Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Upper Egypt... they're not really that scary
This is a post I would have not thought to write before going to the Saieed (Upper Egypt), but we got a great photo, and I AM back safely, so here goes...
Can't you just envision bandits hiding in those mountains and attacking us as we drive through? I'm just saying.
Apparently Upper Egypt has a bit of a sordid history - while the rest of Egypt is so excited to have freed itself from the strong hand of a 30-year regime, the southern states never seemed to care about that in the first place. Instead, they have their own ruling parties of tribes and clans.
These 'rulers' are considered by many to be the reason that FGM is so widespread and women's rights in general so limited, and they are also the ones who have ensured that very few people in the south seem to care that Egypt's government was recently toppled. They never cared for the police or security in the first place. Instead, there are stories of bandits hiding in mountainsand attacking, even lynching, people they don't like - like the government and the police (making our police escort all the more ironic).
Fortunately, I didn't put much mental energy into thinking about this while we were driving on the desert roads. It only occurred to me afterwards that I might be perceived to be on the side of the government, not the side of the Saieedi tribes, and thus subject to attack. And fortunately, there was no reason to think about it because nothing at all happened.
Instead, I'll remember cute moments like the time one of our drivers told us he owns a tree in the desert. We didn't really believe him, but sure enough as we drove by a break in the rocky mountains, there was one lone joshua tree. His tree, he claimed with a twinkle in his eye. And so, as much as the legend and lore make me think I'm supposed to be scared of the Saieedis, I actually found their culture to be kind of adorable.