The question we are always asked here is, "Why don't Americans come to Egypt?" We say, "they are afraid." The response is, of course, "of what!" They watch enough episodes of CSI and NCIS to know what goes on in America.
I suppose we typically greet fifty or so Egyptians on our daily walk. I usually say, "hello." The response is always, "hello," and usually, "hello, welcome!" We rate the Egyptians as the most friendly and welcoming people of any place we have visited.
Egyptians separate their feelings about Americans from the American Government. And rumors rule the world of politics in Egypt. So here are a few "government" opinions I've picked up in the past week.
- One neighbor is still upset that President Obama came here and said he would shut down Guantanamo and still hasn't done it. He thinks that shows that America is really controlled by Israel.
- Another recent friend is certain that Obama is supporting Israel against Egypt. His two favorite former U.S. presidents are Nixon and Carter. I guess you would call that an "eclectic" taste in leadership.
- And what can I say about the opinion of our ambassador, Anne Patterson, that wasn't summed up by this Egyptian who was quoted in the New York Times last summer: "She manipulates people and secretly governs the country.”
- Our neighborhood baker, however, told me again this year that he still loves President Obama because he (Obama) is from Kenya.
In the meantime, rest assured that Americans are very welcome here.