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Florence in Words


Waking to a snowstorm, I had Tillie and Jack Olsen on my mind as I read the blazing Middle East news over fresh-cooked oatmeal and tea, and then turned to the continuing stand-off over collective-bargaining in Wisconsin, where the fire was still verbal, no armaments. As if those pieces of news were not enough, the city section opened with news that identified the 146th person who died 100 years ago because doors were locked on their shirtwaist sweat-shop when there were no unions and nothing insuring the safety of buildings for workers. Read More 
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Egyptian Coda

It’s Sunday, two days after Liberation Square succeeded in freeing Egypt from its ruler, and I have been thinking about writing this blog since I first heard that President Mubarak was indeed leaving his post. That was Friday, at nine a.m., New York time. I was riding a bus to the Feminist Press office for a ten a.m. finance committee meeting of the Board of Directors. My blackberry buzzed and I opened to a news update from the NYTimes telling me that Mubarak had left Cairo, that the military had taken over, and I assumed (correctly, as it turned out) that the military had told him it was time to go. Read More 
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Egypt Again

Egypt is still very much on my mind. Yesterday I had an email from Nadia, the one Cairo person in the group of academics I worked with on Women Writing Africa: The Northern Region. She is a professor of English at the university there. This is what she wrote: Read More 
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Revolution in Egypt

When the street revolution in Egypt began, I wrote at once to my Women Writing Africa colleagues, to say that I was “worried” about them, and heard that Azza was “safe in India.” Others in Alexandria—Sahar, Amira, and Heba—wrote to say they were fine, very excited, and asked me to “pray” for them—and for Egypt. Heba is a passionate Copt who took me to visit both the “Desert Fathers” and the “Desert Mothers” on one visit to Egypt. I’ve heard from Sahar most frequently, who wrote today that people were going back to work on Monday, and that she was hoping the “transition” would be peaceful. I urged her to keep writing, since I continue to worry about their safety, even in Alexandria. And I have heard nothing from Nadia, the one member of the group who lives in Cairo. Read More 
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