We spent all day in the library yesterday, from 2 in the afternoon until 8 in the evening, taking a break only once for some Subway sandwiches since everything else on campus was closed. Yes, we have a Subway on campus.
The last hour we were on the ground floor, to make our escape to the bus as easy as fast as possible, giving us more time for our papers. Libraries are usually calm places, in my experience. Egypt likes to add flair to things.
An Egyptian friend told us that all Egyptians are wound so tightly all day, every day, that it only takes little things to set them off. We’ve witnessed numerous spats and fist-fights or almost fist-fights since arriving, almost all of them between drivers.
It started with raised voices – fast Arabic punctuated with preferred English swearwords. It got louder. One man kept walking away and coming back. Finally, a punch was thrown.
It got rough very fast, one man had a good hold on the other man’s shirt and was smacking him hard with a flat fist. The other man acted primarily defensively, though with a few good shoves to try to get him off. It was not quiet. More swearing.
Almost instantly at least 20 Egyptian men ran from across the ground floor to pull them apart and calm them down. A few men visibly chastised them for their behavior. The two men were separated by the groups of security guards and curious newcomers gathering to hear their stories in heated Arabic. Some men looked disappointed with their behavior, others sympathetic. Sometimes you just gotta hit the guy.
I snapped a picture of one of the crowds behind me where the fight happened. Just a normal day of library etiquette.