Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Reading, Writing, and Refugees

I spent most of today finishing up a paper, doing a bit of reading, and then attending my class on migration and refugee movements in the Middle East and North Africa. My paper was on Palestinians who fled first to Iraq in the wake of the initial stages of the Arab-Israeli conflict and then those and their descendants who were, in turn, forced out of Iraq by the current conflict. My reading, for a different class in which I'm leading discussion on Thursday, treated those who do not fit the legal definition of refugee but are still forcibly displaced. This group includes IDPs, "environmental refugees", some economic migrants, and others.
After class, Mitchell, a friend I've probably mentioned before, went with me to Bon Appetit to grab some grub. We had a great conversation on our reasons for being here, the challenges of adjusting not only to life in Egypt but in a new situation with new people whatever their culture. It really is like reconstructing yourself when you move away from your "normal" life for any significant period of time. We also got some ice cream afterwards. My two chestnut-flavored scoops added yet more to the evening's cholesterol intake (I had an omelet and fries doused in Heinz ketchup whose Egyptian recipe still somehow seems deliciously superior to what's back in the States).
On my way home, walking down a (relatively) quiet street, I saw someone wave at me out of the corner of my eye. I thought it was someone being goofy, but it turned out to be my friend Ahmad, of all people. He doesn't live in the immediate vicinity, so it was quite a coincidence to run into one another.
Upon my return home, I called my dad via SkypeOut since we'd not communicated viva voce since I quit New York and then talked to my mom, grandfather, and little brother via video chat for what seems like almost an hour. It's strange just how close you feel with these sorts of technological innovations. In reality, we're thousands and thousands of miles apart. I regretted this tonight especially because my mom was baking chocolate chip cookies!
Anyway, I've little profound to share this evening, but I'll include some links to the news of Egypt, as usual:

Kidnapped tourists apparently still alive and well
Egypt supposedly one of the world's most corrupt countries
Ramadan's impact on the restaurant biz

No comments: