laura el-tantawy – cairo

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Laura El-Tantawy

Cairo

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Editors note:
After a week of shooting and updates, this is an edit of Laura’s work…she leaves tomorrow to return to London….this is her final essay.
-dah-

February 11, 2011

Cairo, Egypt

I was in Tahrir Square when it happened.

Two weeks ago I arrived in Cairo determined to tell a story. I came here to document what I now know is the most significant chapter in my generation’s history as an Egyptian.

Friday February 11, 2011 felt like a normal day in the square.

Crowds slowly filtered in to join the weekly Friday sermon and prayers. The night before had ended in utter devastation as news had spread the Egyptian President would resign his post — a much anticipated cause for joy for the hundreds of thousands (at times estimated in the millions) who had made Liberation Square their home for the past 18 days. But their hopes ended in tears as Mubarak once again asserted his authority and military pride as a former member of the Egyptian armed forces and refused to meet their demands.

I was in the square photographing as I had been for the last few days. I chose to take the square as my focus, trying to highlight the human element and the square as a symbol of a new Egypt. Moments after crowds took part in Maghrib (sunset) prayers, people tuned into their radios, televisions and mobile telephones to listen to a statement from the Presidential Office. Given the chaos of the last few days, it was hard to predict what this statement might unveil. Anything could have happened.

But for the resilient protesters who were determined to have their demands met, they knew it was a matter of days before the regime gave in. For days their chanting had changed from, “The People Demand the Regime Step Down” to “The People Have Already Toppled the Regime.”

In my line of vision, I saw a group of five or six youths silhouetted by the glimmering sunset jump and strike their fists in the air. They said, “We did It! He’s Gone.”

Seconds later the entire square joined in, chanting “Allahuakbar” (God is Great) and “Lift your Head Up high, Your Egyptian”. Their echoes could literally be heard throughout the entire city and surely the country.

I never really grasped the extent of people’s determination to topple the regime. The two weeks I spent in Tahrir Square were an education. The more time I spent there, the more I realized something big was about to happen. Looking at the people sleeping in makeshift tents in the cold, under the rain, eating bread and boiled eggs for days on end showed me a sense of resilience I thought we had long lost as Egyptians. The stories people told, how they had lost their dignity, pride and their dreams during Mubarak’s 30 years of ruling the country.

Friday, February 11, 2011 is a day that will never be forgotten. It’s the day when the people’s persistence for change forced a dictator to step out and let a dream in.

I was there…

——

February 6, 2011, 3:17 p.m.

Everyone has a story to tell at Tahrir Square.

For nearly two weeks, thousands of protesters have made this former bustling part of the Egyptian capital their home–literally sleeping in makeshift tents on the ground and along the pavement. Some don’t sleep at all, but take turns guarding the roads leading into the square from attacks by pro-government supporters, or hired thugs.

Tahrir (Liberation) Square has become a microcosm of Egyptian society. The protesters here represent all classes of people, from the art world, politicians, engineers, lawyers, bankers, school teachers, government employees, construction workers, plumbers. They all came here to fight for something.

Abdel Rahman Mohamed Atif and his wife, Dalia, cradled their two babies as they walked through the square on a recent morning. Their faces were beaming as their eyes searched around, hearing the booming loudspeaker broadcast anti-Mubarak chants: “The People Demand the Regime Step Down.” They armed cradled their babies higher, lifting them up into the air so they could breathe the spirit of freedom echoing throughout the square.

On the other side of the square sat Ashraf Abdelhami, an Arabic teacher at one of Egypt’s most prestigious universities, the American University in Cairo (AUC). He has been at Tahrir Square since Tuesday January 25th, a day the protesters dubbed the ‘Day of Rage’. On that day, his body was sprayed by bullets fired by the Egyptian police, their traces still bruising his body. “I don’t want Mubarak’s regime. I don’t want the police” Abdelhamid said. “We are suffering and I’m here for freedom,” he added.

