I have spent pretty much all of the past ten days writing about Egypt, either on News from the Valley of the Kings or on the new Egyptological Looting Database 2011 which I created as a response to the emergency. It has been a difficult time for the antiquities of ancient Egypt and sadly it looks as though some important and beautiful tombs might have been stripped of their decoration. It could have been so much worse though had the ordinary people not joined forced to protect sites and even the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
I struggle with the American reaction to the uprising. It isn't what I see in all the reports I have read, in the blogs of protestors I have followed and in the various posts on FaceBook. I see nothing of Islamic fundamentalism. Rather moderation in everything seems to be the wish. The Coptic church celebrated mass in Tahrir Square on Sunday with the full support of a mainly Muslim crowd. In Luxor, the Mosques were urging their congregations to protect local Coptic churches. In the recent past Egypt has been marred by religous tension, but the uprising has been noteworthy for religious tolerance.
It's not just religion. The Vancouver Sun carried this article about how women have found an increasing voice for our gender in Tahrir Square.
Far from Islamic fundamentalism, Egypt looks as though it could become something wonderful: a moderate, secular and democratic Islamic country. In all the chaos and human tragedy, there is a phoenix of great hope. Writing about ancient Egypt has been hugely stressful, but the hope of how Egypt could develop has been the bright light in the dark.