Hessler in Cairo

Every morning when I wake up to make coffee I flip on Morning Joe and  wait for the failed congressman to stop yapping so I can see if new rioting has taken place in downtown Cairo, and find out what’s new in Peter Hessler’s (China 1996-98) world.

Where’s Peter, I’m thinking, as I watch the rioting in Tahrir or Abbasiya. Peter, I know, lives within blocks of city central, and I know he is just a crazy enough RPCV to get close enough to the action to get into real trouble.

Well, the new New Yorker (June 18, 2012) has him alive and well and reporting on the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and what it means for Egyptians and the rest of us. The long article (it wouldn’t be a New Yorker article if it wasn’t long) has Peter and his translator Mohamed calmly walking toward another demonstration in Abbasiya where there were no cars in the streets, and the shutters on most buildings are drawn. Gunfire crackles in the distance, and men on motorbikes speed past, their shirts soaked with blood. Another summer evening in Cairo.

Still Peter writes,….”And yet it was rare to feel unsafe. My wife and I both spent a lot of time out in the city, often separately, and neither of us had problems; the same was true of almost all my friends.”

So after reading his current piece in The New Yorker, I feel better about his situation, and finishing my first cup of coffee, I think: Well, at least he doesn’t have to endure Joe Scarborough early in the morning back here in the good old U.S.A.!

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