Across the other end of Tahrir Square sat a young farmer, Qutb Ali Ibrahim al-Sayes. He traveled from the town of Kafr al-Zayat in western Egypt to support the anti-government demonstrators. He said he was there “…for the freedom of my children.”

There are many more stories on Tahrir Square. I have seen many people weeping in the last few days and heard heartbreaking stories from people I have never met before. Protesters here vow not to leave the square until Mubarak has stepped down, seeing him as a symbol of a chain of corruption that has plagued the country for generations to come.

——

February 3, 2011.

My name is Laura El-Tantawy and I am an Egyptian citizen.

Twelve years ago my life changed dramatically. I still remember the day—the exact moment. It was just after sunrise had ushered in a new morning. I stood under Cairo International Airport’s flickering fluorescent lights, my heart pounding ahead of what was about to happen.

I knew my life was about to change forever.

My whole family surrounded me. My weeping mother and worried father. My ailing grandmother—my uncle, aunts, sisters, cousins. I will never forget the moment my mother and father had to let go of my hand. Their eyes holding back a silent pool of tears.

That was my reality.

This is not just my story. I am merely one of thousands, if not millions, who had to leave Egypt to pursue a better life. My family and I have endured a diaspora that has affected many Egyptian families who had to be broken apart in pursuit of a better education, better career, better treatment and ultimately a better future.

I have now lived away from Egypt for more than a decade but my heart has always been here and I know it will forever stay here. I am 30-years-old and Mubarak is the only President I have ever known. In his years of ruling this country I have seen so much injustice happen to the people. Many times I wondered how the human spirit can be so mean—so corrupt. I have wondered how the obvious sadness I saw in people’s eyes could go unnoticed by the government. I wondered how the Egyptian people were so put down socially, economically and politically that their defeated spirit had lost the natural ability to dream.

I do not represent all Egyptians but my opinion is certainly shared by many. When people took to the streets more than a week ago I felt like I had to be among them. This was my story: my present, past and future. This is the story of my generation of young Egyptians who have felt like foreigners in our own land.

Today I stood in Tahrir (Liberation) Square where a unique spirit echoed throughout every corner. I saw men and women weeping: “We are loosing our country,” they muttered. I saw men bleeding, saying they would rather die on Tahrir Square than have Mubarak remain in power. Today I saw Egyptians beating each other, saying they will kill one another. Today I saw an Egypt split apart by political turmoil.

I stood bewildered and confused. This is not the Egypt I know. The Egypt I knew screamed in silence but today people screamed at the top of their lungs. I was torn between photographer and protester. I wanted to scream and at moments cry. I wanted to hug people and thank them for their courage. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs with them.

Today I stood in Liberation Square and for the first time in my life I said: My name is Laura El-Tantawy and I am a proud Egyptian citizen.

Bio

Laura El-Tantawy is an Egyptian photojournalist and artist based in London, UK. She studied journalism & political science at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia (USA) & started her career as a newspaper photographer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Sarasota Herald-Tribune (USA). She became a freelance in 2006 and has since exclusively worked on self-initiated projects. Her work has been been published & exhibited in the US, Europe, Asia & the Middle East. Laura lives between the UK, her country of birth, and Egypt, where she associates most of her childhood memories.

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Laura El-Tantawy


120 Responses to “laura el-tantawy – cairo”


  • Great start. Very fast turnaround. Looking forward to seeing more. I applaud Laura’s bravery and that of all working in Cairo at the moment. Please be careful. That sounds like a silly thing to say but I can say from personal experience that sometimes we are not as careful as we ought to be.

  • Laura: thank you, for being there, for acting, for letting me see, hear and feel history from the inside..

    Be as careful as you can!

