Cairo, nominally in Illinois but geographically and culturally a Delta town, was on the wane anyway, but the armed citizenry brought things to a whole new level. Its high school football team, the Pilots, went years without playing a home game, because rival high schools refused to cross the city limits; in the early ’90s, the high school principal told the graduating class to leave while they still could. In 2004, a US Senate candidate from Chicago was sufficiently affected by his trip to Cairo that he made it part of his stump speech; against the backdrop of Cairo’s ruins—and its steps toward reconciliation—Barack Obama honed his pitch for a post-racial America.
So anyway, that’s what goes unsaid when an elected official goes on the record saying that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the Mississippi River was let loose on a neighboring town.
Protesters set up a catapult to hurl debris at Mubarak loyalists in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on February 2. With Mubarak’s grip on the nation slipping, Egyptian state television began reporting that the demonstrations were the work of Israeli spies. See what’s happening right now and read the latest revolution updates.