When Will My Reflection Show Who I Am Inside?

HAHA I swear I’m not having an existential crisis, or even just a Mulan fantasy; this week is just called Reflection Week and this song was the first thing that came to mind. So Sunday through Tuesday we have had our Arabic final exams (3 for me) as well as meetings for reflections in our elective classes. I’m now on the other side of all the actual tests and think I came out pretty well; but they definitely were more challenging than the tests I have dealt with back home. Hanshoof insha allah…

So the reflection class for my Egyptology class was actually more of a field trip to go see how modern Egypt still uses Pharaonic styles and ideas in its architecture and art and so forth. We visited the newly remodeled train station and a tomb for a early 20th century nationalist, but my favorite stop was the American University of Cairo wall that borders the Mohamed Mahmud street, which leads from Tahrir Square to the Interior Ministry. This wall is home to some of the most iconic graffiti from the revolution, including some professionally done works. I hadn’t had a chance to see these yet, but they are really cool.

To start with, this is the (in)famous Tahrir Square; center of the city and home to the majority of protests and gatherings. Nothing was really going on at this moment, besides maybe some people hanging around to support certain presidential (ex-) candidates. The kinda ugly pinkish building to the right is the Egyptian Museum, home to Tut’s treasures, the Narmer Palette, a bunch of mummies, and more artifacts than they know what to do with. The tall building to its left is the old headquarters of the National Democratic Party, also known as Mubarak’s party. It is actually more of a burned out shell these days; guess when that happened?

The face on the right is Mubarak; the left is the head of the military council, suggesting that they are basically two sides of the same coin. This is the main grievance that Egyptians hold with the progress of the revolution and hopefully it will all get sorted out in the coming election.

The pictures and names of the martyrs that were killed during the revolution. A little ways across the city there is a metro station that used to be called Mubarak station, but was renamed shohada, which means “the martyrs”. All of the signs on the trains and in the stations have the old name scratched out and the new one written beside it.

The soldier in this scares the crap out of me. You can also see the pictures that show that women participated in the revolution, wearing masks to protect themselves from tear gas; not quite submissive women in veils…

This is one of the main chants of the protestors. It basically means ” Down with the military government”

This is one of the examples of the ancient Egyptian motifs being modified; this shows the weighing of the heart scene, with Mubarak’s heart being way heavy because of his evil deeds. The blue woman is suckling her son, a common way of picturing the gods Isis and Horus, but it here refers to the Susanne Mubarak preparing her son Gamal to take the presidency after his father.

And here are the faces of Susanne and Hosni Mubarak as a two headed snake that stretches 50+ meters down this entire wall.

One more reflection class and a few more program activities, then I will be on a plane heading back to the US!

Categories: Egypt Study Abroad | Leave a comment

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