  • Some early morning thoughts:

    We in America do not know. We play pretend patriot. We go to rallies, hold our placards, scream horrible, vile things about our leading politicians. We accuse them of “socialism”, “fascism”, “Marxism”… call them “Nazi”, “tyrant” etc (all at the same time! haha *major eye-roll*..)… we do not know. We carry the banners of yesteryear… “Don’t Tread on Me!” Wear our yesteryear tricorn hats, talk about the tree of liberty needing to be refreshed, as if the United States of America were preparing to throw off the chains of oppression, of tyranny, removing the canker of Kings and monarchy as if it were 1775…we do not know. Prominent politicians and talking heads deeply ignorant of history–and possibly mentally disturbed–go on and on, thrilling millions of like-minded ignorants on a daily basis with talk of revolution, with the threat of a coming tide of terrorist-loving muslim-socialist-Nazi-Caliphate taking over the world…we do not know.

    We have no idea what real tyranny looks like. What real patriots look like. What true rebels with humanistic values trying to fix their lives, their community, their country…people who really are trying to throw off real chains, real tyranny, real dictatorships… they know, Laura and her family know. I am horribly embarrassed to watch the events unfolding in Egypt (and Tunis and elsewhere!) then see the Sarah Palins and Glen Becks of the world and their followers revealing the true fatuous-ness and dimwitted-ness that is the prevailing disposition of America today.

    Laura, stay safe. Keep at it. Great series so far. Will be here in and out to see the rest.

  • We have no idea what real tyranny looks like…

    What you mean, “we,” Kemosabe?

    That aside, yes, nice work, I too look forward to seeing more.

  • Strong work! A very brave woman and I´d love to see more of her view in the next few days…but it´s simple for me to ask for more…I am sitting comfy in my studio with my kids running round having fun. I can´t help feeling worried for her safety. Careful, PLEASE keep safe.

  • laura….
    be safe with your courage….
    and your camera…
    I can’t wait to watch YOUR story unfold…..
    great beginning…..
    **SALAM**

  • Sister Laura!…

    please stay safe….glad to especially read your statement…one thing i have always cherished about your work is the fever and richness of its intellect, passion, and insight. i could read you day and night :))….and very honored to have your voice on the ground with us…which always means more to me than just snaps…

    and i am really looking forward to a El-Tantawy essay which is not about the news shots, but the depth and peculiar vision you always bring to the witnessing of the lives of the people you spend time with away from the headlines….

    that is what i am most excited about from having you there, an El-Tantawy body of work…

    and my thoughts and prayers are with you and with the families of egypt…

    hugs
    b

  • Laura

    I was very moved by your statement. It is a reality check and a reminder of the struggle faced by so much of the world.
    I’m holding my breath, waiting to see what will take place. Please be careful.

  • … My family and I have endured a diaspora that has affected many….
    Laura im afraid i know exactly what u talking about! and then That weird Feeling of going “back” when everything is burning around u..i got that same feeling when i was standing in the middle of burning syntagma square in Athens last year….
    Great Work Laura
    very proud of you!

  • Good stuff and done on the run. Thanks for posting dah (probably on the run, too).

  • MW…

    I’m sorry, I might be a little slow today, but I can’t quite tell if you’re just being humorous or if you really think you have experienced or seen tyranny here in the States?

  • Yes, one should probably explain what may be sort of obscure cultural references, especially on such an international site.

    The quote refers to the old Lone Ranger television show. The Lone Ranger had a Native American sidekick whom he referred to as “Tonto,” which means something akin to “fool.” Tonto referred to the Lone Ranger as “Kemosabe,” which means something like “He who knows all.”

    So in modern parlance, when some white dude starts talking about how “we” don’t suffer from things such as racism or oppression, the correct response is ‘What you mean, “we,” Kemosabe?’ It’s meant to suggest that plenty of non-whites (and females) still suffer from racism and oppression.

  • …yeah think the LA ghetto uprising after LAPD treated mr . King as a real “KING”!

  • (I’ve only been there about a dozen times, so I’m not speaking as an expert.)

    As journalists we often try to distill a conflict down to white and black hats. I’m not sure this is useful here.

    Things have been bad for a long time under Mubarak. Worse than Nassar? No. Worse than Sadat? Infinitely.

