More on Egypt, Mother of the World
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Responding to my recent blog — my memories and photos of Cairo over half a century old — a good friend sent us the following. Ginny Papadopoulo is a school teacher who has long lived in Cairo at ground level. An American formerly married to a Greek, Ginny once upon a time ran a folk music cafe in Boston where people like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez performed, and later taught special ed in Kuwait. She adores Egypt — but is far from romantic about current conditions:

I wish I had more to report from Cairo, but it is just the same. I am not close to any demonstrations, but they do go on every Friday and Saturday. Muslim Brotherhood is digging in their heels and not backing down. They want the military out and their brothers out of jail. The longer I am in Cairo the more I believe the people want the military keeping their boots on their necks. Democracy as we know it will never happen. You must change the mindset of the people and I work very hard to teach my 4 year olds to work together for a better country. Their parents certainly don’t get it. It breaks my heart to see the poor struggle for bread and clean water and are still paid peanuts. I just heard that the workers at my school are paid $43 per month. I give and give during the holidays and whenever I can, and I know it is not enough. All I get are glimpses of what the real poverty is. We cannot imagine. I was communicating with a woman who grew up in the 1930s-40s in Zemalak, and her father was some big diplomat or director of the university or something. Once she understood what Cairo meant to me, she had nothing to say. She only wanted to relive the dream world she came from. What do I expect.

Photos by William Carter: Oil drum carrier, can carrier, box carrier: In the oil-rich Middle East, widespread poverty and human displacement bloom amid top-down rule and the wealth of extractive industry.

Sentinel statue: Checking the View: Supreme Egyptian Military Headquarters, Heliopolis (Cairo):.

Man in car: “Meanwhile, the rich get…”: U.S.-favored former Tunisian ruler Habib Bourguiba, 1965.

Black and white photos uncredited, via William Carter courtesy Camera Press (London).

Meanwhile, fundamentalists of every stripe have always liked to impress with “shock and awe”