A decade on, silence fills Egypt's field of broken dreams

In 2011, the howl of revolt shook Tahrir Square in Cairo amid the convulsions of the Arab Spring. Now, just the thrum of traffic...

Today, Tahrir Square has been spruced up, with an ancient obelisk the key feature of the revamp ordered by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The transformation has erased traces of the 2011 revolution. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

(NYTIMES) - The last guest had checked out, leaving Mr Ahmed Taha sitting on an unmade bed in a deserted room amid rumpled sheets and half-drunk coffee cups, contemplating his future. The coronavirus pandemic was the final blow to his hostel in central Cairo, a jaunty little place on Tahrir Square offering US$35 (S$47) rooms and panoramic views of the elegant Egyptian Museum across the street.

First the foreigners vanished, then the Egyptian overnighters, he said. Now just the thrum of traffic, seeping through an open window, filled the silence. But the transformation of Tahrir Square, he added, started long before Egypt's first case of Covid-19.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.