Friday, January 25, 2013

Feeling the heat on Burns night in Cairo

Here we go again... Cairo 25th Jan. Tahrir square is filling up already and marches are moving from all over the city to join in the protests. Some people seeing it as a celebration of the revolution 2 years ago. Some seeing it as revolution mark two. "Many activists believe that the goals of the revolution have not been fulfilled and accuse the Muslim Brotherhood and the President Mohamed Morsi of usurping the ideas of the revolution to fit their own Islamic agenda", Egyptian news,  Last night a wall was torn down which brought about tear gas exchanges. Today at midday, fighting has broken out again. Cairo is NOT burning... but a few people are fighting in one street of it (just to put things in perspective). But the day is still young..........

Last night I was performing at the Golden Pharaoh boat. I can’t remember ever having such a tough audience. I, being the self critic I am, was blaming myself, my dancing and became really quite depressed, frightened I had ‘lost it’. Then I suddenly realised it wasn’t me at all... it was the mood of the day. Fear. Every single person I have spoken to in the last week has said either today will be peaceful and nothing will come of it... or that it will be worse than anything we have had before. I have been warned by numerous people to stock up on food in the house, ‘just in case’.

Cairo was fairly busy last night, considering it is a holiday weekend with it being the moulid nabi (the prophets birthday) yesterday and usually this would leave Cairo empty as everyone travelled out of town to go to the coast etc for a few days. This weekend many are staying at home, afraid that if things do kick off then they might be stranded away from home and loved ones...

The people who came out to party last night had heavy hearts like I have rarely seen before from Egyptians, apart from in the revolution itself. The ‘party vibe’ which Egyptians create instantly when they get a chance to socialise, only came after hours of alcohol consumption. That is very different from the norm.
Prince’s ‘we’re going to party like it’s 1999’ came to my head as I watched people forcing themselves to ‘have fun’. “This might be the last chance we have” was a phrase I heard more than once!

Tonight I will be performing at the British club in Maadi*, celebrating the life and works of the Scottish poet Rabbie Burns.

It seems very bizarre to be doing that when who knows what will be happening in Tahrir... but yes I will be bellydancing in my tartan costume*, to the music of the bagpipes. It will be the ‘reply to the laddies’ and the haggis will be piped in* and folk will drink whiskey* and there will even be men in kilts*. Yes, we are in Cairo.

(* a little note aside here- after 7 years of living in Cairo I find it very hard to write a sentence with the words ‘I will do something’, without adding an Inshallah (God willing) at the end! It is like I am tempting fate! So ,..... Inshallah to all the above!)

Good luck Egypt. I really don’t know what to wish for..... A better Egypt... that’s what we all want, but how to achieve that? Who knows! I do know that none of us will breathe properly until this weekend is over and we have a clearer view of how things are likely to turn out.

For those who wish to follow the events unfurling in Egypt just now watch for live updates...........

And in the meantime....

I am off to pack that tartan cossie........

After all;
The show must go on........!

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