    In the end, the “Pro-Democracy” faction will win and their lives will soon become 1000 times worse. This is not about democracy. This is about who controls the revenue, which ironically, no one in modern Egypt can even take credit for. The Suez Canal (built over a century ago) generates four to five billion dollars a year all of which goes into a “presidential discretionary fund”. Tourism, generated by ancient Egyptian ruins. Agriculture? Fed ancient Rome and evidently is still being exported as it is mostly too expensive for the average citizen.

    I’d say most demonstrators, on either side, have no idea what they’re creating. There’s no clear coalition or leader to replace Mubarak. So the most ruthless and well-funded thugs will win, the Muslim Brotherhood. They’ll tear-up the peace treaty with Israel, in doing so will throw away the $12 billion (bribe) the U.S. pays them and start preparing for war. Those young men throwing rocks today will soon be conscripted into the army. The million (or so) Egyptian Christians will be brutalized. Money will become more scarce and food even more expensive.

    Say what you will about Mubarak, but the streets were safe. Cairo, a city of 30 million, was safer than L.A., Miami, Houston… I suppose any big American city you’d care to name. Children, elderly, tourists, could all walk the streets without fear at any time of the day or night. Christians and Muslims, for the most part, peacefully coexisted. Young men willing joined the army for the paycheck knowing that they’d likely never fight in a war.

    The whole country, from rich to poor, worked on bakeesh. Mubarak, fearing the masses, subsidized bread and petrol, but he also fed payments down to his generals, cabinet members, business leaders. Contracts were rewarded, kickbacks followed. Basically the ultimate trickle-down economy. Nobody working on a salary made enough to cover their needs, so everyone was on the take in some way, from the politicians, the cops to the guy watching your parked car.

    Yeah, it’s not fair. Mubarak is a thug. In the end both his greed and his foolishness in promoting his disliked son as his successor finished him. Still, although this typical mideast system of government goes against everything westerners believe in, lack of fairness and democratic values, in many ways it worked in Egypt. (It’s another issue, but why do we always assume that our system is best for a culture that shares little of our societal evolution?)

    With tourism destroyed (not to return soon), $12 billion less coming into the country via the U.S. taxpayers, increased strife between the religions, and renewed tensions on the border, the birdbath is suddenly a lot smaller for the 90 million who need to dip their beak.

    I feel for the Egyptian people and support their desire to better their lives, but I fear they’ve made the proverbial jump from the frying pan to the fire.

    Ken Jarecke

  • Massive EXODUS from Egypt….
    now i feel sorry for poor greece that has to accept the massive exodus but of course the big powers of europe (germany, france & UK)could give a shit…i know their usual response to greece…: “its your borders, its your problem”…. so much for the Euro Unity plan..:(

  • live reports from egypt say that even iraqis are fleeing back to baghdad …thats how dangerous life in Egypt is as of right now..

  • MW…

    Dude… I happen to be an american. I know the quote and use it myself often. I think you may have misunderstood what I was trying to say.

  • Sorry… no more off topic in here. Laura doesn’t deserve the distraction. Be over in “dialogue”.

  • $1.2 billion, not $12 billion.

  • Kjarecke.. my fear is that you might be right.. my hope and believe has to be that Egyptians will know better and prove us wrong..

  • Laura, stay safe if you can. Remember, no photograph is worth getting killed for.

  • Kjarecke

    Thanks for your perspective. I fear you are right.

  • Julliard added: “It seems that journalists are no longer safe anywhere in Cairo. Several news bureaux have also been attacked. The highest level of the Egyptian government must be held responsible for this policy of physical attacks. We urge the international community to adopt a strong unanimous position quickly, to draw the appropriate conclusions from the events of the past few days and to consider sanctions.”

    (from eva’s link above)

  • Kjarecke: Cairo a city of 30 million?

    Umm, no. Not even with the surrounding metropolitan areas included.

    “Cairo, a city of 30 million, was safer than L.A., Miami, Houston” I’d be interested to know which statistics you base that evaluation on. It is highly doubtful in my mind.

