Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
truth? i feel safer now in cairo than i ever have in egypt in the past two years.
cal and i walk from a friends house in maadi neighborhood, down to the corniche, escorted by a young tall vigilante with a bald head and a large stick. every few streets we pass another bonfire, a few men sitting next to the fires or pacing their sticks and clubs in hand. ready.
the night crackles with the burning of fallen wood and debris on the black concrete streets.
at the corniche a couple of vigilantes, no older than 21, one carrying a golf club (at which i just giggle because maadi is the upper class neighborhood in cairo, and of course they would be swinging golf clubs, even though i have never seen a golf course in this city.) and a perfect american accent. they offer to catch us a taxi as we sit next to the fires. the vigilantes stop every car, check the drivers ID, open the trunk and if it is a taxi, ask if they can take us to doqqi. 15 mins later we are in a taxi .
we drive through the checkpoint after checkpoint, at least 20 checkpoints, one ever 1/4 kilometer or so. the night is lit from the side road, side fires, warming the cool january night.
the routine: we get stopped. the boys check the drivers id. he explains that we are foreigners. and chuckles at the vigilantes enthusiasm. pops the trunks so they can make sure there are no weapons or other undesirable items in it. the vigilantes smile at us, apologize for the inconvenience, 'its for peace', they say, we smile back. salam waleikum, and feel slightly giddy seeing men, teenage boys, fathers, grandfathers with grey hair and slower steps but lithe bodies resting their wooden sticks, baseball bats, metal poles on their shoulders or learning on them like a cane.
the vigilantes move the handmade barricade (often times obviously taken from the police and other times a creative mix match of wood and metal signs and whatever else could be found) and we drive through. as the vigilantes wave goodbye to us.
a lot of the looters have been found to be supported by the state authority. the suspicion is that mubarak is trying to create insecurity and chaos so that his way, his rule, will seem more palatable than this freedom. as he said in a speech earlier this week: there is a thin line between chaos and freedom.
the cairenes i have talked to seem to have one response to that:
get the fuck out.