February 8, 2012
by Dr. Lobban
I was here in Cairo a year ago, first on a family vacation, then to host a tour group which had virtually concluded its program when the revolution of January 25, 2011 broke out and as a second tour group was just arriving. We could see the vast crowds at Tahrir Square and had to take some security measures to move about Cairo. We were never at risk while seeing a number of official buildings on fire, seeing military aircraft flying low, plenty of tanks and heavily armed soldiers, checks points and such. Finally we had the opportunity to be evacuated to Athens and we safely made our ways home to America. I came back to Cairo in November on my way to Sudan and again in December on my way back. Often teaching and lecturing about Middle Eastern politics I took a close interest in the evolution, or lack of evolution, of the events with various setbacks and delays and progress with elections. This process is still incomplete and the demands on the military to step back from an emergent civilian government have not yet been fulfilled. We shall see what happens. In any case, these events in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Syria are certainly redrawing the political maps of the Middle East in ways not imagined only a year ago. From the point of view of tourism, this is a marvelous time to come to Egypt with many shopping bargains to be had and the archaeological and museum sites having only very small numbers of visitors. The Egyptian economy is still suffering and there are many who wish tourism to be rebuilt as soon as possible, while there are also great numbers to hurry the political evolution of the revolution as a necessary step toward this goal. I have heard of no injuries to tourists. Watch this ancient nation making its baby steps toward democracy as all await progress on the economic and political fronts. For those appreciating history, come to Egypt as soon as possible and safely watch history being made day by day.