  • KEN:

    indeed….wanted to write something similarly, but have no time at the moment….but, it IS a critical point of view and an essential truth, especially when all (particularly in the West) alight upon a newstory focused on ‘the surge for democracy’ without one wit of an historical/cultural perspective….why, i rarely follow spot-news journalism (written/photoraphed)…

    What i await and value with Laura is that she will provide a story with insight, perspective and intelligence that will, I trust, marginalize the what-we-have-now sprint of quickpics….Remember BKK and what the West got/digested/promulgated from that last year….

    anyway, thanks for joining in :)

    Sister L, sat this afternoon during lunch for you with metta, etc….be safe!

    bb

  • Carsten:

    well, anyone who knows much about Cairo knows the crime rate between Cairo vs. Washington/LA, etc is substantially different….

    to wit, check these numbers, for EGYPT itself

    http://www.photius.com/countries/egypt/national_security/egypt_national_security_incidence_of_crime.html

    incidentally, Washington DC (size about 600,000) over the last 15 years has a murder rate of
    40 to 80 per 100,000 per year, while Egypt, (60,000,000), as a rate of approximately 0.5 per 100,000….check it out via the UN…google it :))

  • LAURA,

    I have been away for the past days traveling but I have been thinking a lot about you… I had read one of your messages that you were thinking of going back to Egypt and was wondering if you were already there…. I am not surprised you felt you had to be there…. there are moments in one’s life that can be defining…. this is your story indeed Laura….your words on how you feel at this moment are very moving…. No one is be better placed to show us what is going on there… but, please stay safe!!!!

    I was myself meant to be in Cairo next week for my work but the whole operation of the company I work for has been shut down, offices closed and most employes gone, all rightly watching after the lifes of their close relatives …. I will not go to Cairo next week…. but my thoughts are with you and the young Egyptians there…. Just hope this will lead to a better Egypt tomorrow as opposed to create chaos there…. We can only wish to see an Egypt with less corruption… for the people of Egpyt….

    Take care Laura and again be safe there!

    Eric

  • Bob:

    I do not trust much of what comes out of Egypt in terms of official crime “statistics”. Many people seem to agree that the official data supplied by this and past regimes is not exactly trustworthy, and it’s pretty much impossible for impartial NGO’s to establish meaningful data themselves, so any such comparison is, in my humble opinion, mute.

    My significant other is Egyptian. Her dad fled the country. I trust their subjective evaluation more than unreliable data.

  • and here are two quotes from the article you linked to:

    “Reliable official statistics on crime were not available,…”

    “The level of criminal activity reported appeared to be surprisingly low and the success rate in solving crimes unusually high, particularly in light of the belief that urban crime was escalating.”

    How surprising…

  • Carsten :

    Fair enough and a point well taken. And especially during times as this, we must make sure we all don’t fall into levels of hyperbole (which i think was your important point). I do think, the essence of Ken’s point was that revolution comes with a high price and that the West particularly (as with their predilection for colonization/nation building/war thrusting/hegemony needs especially to measure their interest in these kinds of events with respect to culture and history and an aim toward understanding what contributed to events and what all consequences may be :))

    but, alas, as you know so well, we’re all way to quick to get swelled under the compelling imagery of the moment without reflect, deeper, longer reflection….

    though even one family/person’s perception is still just that, which is what makes all this so confusing…

    Would also love to hear your partner’s perspective…the MORE rich and varied the dialog the richer our understanding (and confusion) and the better the BURN outlet :))

    thanks Carsten

    cheers
    bob

  • Ken…
    im so happy that back in 1821 (greek revolution from the ottoman empire) those greeks didnt think like you and started, continued and completed their “job”, which was freedom, democracy and autonomy…
    It is a transition, people will die and the positive results will come way way later…
    no tyrant or regime should stay on power for more than 4 to 8 years…but the dictators ala saddams and the mubaraks of this world….should vanish…30 years in power ? and thats ok? no revolution ended up with no victims…innocent victims…am i happy seeing mubarak letting thousands of thugs out of jail? to use them kill the protesters? of course not…do i want to see more blood? of course not…
    but i cant hide my respect to the simple , egyptian “commoners”, real people that RESIST….DEMAND CHANGE….
    AND DEMOCRACY….
    30 years of the same asshole/puppet ? 30 fucking years and the creep has the audacity to think of his son and his legacy????
    The “guy” pretends, he actually believes that he is the OWNER of Egypt…geez louise….

