“Woke up this morning…feelin fine…..” I seem to remember a song with those words. Well, thank God, I did wake up this morning feeling fine – more importantly I continued to feel fine after finding two emails from two different lots of people in my inbox. Both cancelling their reservations for next week at Mara House. Both were also intending to spend time in Cairo and see the sites there. They are afraid to come to Egypt because of the trouble in Cairo around the 6 October celebrations – or maybe I could say the media reports that they saw in their own countries about it.
I mostly don’t watch the European, American or Qatar TV channels since about a month ago – perhaps that is the biggest contributing factor to my peace of mind today. Neither do I follow or contribute to my Twitter stream in the addicted fashion I used to. As for Facebook I tend to share the funny and helpful stuff more than the political etc. now. Since there is no real major chaos or violence to report I notice a big fall off of interest on Facebook – not sure exactly what that says about our appetite for bad news as opposed to good news. My bad news was shared all over the place, my good news doesn’t get shared much – and I know it’s not because people didn’t see it because the page tells me how many people see the posts.
Flicking through the channels last night I stopped on BBC World as the newsreader said “Egypt” in the instant I was passing by….my stomach turned to hear her once again referring to the events of June 30 in Egypt as a “coup”. Don’t ask me what else she said. I heard the rest of the sentence before flicking to the next channel, but honestly my stomach did really have such a violent reaction that my memory did not retain what she said. Thank God I did not linger on BBC World last night or I am sure I would not have my peace this morning. Had I lingered I would most likely have ended up on social media for the night ranting about those news hogs.
My current state of mind is a bit of a mystery to me. I vacillate (by the way those big words I use just come into my head, they seem to fit with what I am writing, and no, I can’t spell them so I write them into google search for the correct spelling), I vacillate between a peaceful acceptance of not expecting any real show of tourists in Luxor this side of winter 2014 and outrage at what is going on with people, some that I know but most that I only know from the news.
The peaceful acceptance of the state of affairs in Egypt and our lack of tourists is a blessing, but it is a blessing that has come due to my efforts to reach that state and then allowing the holy whatever to do it’s work. The Egyptians themselves appear to have that blessing as a natural gift.
Every morning at 7am exactly, the door of the house across the road opens and the sound of horseshoes on concrete echoes in the silent, empty street. The owner is a Calesh Driver. The horse spends the night in the small house with the family – I have only seen through the doorway of their house once. To your eyes it would appear to be more of a stable than a home for humans. He feeds the horse, waters the horse and then hitches the horse up to the calesh. The driver’s wife comes out every morning to help him. That man has followed the same routine every day of his life. He has done it every morning without exception since January 2011. He goes to work again this morning and he looks very peaceful about it. But both he and I both know that it is most likely he will return tonight with empty pockets, as he has on so many nights since January 2011.
The same applies to the taxi drivers, the fellucca captains, the bazaar workers – all the workers who do not receive a weekly or monthly payment, but depend solely on the money earned from their day’s work. The hotel and restaurant workers stay at home, they have been ‘laid off’ – an entirely different situation to what happened here during the Iraqi War. That time the hotel workers asked if they could keep going to work without pay. This time they accept the return is not coming – the hotels and restaurants themselves are mostly in darkness in Luxor.
My guide, Mohamed thinks he will have to sell his car soon – he has sold everything else but held the car to the end as it is his transport to work when work comes. But he is now out of time and the news of my new cancellations are going to hit him. Even so, there is no new revolt happening in Luxor. These people are not revolting, protesting and demanding – they are waiting an expecting a miracle. So am I.
Among some, talk continues and work continues on ideas for improving Luxor and on trying to bring the tourists back. There are meetings, options and ideas are discussed, plans are made. That is very good – it brings hope and a feeling of ‘doing something’, a satisfying feeling of being involved, but that avenue of participation is not open to the majority who sit in silence in the ghost town that Luxor has become.
Then I look at the American people. The ‘non-essential’ people seriously, how can you describe a person as ‘non-essential’?) who have been sent home because those earning the big money once again show their blatant disregard and disrespect for the American people. For a week or two they will experience the uncertainty of Luxor but their situation will be brief. Their situation has to end sooner rather than later. I saw the story on Facebook about the guy who showed up to cut the grass at the war memorial and got chucked out by the security. I read the story of the woman buying her groceries with food stamps and the care she took before going to the shop, the care in making the list so she would be sure to buy only cheap but nourishing food within the confines of her stamps. I read about the cost of the Irish referendum on abolishing the Senate, which failed and thought to myself “how many more idiotic projects are the Irish Government throwing money away on instead of using is more wisely in the people’s interest?
So, here I am in Egypt vacillating (lovely word) between the peacefulness and stillness of hopelessness (smiling cos I am not sure they go together actually) and then the anger I feel at the people in power across the world, governments and media personnel still taking home OBSCENE pay-checks earned from the misery, sweat, blood, guts and tears of the greater world population. Those ones should be too ashamed to show their faces, but they are not – now there is where I lose my peace and my blood boils!
My personal miracle would be to see the mighty who care for nobody but themselves brought low, all the dirty cover-ups and secrets revealed, and a world where it would be natural for us to turn to our neighbour and say “how are you doing today? Are you ok? Let’s have a cup of tea…” Now, wouldn’t that be something!