“Egypt, the land of the free” No you must mean somewhere else right? Surely? A week is a long time in politics as they say and well it took 18 days in Egypt, the pace of life is a bit slower here, sorry for that. As you have probably gathered by now I am a new paper guy at heart, I live in the desert and up a mountain but when a story is in front of me I see it in print.
Over the years I have had a lot of stick for what ‘ the press’ have done, always negative, never ever a good word. 80 million people have put up with Mubarak for 30 years, I feel naughty writing this even now, you were (are?) legally not allowed to say a bad word about him. Every one has a picture of him above their desk in Egypt. I am now getting the picture I put in my last post called ‘Power to the People’ printed up and will have it above my desk in Siwa, I like tradition:)
America with all it’s power and CIA agents, England with it’s James Bond department and the millions invested in humanity projects in Egypt changed diddly squat . A few thousand guys protested in Tahrir square, they were shot at, they were beaten, they where the good guys shown to being treated like dogs by the incumbent dictator, and he fell. He fell because those thousands of people gave their all and risked their lives.
And this is the point every one misses: the camera man from CNN: the photographer from Reuters: the reporter from the BBC also risk their lives. The secret police where going around rounding up any one with a camera or microphone, they shot into the crowds, don’t tell me the camera men were not targets. ‘The press’ risked their lives to get the message out, no matter what the cost to themselves. Not a word. It’s all taken for granted that this sort of information is pumped 24/7 around the world in a time of crisis.
The mixed cocktail of fearless protesters AND journalists have changed Egypt for ever, hopefully for the best. Who ever comes to power now will know one thing, don’t fuck with the protesters and don’t fuck with their best friend, ‘the press’. The average Egyptian has now learnt he does have a voice, he can be heard, its called Al Jazeera, CNN and the BBC and pretty soon it will be several new independent channels in Egypt that will be out for the new government guts, keeping them in check and always looking from the peoples point of view.
Egypt is coming back to normal. We now have guests back in Siwa but many people who were planning on coming to Egypt this year are talking to their friends about their trip. “Egypt, your not seriously thinking of going there still?.” they say “Oh my god your insane, cancel your holiday!”
Their friends panic makes them cancel, not in their thousand like in Taharir sq, but in their millions. The point is, the people that have told them they should not go to Egypt, would never go to Egypt ever under any circumstances as they go to Malaga every year and, why would any one go any where else. I mean?
Many tourist businesses we work with are now left empty and guess who’s fault it is, oh yes. ‘The press’
I am now getting the comments I am so used to. ‘ They make a big deal about what happened last week, why don’t they write about what is going on here this week and say it is perfectly safe to come back and carry on as normal? I point out they may well have done but super man has been sent to cover Iran…
I’m a news guy and I know what the power of the press has been all my life, I have seen first hand the power of the people in the last month and the molotov cocktail of power you get when you mix the people and the press together.
So… for the record, we have had a single woman traveler stay with us in Siwa whilst the unrest was at it’s height, we now have guests staying with us in Siwa today, like nothing had happened. ( It would take a nuclear bomb to go off in Siwa for them to even notice a change). Egypt is safe to travel in, its is buzzing at the moment, its carnival time, EVERY ONE is in a good mood, even the hated police are giving their bosses a hard time openly in from of the cameras now!
Any one who is thinking of canceling their holiday to Egypt ( lucky for us all our guest have confirm they are still coming:) it’s simple, you ignored you boring neighbors advance about going to Egypt before and were set on coming – keep ignoring them and enjoy every moment of telling them your tales from the desert when you get home and showing him the little piece of razor wire you picked up in Tahrir sq you found lying on the floor, that you might now put on ebay 🙂
I did not do my ‘the press’ bit in Tahrir sq, ( I assure I would have loved to) as I am fighting a ‘the press’ battle on another front somewhere in Romania, ( long story) but I will now do my little bit for the Egyptian tourist business and pump this little blog out to every travel section of every newspaper in the UK asking them to do a piece on life returns to normal in Egypt.
So, if your a travel editor in London and your reading this, show them what you can do and give me a call on 00407251414545, I can get you a great story on how a bunch of women have kept a little mud hotel in an oasis called Siwa in the Sahara desert open through the whole revolution and…
LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTION! Egypt before was all about it’s past, come and see all that and it’s present chapter in history… yet to be put in a museum.
We had an absolutely amazing time in Siwa, last week; and even though countless friends and family back in the states urged us to cancel or postpone our trip, we never thought of cancellation as an option…our biggest obstacle was getting the airline to fly us into Cairo.
When we arrived, even though Mubarak had already resigned, we were like “What’s the big deal?” There was not a single moment inside or outside of Cairo where I felt that maybe it wasn’t a good time to be there.
We had planned this trip for months and the Somewhere Different team was fantastic, from the start of our trip to the end.
Kudos to all of you, and keep up the great work. I will be back someday very soon!