    (only england can have the “right” to keep that stupid tradition of having a QUEEN but we all know that Her Majesty is just a harmless cockroach and nobody even cares)= to be perceived as a joke…of course but honestly i hope that some day even the british will wake up and laugh at their own outdated traditions…

    Damn it…2400 years after socrates, plato and pericles and we still talking about Regimes, Tyrants, Mumbarak’s and Saddam’s….
    Go Egypt go, finish what u started….get rid of your cancerous TYRANT,…
    not an easy task, almost utopia, idealism right?

    well again, im glad that the greeks in 1821 refused to think as Ken does above…

  • Carsten,

    I’m not google checking my facts here. I’m quickly writing from memory and personal experience. Egypt has (as far as I remember) always been refereed to as a country of 80 to 90 million with a third of the population centered around Cairo. I don’t think that includes guest workers and such. Personally, I’m always stunned at the new housing developments stretching further away from the city on each visit. I don’t think 30 million is too far outside the ballpark. I also don’t think the Egyptian government could give an accurate number if they tried.

    As far as safety, once again I’m speaking from personal experience. I’ve always been treated kindly regardless of where I find myself (thankfully), still I’ve always found Egyptians to be especially welcoming. I think I’ve probably worked in the poorest areas of the country, always with a few cameras hanging around my neck, and have never ONCE felt threatened. Normally, just the act of sticking a camera in a stranger’s face will earn the working photographer a little hostility, but I’ve never experienced that in Egypt.

    That said, under normal circumstances I wouldn’t start making pictures of the canal or work to aggressively making pictures of police, but thats to be expected. Also, the guys working the Giza Plateau have been a nuisance at least since the time of Mark Twain’s visit.

    All of this has changed in the last few days, and has gotten terribly worse today.

    Ken Jarecke

  • Panos,

    Funny you should mention the Ottoman Empire, because that’s exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood is planning to recreate. Let’s hope they don’t invade Greece again after they use this (well meaning and perhaps justified) mob to fully enslave the Egyptian people.

    Ken Jarecke

  • and speaking of the british….big thanks to LORD BYRON that left hie safety intellectual zone in england ant traveled all the way to greece (messolongi) to support,help, lead, fight on the greek side…

  • Brother Panos:

    I don’t think that Ken (though i can’t speak for him) was at all indicting the anti-government momentum nor Egyptians desire for change/democracy (whatever that means)/transformation….to the contrary, I read Ken as suggesting that once again the West (and journalists/readers) need to think much more deeply about the imagery and their reaction….shit, we didn’t learned very little from Vietnam, for example, did we ;))….nor, in our Western hope to ‘democratize’ (read: be like us) the world, we tend to see all this in simplistic (and hallow) ways…

    not at all a Mubarak fan, but in my from-a-distance hope for a transformation of Egyptian ruling nomenclatura and for a hope that the lives of Egyptians (educationally, materially, existentially) shall be improved….then again, a young Saddam was supported by us.govt in 1963, celebrated in 1983 for his years of service…and well, we know the rest of that ongoing tale….

    my hopes, honestly, are for wisdom and calm and goodness…and also that the west keeps their hands out of the cookie jar….

    i’m too old to smile at all this easily…instead now, just hope hope hope for peace, goodness and some meaningful improvement….

    hugs
    b

  • Ken ,
    i might have it all wrong in my head but it seems that you state there there 2 forces/choices for egypt (either Mubarak or muslim brotherhood)..or maybe i misunderstood your writings above…

  • ok…Ken, Bob…i see what u saying now…

  • KEN….

    pleased to have you and your wisdom here…would love to publish your work as well….stay with us…kinda grows on you…nice folks here….you’d be welcomed…

    cheers, david

  • new pics from Laura just in…will get them up somehow..might be sloppy , but they will be up…..

