Cairo Diary: Inside a Trip to the Middle East

I just finished an interview with a representative from the Consular's Office at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo regarding the Janet Greer case. Not sure if everyone remembers this story about the American mother whose daughter was taken to Egypt by her father when she was 3 years old and Greer hasn't seen her since. It has been 12 years, and Greer's struggle still continues. I'm here to try to help get answers on why her most recent request to see her daughter, Dowsha (Sarah in English), has been suddenly denied. As a parent, the idea of not seeing your children for 15 years is really upsetting. I'm hopeful that Greer will get to meet up with her daughter someday, but the legal system is different here, so who really knows. I have another interview in 30 minutes -- interviewing some students at a downtown cafe in Cairo. First is Usman Naeem. He is Pakistani, lived in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Canada, Dubai and now is at AUC. Next is Hatem el-Akkad. He is Egyptian, very eloquent and smart. He plays the guitar and is in a band -- overall a good representation of Egyptian youth. Another student is Mennatallah Yousef. She wears the Islamic headscarf and is studying mass communications. She is a moderate Muslim and represents mainstream Islam in the Arab world. Last is a Palestinian student named Yasmin from Gaza. Her family is there. She is studying here and speaks great English. Was president for nearly three years of the Al-Quds Palestinian Club at her University.

4:15 p.m. Cairo/ 9:15 a.m. NYC:

The interview with the students went so well -- they are very insightful and are really looking forward to what Obama has to say Thursday. These kids are different from Americans in that they are so aware of the stakes regarding politics. The United States really is like an island in terms of how much interest citizens have in other places.

Next I headed off to meet Moez Masoud, a young and dynamic television/radio host who is very popular here. He turned out to be a great guy and it was so cool that we were able to explore the Al Azhar mosque, which is the mosque in Cairo. Big thing here is to take off your shoes ... a huge sign of disrespect otherwise. Prayers are done here five times a day (was able to capture some great pics on Twitter, Click Here to see them. Even in this secular place, people say there is a rise in Islamic orthodoxy.

Obama-mania (as we call it in the States) has carried over to Cairo. As I walked through streets the locals shout "Obama shop" as I pass. I see tourist trinkets that even liken him to King Tut! I see his face everywhere. But it is not just the markets that are enthusiastic about Obama.

7 p.m. Cairo/12 p.m. NYC:

Tough thing dealing with time change. We're in thick of it and all bosses at "GMA" are just getting settled, so a lot of hurry up and wait. When they arrive in the morning in the East full of ideas, we will have to scramble.

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