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Week of November 15

 

 

 

Week of November 15

 

On Monday, Nov. 16, I went to a Cairo Brass Quintet concert at AUC Tahrir in Oriental Hall. The members were Egyptian, Russian, and Japanese! They were very good, and played mostly jazz, ragtime, New Orleans blues, and some more Middle Eastern music.

 

On Tues, I went to hear a talk in the Political Science Department given by fellow Fulbrighter Scott Hibbert about religion and politics in the US elections in the last 25 years.

 

On Wednesday, Egypt played Algeria in a winner-take-all situation for the last African spot in the 2010 World Cup. The game was in Sudan, and I went over the Sussan Babaie and Richard’s to watch the game. Sussan’s mother and cousin were there visiting as well. We had dinner and then watched the game. Egypt played terrible, and lost 1-0, squashing their hopes of being in the World Cup for the first time in 20 years. In the days after the match, there were unsubstantiated reports that Algerians attacked Egyptians in the Sudan, and some people were barricaded in buildings and couldn’t get back to Egypt. Rumors that famous Egyptians—actors and singers, and Mubarak’s two sons—were also fearful of their lives just added to the drama. The next day, there were reports (even a Warden message from the US embassy to all Americans living in Cairo) that Egyptians had surrounded the Algerian embassy in Zamelak and were throwing Molotov cocktails and breaking windows were also spreading. Reports of deaths on both sides were also swirling around. I suggested to my students the next week that we really don’t know the truth about who started what, and they were aghast that I would even suggest that Egyptians started the problem. They didn’t like the idea I touted that maybe the Egyptian government was even using reports of Algerian abuse to their advantage to deflect criticism away from the regime.

 

On Thursday, I met Hassan Awad in front of the Imam Hussain mosque in Khan-i-Khalili. He had called and said that he was conducting a tour from the US, and had this evening free while in Cairo. It was great to see him, and we sat in a coffee house and had tea. Then we walked to the Attaba Metro station for me to journey back to Maadi and he was going to bed early to be ready for his tour tomorrow.

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