A Day in Cario - October 9, 2011

Photos for a Day in Cairo - October 9, 2011

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Cairo Metro - Coptic Christianity in Old Cairo - inside Egypt's Oldest Mosque

Let this photo gallery get personal with a type of journal entry of my day in Cairo where a personal threat in the Tahir Square Metro, then the downtown shots of gunshot and many murdered Coptic Christians remind tourist the Revolution is still alive.

I’ve been in Cairo a week, staying downtown in a single room about 250 meters from Tahir “Revolution” Square. By now most informed individuals have heard of January 25th Egyptian Revolution. January 25th is an official police celebration that started the anti-police - anti Murbarak protests. The police in Egypt are known for their corrupt tendencies, imprisoning and willfully torturing residents without any form of justice or due process. The rooftop hotel where I am staying said that the three days starting at January 25th were the most unsure period of modern history for Egypt. Most claim that more than 1000 were heedlessly shot by police. Mohammad, the young guitar strumming hotel owner [his Father passed away and left him with the hotel] said they went hand to hand from the hotel to the taxis to bring all residents of the 39 rooms to the airport.

The Revolution happened months ago. Everything seems fine now in October – still tensions are on edge and tourists waving a camera around Revolution Square could be taken as a spy [or so I’ve been told]. Well as an artist, I look for all opportunities for a good photograph – however my adrenaline rush starts as I am stopped exiting the Cairo “Metro” subway, not allowed to move until police arrive.

Starting earlier in the day, I actually take the Metro for the first time. I think to myself about all the good Cairo photographs on the overcrowded subway system with only two lines trying to serve 20 million people. I take a few quick photos without trying to offend anyone. One the way out of the Metro, the destination for Old Coptic Cairo [i.e. right outside the Coptic Museum] someone mumbles something about “no photos” yet I think nothing of it. I look around the museum with ancient Christian paintings and artifacts, tour the Coptic Christian Churches, a Virgin Mary Cemetery, and then the nearby mosque. The mosque aside Old Cairo is very interesting. A younger Muslim explains this is the oldest Mosque in Cairo [Mosque of Amr ibn al-As from AD 642]. I stay long enough to witness the afternoon Salah prayer.

Taking the subway back downtown to Revolution square, I see some kids who want me to take their photograph [see image]. Someone must have reported me taking photographs because after barreling through the crowds at my destination, I start to exit and am then stopped by an Egyptian telling me to wait. At first I think that he is just trying to sell me something since I am a blond-headed foreigner from California; however, when I try to go up the stairs the man forcefully holds me back. This is when the adrenaline rushes through the body triggering a “fight or flight” response. Should I fight my way through? What could be wrong? I am simply a tourist trying to appreciate the rich traditions of Cairo. In a few minutes I am questioned by a high up official about the no photography policy for the Cairo Metro. I smiled and explained my ignorance. It seems Egyptians like Hollywood movies and the fact I am from California. [Note I did show him my California Driver’s License. ]

Fortunately all is well. Later I meet local Egyptians for a weekly “Language Exchange” at one of the popular downtown cafés surrounding the Egyptian stock market. While conversing with local Egyptians and learning a few more Arabic Words, I get a call from Ahmed, a Cairo Egyptian I planned to meet later. He listened to the news and heard Coptic Christians were being shot downtown. Being in a potential dangerous area he asked about picking me with the car.

Now back at the hotel, I hear a lot of noise out the windows. I guess all of us will have to wait until tomorrow to see what has happened. Will the hoards of tourists return to Egypt or will political instability continue to stagnate this essential part of the Egyptian economy.

Until later, this is my day in Cairo with photos from a “poArt” expressionistic artist [poArtExpressionism.com]. I am not sure how many Cairo subway photographs are around. Here are a few from my first day traveling the Cairo Metro - my last day of taking photos on the subway!


[Update – Yesterday, Friday November 18, 2011 filled Tahir “Revolution” Square with tens of thousands protesting against the military oligarchs usurping power from the large majority of Egyptians.]

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Comments 3 comments

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

These are amazing images 1LightYear, thank your lucky stars Egyptian Police like Hollywood movies and you got out of there alive to tell this story. Regards, snakeslane


rai2722 profile image

rai2722 5 years ago

Very nice hub. Thanks for sharing the latest info on Egypt. Hope all is better in the future of the Land of the Pharaohs.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Awesome photos! I really hope to go to Cairo someday. What an amazing city!

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