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Cairo 2015

Reader comment on item: What Egypt's President Sisi Really Thinks

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Nov 23, 2015 at 18:11

Dr Pipes

I want to share with you and your readers my own anecdotal observations about Egypt in general in September and October of 2015 where I had an extended stay in Cairo and yes much have changed since I came back home to the US like the Sharm al-Shaikh tragic Russian plane crash and the Paris atrocity. Nontheless there is much to be told about my own observations so here we go

1. The Egyptian government is building a huge car garage in the center of Tahrir square Why would Egyptians build a garage in the center of this iconic square is really very hard to comprehend

2. The iconic Nile Hilton hotel and sign are now replaced by The Nile Ritz Carlton It seems that the Ritz Carlton hotels bought this very great location on Tahrir square. I was told that Nile Hilton's room rates in 1970 used to be 6 E pounds per day which is less than one dollar per day The Ritz Carlton? Sky would be the limit

3. Less women are wearing the hijab more so in the affluent middle and upper middle class sections of the city

4. Yes you can buy alcohol all over including a chain of stores called "Drinkies"

5. There is a massive restoration of buildings on Tahrir square as well as the center of the city including fresh paint and repairs and it makes the center of Cairo what it is supposed to be a Mediterranean city And yes with great restoration of the art deco buildings on Shari Sherif

6. Egypt is making lots of money from charging non Egyptians a 70 E pounds for a visa which is about 9 dollars

7 And yes there are lots of tourists in Egypt and yes 14M tourists visited Egypt in 2010 and only 10M in 2014 Nontheless you will find tourists not just from Europe as it used to be but from South Korea, India, China and Mexico

8. The Arabs are back again visiting Egypt. Less were visiting Egypt when the MB was in power and I suspect they avoided visiting Egypt because of instability but also the free for all as in gambling and alcohol and sex were frowned upon by the MB

9. What was most amazing and would put even the US to shame is that you can find free Wi-Fi any place and Egyptians use it and love it And for a developing country this is just amazing

10. What was most interesting to me was the fact that Egypt is back again using the old Egyptian/Coptic dating calendar (in addition to the Hijra calendar as well as the Gregorian calendar) At the Coptic museum you will find a plaque from the days of Mubarak where the Egyptian/Coptic dating is missing and next to it is a more recent plaque where Coptic/Egyptian is included This speaks volumes for el-Sisi and his inclusiveness of all Egyptians Copts included

11. It is very interesting that one can watch RT TV Press TV and France 24 and BBC in Arabic but I will leave this to another post

12. Oh el-Sisi has his own cult which Egyptians call el-Sisawiyya And yes there are many Egyptians who believe that el-Sisi can solve any problem and that Egypt was given a second chance when Egyptians forced MB out of office

13. Iran? The Egyptians that I spoke with are very worried about Iran and its intentions but there is also a very ugly anti-Shia rhetoric which is just as bad as Arab antisemitism

14. I also had the great chance to attend a debate about does religion belong to the private v the public sphere Many young people believe that religion is a private matter

15. Problems that el-Sisi must be facing? They are pollution with too many cars with very congested highways and too many young people that need jobs

16. Security at Cairo airport? No good but I will leave it to another post

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

Very interesting account.

But, as someone who arrived in Cairo in 1971 and whose parents stayed at the Nile Hilton, I can assure you it did not cost less than US one dollar. If memory serves, it cost about $40 a day.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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