Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm back with my nose to the thesis grindstone after a splendid impromptu jaunt to Turkey. While my trip was mostly for pleasure, I also managed to meet with Rachel Levitan of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly - Turkey for a thesis interview. Ms Levitan with two others recently published an article called "Unsafe Haven: Security Challenges Facing LGBT Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Turkey" in PRAXIS: The Fletcher Journal of Human Security. The report that led to the article can be found here.
Istanbul reminded me more of Seattle than of anything in the Middle East. The clean air, the calm, the uncongested streets, and the courtesy of vendors, restaurateurs, hostel proprietors and the general public were a welcome departure from the noise, chaos, and stress of Cairo. (Just as I typed this, the lovely trash collector who rang our bell yesterday over forty times while my flatmate Cynthia was sick in bed returned. He's been ripping Cynthia off all summer. When he returned today to ask for the money, I told him in my awful pidgin Arabic that I'd already paid him for the month (and then some) last time he came and that I wouldn't pay him again now. He seems to have relented, thankfully.)
Anyway, classes are supposed to resume soon across Egypt, but I've heard rumblings of further delays and class suspensions, so we'll see. I don't have any great plans for the rest of my time off beyond buckling down and working on the ol' thesis.

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