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Day Two

Dudes and Dudettes,

Thanks for checking back in, hope everyone’s doing well!  Today was an interesting day for me as I really got the ball rolling on finding a place over here.  I made it out to a number of apartments in the Zamalek (fairly expat oriented, on the edge of embassy territory) and Mohandiseen (more Egyptian oriented, very fast moving) areas, and went over to AUC’s city dorms to check those out as well.  I saw some really cool places, and some pretty terrible ones.  Given the outward appearances of most of the buildings I’ve seen in Cairo so far, it’s amazing to me how nice some of these places are on the inside.  With a little luck, I’m hoping to have a place to call home within the next day or two, which will be a big relief.

Interesting news from Egypt today that I’ve been curious about for awhile.  AP is reporting that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has announced the official location of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.  Setting the plant in El Dabaa, on the Mediterranean coast relatively close to Alexandria, was a bit of a contentious issue for Mubarak, as many prominent Egyptians own property in the area and plans had been created to develop the territory into a seaside resort town.  Of importance to Americans back at home, Mubarak insisted that Egypt would work closely with the UN and that it had no intentions of creating a nuclear weapons program.

All in all, this isn’t anything new.  Mubarak first announced his intentions to lead Egypt to nuclear energy a few years ago, but this recent statement does serve to put the issue back on our radar and into relevance today.  I’m not sure what the response to this will be at home, though I’d be curious to hear if it is being covered in the press back in the states.   Nuclear power could potentially bring significant gains to the growing country, and many would welcome it as an opportunity for rapid growth in an integral part of the Middle East.

Also interesting to me today has been the portrayal and discussion of the War in Iraq and the draw down of American troops there.  The difference between the portrayal of the issue back at home when I left 4 days ago, and its portrayal here, is incredible.  For example, when I left, American media sources were consistently talking about the end of combat in Iraq as though the entire country was back on its feet, reestablished and going strong.  In contrast, here in Egypt things are being portrayed in a slightly different way.  The 50,000 troops we still have in the country are still being referred to as an occupying force, and I’ve heard numerous illusions to the State Department’s new private security force, termed “contractors” in the American media since day one, as being a sort of “mercenary army” which, combined with the US troops still in the country, will continue to be an extension of US policy there.

Obviously these are two very different stories, influenced, of course, by both politics and beliefs.  However, they are based on the same facts.  These facts remain true despite which side of the issue (if any) you fall on, and they serve to remind us that there is something important to remember here:  Politics aside, though this is a draw down of our presence in Iraq,  a substantial number of American troops still remain in harm’s way.  Our involvement in the divided and struggling country is not over for now, and we should not allow our troops there to be forgotten by our people at home due to any sort of attempt to spin the facts to one side or the other.  Furthermore, we  should not forget the Iraqi people.  Whether our next step should be to increase aid to Iraq, leave the country completely or whatever other actions are being considered I don’t pretend to  know; however, I do know that we need to remember that we still have approximately 50,000 American soldiers in harm’s way in Iraq, and  that many Iraqi people are still largely without access to the potable water and electricity which they need to live.

Time to get some sleep, keep it real till the next time.

– T

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Aunt Laura and Uncle Paul
    August 25, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Hey Tommy,

    We enjoyed hearing about your first few days in Cairo. You are on an adventure of a lifetime – enjoy it — Remember life is all about the journey not necessarily the destination! We are headed to Spokane, WA to move Adam into his dorm room and get him settled tomorrow. It was great seeing you in Cleveland and look forward to reading your blog often. We love you — and wish you the best during your journey. When does school start?
    God Bless You – Aunt Laura and Uncle Paul

    • August 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      Glad you liked it! Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it going strong. School doesn’t start till the 4th fortunately, so I have some time to walk around and check stuff out before then. Give Adam my best on there, and have fun. Everything I’ve ever heard makes it sound like an awesome place!

  2. Aunt Jen & Uncle Lance & the Girls
    August 26, 2010 at 12:04 am

    T – enjoyed catching up on your adventure over a pizza and a glass of wine. your descriptions paint a true picture – it’s as if we’re there seeing it along with you. Best of luck with the home search.

    • August 26, 2010 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks guys! I’ll let you know when I finally find something… I’m hoping it’ll be soon.

  3. Your Aunt Susan
    August 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Tommy, I am so psyched to be able to read about your adventures. I will be a constant reader of your blog and will be sure that Nana sees it at least once a week. Love, Susan

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