I've Moved!

My new blog is called Reflections from a Global Nomad, in order to acknowledge that we no longer live in Maadi and that we are, in fact, global nomads, not staying in one place longer than two or three years. Please join me at http://DeborahReflections.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 27, 2011


This is not going to be a long, in-depth analysis of anything. I say that so no one will be disappointed. But I do want to take a moment--and it may only be a moment, if Alexa wakes up--to make you aware, if the news hasn't already, that there are some pretty big protests going on in Egypt right now.

You may remember hearing the news that a popular uprising in Tunisia successfully overthrew the government there not too long ago. That news has inspired other populations to stage their own protests/demonstrations/whatever word you want to use.

In Egypt, the day for protests was set at Tuesday, 25 July, which was a national holiday: Police Day. I started hearing about it a few days before that, maybe Thursday or Friday. I didn't think much of it; we hear about demonstrations fairly often, and I can rattle off all the standard lines: Avoid areas where demonstrations will occur, even peaceful gatherings can turn violent, and so on and so forth. Usually we're told by the Regional Security Office (RSO) that protests are planned for a certain day, and that's the end of it. This time there were indications that the RSO was more concerned than usual. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that extra precautions seemed to be occurring in the days leading up to the protests. That was enough to tell me this was going to be big.

And it was. Check out some pictures from a Facebook group called Operation Egypt. There were some huge protests on Tuesday, including a massive one in Tahrir Square, just a block or so from the embassy where Jeff works. (As it was a holiday, he wasn't there on Tuesday.) As planned, our family stayed home. There was a time when I would have wanted to go see what was going on--staying on the outskirts of everything, being reasonably cautious--although Jeff never would have agreed. But now that we have Alexa, I was all for staying home. So we did. We checked the internet news a couple of times but overall didn't work ourselves up over anything.

Yesterday Jeff went back to work. I stayed home with Alexa and didn't check the news or anything. Jeff got home around his usual time last night. He informed me that they had been dismissed early, but he had work to do (catching up from being out sick on Monday), so he hadn't left early. The early dismissal was because the protests had continued from Tuesday to Wednesday. That surprised me, as usually these things occur on the planned day and then they're over and done with. Jeff said that as he was leaving work, there were rumors that a demonstration was starting in front of the Semiramis Hotel on the Corniche, across the street from the embassy.

This morning I saw Facebook status updates from friends here in Egypt: "I'm okay." "Pray for Egypt." "We're fine, staying in Maadi, which is still quiet." I saw a post from my sister-in-law indicating that she was praying for all Americans in Egypt, and I knew she was thinking of us. I realized that the protests must have hit the international news sometime yesterday/last night. I did a quick search and began to realize just how big this really is--something I hadn't realized as I stayed cocooned in my quiet apartment with my sweet daughter. The pictures that I linked to earlier blew me away. When I went to Operation Egypt's home page on Facebook so I could link to it, I saw an update that was posted less than half an hour ago: "Protests starting now at Liberation Square (Midan atTahrir) Cairo. No police yet." This is the huge midan near the embassy. Many of the pictures I linked to were taken there. It looks like it's going to be another day of protests, another day of tear gas, another day of struggle.

I'm not in a position to comment on Egyptian politics. (I'm in Egypt on a diplomatic passport, after all, and many people don't understand that I don't speak for the American government, even though my husband does work for the U. S. embassy.) I have my opinions, which will remain with me for now. But I think we all can agree that Egypt needs prayer. The Egyptian people need prayer. If you're a praying person, please pray. Pray for the safety of the police and the protesters, and any bystanders who are caught up in events as they simply try to go to work, school, or about their daily lives. Pray for justice for all the citizens of this country. Pray that God will have His hand on these events and that He will work in and through them to accomplish His purposes in the lives of the individuals involved and in the life of Egypt as a country.

Day three has begun. There are calls on Facebook and Twitter for even more massive protests tomorrow after Friday prayers. I don't know how long this will go on or how it will end. But right now, the Egyptian people are protesting.

Update: Jeff just emailed me and said that he was in Tahrir before lunch today. He saw lots of police but no protesters. I wouldn't be too surprised if small groups of protesters were being arrested or run off immediately. The key will be what happens this evening, if large groups show up, and what happens tomorrow afternoon.