get to work. Gentry’s 2-year-old granddaughter,
alia, has added the arabic word for “tanks” to
her growing vocabulary.
Gentry’s family invited neighbors to park
vehicles on their property — a car parked on
the street was vulnerable to smashed windows
and theft. For 10 days, the men of the neighborhood — young and old — stood watch at
night to protect houses and cars. They set up
and manned barricades — Gentry provided
wood from a once-a-year trimming of the trees
in her garden — to keep out criminals and kept
fires going through the night. when they
caught a thief, they turned him over to the
“every place in Cairo had its own neighbor-
hood watch,” Gentry said. “You’d see a man
outside his building wearing a rolex watch,
and he was standing guard over his building.
People took turns doing it, downtown or wher-
ever. women were robbed on the streets, and it
was not safe to drive at night. it’s still not safe to
drive at night.”
Gentry, who is the leader of the Cairo
Carolina Club, said the crisis overlapped a visit
by young unC alumni and the official travel
group, legends of the nile, by a few days. a
reception for the visitors occurred just as the
protests were launched.
huge amounts of hard currency into the economy, has dried up. while the countryside is still
producing food, shortages of gas, labor and
transport make getting the food to market in
the city almost impossible. many supermarkets
and small grocery stores were looted and damaged during the crisis and have yet to reopen;
some have gone out of business. She expects
shortages of flour and rice this fall.
COURTESY OF EARLENE GENTRY ’ 71
“if you think [moammar] Gadhafi is violent,
wait until you see egyptian women fighting for
bread to feed their families,” she said with a
and government reform has taken on a religious tone as individuals whom Gentry terms
“extreme extremists” maneuver to run the
country. She already has heard from women
friends who don’t wear a veil about increasing
difficulties and hostility from the fundamentalist
muslim Brotherhood and Salafists.
There are efforts afoot among the ruling
councils to put women’s rights laws back 50
years. even mixed marriages, such as Gentry’s,
are in jeopardy, she says.
“a western democracy is not going to happen, not with all these religious overtones,” she
said. “The religious guys want to control everything. They want to put women back in the
Earlene Gentry ’ 71 has lived in Cairo with
her husband, Atef Khalifa ’ 71, for more than
egypt, but her fears for the coming few months
are centered on the economic situation. one
ripple effect from having thousands of people
on the streets is that tourism, which infused
— Don Evans ’ 80
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