Pockets still empty, some Egyptians still hopeful

With skyrocketing commodity prices, high unemployment, chaos on the streets and political uncertainty, Egyptians appear to have little cause to celebrate

Pockets still empty, some Egyptians still hopeful

World Bulletin/News Desk

Essam Ezzat had hoped to earn an honest living selling tea and coffee in downtown Cairo's famous Qasr al-Nil Square.

His dream, however, was dashed three days ago when policemen confiscated his equipment – chairs, a primus stove, teapots and a wooden table – which had represented almost everything he owned.

"I bought these things with borrowed money," the 32-year-old father of five, told Anadolu Agency.

Still, three months after Egypt's military ousted elected President Mohamed Morsi, Ezzat believes the situation in Egypt is gradually improving.

"I really couldn't do anything about it," he said, referring to the policemen who confiscated his equipment.

"These people were doing their work in order for this country to be better."

Ezzat joins a sizeable portion of the Egyptian public that believes the country is gradually getting better, three months after Morsi's ouster following nationwide protests against his presidency.

With skyrocketing commodity prices, high unemployment, chaos on the streets and political uncertainty – and as Morsi supporters continue to stage nationwide protests against his ouster – Egyptians appear to have little cause to celebrate.

Many Egyptians say they have not noticed a change; that their economic condition remains as bad as it was one year ago.

But, at least, they say an improving security situation is giving them hope that the country might soon get back on track, especially in terms of the struggling economy.

Defiance

Having lost his tea-making equipment to the police raid, Ezzat had retreated to the nearby Tahrir Square. There, he decided to earn a living by helping motorists park their cars.

The closure of most of the streets leading to the flashpoint square has given self-styled parking attendants like Ezzat more than enough parking spaces for would-be customers.

But when Ezzat showed up to work on Wednesday, he found that authorities had dismantled two concrete barriers from a main street leading up to the square.

The move meant less space in which to park cars.

"It's now noon and I still haven't earned one [Egyptian] pound," Ezzat told AA.

"I'm not optimistic about today's prospects, but I'm sure that God won't forget me."

Ezzat continued to whistle at passing cars in hopes of attracting customers. He jumped among the speeding vehicles, making acrobatic movements in the middle of the street.

At one point, the wafer-thin Ezzat – skin bronzed from the summer sun – was almost killed while attempting to convince one driver to park his car beside the famous Omar Makram Mosque, located only a few meters from Tahrir.

He had not stopped for long, however, before another motorist waved him down and gave him a banknote.

"I told you God wouldn't forget me," Ezzat said, stuffing the note in his pocket.

More security

The many years Ezzat has spent on the street has taught him a lot.

"There was no security during Morsi's year in office," he recalled.

"I saw criminals mugging people wherever I went. Policemen were afraid to stop crime."

Ezzat says he had reported several robberies to the police, who did nothing to protect the public.

Now, however, he believes this is changing, noting that policemen are increasingly standing up to the criminals.

"I think this will make our country better in the future," he said.

No sooner had Ezzat said these words than a group of foreign tourists passed by.

He looked at them and laughed.

"Didn't I tell you things would get better?" he said, smiling.

Last Mod: 03 Ekim 2013, 21:37
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