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Old 12-29-2012   #330
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Default Sons of Beaches: How Alexandria's Ideological Battles Shape Egypt

The last two paragraphs from an article on Alexandria, Egypt's second city, which is well worth reading for its depth and insight:
One of several concerns for me over the past two years has been the appropriation of religion and thrusting it onto a dangerous identity based politics trajectory in the city of Alexandria. I cannot help but make a personal contrast. As a child, my uncle, a Muslim Imam at a local mosque, would often take me with him on routine runs, in the Alexandrian suburb of Camb Shezar (Camp Caesar), to assist an old widowed Christian lady, and in contrast with the conventional discourse adopted by “TV celebrity sheikhs,” I had never heard him use the word infidel, demonize others, or even raise his voice. To me, what he humbly did and does until this day is a revolutionary act in the face of an encroaching reactionary Islamist conservatism that continues to inflame the toxic mixture of religion and politics. Not only is this trend severely harming the social fabric of the coastal city, but also it is sending disturbing signals throughout the country.

It is often said the one who controls Tahrir, controls Cairo, and controls Egypt. Yet it can also be said the one who wins the ongoing “Battle of Alexandria” is handed the baton, like a Maestro, to wave and direct the tempo, rhythm, nuances, and dynamics of Egypt’s political orchestra that plays to an 83-million strong theatre—all yearning for a happier ending.
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