Today I found out about the bomb that exploded in Hussein Square in Cairo over the weekend.
Hussein Square is nestled between two important and very crowded places in Cairo: the Hussein mosque, considered one of the holiest sites in Cairo, and the large tourist bazaar, Khan el Khalili.
I tried to get an idea from the photos where the bomb actually went off. As far as I can tell it is right in front of a little strip of restaurants popular with visiting tourists, including the place where I first had a fiteer (Egyptian pancake.)
John, my then-boyfriend, and I sat at a table on the sidewalk one evening almost a year ago eating two delicious and very sticky sweet pancakes stuffed with jam, pistachios, honey and sugar. A tiny gray street kitten appeared beside our table and we contemplated putting it in one of our pockets to take home. My memory of that night radiates happiness.
Now one person has died, many were injured, and all of Egypt will be affected. Egypt’s livelihood, the cash flow for the whole nation, depends largely on tourism. With the kidnappings in southern Egypt in September last year and this new incident, the industry will suffer. I think of Madame Hebba, and of the tour guide who took me with a group to Wissa Wassef, and all the taxi drivers, restaurant workers, hotel staff, and airport employees who will be hurt by this.
So far there has been a great deal of speculation and very little valuable information about who planted the bombs and why. Mercifully, if anything about this can be said to be so, they appeared to be crude, ill-manufactured devices that suggest the perpetrator wasn’t trained or supported by a wider organization.
At this point after reading the various tentative theories reported about the bombing, all I can say for sure is that whoever committed the act cannot consider themself a friend of Egypt or the Egyptian people. But I didn’t need an expert to tell me that.