The talk of the town

A conversation I had last night about Cairo's private schools:

Me: When does school start again?
Kid: In September.
Me: Will it be mostly the same people who were in your class last year?
Kid: No some people have left.
Mother: [Interjecting] Actually there's a rather suspicious number of people who have switched to the Cairo American College (the biggest American school in Cairo.)
Me: How come?
Mother: Because Hosni Mubarak's grandson is going there.
Me: Alaa's son?
Mother: Yes.
Me: And people are moving to CAC to make sure their children get to know him?
Looks like it.
Me: [Perplexed] So basically it means that these people, the country's elite, still think that in 15-20 years time it might still be an advantage to be close to the Mubarak family?
Mother: Well, yes -- look at the elite today, they all went to school with each other.
Me: [Excitedly] But that probably means they think Gamal Mubarak will be the next president!
Mother: Well...

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,