A note for the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, about the situation in Luxor

Well !!!! I've finally managed to source some of the right Anthracite (pretty hard to come by in Upper Egypt, I can tell you!) to run the boiler on my steam powered laptop. I don't know how long it will last, so I'm having to use it sparingly, and I haven't yet tried to upload pictures; so wish me luck?

The past days have been rather strange, to say the least. The guests we had until last week didn't have any problems as they trailed around the town and the sights/sites. We have actually been out looking for spots of bother, but found them very elusive. We did manage to catch some rowdy youths attacking the Susanna Mubarak Heritage Centre, breaking some of the windows and letting off fire extinguishers. They soon scarpered when they heard the trucks coming and the tear gas was let off after they'd gone, typical! We were travelling in Ahmed's caleche, to get a good view of whatever we came across.

It seemed as though the vandals were attacking Government buildings, actually the "attacks" were breaking windows as far as we could judge. These broken glass shots were taken along Karnak St, the first one being the telephone building near the savoy Bazaar.

You all know what Luxor is like for being a rumour mill, don't you? Even I ended up adding to that reputation last week! I had heard, from a trusted friend, that the Kier Zaman supermarket on TV St. had been ransacked and looted. I had passed this snippet of info on to one or two others before I passed the very same shop on the 'bus, only to see it as busy as ever and without the slightest sign of anything amiss. I felt such a fool!

The "powers that be" have certainly been taking this spot of trouble seriously. Shortly after it first kicked off in Cairo, I saw two old Magirus Deutz army wagons trundling along the Corniche, "Aye,aye", I thought to myself, "they're expecting trouble in Luxor are they?" It still came as quite a shock when I saw the tank opposite the Iberotel!

The tank transporter was a nice thing, a three axled six wheel drive Faun, (with two lovely big winches on the back) pulling a substantial drop-well trailer. The soldiers weren't too happy at me taking pictures of their tank! The only other unusual vehicles I saw were the armoured up mini-buses, the same as we've been seeing on the telly in Cairo, and the 4x4 army trucks outside the Supreme Council building, next to the Etap.

I've got to say, however, that while all of this might seem rather troublesome; our usual outings to watch the tourists and shop etc. haven't been curtailed at all. We know that the anger which has resulted in these bouts of vandalism is not aimed at tourists or foreigners in general, but at people in government and in positions of power, who the general populace are very unhappy about.

I'm sure that most people in Luxor know where their bread and butter (or perhaps their fuul and falafel) come from, and don't really have any animosity towards us. I have certainly not experienced anything out of the ordinary as far as our dealings with Egyptians are concerned. The few demonstrations which we have seen have been good humoured affairs (as you would expect in Luxor) with more of a carnival atmosphere, a bit like the Moulid parade.

It's getting sad now though, very few tourists left to gawk at while we have our cups of tea, two lots of guests cancelled through lack of flights, and a general sense of gloom descending on everyone we talk to! How long will it last, I wonder? Perhaps everyone could write to William Hague and ask him to take Luxor off his hit list? He seems to be a straightforward sort of bloke, you never know, he may just see sense!

No comments:

Post a Comment