What are you up to, Egypt?

The last six weeks that I have been living in Egypt, the ambient has been frantic due to Cairo´s nonstop city life; however, despite the daily chaos, life in Cairo has been safe and tranquil.

Yet, since my arrival I have discovered the unrest of half the population in Egypt toward its current president, Mohammed Morsi. Last year 51% of the people voted for him. Today, the other 49% of Egyptians have decided to get Morsi out of power.

“I am against Morsi because things are going from bad to worse,” says Mohammed Jamal, 24, who is in his residency year as a doctor in Cairo University´s hospital, Kosr El Ainy. “The promises he made before he took control, are not even close to what he is doing now.”


CAIRO— Posters in Tahrir Square against Morsi and promoting protest which will be held in various cities around Egypt on June 30th. (Photo: Constanza Gallardo) 

For the past five days, I started to feel a different energy from Egypt. Taxis became scarce, as it was difficult to find a driver that would agree to take me to my everyday destinations. Cab´s meters are now shut off as gas has come to be limited. Taxis are not the only cars running low on gas; for the past days, hundredths of cars have stayed in line for hours to get a full tank. Still, some people did not  get a chance to get gas after waiting for hours. And this is not only seen in Cairo, but also in other cities in Egypt.

Egyptians against Morsi have been planning to meet on June 30th and protest against his and her president, who has only been in power for a year. Nevertheless, protesters started to gather in Tahrir Square for the past week.

On June 26, I visited the Egyptian Museum which is located in Tahrir Square, and I could see people already camping, holding banners and Egyptian flags. Street vendors around the square have taken this situation to his and her advantage, and offer t-shirts saying “I love Egypt,” or “Rebel,” as well as the famous vendetta mask used in many protests around the world.

ImageCAIRO–Street vendors is Tahrir Square sell Egyptian souvenirs promoting the revolution and current protests. Many vendetta masks are seen around the square. (Photo: Constanza Gallardo)

“There is no scenario that someone is putting now, on how things will go,” says Jamal. “We can only expect violence between the people against and in favor of the president, which I think it is unavoidable.”


Mohammed Jamal, a 24 year-old medicine student who is currently doing his residency year at Cairo University´s hospital, Kosr Ainy.  (Photo: Constanza Gallardo)  

Tourism on a Breaking Point

However, here is where my concern flinches. I have been in Egypt for six weeks due to an internship where my main goal is to discover the country´s hidden beauties and promote external tourism. Over the weeks, I have traveled to some beautiful sites, and I have met friendly Egyptians that have welcomed me to his and her country, as well as helping me with any issue that has come across my path.

I have concluded that Egypt is a safe and beautiful country that the world should visit and appreciate, yet the country´s main problem is that the international media shows a different view. Everyone knows Egypt is full of history and ancient beauties that attracts people from around the globe, but is it a safe country to visit?

Unfortunately, the present protests and unstable democracy give a negative impression to the rest of the world. So, here is my question:

Egypt, what do you plan to do in order to tell the world that your home is a safe touristic destination?


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