Thursday, February 2, 2012


These posts, as well as many more on my adventures since, can be found at


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The article I wrote for the Tulane paper... A more detailed account to come.

Revolution. For so many Americans today, it is a very strange thing to think of. In the United States we have a consolidated democracy.

We vote into office those who we believe will lead our country in the right direction in free and fair elections at scheduled interviews. We have welfare programs and subsidies to help alleviate poverty and aid the disabled. We have laws entitling everyone to healthcare in emergent situations, even if they can’t afford it.

So why would we ever think of revolution? Well, we wouldn’t. As far as the state of the world is concerned, we have it pretty good.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, though, you may have noticed that this is not true in all parts of the world, and the act of a street vendor setting himself ablaze in the streets of Tunisia has in turn lit a fire in the hearts of many across the Middle East and the world.

I know it has lit a fire in mine.

Unlike most Americans, however, who have trouble comprehending revolution, I have taken part in one. I was five months into my year abroad in Cairo, Egypt, when the Egyptian people decided that President Hosni Mubarak had been in power 30 years too many, and they were going to do something about it.

I took part in many protests, but by far the most memorable were those of Friday, January 28, 2011. It did not matter if we were Muslim or Christian or none of the above. Rich or poor, doctors or students or taxi drivers or fruit vendors, we all gathered outside of mosques for the afternoon prayer – the Friday afternoon prayer is the most important of the week, like Sunday morning mass for Christians – whether we planed to pray or not.

Immediately after the prayers, we all stood up and began chanting in Arabic against the regime. For the most part I had to ask my Egyptian friends what many of the words meant, but it wasn’t even necessary, I knew exactly what was being said, and so I chanted. I chanted until my voice went hoarse. I chanted because this was a cause I believed in. Democracy. And not imposed from the outside, but one that was being demanded by the people.

The government did everything in its power to stop us, from water cannons and tear gas and rubber bullets to cutting internet and even cell phone service. But we were not deterred. We all banded together in a showing of solidarity the likes of which I had never seen.

We passed out procedure masks, the closest thing to gas masks that my friends and I were able to acquire on short notice. Others came with liter bottles of vinegar or of Pepsi, or with chopped up pieces of onion to share, all of which help alleviate the effects of tear gas when applied to the face (there’s a few facts I never thought I’d learn while studying abroad).

People I had never met thanked me, clearly the whitest around, for my support, although many were confused why I was there. Even further, one of the chants that was interspersed with the (clearly) more common, stereotypical “fall of the regime” stuff was my favorite, “Muslim, Christian, we are all Egyptian.” In a country that only weeks prior had been split along religious lines by the bombing of a new year’s service at a Coptic (Christian) Church, this show of solidarity proved to me that this was truly a revolution of Egyptians, regardless of any other identity one may have held.

I’ve shed many tears in the last few weeks. I cried because for several hours I thought my friend was among the over 300 people who were martyred fighting for freedom in Egypt alone. I cried looking though photo slideshows showing makeshift memorials of people I had never met. I also cried with happiness when I found out that Mubarak had finally stepped down after 18 days of protests because I am so inspired by what I have seen and been a part of that could not contain myself. While I could not be happier that no more people have to die for the Egyptian cause, thousands have been killed across the region fighting for similar freedoms, and I cry for them, too.

I understand that for many Americans the concept of revolution is a foreign one – why wouldn’t it be? For me, though, when I watch the news from half a world away, evacuated from the history I so wanted to be a part of, I feel that fire burning in my heart and I know that I have been forever changed by what I have been a part of.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Blog

I might continue to post things here, as I get around to writing about my winter break and, y'know the revolution, but seeing as I am not longer in Egypt, Amanda In Egypt is being retired. I've created a new blog for my semester in Chile, which can be found here.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I can't believe it. I know I haven't been updating (I'll fix that soon), but Hosni Mubarak just stepped down as Egyptian president after two and a half weeks of protests, the reason that I am no longer able to study in Egypt. I can't believe he's gone, I literally cried with happiness for what I think was the first time ever. I still have trouble believing that the country I lived in for such a short time became so close to my heart, but it certainly did. These last three weeks have been such an emotional roller coaster, and I am so incredibly ecstatic that Egyptians will finally be able to get on with their lives... without Mubarak.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Winter break

