Mubarak’s Egypt

Scott Anderson’s Vanity Fair article on Egypt is an absolute must-read.

Until a few years ago, no one had heard of the Red Sea Riviera. Perhaps that’s because most of the shiny beach-resort hotels that fall under the marketing label aren’t on the Red Sea at all, but rather on the Gulf of ‘Aqaba, that narrow strip of water which separates the eastern coast of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula from Saudi Arabia and Jordan. No matter, because it really could be anywhere. From Taba, at the very north end, flush on the border with Israel, all the way down the 125 miles of rugged Sinai coastline to the main tourist resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, the visitor exists in a cocoon of pleasure scrubbed clean of exoticism, the largest gated playground on the planet. Within those gates are five-star hotels and restaurants and world-class scuba-diving, a Hard Rock Cafe, and McDonald’s. Outside those gates is everyone and everything else, a purity maintained by police checkpoints on all roads leading into the enclave. The only Egyptians allowed to enter are those wealthy enough to vacation in the zone, or those who can prove they have jobs there; the others are turned back.

Starting out at the resort, Anderson follows two trails, that of a young man who had been accused of taking part in one of the recent bombings, and that of another young man who briefly worked at the resort, but whose life has been nothing but constant humiliation. Please read the article to the end, here.

Link via The Arabist.


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