ever. A total of 13,212 square miles is irrigated out of 384,345 square miles of total land mass: a pitiful percentage indeed. Today, the population of Egypt is much larger than that of ancient Egypt so the pressure on the Nile and the land is much more intense. Whereas old Egypt was self-sufficient in food production, modern Egypt must import food, especially wheat, to feed its people. Today, tourism is the 2 nd most important economic activity while in the past warfare with its attendant booty, captives, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, and other semi-precious stones was the underpinning of the agricultural society. More intriguing is the fact that many of the farming techniques used by villagers along the Nile in the Upper Egypt direction are quite similar to the methods in use all those millennia ago. For instance, wells and winches look like the ones on the walls of antique tombs and temples and plows and yokes look the same as well. In many ways, even the government of Egypt today is not that different from that of the Pharaohs. Though ostensibly a republic, Egypt is actually more like a kingdom. Hosni Mubarak has been in power since 1981 and is likely to remain so until he dies. At present he is grooming his son to take over when he leaves the presidency. However, he just announced on October 21, 2010, that he will be running for a 6 th term. He was born, officially, in May 1928, making him 82 years old now. Of course, we saw no evidence of a pyramid or huge temple/tomb complex being built in preparation for him to secure his place in the afterlife. And the burial place for Anwar Sadat is modest even though very impressive. So there are obvious differences, but everyday Egyptians are probably as impotent in national affairs as they were in the time of Ramses the Great.
Addendum to Current Events Since I have been delayed in completing this journal until January, I can record an astonishing, hopeful, frightening, and still in flux occurrence. The Egyptian people have been in outright rebellion against Mubarak since January 25, 2011. People of all social strata, religions, and from all parts of the country have begun massive demonstrations against Mubarak, calling for his ouster. So far, he has resisted, agreeing only to fire his cabinet. This clearly does not satisfy the people because they are continuing to defy his calls for night curfews and a halt to the demonstrations. More and more people are joining the crowds and so far there have been 75+ deaths reported among the demonstrators.
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