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Posts Tagged 'revolution'

Egypt for Dummies: The ‘Did You Know’ Guide

Friday, June 10th, 2011
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You open the glossy brochure: pictures of the Valley of the Kings, the Karnak Temple and the River Nile confirm what you think you know about Egypt; nothing has changed. You couldn’t be more wrong! 2011 is definitely Egypt’s colour, with so many new great discoveries adding to the destination’s appeal. Sure, Egypt still has its fair share of dust, camels and children playing with tyres, but the country’s historic and natural beauty seem to be expanding and they want to share these with the world.


Photo by Unguvioloet


There’s more than one way to skin a Sphinx. When wanting to view the pyramids, going to Giza seems to be the no-brainer destination for viewing the brilliant structures. Did you know that there are over a hundred more pyramids scattered through-out Saqqara, Dahshur and Ab Sir, simply waiting for an enthusiastic tourist, wielding a camera, to appreciate its beauty. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better; the Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities recently opened seven, newly discovered, tombs located in South Saqqara, including a tomb built for a general who was to become king. It looks like the Valley of the Kings is going to have to share its precious 8 x 10 centimetres in the next brochure.


It may come across as a ‘new discovery’ to some that Cleopatra wasn’t Egyptian. She wasn’t. Google it. Cleopatra was Greek but just lived and ruled in Egypt. Living in Egypt doesn’t make you an Egyptian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. I imagine anyone who was under the impression that she was Egyptian, would also like to know that the world isn’t flat and (you may need to sit down for this one) lions don’t roam the streets of South Africa.


Modern day feluccas have all the bells and whistles of new age sailing boats whereas in ancient times they were far simpler versions of their modern, spruced-up selves.  The tranquil experience of floating down the Nile in a quiet, breeze-powered felucca is probably the only thing holding craftsmen back from strapping two, four-stroke Yamaha motors on the back of the vessel. None the less, this shows us Egypt is embracing technology and moving with the times.


Egypt is on the brink of discovering life as a democratic reform. Early 2011, Egypt’s existing president Hosni Mubarak fell out of power, giving way to the revolution lead by the masses. Currently in between ruling parties, the people of Egypt eagerly await the next elections in October/November 2011.This opportunity may see the state moving from autocratic rule into a new phase of democracy. Exciting times. Egypt is evolving and it’s high time you use that glossy brochure to line the hamster cage with and get out there and experience it yourself.

Keen? Check out our Top 3 overlanding trips to Egypt!

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Tags: best-of-egypt-trip, egypt, egypt-overland-trip, history, revolution

What the revolution means to Egypt

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
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The beginning of 2011 saw an eruption of protests in Egypt as revolutionaries took to the street in demand for a world call for change. They sought equality and equal distribution of resources as well as rights to political participation, and so Egypt was launched into the world’s spotlight.


Photo By Crethi Plethi

We all sat with bated breathe, glued to our television sets, internet forums and social networks, in wait for the latest breakthrough in the Egypt revolution - crossing our fingers for the common ordinary people, seeking freedom for all! Of course, as with all revolutions, unrest is the norm; and accordingly Egypt saw a time of civil unrest as the state of the nation became increasingly unstable, leading many to predict a civil war break out.


Photo By Traveller.within

Fortunately for all parties involved these predictions did not come to pass. However, the question stands some 4 months later: What did the revolution in Egypt actually manage to achieve? Are the people of Egypt in line for a shift in government policies and regimes? Is there a way forward? What is the status of Egypt at present? Mubarak and his regime held a very tight fisted reign over Egypt and did so for well over 30 years. It was this stifling controlling factor that led the ordinary Egyptian to stand up and break the mould that Mubarak had shaped for himself and the state.


Photo By Political Worlds

The revolutionaries are of the mindset that the state and the government are to exist as a consequence of the will of the people, and not the other way round. Thus the Egypt revolution quintessentially attempted to show that the power lies in the hands of its people. As time went on the protests led to a massive change in mindset for many Egyptians “bringing the Berlin Wall inside people’s minds crashing down”.


Photo By shehabsecond

Ultimately, Mubarak was forced to resign, which he did on the 12 February 2011, relinquishing his powers to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). According to an interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor, Mohamed Waked, SCAF is merely attempting to ‘recreate the old regime’. He says the post-revolution months have seen thousands of ordinary Egyptians being tried by military courts (run by SCAF), who cite various ridiculous reasons including the crime of ‘baltaga’ (hooliganism).

The sentences passed on these types of ‘crimes of the state’ are extreme - 3-5 years of imprisonment - a rather harsh sentencing for someone trying to practice their freedom of speech I would say. Waked states that this kind of over-the-top discipline is the main reason so much tension exists between the Supreme Council and the citizens of Egypt. It seems the general impression so far is, that although not an entire waste of time, the revolution in Egypt has not changed much in the way of the lives’ of the ordinary citizens. The fact that the revolution was needed, to create a place of solidarity for the ordinary working-class Egyptian, is of course priceless. However it is yet to be determined what the long term affects of the revolution will be.


Photo By Andre Bohrer

One thing can definitely be learnt from the Egypt revolution - In unity there is power, and when the people have had enough of struggling and putting up with the dregs left to them by their ‘leaders’, the people will revolt and affect a radical change. Long Live Freedom!

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Tags: cairo, civil-war, egypt, mubarak, political-atmosphere, revolution, scaf, supreme-council-of-armed-forces, unrest