Jan 28, 2011

Sometimes Rioters Can Do Good Things

If you ever read the news, you may have noticed that Egypt is on the verge of collapse. Is it really? That's a good question. A few years ago, people were predicting the fall of the Iranian government, but it never materialized. Will the same happen in Egypt? Who knows.

There are reasons to be concerned about a new regime and reasons to be hopeful for one. I have no idea what will happen, so half a world away, I'll just wait and watch.

I can say that I'm incredibly happy to have been able to see Egypt before all of this craziness. It seems that riots and disasters follow me in the wake of my trips: Istanbul in 2008, Greece in 2008-2010, Kenya in 2010 (though, in all fairness, most of their riots were already over; I was there when they ratified their new constitution, though, which was pretty awesome), and now Egypt.

I don't know Cairo very well--partially because we didn't spend much time exploring the place--but, our hotel was very close to the Egyptian Museum and the NDP Party headquarters. So, when I heard that the headquarters were on fire, my first worry was for the priceless artifacts in the Egyptian Museum, among them the thousands of items found in Tutankhamun's tomb. To lose those after thousands of years would be absolutely tragic not just for Egypt, but for the entire world.

That's why I was so happy to read that one of the first places the Egyptian Army went during the night was to secure the Museum. Apparently, before they had arrived, a group of rioters had surrounded the place in a protective chain to keep looters from savaging the collection. When the Army arrived, the rioters allowed them to access and secure the place.

It's such a relief that the Egyptian people understand the importance of the items that they steward. I mean, I guess I understood they did, but I'm really happy to see them put their money where their mouths are. Way to go, Egyptians!

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