I grew up with a phrase that persists till today: Masr, Om Il Donya (Egypt, mother of the world). Subjective projections, such as these, are indemically problematic due to their unquantifiable nature. How do you put a number on a notion? How do you put your analytical arms around an idea or a preception?
The answer is: you dont.
The most reasonable avenue is a comparative look at the Cairo of your youth and its current projection of self. This is where the problem arises. Memory has this funny habit of fading to a pleasant hue our self preception and our preception of all things dear to us. So while I remember, garbage on the side walk of the Cairo of my youth I have far more memories of a beautiful zoo that was a heaven from the congested streets. I remember a very well manicured ‘Merryland’ park, with a man made lake where many unforgattble boat rides where taken. I recollect, quite clearly, Cinema Metro with a high level of efficiency and a consistantly unbeatble lineup of foreign films. I smile as as my mind paints a picture of a leisurely ride on the, nearly lyrical, Nile Water Bus.
This is the Cairo of my yesteryear. Today’s Cairo is not that.
Today’s Cairo is a blazing whirlpool of activity and its resultant pollution : both environmental and noise. Today’s Cairo, to be specific, seems to have incorporated , in many ways, the worst of western tradition and slabbed it unto a detriorating urban landscape. Everywhere you look there seems to be a new supermarket, shopping mall, or isolationistic living ‘compound’. The sidewalks seems higher, so do the garbage piles, and somehow the potholes are deeper, as well the numerous construction holes. These arent cosemtic differences, these are the differences that directlly impinge of quality of life for all Caireness.
There are positives to be sure in today’s and negative’s in yesteryear’s cairo. But Id like to kiss the latter and the kick the behind of the former.