviewed said one woman who went out on her balcony to look around was shot and killed.  One report said the press is not being allowed into Libya and Internet has been shut off (as happened in Egypt for almost a week during the revolution) and many phones have been shut off.  (Although I did hear late last night that one journalist from CNN had been able to enter the eastern part of Libya.  He is an American journalist who lives in Egypt.)

Egypt borders Libya on the east and Tunisia borders it on the west.   One critical difference between Egypt and Libya however is that the armed forces in Libya (many of whom it sounds like are mercenaries) are firing on civilians.  Al Jazeera reported that two Libyan fighter jets landed in Malta with the pilots defecting after refusing to fire at protesters.  CNN showed one video that was said to be the burned bodies of 6 soldiers who were unwilling to fire at protesters.   I got an email from one classmate calling what’s happening in Libya a massacre and urging people to write to President Obama about the crisis.  Here’s an article about what’s happening in Libya:

Monday, February 21, 2011

10 days after the Revolution

I'm still downloading videos from the mass protest this past weekend.  Here's one of my conversation with an Egyptian man on the Metro as we were both heading to Tahrir Square.  He is a lawyer by trade, though he's not working in his field now because there aren't enough jobs.  

Here's the link to this video if you have trouble viewing it from this blog:

News Update for Today:

*As the death toll of pro-democracy protesters in Libya continues to grow (now more than 100), a group of a hundred Egyptians and Libyans rally in Alexandria in support of the Libyan protesters.  Here’s an article about that:

*  Egypt has announced that the border crossing from Egypt to Gaza will be open in both directions by Tuesday (… it had previously been open only for those leaving Egypt and entering Gaza).

*  It has been announced that the Emergency Law will be lifted within six months.  On this topic, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradi was quoted as saying,"Egypt is the only country that has spent 30 years under an emergency law. It is a draconian law which affects civilians and a symbol of the authoritarianism and repression of the regime….     Abolishing it would be a sign that we are on the right path.."  Here’s an article about this:

* The state banks reopened today, as did the Giza pyramids and the Egyptian Museum.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Videos from Victory Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square

The Egyptian Gazette reports there were more than a million people in Cairo's Tahrir Square for yesterday's celebration/protest on Victory Friday.

Here are some short videos I took yesterday at the protest.  There are a few more that are still downloading that I will post in the next couple days.  This first one is of a young man who was in the square for the full 18 days and 17 nights.  I spoke to him on a side street next to Tahrir Square.  He was quiet and unassuming, and yet one of the heroes of the revolution.
Here's the link for this video if you have trouble watching it on this blog.

Link to the video:

Here's a video of some of the crowd:
Here's the video link:

Here's a link to the video:

News updates for today:

*  An Egyptian official has announced that the Emergency Law will be lifted within 6 months.

*  The Egyptian border crossing to Gaza has been reopened to allow Palestinians who have been waiting to return to Gaza to go home.  The border had been closed for the weeks during the protests.

*  There will be a 15% increase in social security for Egyptians effective April 1.  Here's a link to a newspaper article from an Egyptian paper about this:

*  The Military made an announcement about strikes:
 "The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will not allow the continuation of these illegal acts which pose a danger to the nation, and they will confront them and take legal measures to protect the nation's security."   This is reported in the newspaper article at this link:'s%20factory%20strikes%20despite%20warning

*  One opposition party, the Wasat party, which has been seeking official approval to be a political party for years has now been approved.

*  The Committee working on revisions to the Egyptian Constitution has said they will be finished in a few days.  The Committee was set up last Tuesday and given 10 days to revise the Constitution.

*  The Supreme  Council of the Armed Forces has decided not to prosecute a member of the military who gave up his weapon and joined the protesters.  Here's an article about this:'t%20punish%20protesting%20soldier

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Victory Day in Cairo, February 18, 2011

Today, Victory Friday, there were hundreds of thousands of people, maybe a million, in Cairo's Tahrir Square.  We went to the Square in the afternoon and met a few Egyptians on the metro ride who spoke English and said it was ok if we walked around with them.  Here's a picture of Cameron with our new friend Salma.
We were able to take the metro all the way to Sadat, which is the metro stop right in the Square.  This was the first protest in which the government (now the military) has left that metro stop open.  The metro was absolutely packed when we got off.  Coming up the stairs from inside the metro was jammed but people were patient waiting for their turn to get up the stairs to the Square.
Once in the Square, we saw masses of people.  This was my 4th or 5th time to Tahrir Square with the other visits on the other big protest days and this seemed like the biggest crowd yet.  We couldn't even get into the center of the Square because the crowd was so dense.  

There were soldiers on tanks stationed at the entrances to the Square.  They were just observing and some people were having their pictures taken in front of the tanks.

The feeling in the crowd was joyous, loud, and very, very proud.

People seemed very happy to see us.  In a time when so many foreigners have left and tourists are almost an endangered species, I think our presence is a sign to some that things are slowly returning to 'normal' in the sense of Egypt being frequented by tourists and inhabited by many foreign residents.  We didn't see any other foreigners downtown while we were there.

As I was taking photos of the crowd, there were several times when people wanted to take photos of me and my son.  They especially loved having their photo taken with Cameron.  He must have been asked to pose with Egyptians in about 10 different photos this afternoon.
One man even handed his baby to me so he could take a picture of me holding the baby!  Here's a photo of him as he's handing me the baby.
The crowds were so dense in the Square itself that I ended up taking most of my photos in the side street next to the Square where there was a little more room.  I also took quite a few videos that I will be downloading over the next couple days to post to this blog.

