The stupidity of little men with power knows no bounds. There has been a revolution in Egypt, you have all heard about it. What you don’t hear so much about is the misery people are living in since February in the towns completely reliant on the tourist industy, now completely in the toilet.Towns like Luxor where this morning at 9am the manager of the local electricity supply company (don’t know if it is government owned or not) is going around with 3 strong-arm guys and removing electricty meters from the houses of anyone owing 2 months supply who can’t pay.

I had a two month bill and was not in Luxor when he came but had left 700 LE there to pay the previous bill. The collector refused the 700 LE and threatened the house manager that if I couldn’t pay the meters would go in the morning. Sure enough the heavy gang arrived at 9.30. It was ok for me because I had organised extra money for the second bill to be given to the house manager over-night.

Almost everyone is out of work in Luxor, money is tight, it is Ramadan – supposed to be a time of good-will. How many houses to-night will have no light? How many babies, old people and sick or dying are now in sweltering heat without air-conditioning?

I will never understand what human beings do to each other. I have found that while they may be very friendly and welcoming people – I have yet to meet an Egyptian who understands the word “EMPATHY”

 

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous 17/08/2011 at 4:19 pm

    I suppose it will take some time until Egypt finds its feet. However I suppose not only those working on tourism are frustrated with the delay in getting things back to “normal”.

    I have been visiting Egypt every year on average over the past 10 years. Whilst Mubarak’s regime was oppressive and corrupt I noticed a big change prompted by the opening up of Egypt’s economy, in particular the development of the tourism industry, which benefited many Egyptian, directly and indirectly. I do hope that the army manages to regain control of the country soon to enable the economy to function again. It is only with that in place that a true debate about the political future of Egypt can be held and lasting solutions found.

     
  2. Mara 15/08/2011 at 10:07 am

    Hi Mona, thanks for your comment. I have been here almost 9 years now. Yes, tourism takes a dip in the summertime and I would normally be about 40% full for those months – other businesses would not be complaining either as it would be enough to keep everyone going to some degree.

    The problem is that Tahrir Sq. protests went on too long and even the groups participating could not agree with one another. After Mubarak left the divisions in Egyptian Society became more apparent. The night after night media coverage of this around the world – and they usually made it out to be worse than it was, gave the false impression that all of Egypt was fighting and demonstrating in the streets – whereas in fact life has been going on as normal in most places outside of Tahrir Sq. itself. This has gone on for 6 months and that was too long. Since Tahrir was cleared over a week ago the tourists are already starting to enquire again….AFTER TAHRIR STOPPED! However the enquiries are mostly from next April (EASTER). There will be a slight recover this winter season but not substantial as most people would have made their winter holiday – especially Christmas, bookings by now so they are guaranteed. Everyone knows the Christmas period is busy worldwide.

    The only factories worth talking about are all in Cairo. Outside of Cairo there is nothing except farming, construction and tourism – all of which is fuelled by income from tourism. Farmers are ok – they can at least eat, but their excess produce rots. What is everyone else supposed to do? 6 months now out of work. Some businesses have closed and don’t know if they will be able to re-open due to lack of money.

    The tourism industry is not just a few people selling souvenirs – it is the bus and taxi drivers, tour guides, hotel and cruise ship staff, restaurants, all types of shops not just souvenirs, these would include supermarkets, pharmacies, clothing all of which benefit from tourist trade, felucca and calesh families, growers who sell their produce to hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, income for EgyptAir internal and international flights, income for the trains, minibuses and coach companies and drivers, the small craftworkers making patchwork etc. the income for the country from the entry tickets to the Giza Plateau, Pyramids, temples, tombs, coptic and islamic Cairo, Citadel etc, major loss of income to Khal El Khalili – you see it is a bit more than a few souvenir sellers.

    And yes, you are right in saying it was the “well-off and wealthy middle and upper middle youths took the streets”. They did so without a plan other than to get the top man out of power. Without a plan of what to do after that, without a leader to suggest in place of him, and worst of all they continued in that vein for 6 months – they still don’t have a plan. They are ignoring the fact that there are elections coming up – I had to laugh yesterday when I saw this on Twitter from one of the Revolutionaries

    “Gsquare86 Gigi Ibrahim جييييج
    I am calling for a swimming sit-in past midnight in #sokhna to defy the 6pm #beachcurfew #sokhnaRights”

    You see where the focus stays? On sit-ins and protests on anything possible. So, yes I blame Tahrir going on too long without a unified objective to unite and take the country forward, for the economy being “in the toilet”.

     
  3. Mona AlSaiad 15/08/2011 at 12:43 am

    I don’t know how long you’ve been living in Egypt or Luxor for that matter but tourism in upper Egypt has alawys been slow to none during summer time. Almost all Tourism packages for Luxor and Aswan are during winter to early Spring so your blame about the revolution causing the slow down in the tourism industry at that time in this part is completely irrelevant , I’d wait till late November before making any judgements besides even if it were true that’s only normal in any country going through a major political change, of course some will suffer but the end goal is for everyone or you’d rather the entire country, those who work in factories and farms who by far out number those working in tourism suffer forever so the people in Luxor can sell souvenirs? that’s what I call empathy and the revolution was all about empathy when well-off and wealthy middle and upper middle youths took the streets and got shot and killed for the future of the entire nation.