Think Egypt

The antique dealer: Somia Ahmed


If Somia Ahmed had to choose just one thing to improve in Egypt, she couldn’t.

“I cannot choose just one, I must choose two!” she says, chuckling as she peers out from beneath a wide-brimmed hat. “The economy and education, they go hand in hand.”

Ahmed, 40, is an antique dealer, specializing in stones like marble. She also has a degree in political science and talks often of the “geniuses of Egypt” who are doing important research in the universities. If only the government would look at the research they could improve so much about life here, says Ahmed, who’s unmarried.

For many years, Ahmed says, she has been asking “Where are the men? Why are they not doing something?” It’s not just men, though. For almost a fortnight, men and women across Egypt have stood shoulder to shoulder, demanding change. The people have made her so proud.

“These people created a country inside Tahrir Square and the only goal they had was to protect the people of Egypt and ask for their freedom,” she says. And even though the first glorious, safe, days seem to have passed, some good has come from the violence. The square’s denizens have had to create their own security, making checkpoints, scrupulously examining every I.D. and checking for weapons.

“The people, when they were attacked, they created an army for the people of this square. They have their own secret service, their own guards, their own police. I challenge anybody who can make a square like they did.”

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