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Posts tagged ‘Mohamed Morsi’

Urban Warfare

Well, I’d been concerned these blog postings had been getting a bit banal, but this week we have some real excitement in the form of ROCKET PROPELLED GRENADES. Ironically, although I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to distinguish between gunshots and fireworks (the popping sounds are usually fireworks), when I was awoken by two huge booms at 4:30 a.m., I told myself it was nothing and just rolled over and went back to sleep.

Wrong again. Good thing I’m not a war reporter. Turns out a couple of over-armed black-masked men decided to try to take out a TV satellite dish; the main satellite field is located uncomfortably close to our house. A couple of days later, video of the attack surfaced on the Internet. The guys behind it were members of a Syrian group with ties to Al Qaeda. Fantastic.

The assault on the satellite dish was the topper to the October 6 holiday, Armed Forces Day. There were festivities throughout the country. Needless to say, the MB thought the day presented a terrific opportunity to once again make their point that they are waiting for their democratically elected leader Mohammed Morsi to resume his rightful place at the helm of the Egyptian state. By the end of the day, more than 50 were dead and hundreds had been injured.

Also on the urban warfare front: we have defeated the army of ants that had invaded our home. O came from New York armed with heavy artillery in the form of massive doses of ant poison. The traps proved fairly useless, but the poisoned gel that we piped into their lair did the trick. We can now leave food out in the open for more than 10 seconds without an ant assault. There are still a few stragglers, but we have at least temporarily defeated the occupying forces.

O also brought with him a basketball hoop for T’s birthday. It was the one thing T told me he really wanted our house in Cairo to have, and he’s thrilled now that it’s here. He and X go out and shoot hoops nearly every day. And since there still isn’t a ton to do IN the house, it’s a relief that they have something to do outside.

On the household front: The couch is due to be delivered any day now. I can’t wait. The carpenter stopped by yesterday and said he had finished building the loft beds and now they just needed to be stained. He had come to the house with swatches so the kids could choose fabric for their desk chairs. The choices were pretty limited but they both opted for a funky 60s-style graphic black-and-white print with bright orange and red accents. Quite cute.

Finally, I realized I’d never closed the chapter on the shocking dishwasher. It’s still electrifying—apparently that’s just par for the course here, where nothing is grounded. But supposedly the previous tenants, who worked for a big oil company had an electrician who did ground the appliances, and there was some sort of extra wire that nasty Zanussi guy didn’t know how to deal with. So he attached it to the sink, and hence the jolting water. The electrician came and took care of that, but the dishwasher still zaps us. There’s a switch on the wall that cuts power to it, and he told me to just turn it off between cycles, which we now do. The one time I forgot, I got a little shock again. But now my laptop zings me as well, so I’ve decided to learn to live with it. Maybe all the extra electricity will be like getting hit by lightning and I’ll develop some sort of superpower.

 

Revolution 2.0

Things have been busy here and obviously a lot has happened since my last blog posting—both in my life and in Egypt. First up, there is a new government in Egypt now and what that means for the country is still uncertain. One thing is clear: the Muslim Brotherhood ain’t happy about it.

A lot of my friends have been in touch asking if I am still planning to go. The short answer: for the moment, yes. What I mean by that is, I haven’t decided not to go, but I also realize that things could further destabilize there.  At this point I’m working under the assumption that I’ll be moving next month but am watching closely and am ready to pull the plug on our plans if need be. I guess I should start formulating a Plan B…

The truth is, much of what is happening is what should have taken place the first time around. There should have been a caretaker coalition government and a constitution should have been written before elections were held, which is hopefully what will happen now, although even that isn’t a foregone conclusion. Yes, Morsi was democratically elected but he was well on his way to becoming a dictator and was running a regime that was far from democratic.

It’s important to keep in mind that, with the Egyptian Army controlling about a third of the economy, very little happens there that they don’t want. Their hand just shows more obviously at some times than at others. How they integrate the Brotherhood will be the key to future stability. Sending them underground will have perilous results; the factions that are willing to be part of the political process need to be cultivated and included.

A lot has happened on the personal front as well. For starters, my grandmother died a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say, I am heartbroken.  I really wanted the boys to have a chance to get to know her, and I can’t imagine what it will feel like for me to be there without her; she was my anchor. But she was 95 years old and was ready to go and didn’t suffer too much in the end, so there’s that to be thankful for.

Despite the unrest, school is currently scheduled to start on time. We signed and sent the money for the villa, so we’re committed there. I was relieved to have a place to move into right away; now it’s feeling like a bit of a burden to be tied to a place—not to mention, I’m wondering if we could have gotten a better deal if we’d waited. But what can you do? It’s done. I haven’t booked our tickets yet, and I’ve noticed that airfares are dropping, so at least we’ll save money there.

The boys seem to be feeling pretty good about the move, although we’ve shielded them from news of the latest round of violence. T has been emailing with a couple of boys who are going to be in his grade, which has him raring to get over there and has even eased some of X’s anxiety. Now that school is over and he’s not being reminded daily of what he’s leaving behind, even X starting to look ahead with more optimism.

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