Come to Egypt – We'll Take Your Breath Away & Terror Tourism **EXCLUSIVE**
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Thursday, March 14th, 2013 @ 11:39PM
Come to Egypt – We’ll Take your Breath Away…. Literally.
Walking out of the sparsely occupied once luxurious hotel in Cairo, you may consider buying a 6,000 to 20,000 volt tazer, or an electric shock baton to protect yourself from robbery, sexual harassment, or even rape. However, there is a good chance that strong anti-American sentiments could entice the vendor who sold you the tazer to accuse you of stealing or spying. Your newly acquired tazer would do little to prevent the vendor, jihadist militias, or members of the Moral Police -all armed with their own tazers and electric shock batons – from exercising their newly decreed power to carry out”judiciary policing” (citizen’s arrest). The chances are you’ll never make it to Giza, Abu-Simbel temples, Luxor, or Sharm el-Sheikh.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood rule has left the pyramids and the great sphinx of Giza, deserted. While the government claim 30 percent decline in tourism, industry experts figures are closer to 90 percent. And as if the rampant violence wasn’t enough, police stations across Egypt are on strike – even refusing to protect Morsi’s residence. They protest the Minister of the Interior’s “Brotherhoodstion” of the police.
Adding fuel to the fires, the interior ministry announced it will, “carry out its full obligations… through the use of all powers… and the gradual use of force.”
How could Egypt’s tourism Industry survive?
A few years ago I was please to attend a California Historical Society of San Francisco exhibition of my great-aunt’s photography. Of especial interest was a film taken somewhere in East Africa while she was on Safari with her sister sometime in the second decade of the 20th Century. It was rather exotic scenery in a pre-King Solomon’s Mine milieu, even though most scenes were taken from the backseat of a huge convertible touring car that sped along on huge balloon tires and sported an in-house cocktail lounge.
My great-aunt, and her sister, were to my way of thinking, the first of the “terrorist tourists.” They were always looking for trouble. Earlier, they had sped off to Cananea, Mexico, to photograph a bloody strike at a copper mine. And after numerous South Seas adventures, they had been kidnapped in southern Yugoslavia and held for a $10,000 ransom. When the cable sent by a Balkan bandit demanding payment for their release arrived in San Francisco, the reply by their exasperated father was a succinct: “You got ’em You keep ’em.”
I was reminded of my great aunt when a few days ago I read Egypt’s Ahram Online article, “Enactment of citizens arrest deals blow to Egyptian tourism,” A recent decision taken by Egypt’s prosecutor-general had just empowered citizens to arrest citizens who were deemed to have committed a crime. This led a coalition of tourist organizations to condemn the decision, arguing, “it raises many worries among tourists.” In reality, it raised many worries within Egypt’s tourist industry including one leader who warned: “the decision “could lead to a civil war in Egypt if the citizens are given the right to arrest each other.” Another analyst worried that “if a tourist rebuffed an Egyptian merchant, refusing to buy something, the merchant might accuse the tourism of spying and arrest him.” Anyone who has ever visited a bazaar in Cairo knows this concern is not far-fetched.
Egypt is now ranked no, 137 among 140 countries surveyed for safety and security in the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism competitive index released in March 2013. Egypt’s ranking behind Pakistan, Chad and Yemen, calls for desperate measures to revive the Egyptian tourist industry, which has lost more than three million visitors a year since the beginning of the Arab Spring. A new approach is needed to draw the tourists back to Egypt:
The answer: TERROR TOURISM (Perhaps a new Reality Show?)
Egypt should challenge the jaded world traveller. He or she should be enticed to avoid the jejune tourist package and instead book passage on an Egyptian terrorism tour. Such tours could include, but are not limited to:
Attempt to cash a check anywhere in the Sinai; Book a room in the Semiramis Hotel, Cairo. Attempt entering the Egyptian Museum located just off Tahrir Square. Take a taxi from Cairo to the pyramids at Giza. Take a balloon ride in Luxor. Spend a weekend in a beach hotel in the Salafist stronghold of Mersa Matrouh. Spend a day shopping in Port Said, amidst thousands of demonstrators clashing with the police; . Go to soccer game or ant other public sporting event anywhere in Egypt. Visit the Islamist watering-hole of Assiut and ask for a Stella beer. Join the rioters in their daily revelries in Alexandria. Take your topless bathing girlfriend to the beach at El Arish. Race a car from Rafa, Sinai along the border with Israel to the Sharm el Sheikh dive-spot. Join the Libyan crazies in a drive from Mersah Matruh to the ancient Siwa Oasis. Meet the locals by joining a queue in the hope of purchasing a few liters of diesel. Then Join a queue in the hope of purchasing a few pounds of flour. Join a queue Again…and again….
Well, you get the point. However, if you are the subject of a citizen’s arrest, be aware that neither NBC nor ABC will come to your rescue. The U.S. Embassy’s likely response to the Egyptian government/militias will be: You got ’em. You keep ’em.