So Unfortunate…

The final days of this boot camp are approaching. Yesterday, my partner, Nada, and I went to shoot some b-roll in the streets. Luckily, we actually managed to get great shots. We were a little worried at first because videotaping on Egyptian streets is illegal without a license so my plan B was to use the “stupid tourist’ card if we had gotten caught—but we didn’t so yay.

Shortly beforehand, Tareq (Nada’s driver) got into an argument with the tourism police. The officer had taken his license away for “being rude.” Tareq was waiting on us for about five minutes in a no parking zone. According to the police officer, he didn’t move when he was told to, which is enough reason to take his license away. The officer then told us that we had to go to the office across the street and pay a 50-pound fine to get the license back. Tareq got there and was then told that the fine was 100-pounds. There was absolutely no formality to this process at all! How can someone just decide to fine someone for being rude and just make up the fines as he goes along???! What really killed me is the fact that we waited 30 minutes for this entire fiasco to be over– in the same “no parking zone”– so why was he so worried about those first 5 minutes?

Now that I have my complaining out of the way, that same day, we met Ayman Nour who is the leader of an opposition party in Egypt called “Al-Wafd.” He was Mubarak’s opponent in 2005 (decided to run while he was in jail) and he was jailed again after the election for “fraud.” He talked to us about corruption and how it affects Egyptians in their everyday lives. I can’t really go into this too deep for the sake of time (and limited internet), corruption drives people to feel political disparity and therefore, they are more likely to act extreme and corrupt towards one another. Someone FINALLY told me what happens to part of the foreign aid that Egypt gets from the US. I realize that Ayman Nour might not be 100% reliable being a victim and therefore bias against the government and all, but the fact that this money is misdirected is almost common knowledge. One minister used part of the money to pay his personal employees like his driver and so forth. We REALLY need a committee to overlook misspending and corruption—that should be one of the first things created if Egypt ever has a transition of power.  There’s that along with a solid constitution—one that you can’t just decide to change over morning coffee.

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