The title of the talk was “Why Are Egyptians Afraid of Scientific Thought?” and it was attended by a select, invitation-only group of Cairene intellectuals … and 4 CASA students. Our professor got us in. And afterwards he about summed it up when he said that they’re still saying the same things they were saying when he was 20 and started attending these sort of salons, only they reference different current events. Still voicing the same critiques of Egyptian society, still making the same complaints about the government and the disconnect between East and West, and still not doing anything about it.
That was why I couldn’t wait to get out of academia three years ago. All talk, no action. There is a need for all that talk; I don’t want all my doctoral candidate friends following my blog to get me wrong! We need academics to help us determine where and how to act most effectively. But like my professor, I find that it doesn’t suit my personality anymore. I need more action. (Also, have I mentioned? I really miss my paycheck!) I’m enjoying CASA while I’m in it, or at least am too totally swamped by mountains of homework to have time for contemplation of my inner self, but by the time the year is done, I’ll be more than ready to get out in the field and do something again!