Friday, June 8, 2012

Alexandria and Khaled Said

We took a day trip to Alexandria, taking the morning train from Cairo.  It was the 2-year anniversary of the death of Khaled Said, the young activist who had spoken out about the police and subsequently died in police custody.  There were marches and protests and speeches at various points throughout the day.

We start the day with box lunches and the cheerful guidance of our local handler Mohamed.

The Cairo train station had an impressive hall, replete with pharaonic motifs of various sorts.

Mohamed with our tourist police for the day.  They are usually fairly large guys, always in business suits, and always toting these small machines guns on their hips.  Mohamed has been very good at befriending our various guides, drivers, and minders.  Our students were surprised to learn that these police are only for tourists of certain nationalities, such as American or British.

We met with a few young activists from Alexandria at the library.  From Left to Right below:  Andra, Mohamed Ibrahim, Basma, Khaloud, Nayrouz (our generous host at the library), and another library staff person.  Basma and Khaloud were very articulate and passionate about the work of youth empowerment and critical thinking.  They had originally been a seminar sponsored by the Goethe Institute that had raised the question: "what do you define as progress?"  This had sparked a set of conversations and subsequent activities that led to their work with local political mobilizing.

 The outside of the Biblioteca Alexandria, inscribed with hundreds of characters and words from dozens of different languages from around the world.  It's a great building, and I find it a nice to see a monumental building that is currently in use, rather than simply a tourist attraction.  The huge reading room is truly gorgeous space.

Sunset at the King's old garden palace.  A lovely setting.

More good goofing around on the train ride back.

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