November 22, 2011

Cairo blues

The Tahrir Square, again.

A year ago all the news channels of the world showed exciting pictures: the revolutions of the Arab world could change the life in Northern Africa and in the Middle East. First the Tunisian president fell, later the Egyptian president resigned, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi is dead. There are fights in Yemen, Bahrein and Syria.

For me the greatest surprise was the anger which resulted Egypt's Hosni Mubarak resignation. He ruled his country for decades and we, who visit Egypt regularly, saw his portraits everywhere. In this moment it's hard to decide if he was a cruel dictator or a president who worked for his country's peace and prosperity. As a traveler I appreciated his efforts to maintain peace with Israel and let the tourists visit many of the country's above and under water wonders.

For us it was a cheap world class destination but I confess I didn't think too much about its government. I don't like to talk about politics even in my home country, why should I discuss those affairs in a foreign place where I just dive and relax? But the local people did. And somehow they were able to change the situation. Sadly they aren't happy now, because they aren't satisfied with the new military councils plans. The general elections come but nobody knows if they will postpone presidential elections or not. Those people on the Tahrir Square don't want to see another dictator in the country. The news channels show pictures of fights from Cairo again and I don't know what will happen there in a week, a month, a year...

I think we can't really understand this country which has so long history from the ancient pharaohs. Egypt is a huge country but majority of the land is desert. Imagine an England where only the greater London area is inhabited! Too much people live in the Valley of Nile and many of them poor. They don't feel they are benefiting of the millions of foreigners who arrive to their country and spend a lot of money. They want changes. But nobody knows how to change to keep the income from the tourism and give more of that to the people.

We who traveled there regularly are worrying and waiting. I understand the Egyptians but wouldn't be happy to lose a favorite destination because of emerging aggression and impatience. Sadly I can't do anything. The Egyptian people had to decide and I respect their choice. I wish a better future for them, for the country and for us as well.

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