Saturday, April 05, 2008
Tonight I drink a rum and coke. Cubano rum. Imported from Canada. World-famous for rum. Right? I feel all right having a rum and coke because I canceled classes tomorrow. Why, you ask? It appears that the food strike is happening tomorrow. And our fair university sits right next to Midan Tahrir, where demonstrations are quelled before they are fully birthed, where a human chain of soldiers will keep foreigners moving happily along and use batons and guns for the smallest of offenses. Indeed, this government has been quelling the idea of the strike (which originated with textile workers who want a fairly basic wage increase so they can afford some fairly basic food) since at least Thursday, having already stationed a heavy military presence in and around the textile factories. It was unlikely that many of my students would come to class, but I was a little nervous to be in the vicinity anyway. It seems to me that when people are unable to get basic food, you've got a big problem on your hands. Another reminder of the place we live. We are often insulated from the vast poverty of Egypt (or it also may be that it gets harder to look it in the eye the longer we are here). I sit here (with my imported liquor, let me remind you) agape at the thought that people aren't allowed to hold a demonstration.