copy Excellent Adventures in Egypt

Enter here to share Joni's adventures living and working in Cairo courtesy of the U.S. Fulbright cultural exchange program. Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization. - Mahatma Ghandi

4/18/2005

One of the best things about presentations in Egypt is the discussion afterwards. Egyptians begin very graciously, bestowing copious praise and thanking the speaker for the wisdom/knowledge/importance blah blah blah of the talk. Then they go for the jugular - in a very polite way. This lady, head of an Egyptian NGO, is commenting about the sheer waste and stupidity of the US using all those resources to produce weapons that we use to blow up people in Iraq. Governments and NGOs need to work together to make the world a better place - I couldn’t agree more. One speaker in Alex asked me if I thought it was ethical for the US to scatter depleted uranium around the world in our myriad weapons-related adventures. (Duh.) Many speakers went after the US on our failure to abide by the Kyoto treaty - clearly an issue that has been given prominent play in the Regional press. A regulator from the Egyptian Environmental agency asked how we balance the challenge of forcing non-complying factories to comply with the law when serious fines will force them out of business - a completely unacceptable outcome in this economy, where jobs are so scarce. My favorite commenter was an Alex city council man/university professor who complimented me on my “scientific and romantic” talk, then disagreed with my entire premise by stating that the message of change should be purely economic - without changing the economic system, we can’t change anything. I agreed with his point about the importance of economics (especially in the West, where economics is a form of religion for many) and we had a lively exchange about how to best get concepts across to people - through the head or the heart.  Posted by Hello

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