|Post Revolution Buzz in Alexandria, Egypt|
After 30 years of dictatorship, like the faces of Egyptians, tired, worn out and without a future, the cities look very neglected, in need of uplifting. People's faces are already shinning with smiles and hopes of what their revolution will bring them, and the cities are slowly following them in their mood. It is a great feeling to be here, seeing this transformation.
It is “city repair,” a word coined in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A, meaning the same thing: common citizens taking ownership for their cities through their own creativity and initiative, rather than waiting for governments to do it for them.
Last Friday we woke up with cheers, five floors down on the street, on the sea side. It was the “Friday of Cleansing and Protecting the Revolution” here in Alexandria too. Although there is a sense of ecstatic victory in the air, Egyptians are not letting the ball drop. They want the army to push for more reforms, demand the release of all political detainees, dismantle the state security apparatus and put an end to the emergency law. They also want the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. They say they don't want just a merely change in names in the government, but real reforms. Shafiq is Mubarak's most prominent student, they say.
In Cairo, Sheikh Reda Ragab and Father Khazman, a Coptic church bishop, walked hand-in-hand through Tahrir Square to show that the former regime was the one fueling sectarianism, not them.
They were welcomed by cheers from protesters chanting “Muslim and Christians are one.”
All demonstrations have been peaceful, and although military tanks are still protecting embassies, consulates, historical sites, malls and major hotels, they are being used mostly as a tourist site as families can never get enough of photos of their children on top them. We have felt very welcomed and safe here. Tourism accounts for 11% of Egypt's employment and an annual revenue of $11 million dollars.
Although London and Paris have eased their travel warnings as the dust settles, the U.S.A recommendation is to “defer non-essential travel” to Egypt because of “continuing uncertainties regarding the restructuring of Egyptian government institutions.” Although we feel for the Egyptians' hardship, we can only say that we don't mind having Egypt all to ourselves.