Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/11/12

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Subject: [Leica] quick note from cairo (plus: damn leica broke!)
From: Kyle Cassidy <>
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 21:25:38 -0500

hey kids;

cairo is the most amazing place. each morning it's shrouded in fog and the
city boils out of it. the people are the absolutely without a doubt most
friendly anywhere i have ever met. street photography is like this:

linda and i sit on a street corner and 80 people come up to us and want to
know if we're having a good time, where we're from, how we like egypt. and,
here's the strange thing, _they give us stuff_. these people make ten
dollars a month and they give us stuff. i try and refuse but they press
these things into my hands, lemons, coins, bits of their clothes, whatever
they have at hand, they shove it into my hand and say "have a wonderful time
in egypt" and then they scurry off. so i've been photographing people. and
invariably someone says "would you be pleased to come to my house and meet
my family?" people have been giving us food, buying us tea -- these are
amazing, wonderful, friendly people.

<plea from the heart>
after talking to these people too i can say with full conviction as a half
assed journalist editorializing, that the united states needs to at least
stop the bombing of afghanistan during the month of ramadan. everybody here
is very concerned about it. i see sadness in their faces and hear it in
their voices. and perhaps they are overly friendly to me because they hope
to convince me that they are sincere and think i can do something about it.
and they have, though i can't. we've heard president bush say that islam is
a religion of peace and i never really understood that until i met these
people on the streets. they are concerned about their brothers and sisters
in afghanistan, civilians -- these people are not political, just very
devout and very sad. i don't care if there's no precident for it -- i really
believe now that we need to be MORE compassionate than anyone else if we
hope to achieve anything; that we, (the "american" we, and even the
"western" we) have the burden of proof. we need to prove that we're not
goons. we need to be the good guy, not the tough guy -- jimmy stuart not
bruce willis. and i say this as someone who's seen first hand the
devistation in washington and seen the vacant skyline of manhattan and seen
crying mothers. i can say with complete confidence and absolute conviction:
if we lose the hearts of moderate muslems in egypt, we cannot win any war
against terrorism. if the egyptian people don't believe in us, then no one
does. civilians in afghanistan must be considered on the same level as
civilians in america, they're not political, they're just simple people
leading simple lives in complex times. and they have a lot of friends who
can make life for us very unplesant.
</plea from the heart>

and on a less political not (or actually, perhaps more political note) while
shooting inside the great pyramid today, my m6 jammed. it's just a lump of
heavy metal now, won't wind, won't fire. (advice on unjamming appreciated
off list, will summarize). it might be the sand. egypt is essentially a
desert and sand is everywhere. it's in everything you eat, it's in your
water, its on your car. sand is now in all of my lenses, even with
meticulous use of rear end caps. when i went to dr. zahi hawass' office i
was very embarrassed because i looked like i'd just rolled in the desert
like a dog, but then i noticed that most everybody else looked the same and
i didn't feel so bad.

i had a sociology professor in college who ended every lecture "see you next
time, and don't embarrass your ethnic group." and he was right. be kind
everybody, and i mean that. 


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