For decades Cairo was considered safe for residents and visitors. Not anymore. Nearly two years of escalating bombings in and around Cairo are gradually changing the feel of the city. Neighbors are becoming more suspicious of strangers asking questions, and commuters are getting used to changing their routes to avoid police cordons after each bombing.
The New York Times asked readers on Facebook, in English and Arabic, if their lives had changed because of the violence. More than 100 people responded, offering a range of opinions about security and its effect on their daily lives. Here is a selection of their responses, edited for clarity.
People Have Gotten Paranoid
“I live and work in Maadi. Given that this is a distant and quiet neighborhood, everything is calm around here. However, Egyptian people have gotten so used to the sound of bullets and explosions, to the point that you would find normal traffic in a scene just a couple of hours after the explosion. People have gotten more paranoid about men with beards and so have cops.” Ahmed A. Rehim, 24
The Real Problem
“These bombings, of course, lead people to be more cautious when they get near police gatherings and public institutions. However, the problem lies in the failure of the security agencies to put an end to the explosions and in the focusing of the security authorities on going after the supporters of President Morsi.” Ehab Hamdy, 32 (Translated from Arabic.)
A Huge Exaggeration
“Honestly, there is a huge exaggeration from Western media regarding security and safety in Cairo. I’ve lived here for years and not seen or gone through anything remotely dangerous. I think we need to have realistic reports about what is going on. Yes there are bombings, but they are very targeted in nature towards security forces. Hence, we see almost no effect on civilians.” Amr Otefa
‘I Feel Safe’
“I live in Cairo and I come from work at midnight and I feel safe. There is nothing to disrupt me.” Ahmed Ali Elsadek
‘The Police Are Getting More Violent’
“Of course we don’t feel safe anymore. This last explosion took place less than a mile away from my own house, and the whole neighborhood panicked in the middle of the night. And as a result the police are getting more violent and aggressive than ever, even more than Mubarak’s reign.” Hesham Zaki, 24
Safer Than the U.S.
“I’ve lived in Cairo for over seven years now and feel far safer here than I ever did in the U.S.” Meghan Bulla Abdelatti
Malls Are Busy
“Maybe Cairo is now similar to Paris after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, or Boston or London, or even New York after Sept. 11. But I think the truth is Cairo is safe and getting safer each day. Two years ago, Friday was a no-go day. You would think 1,000 times if you wanted go out, but now you don’t even think about it. Shopping malls are busy, streets are full of people spending their weekend out.” Ahmad Abdel Alim
Afraid to Express Opinions
“Everything changed after the coup, and we do not feel safe. Life became miserable, you feared for your family and became afraid to tell your opinion freely, because you may be arrested or killed because of it.” Ahmed Nourdin
‘Life Is About the Same’
“My life hasn’t changed a lot. I am still studying. Going to college next month. Life is about the same. It is just that some terrorists wanted to control our country and they failed.” Mohamed Khaled, 18
‘This Is Our Best Response’
“Life is very normal and all these explosions are nothing but the last gasp before death of the terrorists. I am not afraid. I do not change my life routine. I am not suspicious of strangers. Just the opposite. Life goes on as usual, and this is our best response to terrorism. We are not going to change our way of life and will not surrender to their blind, foolish violence.” Abdelrahman Ahmad (Translated from Arabic.)
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(via NY Times)