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Egypt Recovers From Arab Spring

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on November 25, 2018 07:34

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A recent visit to the Pyramids showed Egyptian tourism recovering from civil strife and economic woes of the Arab Spring.

(Author at Mena House Hotel, Cairo)

I just returned from seeing the Pyramids on a Nile tour sponsored by the UCLA alumni association.

While traveling in a tourist bubble somewhere between Thomas Cook's 1860s expeditions, Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad" and Agatha Christie's "Death on the Nile" cannot reveal the real Egypt, our tour guides sure wanted us to know Egypt is recovering from the economic and social crisis of the Arab Spring which overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. 

There was a heavy police and army presence at tourist sites, targets of fundamentalist terrorism, and an armed guard on our bus, riding shotgun like in "Stagecoach."

These Wild West security measures seem to be effective, as the joint was jumping with visitors.

Tourism has returned to 75 percent of its pre-revolutionary level. Already it seemed some venues, such as the Temples of Luxor and Karnak, were wall-to-wall with sightseers from around the world. 

One guide told us that French, Germans and Russians come for sun and swimming at Red Sea Resorts; Americans, Canadians, English and Australians for the history; and the Chinese to do business, with some tourism on the side. We saw plenty of Chinese buses. Apparently they are looking for investment opportunities.

In addition, our guides let us know that the 2011 Egyptian Revolution had been devastating for the tourist industry, which is a mainstay of the national economy. In Egypt, what is bad for tourism is bad for the country, they maintained. Millions lost jobs.

Coming from the airport through Tahrir Square en route to our hotel, we were told that Arab Spring protests had been a "disaster."

On another trip through Tahrir Square, another guide told us the international media had misrepresented the size of the protests. "There were never a million people in Tahrir Square," we were informed, "because the Square can only hold 300,000 people."

Repeatedly we were advised that Egypt is both a Muslim and a multi-cultural and multi-religious society. Coptic churches with neon crucifixes were pointed out, we saw a Coptic engagement party.

They said Egypt seeks to protect Copts. We were told the word "Copt" means "Egyptian." Taken to St. George's Coptic Church, our guide pointed out that photographs of President Morsi had been removed, because they said, Egyptians want to forget the horrors of his Presidency. Instead, Presidents Nasser, Mubarak, Sadat and el-Sisi were shown meeting with Coptic Popes.

We were also taken to the historic Ben Ezra synagogue. Our guides emphasized that Jews and Arabs were cousins, that Egypt sought peace with all countries, and they praised President Sadat for the Camp David Accords, pointing out the Mena Palace Hotel next to the Pyramids, where Begin privately met Sadat to negotiate, and where our group had lunch.

On the television, I saw commercials featuring President el-Sisi with Coptic notables, Chabad rabbis and Muslim Imams--the official message is clear:

Religious Tolerance is official policy in today's post-Muslim Brotherhood Egypt. 

 

 

 

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on November 25, 2018 07:34

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Source: Daily Mail

Urthecast's Iris camera filmed areas of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and Cape Town South Africa...

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