Observations & feedback on Home Sweet Home issues!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cairo buses!

In a recent article in Al Masry Al Youm newspaper, the writer highlighted a new trend that becomes a phenomenon in Cairo’s public buses.

It seems that Egypt’s limited buffer of “relative” freedom has triggered some demonstrations in downtown and elsewhere. These demonstrations started with a few individuals and some groups (such as Kefaya), but recently, more people got interested to join those demonstrations (for a reason or another). In the early phase, the Egyptian security forces played tough with the demonstrators. Later they use rather “soft” approach after receiving a lot of criticism. More recently, the Egyptian security returned to their “preferred” policy in crashing demonstrators and arresting them.

This Tom & Jerry game had some implications for the residents in the Egyptian capital. Among others, the traffic was badly affected with these demonstrations. As the police used to block the streets with the vehicles that carry hundreds of solders. While drivers of private cars could (at least in theory) take alternative routes, the user of public buses ended up stuck for long hours in the jammed busy streets.

Riders of the public buses took the opportunity to chat about political issues. Such discussions usually start with some negative remarks, and then rest of passengers find themselves commenting about various issues (high prices, corruption, education, football, even their views regarding Mubarak and his Government).

The public buses have become very lively with debates where riders express their opinion freely without fear! In the absence of strong opposition political parties, that enables people to tackle serious matters facing the country; the riders of the public buses have formed their own!


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