Coca Cola Co-opts the Revolution

This is a kind of fascinating example of corporate commodification of the revolution and Tahrir. Among the things to notice: there is, in reality, a giant Coca Cola sign that looms over the Square, but it’s not red and white, like the one in the ad (unless something has changed in the few weeks I’ve been away from Cairo.) It’s major charm is that it is old and decrepit, made of neon and , more importantly, it blinks back and forth between saying Coca Cola in English and in Arabic. (like this: الكوكا كول , but without the “al” at the beginning), unlike the one in the ad, which only displays English.

It is also interesting (and I guess indicative of their understanding of their target market?) that the version of Tahrir and “new Egypt”  that they are selling does not include any veiled women (or anyone in traditional non-western clothing)–though this is a much more common site in Tahrir than blue skies.

From February 11

I shot this little snippet of video in Tahrir Square on the morning of the day Mubarak resigned. After the fiasco if the night before we thought the mood in the square might be slack or disillusioned–but, quite the opposite–the crowds were huge already, early in the morning and something infectious was in the air that continued to grow throughout the day. The music on the video was just something that started blaring from a sound system and a little spontaneous parade of singing people formed. I captured a bit of it on my little digital still cam.

Nuweiba: back-blog:broken

These are also for uberdot, who, yesterday, asked:

Is it Poetry’s affinity with the broken/or yours?



Nuweiba: Back-blog

I told uberdot there are no daffodils in the Sinai, but that I would seek the psychic equivalent when I was in Nuweiba in April. These are the results, plus a few miscellaneous, posted much later, from the rain, in Berlin.





red sea crab


Coriander spinach, African restaurants in Upper Egypt, etc.


Tonight I made sauteed spinach with crushed coriander seeds, a dish that D and El discovered in an African restaurant in upper Egypt, on their recent visit here. That revelation occurred on the only one of the *three* trips to Luxor that launched from my Salamlek pad, in the last six weeks in which I *didn’t* participate. Cat and I actually visited that same restaurant on a subsequent trip, but the spinach dish was not on offer.

I had been fasting since sunrise in solidarity with the Zimbawe hunger strike, so was slightly delirious while cooking. The smell of the fresh ground coriander seeds is intoxicating, surprisingly lemony . I couldn’t keep my nose out of the pestle. The restaurant from which we got the inspiration is called Oasis and is on the East Bank kind of around the corner, (off the corniche) from the Mercure hotel.
BUT the better African restaurant, for food, price and view is the Africa Restaurant, which is on a rooftop (with view of the Nile) on the West Bank. It’s in the little village of Gezira, on what would have to be called the main drag (i.e., it’s the only drag.) Here’s Cat enjoying the way too ample spread:

Light through the tunnels?

Felt a little hopeful when I heard yesterday that Abbas will make a previously unscheduled stop in Cairo tomorrow in response to developments in talks with Hamas. It would certainly be in everyone’s best interest to come up with a solid agreement for a long term cease fire, that includes an opening of Gaza’s borders (with some satisfactory plan for monitoring/preventing arms trafficking) BEFORE or (insh’allah) instead of Netanyahu’s election.

Eagleton @ AUC

"Terror and Tragedy"
Terry Eagleton loomed large during graduate school, but I confess I haven’t read anything he’s written since then, or had any dreams about him. It was, however, surprisingly entertaining to see and hear him last night deliver the The Edward Said Memorial Lecture, “Terror and Tragedy,” before a giant banner of Said’s handsome visage in the fabulous Oriental Hall at the AUC downtown campus. (Photo by Aras Ozgun–or, probably–he took some pictures with his camera and so did I, but its likely that the legible ones were his.)

I think that what Eagleton said about terror and tragedy was not unlike what Susan Sontag and other American intellectuals said in the immediate wake of 9/11 (for which they were completely trounced)–i.e. that it might be a good moment for the US take a look at the man in the mirror (“…transcend darkness by the courage of the act of acknowledgement…”) Sontag, of course, was far more gutsy, saying what she did, how and when, but Eagleton’s talk benefitted from time and distance, an elegant interweaving of the modern concept of terror as a political act, with notions of the sublime and the effective invocation of a chorus line of tragic figures, political theorists, and rock stars of the western canon: from Marx to Michael Jackson, King Lear to Edmund Burke, Beckett to Brecht, Nietzsche to Madonna, Freud to Faust, Aristotle to Adorno, Oedipus, Jesus, Schopenheur, Acquinas, Hegel and Pinochet.