As of it was regarded as the most influential newspaper in Egypt. Further, it harnessed the energy of young journalists, giving them incentives to produce good work. It turned towards Gaza after publicly announcing that its destination was the port of Alexandria, before being intercepted by Israeli commandos and escorted to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The second issue of Egypt Independent was to carry an opinion piece by Robert Springborg, a political scientist and expert on Egyptian civil-military relations, that was critical of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that had ruled Egypt since the February, departure of former president Housni Mubarak. Springborg and the Egypt Independent staff collaborated to alter the offending sections in the opinion piece, however the second issue of the supplement was nevertheless prevented from being published.
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The distance can be covered in one hour by a car. On its way from Giza, the Fayyoum-bound train stops at 19 stations. The journey usually takes two and a half hours, when it arrives safely.
The train crawled its way to Fayyoum, taking six hours to arrive and stopping 26 times on the way. Irate, some passengers got off the train, while others chose to complete their journey, their bitterness manifesting itself in acerbic jokes.
This is the first trip for train since the crash, which delayed services for two days. The train departs at PM. Passengers of every type have been waiting on the platform since Employees, teachers, farmers, students, and street sellers carrying pots and dishes on their heads.
They all wait for the train to arrive. Having sold what products they could to the Cairo-dwellers, these poor street sellers are on their way back to their home villages. The clock strikes five and the train pulls into the station, its characteristic whistle announcing its arrival.
As the passengers catch sight of it, their faces light up with a smile. They wonder if it is a new train. They jump onto the train only to notice the new lighting, but they also realize the train is quite empty. A large number of the passengers ride the rear car. If you see a train coming from behind, tell us so we can quickly jump out of the train," they say to each other.
Talk about the crash seems to haunt any discussion. Those passengers are on the very same train that crashed, after all. They even lost some of their fellow commuters in the crash.
Meanwhile, the teachers exchange the papers, while the sellers empty their pots, take out loaves of bread and gobble down hot falafel and koshari. The female sellers chatter about their daily experiences in the capital, while gobbling down their food. Time passes, but the train remains stationary. The employees start fidgeting as they see the express train pulling out of the Giza station at Others remain on their train, their eyes following the departing cars of the express in despair.
She munches on a guava and continues. The price of a ticket on this train to Ayyat depends on where you get off, but the price never exceeds LE3, even if you go all the way to the ends. The train is often packed in the mornings, with people sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, an inconvenience that female passengers like Shaimaa Naguib complain about. Everyone is seated in their places, though they never stop talking. There must be a crash to get them to give the poor some attention," they grumble.
Fifteen minutes later, however, the train stops. About 37 minutes later, the train proceeds again amid the growls of the passengers. In fact, two minutes later, the train stops at the village of Tamwah, where it stays for another 14 minutes, after being deflected. I have been using this line for ten years, but never have I seen such negligence!
It hardly moves before it stops again near Omm Khannan village for a few minutes. Grimacing, Mohamed Abdel Baqy, a year-old worker, says, "Why on earth is it that slow? From there, it leaves for Badrasheen, arriving there eight minutes later. The train is deflected to another track to make way for an express train. As the express train shoots past us, one passenger says, "Fast as lightning! Then, it dawdles its way into Mazghouna station as some bored passengers prepare to dismount earlier than they should.
Others have given in to deep sleep. From Mazghouna the train goes to Beleida, where the train never used to stop, according to Ahmed Ali Sadeq, a year-old student. At the Ayyat station, where the train arrives at , some passengers breathe a sigh of relief as they hurriedly collect their luggage and get off the train.
The train hurtles forward. As it passes the crash site, it seems as though it is mourning the doomed train whose cars still lay on both sides of the railway track. It took the train 20 minutes to reach el-Wasty, one of the main stations. At , the lights are turned off and the people are left to wonder whether the train is ever going to make it to its final destination—Fayyoum. The passengers cling to their seats, despite rumors that the train is not going to Fayyoum.
The train finally makes it to Fayyoum at PM. Springing out of her seat, one woman walks to the door insulting the government, the Railway Authority, and those who work there.
Her anger is understandable after a journey of 83 kilometers in six hours. Translated from the Arabic Edition.