#18Nov in Egypt: Coming Home to Cairo

Kasr El Nil Bridge connects the traffic on Kasr El
Aini Road to Zamalek over the River Nile.
It is one of the oldest bridges in Cairo,
built in 1869. (photo 2008)
After a summer of hermitage in Spain, I returned home a few weeks ago. It was an unusual "welcome" to an almost silent airport. My husband picked me up. I was rather surprised to see only a small crowd of people inside the airport. This was not a typical Cairo greeting where throngs (and I mean hundreds) of people stand waiting to welcome friends, family, and visitors.

We took our typical route home, through Tahrir, where only a few tents and protesters lingered in the square. This was a scene that was about to quickly shift before I could even get a chance to adjust to the time change.

I had one day in jetlag haze before the events of 18 November began to unfold. Usually on the weekends, we head out to Ain Sokhna, where my husband runs a sailing centre. But, because I had just arrived, we were in Cairo. We had gone out to get some groceries and were on the way back to the apartment when the first wave of protesters were gathering in Tahrir. We live very near Tahrir, having to access home from Kasr El Aini street, a main artery to Tahrir. We managed through the traffic and hunkered down at home.

The four bronze lion statues, one posted on
each of the corners of the bridge,
guard this bridge and protect the passers
crossing the River Nile. (photo 2007)
Since we were both away for the summer, we didn't have internet access and we don't own a television. Like most people with out these modern technologies, we got our news the old fashion way...word from the street.

Rather than ramble on any further, the events etc. etc. etc. I'll leave it to the news and other bloggers. Some of the information is accurate. Most of it isn't. Some of it is trite, and some of it is downright profound.

A few days into all the goings on, a friend called me to welcome me home and ask if I felt things were different in Cairo. I told him that I suppose things are different. But, isn't that the way of a living city? A city is always changing.

However, before all the streets got blocked up and it sucked to go out of the apartment, I saw something that struck me most sad, notwithstanding seeing horrible warfare going on in the streets.
The bridge has its history and has witnessed many historic events
from the 1930s University students protest against British
occupation to the 2011 revolution protests. (photo 2008)

The gorgeous Lions of Kasr El Nil Bridge are defaced. I love beautiful graffiti. I love beautiful public art. The two combined are sometimes clever. However, I hate ugly graffiti. I hate ugly public art.

This!!! When ugly graffiti meets beautiful (original) public art, my blood boils.

The Lions are now splattered with ugly, stupid, spay paint. WTF people. The Lions are not a symbol of the regime. They are the symbol of all that is great about Egypt.




Upclose of the bronze Lion of Qasr El Nil Bridge, 2007

The graffiti that defaces the Lions, November 2011

Each majestic Lion is marred by ugly graffiti,  November 2011

Stupid, ugly graffiti spoiling the proud symbol of the
Lions of Kasr El Nil bridge, November 2011

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