A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cairo: "The View from Shubra"

I'd like to urge you to take a look at an article at Muftah by Sofia Fenner and Mohamed Talaat, called "Shaabi Cairo After June 30: The View from Shubra."  The opening paragraphs explain the rationale:
Since June 30, most Western media coverage of Egypt has focused on dramatic events unfolding in some of Cairo’s best-known districts: sit-ins in Nasr City and near Cairo University; sporadic outbreaks of violence in Zamalek and Doqqi; and the closures of streets, squares, and metro stations in the city’s downtown area.

While foreign journalists are quick to admit that their Egypt coverage has been Cairo-centric, readers are often unaware that even this coverage rarely reaches beyond a few exceptional Cairene neighborhoods.

Thwarted by curfews, rising xenophobia, and an uncertain security environment, most foreign journalists neither live nor regularly work in shaabi (“popular” or “working class”) areas like Imbaba, Boulaq al-Dakrur, or Manshiyet Nasr.

This leaves some of Cairo’s least representative and most exclusive districts – such as Zamalek, downtown, and Maadi – to stand in for the rest of the city.

But how have events since June 30 played out in other parts of Cairo, and what can these stories tell us about the city as a whole?

An exploration of one under-reported neighborhood, the Medinat al-Taawon district of Shubra al-Kheima (home to the authors), suggests that the events of this summer are changing the city in ways more subtle – but potentially more far-reaching – than coverage of protests and crackdowns in well-known neighborhoods might suggest.

In particular, patterns of circulation that once brought diverse Egyptians into contact with one another are deteriorating in the face of rising security concerns and economic pressures.
I recommend you read the whole piece.

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