  • Bob: true, true… revolution can come at a high price… Will the situation be better or worse after a regime change? Nobody knows, but it’s important to take into account the complex cultural, historical, political, and economical nuances when trying to understand what’s going on and what the consequences might be. And you are of course right that it’s easy to get swept away in the powerful imagery… they trigger emotions that don’t always make it easy to assess things rationally.

    Appreciate your thoughts Bob, and will try to see if I can get “the boss” to weigh in :)

    Ken: fair enough… appreciate your thoughts nonetheless, I always like a healthy debate. And I definitely agree with you that Egyptians (if one can make such a blanket statement) are a great, wonderfully welcoming people.

  • I don’t know much about modern Egypt and recognize that whether I’m for or against something that happens there doesn’t amount to a steaming pile of dogshit in the real world; and I have no idea whatsoever what’s best for the people there or their chances of achieving some kind of freedom and democracy; but I did read this interview with nobel prize winner Naguib Mahfouz; and if he was a leading liberal, then I’d say things aren’t looking too good:

    MAHFOUZ

    I have always defended Rushdie’s right to write and say what he wants in terms of ideas. But he does not have the right to insult anything, especially a prophet or anything considered holy. Don’t you agree?

    INTERVIEWER

    I see your point . . . Does the Koran discuss insults or blasphemy?

    MAHFOUZ

    Of course. The Koran and the laws of all civilized nations legislate against the vilification of religions.

    It’s difficult for any people to overcome the tyranny of superstition; we here in the states have a very tenuous hold on our freedoms; only baby steps from rule by Mullahs ourselves, so I’m not real optimistic that Egypt will manage to overcome. I’d say odds are they’ll end up worse off than they were before. And if there’s any real danger of democracy, you can be pretty damn sure the CIA will do whatever they can to suppress it.

  • Ken Jareke

    “Also, the guys working the Giza Plateau have been a nuisance at least since the time of Mark Twain’s visit.”

    Too true, but not for much longer. I have been photographing the workers and changes at the pyramids for the last four years. Their fate was sealed long ago.
    On another note, I spoke to a friend there to ask what was with the horse and camel charge the other day. He said the riders that went in whipping the crowd were not Hosni supporters, just desperate. The pyramids have been closed for ten days. Very little human/animal food is getting through and what is has doubled/tripled in price.

  • Laura -

    These few images, coupled with you simple but powerful statement and the sounds you recorded, has brought this conflict home to me in a way that nothing else has.

    I am in awe of your talent, courage and determination.

    Keep shooting, stay safe.

  • CARSTEN :))

    BRING THE BOSS IN! :))…the more voices, the better!…that is what BURN (and all discussion) has always thrived on….it makes for a better world…and definitely for a better Magazine, the wider the voices, the variety of reflection/experience/background….

    I think David’s hope (my hope too as a BURN family member) is not that BURN exists just for photographers, but for all those interested in how stories get told, particularly through pics….and there are a whole lot of thoughtful folk around…

    i’m trying to get some students i have from the Arab world to sign up and chime in…it maybe hard, but some are reading, as of this afternoon :))

    cheers
    bob

  • BOB..

    yes, you have it right in your comment just above..well put…

    CARSTEN

    i am wary of stats as well…but as a guy who wanders around late at night with cameras in various parts of the world and have a pretty good street sense overall , surely Cairo always felt safer to me than most places….only problem was the cops/secret police themselves who were of course the reason i felt safe…they would stop me and question me, but that was it…..i never felt threatened by “street crime” in any neighborhood at any time of day or night and never heard of anybody who did….you know when you go to shoot someplace, the word is out on the dangerous spots…Cairo was not one of them…….i base this on shooting in Cairo and other Egyptian cities/towns during only one period and that was about three years ago for whatever that is worth…

  • Keep going Laura! Be safe.

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