Another Tack: From bakshish to Khaybar

In many ways Egypt-present isn’t like Egypt-past. In many ways nothing in Egypt has changed at all.
Herein prevails the paradox. Egypt is a bedeviling composite of the mutating and the immutable.

I described its immutability years ago, when recalling my first work assignment to Egypt. In those days peace with Israel hadn’t yet been thoroughly delegitimized among the broad lower strata of Egyptian society (as distinct from the razor-thin so-called intelligentsia).

Yet it was a frustrating (pre-Internet) time. The Jerusalem Post’s then-editors wouldn’t hear of footing the bill for long-distance telephone communications. Reporters from other Israeli papers weren’t likewise impeded. I had to travel by cab alone each night – over an hour each way – from our well-secured hotel to Cairo’s Reuters headquarters to file my copy by telex. Continue reading