When I was in Cairo during the Egyptian uprising, I wanted to change hotels one day to be closer to the action and called the Marriott to see if it had any openings. The young-sounding Egyptian woman who spoke with me from the reservations department offered me a room and then asked: “Do you have a corporate rate?” I said, “I don’t know. I work for The New York Times.” There was a silence on the phone for a few moments, and then she said: “ Can I ask you something?” Sure. “Are we going to be O.K.? I’m worried.”
I made a mental note of that conversation because she sounded like a modern person, the kind of young woman who would have been in Tahrir Square. We’re just now beginning to see what may have been gnawing at her — in Egypt and elsewhere.
This is your classic NYTimes orientalism à la Friedman.
Weird title that sets up the Egyptian people as helpless? Check.
An empty dialogue that acts as a filler for what could have otherwise been an informative introduction? Check.
The description of an Arab female as “a modern person?” Check.
The rest is Friedman at his finest.