News / Middle East

Behind Cairo Barricades, Morsi Supporters Make Most of Camp Life

Children of supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi jump on a trampoline in a makeshift funfair in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, August 11, 2013.
Children of supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi jump on a trampoline in a makeshift funfair in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, August 11, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Children have water fights in the sun while ice cream and soft drink vendors do a roaring trade. The protest camps at the heart of Egypt's political crisis feel more like a village fair than a bastion of resistance to military-backed rule.
 
The thousands of supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, camped out for more than six weeks, know they could soon face a violent eviction, but most seem to be enjoying the sense of community rather than worrying about how the party might end.
 
“We play football, we play ping-pong, we just don't want to get bored. We want this to be a happy atmosphere,” said Talaat Mahmoud, 32, an interior designer who joined protesters around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the biggest of two camps to spring up in Cairo.
 
The camps are the last political card in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has seen its leaders jailed and their assets frozen since the army toppled Morsi on July 3 after mass protests against his rule.

Making the best of it

The protesters have sworn to stay until he is reinstated. Aside from defiant rhetoric and calls for holy war, most seem to be having a good time while the camps expand every day.
 
While elsewhere in the city Morsi supporters were fighting their opponents and being hit with police teargas on Tuesday, at the Rabaa camp, boys ran around with water dispensers strapped to their backs, spraying people and laughing.
 
Despite the Muslim Brotherhood members standing guard with sticks near sandbags or piles of rock, everyone in the camps knows that security forces will have overwhelming firepower if they do decide to force them out.
 
Until then, life goes on at the gatherings, where electricity cables reach most tents. Vendors sell pocket-sized Korans, hairbrushes and plastic toys and a field pharmacy offers antibiotics, eye drops and other medicines for free.
 
“We have the army on our doorstep, but there are no weapons here,” said Salah Mahmoud, 42, as he cheered on young boys playing ping-pong at Rabaa, the biggest camp.
 
Local media have reported that government forces had bolstered security around the camps to prevent weapons from getting in.
 
Fearing a bloodbath
 
Over 300 people have died in political violence since army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi toppled Morsi.
 
Fearing a bloodbath, Western envoys and some senior members of the interim government have urged the military to avoid using force to disperse the camps, where ice cream vendors and food and clothes stalls line the streets.
 
The sites have become highly organized communities. Men read the Koran, discuss politics or crack jokes in tents, surrounded by posters of those killed by police and considered martyrs.
 
But there is no sense of siege at Rabaa or the other camp at al-Nahda Square, or worries that supplies will run out. Communal kitchens with brand new refrigerators are feeding the thousands.
 
“Maybe somebody comes and says 'I've brought 100 kg of meat,' so we cook meat,” said Mohamed Mosad Ghitani, an engineer volunteering in one of the kitchens.
“Another day, somebody says 'I've brought 200 chickens', so we cook chicken,” added he.
 
The Rabaa camp cannot expand further.
 
Some entrances are blocked by riot police and army vans or fortifications set up by protesters. So Morsi's supporters are adding floors to the makeshift wooden buildings that have sprung up among the tents.
 
Shop owner Mustafa, 24, is not a protester, but he is enjoying the carnival atmosphere at least as much as those who are.
 
“Business is better in the camp than outside. I sleep here. I'm here every day,” he said, unloading hundreds of cans of soft drinks from a truck.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
August 13, 2013 9:17 PM
Egyptian crisis need Egyptian solution. the Egyptian people understand that Muslim brotherhood has no place in politics. since Nasser, the Egyptian solution is rejecting their view. many had been detained for years and it looks that only way to deal with them is the same that general Hamza el bosunis dealt l with them and they need the same treatment


by: William Norman
August 13, 2013 6:29 PM
In political terms, Egypt has been in a downward spiral since the revolution, and downward spirals have an end.. Yes, there are many in Egypt and throughout the Middle East who are very excited about the idea of President Mursi being pushed out of power. Using a street mob to topple a government in such a manner, which will most likely be accompanied by heavy violence, should always be the “nuclear option” (if at all). Should we really believe Egypt needs two such interventions in the span of only two years? Are we to believe this revolution will be so much better than the last one? We have no reason to think so.


Albert Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results. Egyptians would be wise to take note of his words. Repeating the same mistakes will not produce the desired ending. Banging your heads against the wall will not break it down. It's only going to give you a headache, not much different from the ones you have now. New ideas are required. Our Egyptian friends can learn from the example of others.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid