I have been in Egypt for only 2 and a half days, and I have already been embraced with open arms. Despite the frustration and anguish of Egyptian people - particularly since the most recent news that the SCAF is basically undermining a democratic outcome of the elections by wrenching legislative and military control - I have found nothing but kindness, warmth, and hospitality from all Egyptians I have met.
Times are tough here in Cairo. Many people are tired, hungry, and struggling to get by in a fractured infrastructure. Tourism has plummetted and people are divided over Morsi vs Shafiq. Yet everywhere – in the streets, on the crazy roads and motorways, Egyptians smile at strangers, reach out to help each other at every opportunity, and laugh together.
Everywhere I look as I step outside and ride around in taxis, there is something incredible to see. I find myself snap-happy with my camera, desperately trying to capture the weird and wonderful atmosphere of the place as I pass by. I’ll upload some of my photos as soon as possible.
I’m also so frustrated that I’m unable to film any protest sites, or anywhere where security forces are present, to document what is happening. I passed by an endless row of military tanks last night that I could never have filmed amid rumours of ‘foreign spies’ disrupting the peace and fomenting revolution. It’s really stifling my journalistic appetite!
What continues to amaze me, though, as I’ve expressed, is that the people of Cairo remain unified despite adversity. It’s been such a long battle, yet the Egyptian spirit is strong and not vengeful.
I really hope I can continue with all the filming I have arranged and that the tensions will not make this impossible; I’m so attached to this documentary and to challenging many Western stereotypes of women in the Arab world. I can’t wait to meet so many different types of women (and men) and gaining so many different insights into life for women in Egypt.