Back to Cairo after 6 years

Source: Egyptian Institute For Studies
Author(s): Francesca Borri

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Back to Cairo after 6 years

Whoever stands against general Sisi, here, ends up in jail, or disappears: it is well known. But it’s kinda normal. Today Egypt is somehow off the radar. Research institutes have no recent report on the country. Even the Lonely Planet travel guide is out of stock.

Tourists, analysts, journalists: everybody left.

Returning to Cairo is disheartening. In 2011, the youth of Tahrir Square were a role model for youth from all over the world: even for Americans, who found Arabs a source of inspiration, for once, and in New York occupied Zuccotti Park. Back then, you came here and recharged. There was energy in the air, imagination. Courage. Now Tahrir Square is not even a square anymore. To hamper rallies, it’s been crammed with walls, pillars, the vents of a new underground parking. Barriers of all sorts. From armoured jeeps, snipers guard entrance streets. While a drone guards everything else. Nothing’s left of those moments. Egyptians look at you wearily. And worried about the future. Bad day?, I say to a juice seller. “Bad life,” he says…

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