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Dude! Egypt!

In high school, people would sometimes throw these massive parties in empty fields outside of town. “Where’s the party?” “Out in bum-fuck Egypt.” This was the extent of my knowledge about Egypt for years. It’s a long ways away. And perhaps gay?

Cut to the present, and I’ve got a good friend who lives in Alexandria and recently became an Egyptian citizen. We’ve been communicating quite a lot over the past week (since the internets were turned back on). And it’s been in a really lame code. Lame so that I know what the hell she’s talking about, but coded enough to keep the authorities from flagging our correspondence. I tell you what: it’s a different world over there. It’s like Egypt or something.

But if our correspondence has taught me one thing (or, I guess, confirmed one thing) about the events in Egypt, it’s that it’s complicated. Just like that Douthat fella admitted after stating the dumbest premise of all time.

In Egypt, millions are protesting. Some that aren’t protesting seem convinced that chucking Mubarak out of office isn’t actually a majority position. Which is sort of how I think of the Tea Party. And I’m sure that’s what the right thought about the anti-war protesters back in 2003. Or what they would have thought, if the protests had gotten any sort of television coverage.

But every time I think about writing something about Egypt, the very premise of the discussion changes.

The Democracy Now! coverage of the protests has been amazing. Sharif Abdel Kouddous, a senior producer on the show, is from Cairo, and has been in Tahrir Square reporting it all. They even had a work-around while internet and cell service were down. If you haven’t heard any of Kouddous’s reports, they’re worth listening to/watching. Absolutely riveting, sometimes terrifying, other times joyful.

But from my friend in Alexandria, I got this tidbit that I thought was just amazing…

Her husband’s cousin began his army service just a few days before the protests began. The training takes place in the desert just outside of Cairo. After a week or so, he was feeling a bit homesick and, using a secure army line, he called home to ask for them to deliver some food to the base. His family said, well, we’re not sure we can get it to you. “Why? What’s going on?” None of the soldiers in training at this base right outside of Cairo had heard anything about the protests.

It really is Not America over there, B&E readers. And that is my statement of the obvious for today.

Also, Frank Rich is smart.

One comment on “Dude! Egypt!

  1. Carrie on said:

    That’s funny. We used to say East Jesus, Kansas.

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