Stuck on the bus

This video by Alaa Saadeh is a funny allegory for the situation in Egypt these days. A group of Egyptians needs to get to the neighborhood of Imbaba, but their trip falls apart when the driver overcharges and one customer refuses to pay. The young man's principled objection isn't shared by other passengers, who each have their own interests, priorities and needs. The tension between standing up for your rights and getting on with your life -- the problem of defining a common, shared interest and the chaos that ensues when you can't -- is all very relevant. It also reminded me of another recent, brilliant transport metaphor for Egyptian politics. 


Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.