Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Preachers and Protests

On my way to work, the Imam’s voice from the nearby mosque was delivering a Friday-like sermon, yet today is not Friday. I caught the words “Bin-Laden” peppered intermittently. The vendors and a few seated men were paying rapt attention. As I approached my office, I asked a few men outside about the voice broadcasting on the speaker system. They explained that sometimes, the Imam teaches students about the Qur’an or religion, so was simply practicing a sermon.

When I arrived at the non-profit office upstairs, the door was closed. Apparently, they had moved and did not notify me. Oh well.

Below in the quad, one of the men I had asked earlier about the mosque broadcast approached me. It turns out he is deaf and mute. With only a few signs, he explained that he was married (pointing to his wedding ring), had four kids—two boys and two girls, who were all grown and out of the house, leaving him and his wife (he made the sign of a person with breasts) alone in the house.

I wrote my name in Arabic for him and he wrote his, Azmy. A middle-aged man with some missing teeth and short cropped hair, he signed that he has seen me walk back and forth a couple of times in the last week. As I left him, I wished him peace. I have a feeling I will see him again soon.

Protests in the metro system
A group of maybe 50-100 metro workers staged a boisterous sit-in inside Sadat metro station, starting yesterday. Not knowing what was going on, I asked a man near me for an explanation. He said the workers were demanding that the metro system director leave his post because of corruption.

The protesters had a few signs, but kept their protests civil and to chants. A young metro worker to the side explained that before Jan. 25, this kind of protest would not have been allowed or tolerated.

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