Sheridan Man Witness to Cairo Uprising

William Matteson on one of his Egyptian excursions.
William Matteson on one of his Egyptian excursions.

Among the thousands of American tourists in Egypt over the last several days, one visitor is from Sheridan. Sheridan Media's Mary Jo Johnson has the story.

My friend William Matteson is an archaeologist who, when not working in the oil fields, has served extensively at the Mohn's Science Center helping to prepare exhibits for display. He's also a world traveler, and is taking several months to visit Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia – in short, wherever his whim leads him.

He spent a couple weeks at the end of January visiting Egypt, and was in Cairo when things turned particularly dicey January 28th and 29th. He gave me permission to share a part of his travel blog account of his experience, which I quote here:

“I'm making a quick post for everyone following the situation in Egypt. First of all, I'm fine. The internet and phone have been cut off by the government, which is why I was off the grid for so long.

I've talked to a lot of Egyptians and most, except for few in rural areas, believe Mubarak, after 33 years in power, needs to go. The economy here is suffering and people feel he is to blame. (If the tourist police are any indicator, bribes and corruption are the norm rather than the exception, and I doubt the higher levels of Government are any different.)

The first few nights I stayed on Tahir Square, in front of the Egyptian museum. It is the square where all the protesters have been gathering, and where the tanks and military (the police have all fled, apparently) are trying to keep order. (Or suppress the protesters, depending on where you stand.)

As I write this blog entry, I'm in a smoky internet cafe outside of Petra, Jordan, and Al Jazira is showing footage. It's hard to tell how bad things really are. Prisoners have broken out of prison, guns are missing from a police station, Alexandria sounds like it is completely lawless. TV, phone and internet are being shut down by the government. Quite a number of people have been killed.

And yet, we've been almost completely unaffected by it all. There was a small protest in front of the mosque across the street from where we were staying in Dahab, but that was it. And except for the never ending stream of flim-flam men aggressively pawning a never-ending stream of services and goods, I've really liked Egypt. It's an archaeological wonderland...

As a tourist who no one really cares about at the moment, I feel privileged to have seen it all transpire first hand, even if it has been in a very, very second-hand manner.”

And I want to thank William for his permission to share part of his story, and give thanks that he was able to leave the turmoil unharmed.

For news, I'm Mary Jo Johnson reporting.

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