Sex, the Metro and security in Cairo

Egypt’s government closed the main Cairo Metro station under Tahrir Square in August 2013, as part of its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. The idea was to make it harder for demonstrators to reach the square.This article in Al-Ahram, a state-owned paper, describes the inconvenience, the overcrowding and the inevitable sexual harassment of women that has resulted for ordinary people . It’s a slice of daily life in Cairo.

Cairo's Metro

Cairo’s Metro

Cairo’s Metro is a main artery of transportation in the sprawling, poor, overcrowded city. It has only two lines, but the old, shabby cars run through many of the heavily populated quarters of the city. I used the Metro often, taking a taxi to the Sadat station under Tahrir–the one that’s closed now–buying my ticket for one pound (14 cents), crowding into one of the cars ans speeding quickly to my destination, bypassing the constant traffic jams on the streets. Once some young men started making fun of me, probably because they so rarely see foreigners, and assuming I didn’t understand what they were saying. I ignored them–the banter was harmless–until just before I got off, and then I turned and told them in Arabic that their show was very entertaining. They laughed, and so did I. That’s Cairo–for men. The Al-Ahram story shows, once again, what it’s like for women.


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