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Port Said, and beyond

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Fellow revolutionary planeteers,

Egypt can seem like a centralized country, with all the focus on Cairo. This could be partly due to the attitude of us Cairenes. I mean, we have to admit, residents of the City Victorious can get rather arrogant, and very few question that. Even within the capital, many of us fell strongly about our side of town as oppose to other areas. For example, MarWanss defends Heliopolis/Nasr City because he’s too arrogant and stubborn to recognize that Mohandeseen/Dokki are far superior, and that he’s lucky we Gizans let him and his people roam our side of town. Meanwhile Ma7ama3ab7amei will deny he’s from Manial and will always try to make a case for Maadi, ignoring the fact that his semi-permanent presence outside of Maadi (and deep into Giza) is itself a manifestation of the failure of his ‘hometown’ to be self-sufficient. Yet another indicator of the sheer class of Giza in general, and Mohandeseen/Dokki in particular.

Interestingly, though, additions from other corners of the republic have brought to our attention a glimpse of the depth of the dynamic Egyptian social fabric. Kebda (Haytham), for example, strengthened Arafah’s position as a Delta citizen with roots from Alexandria. While the former on his own can seem like an outcast with too weak of a voice to find room amongst obnoxious Cairenes, his collaboration with the latter placed them both on a map that pressured the rest of us to zoom out a bit, and take a look at Greater Egypt, not just our ‘Egypt’ – unsurprisingly the name used by default to refer to its capital city.

One of the beauties of #Jan25 was how fast we started learning about ourselves, and the differences between us all. And just like the Egyptian revolutionaries in general fought for bread, freedom and social justice, the provinces and the towns in the margins presented themselves as vital players in the political spectrum. Never have Cairenes spoken of the different cities and towns throughout the country as we have done since #Jan25. We’ve come to learn of worker strikes throughout the republic, heightened sectarian tensions in certain places in the south, armed encounters between the different groups in Northern Sinai, and the dynamics of the different people in the Nile Delta fighting against the regime.

That is one of the many reasons that I am excited about our weekend retreat to Port Said together. But as I was putting together the tentative schedule of activities for the trip and calculating costs, I was a little concerned. As I was integrating a traditional visit to the free zone market that takes us back to our childhood days when Port Said was a rare window of imports from the Western world, I remembered that ThePlanet wouldn’t be covering any of your shopping needs. I mean, if you’re going to buy Turkish chocolates, or Malay pants, you’re going to have to dig deep into your own pocket. But then I realized that I shouldn’t be worried – and neither should you – for your salaries have been transferred 🙂

Now let’s hit Port Said and splash our cash like there’s no tomorrow ya welad el balad!

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