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Posts Tagged ‘politics’


(note: the above video contains gory images, it is shared by a group of Syrians I met on board the ferry)

They hardly look like refugees, they are not disheveled, they seem too cheery and they are in chatty mood, “I from Hama (Syria), he, my brother; this man, from Homs (Syria), our home, da da da da da….” speaking in disjointed English, 18-year-old Afwan emphasizes his point by making a gesture of shooting and mimicking the sound of machine gun in action; behind him, another man in his 20s rolls up his long pants to knee-length to reveal bullet wounds.

I am surrounded by a dozen of Syrians, mostly broad smiling teenagers, on board a ferry from Aqaba, Jordan, to Nuweiba, Egypt, on Friday; they are eager to share stories of their homeland, about the ongoing fights and casualties in the country that has been engulfed by popular uprising and severe crackdowns for months.

It is an expensive ferry, costing 75USD per person for a journey lasting one-and-a-half hour, yet more than half of those on board are Syrians fleeing what they described as “war zone”; Both Jordan and Egypt are just their transit point, as they are heading to Libya for a new leaf of life. “Why Libya? why not Saudi Arabia, or Jordan and Egypt?” I’m puzzled by their choice of final destination, to me, that sounds like jumping from a sinking ship to another.

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Counting Ships in Suez

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There’s nothing to do in Port Tawfiq, Suez, except watching cargo ships sailing by, but this seemingly dull way to kill time is rather entertaining and addictive, so much so that my sister and I sat through an afternoon and then the whole of next morning doing just that.

Upon leaving Cairo on our way to the Sinai Peninsular, we decide to do a pit-stop in Suez, located at the southern tip of the Suez Canal, where it flows into the Red Sea after traveling some 190km from the Mediterranean Sea.

We have come to see the Canal, which we learned since young that it’s an engineering feat built by the French, but we have never imagined it to be that narrow, only allowing a single lane sail, so in the afternoon, it is open for southbound ships, and in the morning for the northbound. It is amazing to see the canal sandwiched by golden desert plain, and the ships appear as if cruising through the desert.

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Life as a Movie

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“This whole year, we are living in movie,” says Samu with a dejected look. Initially I thought the 30-year-old receptionist meant the unfolding political upheaval in Egypt is as dramatic as a movie, but on probing further, I learn that the statement is an expression of disillusionment.

Since the popular uprising in January this year that eventually brought an end to president Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule in Egypt, a series of demonstrations, marches, and civil disobedient movements have continued to plague the country, especially in its capital Cairo.

At times, the protests ended in bloody clashes between the demonstrators and the military, which takes over the helm of the country until an elected government is formed (scheduled to be mid-2012). The political instability has also disrupted economy and scaring away foreign investors and visitors, adding pressure to the livelihood of the people.

“Nothing has changed. Those in power are still the people close to Mubarak and the previous government. They are all acting, they say they will listen to the people, they arrest some policemen for hurting the people, they put Mubarak on trial, but all these are lies, not real, like movie,” Samu unleashes a barrage of frustrations, trigger by a photo I showed him. (more…)

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23 Dec 2011, Friday, Egyptians of all walks of life converged at the Tahrir Square in Downtown Cairo to demonstrate; some speak up against the brutality of military personnel against a veiled woman during the previous week’s protest (now famously known as the blue bra woman); some demand leaders with affiliation to the old Mubarak regime to step down; some call for a fairer and just political system, etc…..

The mood at the square is calm, no sign of clashes, in fact, it feels a little carnival-like, and street vendors are doing brisk business….

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