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I just submitted a bunch of photos to AmLit, American University's Literary Magazine.  For some reason it's feels really important to share how beautiful Egypt is, particularly from my perspective.  I'm awed by Egypt in many of the same ways as any tourist through the ages, but my aesthetic is slightly different.  While the pyramids are amazing and I love a good tomb painting, I think the most beautiful thing I've seen in Egypt is CAIRO in all of it's tan, unfinished, falling apart, littered, lively wonder.  As an environmentalist, I have no idea why it appeals to be so, but literally find it break-taking.

Here are some highlights, some Cairo, some Garbage City, some Siwa:


Graceful Fall from Grace

There was a time when this blog would get more than 40 hits a day, and now I don't even know if my mom reads this blog anymore.  What can you do?  I'll just have to repromote this baby next time I go to Egypt.  While my Egypt-themed Blog's fame my waver, by love for Egypt is steadfast.  I don't know if you've ever been distraught and moved to tears over a country to which you have no right, but let me tell you, it is a terrible and magnificent all at once.  My latest instance if this was in preparation for February 12th's "Global Protest Against Sexual Terrorism Practiced on Egyptian Female Protesters."  I just can't describe the sympathy I feel for these women who are trying to enact change.  I can't explain how frustrating it is that I can't express how wearing it is to be harassed even on the most superficial level.  So I can't even fathom the horror of violent sexual assault.  I am overwrought when others don't understand how important these issues are, and how truly and fundamentally all Egyptians deserve dignity.  So though I latest foray to Egypt may be over I wanted to take this protest as an opportunity to at least try to make a difference.  It isn't my place to protest in Egypt.  It is dangerous and mostly likely I would just cause issues with the opposing side saying I was proof of "foreign hands at the wheel."  It isn't my government's place to tell the Egyptian government what to do, because you know that's worked so well in the past (please note sarcasm).  I also think it is absurdly presumptuous to think that any US policy maker would know more about what the Egyptians want or need than anyone who's actually Egyptian.  So this protest, in my country, in my city, was the one place I thought it was appropriate for me to have a voice.  It was a small protest with a friendly family-oriented vibe.  I met some great people, and got some closure and a sense of accomplishment for myself.  There were a few media people there and several non-Egyptians who just thought it was good to show solidarity, so I like to think those people and cameras brought some attention to the issue.  Of course one always wishes that they could do more.  It is hard to acknowledge how little power you have, and it's even harder to acknowledge when something not your fight, or simply beyond you.

While it might not be my place to be the screaming activist on the Egyptian front lines, I can do my best to spread knowledge and understanding.  Women's History Month is coming up in March, and I am organizing a belly dancing lesson for students at my university.  I hope to use this lesson as a platform to discuss the vehicles of soft power and empowerment women of patriarchal societies can use in the private sphere.  I hope to use belly dancing as an example.  When in Egypt, I saw the most belly dancing, not in bars or in any seductress context, but in private gatherings of female friends.  It was a unique experience of sensuality and expression for one's self, instead of for the consumption of another.  I'll keep you updated as the event develops.