Friday, May 1, 2009

  Happy May Day, everyone.  Though growing up in Peoria, I knew the 1st of May as a more benign, rather unimportant having something to do with leaving flowers on peoples' porches, it is an important day to celebrate labor and protest for improved working conditions around the world.  Protests are especially vigorous this year given the economic crisis.  Moving beyond labor issues, many in the States are calling for progress on immigrants' rights.
  Meanwhile, in Egypt, the president reminded his constituents that striking is illegal and that doing so would only serve to hurt the economy.  While he was busy doing that, I was, with the assistance of my saintly Egyptian friend Marise and her helpful brother and her godsend of a mother, negotiating the renewal of my lease.  After ten months of getting ripped off, I finally have more or less a fair price.  It's a relief, but I'm holding my breath until I get the physical contract itself in front of me and signed by both parties.
  I got up early for the occasion and cleaned and am rather tuckered out.  Last night, we played Risk until the wee hours of the morning after some tasty and inexpensive Lebanese food in Mohandaseen.
  I've been making headway on my thesis proposal, but a group project for my methods class will have to take precedence today when Cynthia and I go to interview Nigerian migrants about their experiences in Cairo.
  I'm not longer dying from a migraine, but it last through yesterday.  At least I don't have swine flu, I guess, which is, says the WHO, henceforth to be referred to by its scientific name H1N1 Influenza A specifically because of Egypt's spirited but "misguided effort" to prevent the spread of the virus.  The Egyptian government now is claiming the measure was not swine flu-related, but rather a "general health measure".  Either way, Egypts' hogs have been sent to slaughter and Brigitte Bardot isn't very happy about it.  
  Meanwhile, back across the world in Peoria, Ali al-Marri pleads guilty to charges of aiding terrorists.  While it's more than a little unsettling to see Islamic fundamentalism hit so close to home, I sincerely hope that the events surrounding his trial don't fuel more of the ignorance and Islamophobia that are inevitably reflected in the comments on PJStar stories about al-Marri.

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