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Zamalek is quickly turning into Eutopia. With the pending visit of Pope Francis to Egypt, and his planned stay at the embassy of the Vatican in Zamalek, the security sweep of our beloved island is extremely thorough.
It all started a few days ago when teams of officials swept through Zamalek, going door-to-door, visiting every apartment in Zamalek and interviewing the residents. They were very courteous and very professional, asking about exactly who resided there, including any domestic help, and noting down everything.
To the residents the visible changes are now starting to show. Clearing all parked cars to ensure that no abandoned vehicles are left anywhere – as these are known potential threats – regulating traffic very strictly, and beginning to clean up the area very thoroughly indeed. Zamalek had started this cleaning process through the strong Association that had become active in the betterment of this prestigious residential area a couple of years ago. Like everywhere else in Egypt, Zamalek had deteriorated and showed signs of neglect over the past few years. Garbage started piling up, unauthorised sidewalk cafes started taking over its narrow pavements and traffic became a nightmare.
Zamalek residents being the kind of people they are, did not take this lying down. They got up and did something about it. They finally managed to establish an Association that took over the betterment of their beloved island. They realised early on that the best way to get things done was through their own efforts. This, to their surprise, was initially met with apathy by the officials, but gradually, through the Association’s persistence, became a grudging cooperation. The work done in Zamalek was short of a miracle. Unauthorised encroachments were quickly eliminated, streets were cleaned of garbage and even the old trees were given attention and beauty started returning to this island through the love of its residents.
Now with the advent of the Pope, and thank God the it is scheduled for a week-end, Zamalek is being given a thorough washing! It will shine bright and clear, beautiful as ever and do credit to its loving residents. Excitement is running high, with a tremor of anxiety, that all goes well and that the Pope stays safe.
God bless our little island and our beloved Egypt.