Egypt under fire

It’s my second week I’m Egypt, and along with the sweltering heat, the country has also weathered some major social and political fires.

Driving past the suburb of  New Cairo, Misr El Gedeeda, last week, I saw the wreckage from the car bomb which killed Egypt’s public prosecutor Hisham Barakat. The explosion was so powerful that it blew out the first floor of the building above it. Yet, in clasically Egyptian fashion, a quick thinking businessman didn’t fail to leave their ‘scrap metal collection’ sticker on the wreckage, shown below. Equally unphased were police authorities, who have simply left the crime scene as it is, for all to see. reports that President Sisi has promised “rapid justice” and amendments to the Country’s Criminal Laws, following the attacks. This  implies harsher punishment of the Muslim Brotherhood.

To Upper Egypt now, where I’m teaching children English as part of the Coptic Orphans programme. Here, I’m beguiled by the endless, sometimes overwhelming chanting of the Muazzin. His prayers emanate from two or sometimes three gaudy Minarets, decorated with electric lights. There are two mosques here in Dar Al Barsha, a small village in El Minia province, within a mere block from each other.

The Coptic a Orthodox masses here are long, loud and multi-sensory: the churches, which are named after St George or the Blessed Virgin, serve as central hubs for the village.

Rows of Fellahin in their long flowing gallabeyas, sit unmoving, almost like statues, throughout the services. In the incredible heat, women sit cross legged on the floor in the corridors of the church.  The sense of community is palpable.

All in all, it’s hot in more than one way in Egypt.

Follow my Egyptian travels on Twitter at daniel_nour.


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