CAIRO: THE CITY THE INHABITANTS

Lee_Broom

Friday evening I spent some time interviewing two friends who recently visited Cairo. That city seems to have many of the characteristics of a beehive and hardly any of the ego-driven individuality that would better describe our own free-enterprise experience. Steve pointed out that in a city with millions of automobiles on the street at any time of day or night, in the week that he and his wife Judy were there, they only saw two traffic lights.

Judy noted that the huge masses of humanity seem to act as one. “And there is trash everywhere” she said but no garbage; a mustiness but no stink; the crumbs of the past were everywhere; when anything manmade is harmed it may lay there unused forever or until the final crumbs of its existence are swept away by the winds of time.

I mentioned this to my friend Kamal Amin; “To a man whose childhood was spent in a thirty room home in this 5000 year old city perhaps you have a different perspective.”

“Your friends are right” agreed Kamal Amin. “The crowds proceed as a huge, amorphous, blob moving through the streets of Cairo as one; with traffic, the cars are a few feet apart, with pedestrians, the movement is measured in Inches and whispers, talking with each other as they move, listening all the while to the murmurs of those conversations around them.”

“As for the trash” he said mockingly, “it gets tarmpled. And after all, who would dare stop that traffic to sweep the etreets?”

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