Monday, April 4, 2011

First thunder storm & apologies after Soccer Match violence

It rained yesterday.  This may seem uneventful to people back home, but here, it rarely rains (-- this is about the 4th time in the 8 months we've been here).  It rained for hour with poor visibility on the roads causing large traffic jams.  There is flooding with the rains since there's no where for the rain to go in many places.  I walked Cameron to school today and at first thought we were late because the playground was almost empty. They line up to go inside at 8:30am or so, and it was 8:31am, so I thought the children had already gone inside.  But when we got inside, his classroom was almost empty too.  Everyone was late because of the rain, the traffic jams, and the muddy walking situation.  Here are some photos of the street that Cameron's school is on.  We don't have a car here so we walk him back and forth to school every day.  When I take him, he rides his scooter, but scootering was a little tricky this morning.

I saw that the same storm that hit Cairo also caused a lot more damage in other parts of Africa.  Here's an article about Ghana where the heavy storm with high winds destroyed 150 homes, schools and other buildings, leaving 800 people homeless.

In other news, I've been watching the aftermath of the riot that broke out at the soccer match between Tunisia and Egyptian.  Here's a YouTube clip I found that shows the chaos:

Here's the link for this video:
You might want to watch the video right on YouTube since some of the comments that follow it are really interesting, reflecting on the violence the people from both these countries experienced during their recent revolutions and how there is still an element of 'thugs' that exist in each country and sometimes show their faces in unpredictable ways.  

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Prime Minister has made a formal apology to Tunisia.  Here's a link to tat story:

The article also discusses how Egyptian people have started a Facebook page to apologize to Tunisia.  The page already has 21,000 members.  This is another fascinating face of Egypt.  There is a strong desire of people in the community to try to make things right.  I saw it after the revolution in several ways.  The Giza pyramids people who charged camels and horses into the square to attack protesters during the revolution later invited the public to a party to apologize.  The security forces who shot tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters later demonstrated in the street saying they were sorry, that they were just following orders from a bad leader of the Ministry of the Interior, and chanting "The people and the police are one."  And then I also saw regular Egyptian citizens bringing beautiful bouquets of flowers to the police to thank them for protecting neighborhoods during the revolution and to try to begin a new relationship with the police.  (If you want to read more about this, here's a link to the prior blog post that has that story at the end:

On a different topic, I was interested to see that the Armed Forces have fired several top television news anchors after numerous protests about the bias coverage by the state television station.  
 This comes one week after a demonstration of thousands of Egyptians at the State Television building.  Here's what one Egyptian woman had to say at that protest.  She discusses how State TV was telling 'lies,lies,lies' during and after the revolution.  Her take on the revolution is that "everything will be ok because we stay in the streets."

Here's a link to the blog entry with other videos I took at that demonstration.

While there are many parts of the revolution that have not yet happened, I am pretty amazed sometimes about how there can be a large protest one day with a specific demand (e.g., that the prime minister resign, that the Security Forces be disbanded or that the leadership of state television be fired), and then it happens within the week.  In the U.S., things are much more deeply entrenched; one almost never sees such immediate results from protests.  It makes me realize more how the opportunities for change here in Egypt right now are tremendous.  The situation is still so fluid, with great potential to make progress on issues in ways that would not have been possible two months before and perhaps will not be possible 6 months from now.  It is a critical time.

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