… and Cairo isn’t Egypt. In any way you can think of.
We went about 1.5 hour south of Cairo, 40+ degree on an endless desert road. Final destination: the urban hinterland of Fayoum where farmers and fishermen live and work.
People in their villages experienced the revolutionary days totally different from those in Cairo. There were protests for 2 or 3 days, but military and police immediately cracked down on them. So people watched it on televison – and kept on fighting their daily struggle to survive: meaning making enough money to feed the family … don’t even think about sending their kids to school. BTW: the non-official illiteracy rate is about 60-70% in Egypt!
We spoke to a few people – and to be very honest – I am not sure if some of them simply “re-phrased” what they’ve heard on TV – make up your own mind when you see the videos (we’ll subtitle them, they will be available soon).
This gentleman here, being enthroned on the balustrade of the veranda and surrounded by at least 20 neighbours – yes we were the “attraction of the day” in this village – told us there for their lives it doesn’t make any difference who controls Cairo – none of them ever had and ever will take care of the poor.
He owns land close to the village but he can hardly make a living from it.
This man below runs a hardware store, located just right next to the main road – actually all stores and all houses in this area are located right next to the main road.
He told us that he went to the protests in the village in January – but just to see what was going on. He didn’t actively participate. When we asked him if he experienced any changes since then he said: “At least once in my lifetime I smelt the air of freedom”.
Besides all the poverty and the frustation we saw this day, there was one promising thing which these people in the desert share with their fellow citizens in Cairo: Both won’t accept a military regime and both won’t accept an Islamistic Egypt. No doubt on this!