The following thoughts/questions came to mind as I stood there.
1. Tahrir Sq. is the hub for traffic entering and leaving Downtown Cairo – apart from the tents in the Centre of the sq – how many of those that appear on the TV shots and photos are actual activists/protestors as opposed to those people walking to work, passing through or (like me) just going for a look?
2. How many are traders, homeless and jobless? From watching the #Tahrir Twitterline I have noticed many ppl tweeting the fact that they are either coming from or going to work from Tahrir.
3. The first round of the elections have shown that the divide between Islamist and non-Islamist parties is 50/50 at the moment. It is a pity that those in Tahrir who are so anxious for a new and democratic Egypt don’t use their time and minds in a more practical, constructive way and go promote some of the parties whose ideas they agree with most. It is a bit crazy to my thinking that having actually started on the road to Democracy they are still stuck in the “rebel without a cause” mode in Tahrir, holding up traffic, instilling needless fear which is deterring tourists from coming when they now have the opportunity to put people into office that they support. I hope they become more positive in their outlook – they have about 6 months in which to work to put their candidate into the Presidential Office.
So, that is Tahrir. Now you might want to switch to something more interesting because the rest of my photos show what is happening directly outside Tahrir Sq and in the surrounding streets this morning. Life is, as it has been, going on as normal. People are on their way to work, buying their food etc. You will see the traffic cops are on duty, the street cleaners are sweeping the streets – oh and I had a wonderful chicken, tahina, tomato and parsley roll from the Felfela Fast Food outlet just down from Tahrir Sq. on Talaat Haarb St. As I walked along enjoying my take-away breakfast a few people asked me where I was from, what I thought of the elections and of Tahrir Sq. To which I replied “I think the elections were wonderful and hope it will continue, I wish Tahrir would go home and stop holding up the traffic and the Economy!” Of the 5 people who asked me – all 5 agreed with me and said they didn’t want them there either – one man asked me (as a foreigner) would I go to Tahrir on a big truck with a microphone and tell them that, because they are not listening to anyone else telling them to leave! I told him I am doing it more or less everyday on the internet – he shook his head as we parted ways.
As you can see – life is going on as normal – outside of Tahrir Sq., what more can I say? If you are planning to come to Egypt and worried about the revolution and your safety – of course I cannot guarantee it – no more than your safety can be guaranteed anywhere in the world. All I can say is that there is nothing directed at tourists, the sites are as safe as they were before the revolution and they are open. Luxor and Aswan are not trouble spots. Your hotels will tell you if there is any trouble, problems or danger to you. In Cairo – don’t go to Tahrir – that’s it!