In the fall of 2006, I lived in Cairo. Most days, I would ride a small bus from my residence, a hotel-dormitory in the neighborhood of Doqi, across the Nile to Tahrir Square, then the main campus of the American University of Cairo and now, of course, host to demonstrators who have toppled President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

The images of the uprising bring back fond memories of — and make me anxious for — the young Cairenes I befriended then. If meetings of the ideologically-clashing college newspaper staff are any indication, it will be a clamorous assembly indeed if Egypt can wrest a representative democracy from the military.

Less nobly, the events in the Um Al-Dunya also remind me of the music I was listening to at the time and trying, with little success, to sell the Egyptians on. They much preferred the Euro-inspired Arabic pop music that defines cafe culture in the Middle East. Another time, several of us attended a very well received death-metal concert. There is no accounting for taste.

The two most frequently played songs on my iPod from that period are posted here — the above video was even on my short-lived travel blog, memorably(?) named “Pyramid Schemer.”

The second, of course, is dedicated to the young lady who would always be on-line during the period between the end of classes and dinner (thank goodness for that time difference and the time to chat), who gave me a good reason to come back home when my studies abroad were through.

Oxford Collapse — Please Visit Your National Parks


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