Friday, 28 April 2017 – Day 15: Alexandria, EGYPT (31.2001° N, 29.9187° E)
Hello on day three in Egypt…
Pope Francis is here in Cairo reaching out to the lottery-picked pope, Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The two churches parted ways in a dispute about the nature of Christ in the fifth century, kind of like the Shia and Sunni split in the Muslim world. Security is extremely tight here in the city of one thousand and one minarets.
Teams have been busy we think as some beastie photos reveal:
All the teams checked in safe and sound, albeit a tad Egypt weary from their thrilling 54-hours in one of the ancient capitals of the world.
Thoughts of the day: One wonders what the idealistic Egyptian activists of the 2011 Arab Spring in Tahir Square and throughout Egypt are thinking these days? They mobilized and protested under the cry of “bread, freedom & dignity”;
239 of them are martyred for their cause of freedom and democracy; repressive 30-year ruling Pharaoh, err, President Mubarak, propped up by American billions in annual military aid is popularly pushed out of office and charged for the killing of those protestors; Egypt holds free and fair elections for the first time in history; Mohamed Morsi Muslim Brotherhood Party wins the June 2012 election in a landslide; within a year military strongman General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seizes power in a coup (“meet the new boss, same as the old boss”); his regime brutally kills over 800 who protest his coup; Morsi is now serving life in jail and Mubarak is out on bail frequenting Cairo cafes. What must they think? Do they have hope? Who do they blame? (Ditto the freedom loving people of the Philippines and Turkey!)… The 2011 Egyptian revolution began on January 25th when Egyptian protestors focused on lack of free speech and free elections, police brutality, government corruption, high unemployment, inflation, and continued use of emergency law…it sparked other revolutions in Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Libya, and Bahrain. Well, they kept their bread anyway!
Now I know that conventional wisdom suggests that I not interject politics into our event’s blog, or our travels in general. Of course, that is naïve hogwash. Whether we know it or not, everything we do involves politics in some way. Everything. And traveling the world is no different. Traveling allows us to better understand what is actually going on in the world through personal experience and the personal encounters we have along the way. Traveling allows us to get out of our comfort zones and societally imposed default positions; we get out of the hermetically-sealed tourist bubbles and go out into the streets to eat, play and talk with local people. We ask questions. We are curious. We learn what is really going on in their daily lives and their society. We gleam both context and insights—sometimes provocative ones—about how the other 96% of humanity lives, works and prays. Our shared humanity is ultimately a natural bonding experience between all peoples.
What artificially separates us is politics: how they make a living; what they eat and where it comes from; whether their society is rich or poor and getting better or not; whether they have a hopeful or pessimistic view of their futures; and whether their sons and daughters are healthy or not, getting an education or not and exposed to random or organized violence or not—these are all political issues. Don’t fool yourself; how we organize our lives, what we believe and what we consume—are all political acts. And besides that, asking me to refrain from stating any political belief is like me asking you to keep your opinions to yourself—and I would never do that!
We are off at 10:00am tomorrow to somewhere new for The Global Scavenger Hunt, hard to believe in 12 previous events we have never visited three of our next four countries. Stay tuned…
End with a video from Thundersnow…