Break so far has certainly been interesting. I wish I had been keeping up with blogging, because I'm not really sure where I left off.
My friends leaving was sad, but all of their departures were incredibly strange and almost awkward at times. Think "I've hung out with you every day for the last couple months but I might never see you again." Weird, right?
Christmas was pathetic. We had a delicious dinner at our friend Omar's house on Christmas eve, but that was definitely not a foreshadowing of how the next day would go. I had some pretty good plans but they didn't really pan out; I spent the day shopping at City Stars, the massive mall in the outskirts of the city, with Tamera. I felt it was somewhat ironic to spend Christmas shopping, both because everything in the US is closed and because we were being, as we liked to cal it, "materialistic whores" lol. I spent the evening (and into the morning) with my few friends that were still left in town, wearing santa hats, eating chinese food and at a bar. Sadly the chinese food was as Christmas-y as my Christmas got. Well, actually Tamera and I bought each other Arabic music CDs at the mall and wrapped them in whatever we could find and gave them to each other. lol. Certainly different.
In the days between Christmas and new years we spent a lot of time at Horreya, which is a difficult place to explain to those of you who have never been there. Technically the place is a bar, because its basis is the drinking of alcohol, but it's more of a place for socializing than for actually drinking (though don't get me wrong, you can't really go there and not drink, the overly assertive and obnoxious host [I guess that's what you'd call him] Milad will make sure you always have a beer or I.D. [in my case] in your hand). Literally translated as "freedom," Horreya is a great place to meet interesting people. Tamera and Mostafa and I made some friends there and hung out with them several times this past week.
On new years eve I met Greg, who is studying here from Tulane next semester and for the winter term. he had just arrived the previous day and so I showed him around Zamalek and then he joined Tamera, Mostafa and I for our new years plans, which hadn't actually been made as of that point. After a somewhat infuriating day of dealing with different shit, we finally got to the place that we had chosen a bit before 11, only to be told that there were only VIP tickets remaining, so we were forced to pay 250LE instead of the 100 we were expecting, but we got an extra drink and some decent tasting Lebanese food. Whatever. We were dancing at midnight, but the countdown was... I guess as new years countdowns tend to be, less dramatic than expected and somewhat off-time. We then ended up on a houseboat on the Nile, where Tamera accidentally dropped one of her heels in the Nile (lol), and then proceeded to throw the other one in after it (What's the use of one shoe?).
I've now fully moved into my craptastic apartment (as of the 24th). Let me tell you some of the ways in which it is craptastic, not for the sake of complaining but for the sake of illustrating. I havent taken a real shower with hot water and/or any decent amout of water pressure since moving in. Today, our kitchen sink started leaking everywhere. We have ants, and cockroaches. Our internet still isnt set up. We live in a walk-up, when every other building in the city basically has an elevator. The walls are paper thin, aka i can hear every sound on the street 4 stories down. My heater doesn't work. The washing machine is from the 50s (no joke, I described it to my dad and that's what he said) and there's no dryer. But I'm not letting it bother me, and so far I think I'm dealing with it pretty well. It's just one of those things that I need to get used to, and one more reason that I will be excited to go home in May. I do have to say that if this is living like an Egyptian, I am glad that I'm American. As shallow as that may make me, technological advances have happened and they make life easier and I like being able to take advantage of them.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Tamera got a kitten. her name is Jasmine. Well, it finally got to be Jasmine after going through several others for about a day each. Its adorable.
On a final note, I'm leaving for Turkey, Spain and Morocco on Wednesday. I won;t be able to call anyone via Skype until I get home, most likely, so I will try to update this blog regularly. As always, there should be regular Facebook updates. I would put out my plans for what I'm going to be doing on here, but I don't really have cemented plans, so it will probably work better if I just update about things after I've done them.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas?

**** This is an edit to this post. I swear there used to be a post here, but when I viewed my blog recently there was no post. The post title will remain to show that I did indeed intend to say something, but apparently the internet did not approve of such an idea.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I have PLANS

I just bought my plane ticket to go to Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, and Morocco this January. Y'all are very jealous. I can't even begin to place my excitement in this box. It was my reward for finishing my paper. Which is my other yay. So much yay today. Hehe, rhyming.