Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles


June 5, 2009

Obama in Cairo

Filed under: Being There — Kaddee @ 9:47 am

Unless you’ve been under a rock lately, you know that President Obama spoke in Cairo yesterday.  It was an historic and yet uneventful day for those of us who live here.

My reflections on all this:

  • IMNSHO – his speech was quite good.   His oratory skills, ability to exude compassion and understanding, and general “public-speaking-manner” is exceptional.  He managed to use balanced reference to the Qu’ran and the Bible.  He appealed to people’s sense of “what is RIGHT”.  He emphasized our similarities and downplayed our differences.  Well done.
  • In talking with Egyptians, after the speech, they seemed to gush about Obama with exaltedness that equaled the bile they used toward GWB.  In the eyes of the Egyptians that I know, Obama has become the “saviour” of the world.  And yet the global reactions to the speech are mixed.
  • Cairo was UNCANNILY quiet yesterday.  For anyone who lives here, or has visited, the streets of Cairo are rarely clear and quiet.  For most of the day yesterday, the traffic, the noise, the general buzz, was diminished.  (An aside for those who live here – we had an acquaintance who made it from Mohandiseen to the airport in 10 to 15 minutes!!!  OMG)
  • Cairo (at least the parts where Obama was going) was sanitized for this event.  Streets were cleaned, repainted and beggars banished.  The minibus stop next to Sultan Hassan mosque was MOVED for the day!!!  Beged - they moved the stop so that “there wouldn’t be a lot of local and poor people congregating” near where Obama would visit.
  • I found it interesting that, even with many of the major thoroughfares being closed or heavily restricted, Mubarak made sure that Obama was not DRIVEN anywhere in the city, if it could be avoided.  Fat, grey, military helicopters took him to each destination – especially when it involved crossing the city, like going from Cairo U to Giza.  I saw the phalanx fly over our building as the left the Giza plateau!  Woot, my brush with greatness!  LOL!

All in all, though, Cairo really didn’t seem to notice Obama.  Another major political figure passing through the City Victorious.  It has happened for 4000?, 5000?, or more years – another politician is just another politician.

3 Comments

  1. I am soooo going to miss reading your blogs on a weekly basis! Having been there, I can relate to so much. When do you officialy leave Cairo?

    Comment by Joanne — June 5, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

  2. All that money spent on cleaning and he flies in a helicopter??? Good grief! And where is my helicopter when I need it?

    Most companies in the downtown area closed down for the day, schools that might have bus routes in the area closed down for the day (kids were delighted!!), and in general, everyone was either told or figured that it would be a good day to stay home. I’m going to the airport in almost two weeks…think anyone will arrange such peace for me?

    Comment by Maryanne Stroud Gabbani — June 6, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  3. We’ll probably keep it up for the first little while when we get home – reverse culture shock! It has been a good time – the blog has been a good outlet. Now back to … ?reality?

    Comment by Kaddee — June 8, 2009 @ 10:11 am

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