This evening I went to the Dar Merit publishing house for a chat with Mohamed Hashem about the publishing business before and after the revolution. As I left the hostel Twitter was just beginning to sound the alarm about violent clashes at a football match in Port Said.
At Dar Merit I sat with a group of shocked and angry Egyptians as the disaster unfolded on television. After a while the scene shifted to Cairo, where a Zamalek-Ismailliya game was stopped due to the news from Port Said. Some fans there started a fire, and there was other unrest.
I remembered then that a fellow guest from the hostel had gone to the Zamalek game and invited me. I had declined in order to meet Mohamed. I don’t know yet whether my fellow guest was caught up in events at the Cairo stadium. I hope to see him soon, safe and well.
At Dar Merit, discussion alternated between the ordinary human reactions to such horrors, and analysis of the political implications. A commentator on the Ahly TV channel was berating the governor and security officials and club management for the disaster at Port Said. No doubt they could all have done more/better/differently. But as with other institutions in Egypt, football will have to remake itself, meaning everyone taking responsibility from the fans to the teams to government officials. Revolution means new beginnings, and possibilities, and everybody deciding what kind of country they want to live in, and how they will build it.
There was no question of trying to discuss publishing with Mohamed while these scenes were in front of us, and the death toll kept mounting. After a while I excused myself. I’ll go back.
I am looking forward to James Dorsey’s analysis of these awful events.