Here are some more photos I took of Egyptians at Tahrir Square on Victory Friday.

Many people had the Egyptian flag painted on their cheeks.

Many people were wearing these necklace cards with photos of 12 of the more than
350 protesters who died during the 18 day revolution.

In the conversations I had with Egyptians in the Square, people were jubilant, optimistic and in general seemed content with the way things are being handled in the one week since Mubarak resigned.  There were a couple people who said they wanted the 'whole government' gone, which I assume means they are not happy that the Cabinet of Ministers appointed by Mubarak are remaining in power.  

I heard on television news reports that some protesters still have concerns:    
* The Emergency Law, in effect since Mubarak took power almost 30 years ago, has not been lifted yet by the military.  (The Military has said they would lift the Emergency Law at some point but didn't say when.); 
*  There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of political prisoners who are still detained; 
*  Some people want a new constitution, not just quick revisions in 10 days; 
*  The police system remains the same; 
*  The problem of low wages has not been dealt with and workers have now been told not to strike in the future. 

I heard an interview with Mohammed ElBaradi this evening on CNN and he was critical of the military remaining in power, preferring instead for there to be a presidential council that would include a member of the military as well as civilian leaders. 
Nobel Laureate Mohammed ElBaradi
Meanwhile, as Egypt celebrates, we watch the violence, killing and mass arrests continue in Libya and Bahrain.  Many Egyptians are hoping Arabs in these neighboring countries can also get their freedom.  We have a Libyan friend and I asked him what he thought after Egypt's revolution succeeded.  He said, "Two down, many to go."  

On this same topic, here is a link to a 3 minute video from EuroNews called Tunisia's Domino Effect that offers a good summary of all the countries in this region where there are pro-democracy protests occurring.

Here's a very short video showing a small corner of the crowd at Tahrir Square today.

Here's the link to this video:

Friday, February 18, 2011

The revolution's human costs

Egypt's Health Ministry reported today, Thursday, February 17,  that the preliminary civilian death count for the 18 day revolution is at 365.  This number does not include police and prisoners who were killed.  If you'd like to read the article in the Egyptian Gazette about this, here is the link:

I heard a short interview with a police officer on AlJazeer news today discussing how some of those deaths happened.  Here's the link if you'd like to hear this two minute interview:

During the recent  police officer protests in Cairo, many officers have complained about the former Minister of the Interior, Habib El-Adly.   One Egyptian newspaper interviewed a police officer who reported that “Habib El-Adly is the one who gave us orders to fire live bullets on protesters, if we refused to do that, we would’ve been shot,” ..... “You can’t disobey official orders.”  Here's the link to that newspaper article:

I read one article (see link below) that said that Habib El-Adly gave police officers the order to leave their posts and go home so the protesters could experience anarchy.    When the police disappeared from the streets for a couple days in the middle of the 18 days of protest, looting began.  
The Associated Press reported Habib El-Adly was arrested today and charged with corruption. 

Though the civilian death count is certainly tragic, one news article I read yesterday showed that it might have been even higher had it not been for a critical decision by military soldiers.  An article I read from Daily News Egypt discussed this report from a journalist named Fisk:

"Fisk also claimed that on Jan. 30 -- the day a military fighter jet flew quite low over the protesters in Tahrir Square-- Mubarak gave an order to the armed forces to attack the protesters  in the square.  According to Fisk, military tank commanders in the area received the oder and then got on the phones to their immediate supervisors and/or fathers who had also served int he military for advice.  All said to disobey the order and not fire on the Egyptian people."

It is pretty amazing that a revolution happened without the military firing a single shot at the protesters.

On a different topic, below is an interview I did with a young woman who was part of the Tahrir protests from the start.  She first learned about the protests from a Facebook page.  
This video is available at this link:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cleaning Cairo

I've seen evidence of the "new Egypt" in walking around our community:  cleaner streets and green areas, a spirit of community service in the clean-up effort, and an effort to create a new mindset to keep things clean.  

Here's a link to a good video about the team-spirit of cleaning Cairo from the website of the UK Telegraph:

Two days after Mubarak's resignation, I was walking on Road 9 in Maadi, the main shopping street in this area, when a woman called out to me.  I didn't recognize her at first.  She was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, carrying a garbage bag and picking up trash.  I was used to seeing her in a suit jacket chairing Rotary Club meetings.  She's the President of one of the local Rotary Clubs.  She chuckled at how I didn't recognize her in her trash-clean-up clothes.  She told me that she was doing her part for the new Egypt.  Road 9, and many parts of Cairo, have been known to have quite a bit of trash around, but she was out there picking it up.  I asked her if people were helping her with the clean-up.  She said there were about 25 people helping.  She had just knocked on the doors of all her neighbors flats and they had come out to help pick up trash.  

Not only did Road 9 look cleaner, but the park area next to Road 9 had almost no trash anywhere on the ground.  Somebody had been hard at work.

This afternoon, while walking to Digla, a different part of Maadi, we passed a little green area next to the road that also looked beautifully clean.  

Then I saw sign posted next to this grassy area:
This new civic effort to clean up Egypt is also noticeable in the terms of cleaning up government.   There was an article in one of the Egyptian newspapers today about how the Central Auditing Agency filed a thousand reports on corruption with the Mubarak regime between July 2004 and July 2010, most of which were ignored.  Now this corruption is coming to light and will presumably be dealt with.

In other news, here's a link to a good interview I just watched on EuroNews with Ayman Nour, head of one of Egypt's opposition political parties.  It's 3 and 1/2 minutes and is quite substantive.

I believe Mr. Nour is the only person who has announced he will be running for President in the next election which will be no later than September.