The City that Never Sleeps

You'd go out at 3:00 in the morning and find the streets no different than 3:00 pm. We are a safe city because the streets are always full of people. Our Cairo is never a place of silence, it is never a dark city, except during the new endless blackouts. Our Cairo is a city of lights, you take a picture of Cairo at night and you see beauty and light, a lot of it. Street lights, traffic lights, shop lights, restaurant and cafe lights, wedding lights, lights from apartments in every single building of people staying up late. Even during the blackouts you'd see candle light coming out from every window. In Cairo, there are always a lot of people who are awake.

You'd go to other cities around the world and with the last light in the sky, they die. Cairo is always alive, always loud, always celebrating one thing or another or just being alive. Just less than two years ago, Cairo had a curfew that has always been defied, because Cairens can simply never stay home at night. Now a decision is almost taken to close shops at 9:00 pm and restaurants and cafes at 11:00 pm to save energy, to turn Cairo into a city of ghosts.

Although this might seem unimportant to many, but this is a disaster. Has our government tried to ask itself why do people go out all the time? Do they know that the majority of the country live in poverty and of course have no air conditioners or even fans. Do they know that people go out to get some air because it's too hot where they live nine months out of 12? Do they know that many live in a place that is too small for them to do anything except sleep and eat? Do they know that some of these people only fun is walking in the streets of downtown looking at things they can't buy in windows of shops? But it's not only about people going out...

Do they know how many people will lose their jobs if this decision was taken? Do they know how many of "their" people need to work two shifts to be able feed their children? Do they know how many owners of small shops will lose more than half their money because no one will have time to go shopping during weekdays? Do they know that one of the main reasons Cairo is one of the safest cities is that streets are never empty? Do they know that by emptying the streets Cairo will lose one of the most important advantages, security? But most importantly, have they ever thought that Cairo will lose a great part of its identity if they take this decision?


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