Saturday, 29 January 2011


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Extraordinary events are unfolding in Egypt. Things are moving so fast that the BBC is actually live-blogging. The contagion is spreading to Yemen, which people are not much talking about yet, but will. I thought at first it might be two days of protest and then everything would go back to business as usual, as it did in Iran. Now I am not so sure.

There are so many extraordinary things about this. It may be one of those weeks that people look back on, when the world shifted.

But maybe the most outlandish thing of all is the Daily Mail. I know I should not be surprised by this, yet I am. Every single news outlet online today had Egypt as its huge number one story. This morning, the Mail website's headline was: Just how do they afford those gypsy weddings?

I know that this is the question everyone in the nation is asking. Just how do they? Good Britons everywhere must be scratching their heads in bafflement. We must be told.

For good measure, there was the standard scare story about the ten families who are costing us ONE MILLION pounds a year in housing benefits. I scrolled down and down, past stories about a mum who was addicted to cherry cola, Paris Hilton 'flaunting' a fuller figure, and Vanessa Feltz making a girl cry. Finally, in a small box titled World News, there was a a single line: Egyptian President sacks entire cabinet. So there is a newspaper that really has its priorities straight.

Luckily, the dear old Beeb has sent in John Simpson, which is how the nation always knows that something really important is happening.

I went to Cairo, about fifteen years ago. It was one of the most fascinating cities I have ever visited, with the nicest, most friendly people. One of my most vivid memories was of a group of motley children running up to us in the street. I wondered if they were going to ask for money, and was fumbling in my pocket for coins. They stopped, grinned, asked if we were from England. Yes, we said. They asked if they could practise their English on us. 'English, English,' they cried, with delight, as if it were the most thrilling thing in the world. They wanted nothing from us but the gift of language.

A few pictures for you, of stone and trees and tulips and dogs:

29th Jan 3

29th Jan 4

29th Jan 8

28th Jan 10

29th January 1

29th Jan 2

29th Jan 12


And the hill:

29th Jan 11-1

A gentleman on the news has just said: 'The sun is rising over the Nile. A new Egypt is being born.'

I hope he is right.


  1. Your words gave me goose bumps this morning. I was on the phone with my mum this morning and she says to me "you worry too much about social issues, you need to pay attention to your own stuff". I have been sad all morning turning this over in my mind. I still haven't settled it down yet, but I am pleased to read your post and know that I have company.

  2. Ahh the Daily Mail. I always feel rather unclean when I visit the website for a bit of showbiz "news" as it is hard to avoid the front page bile.

  3. I really must apologize personally for the "made in the USA" tear gas being used to burn eyes and sear lungs in Egypt. Please do not hold it against all of us, and be assured that this global shift is on the minds of many (if not most) of us "over here."

  4. Thank you for offering us such a clever & thoughtful blog - and for always putting everything back into perspective at the end by focusing on the smallest, most important things in life.


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