Sunlight sparkles on the water as diggers and workers are still hard at work clearing the banks of the new Suez Canal channel. The odd plume of dust is kicked up into the hot summer air as the touring boats round the various statues being erected on the canal’s banks: Isis (the goddess of protection), a shiny silver metal globe and a 20ft-high rendering of a worker digging the soil.
At one point, another ship passes ours as its crew hold up two fingers in a symbol of peace and one holds a large Egyptian flag aloft. To Egyptians, the Suez Canal is a symbol of what their country is capable of – and a mega-project of this magnitude has stoked nationalist sentiment as a time when Egyptians hope to see the end of four years of economic turmoil. The head of the Suez Canal Authority, Admiral Mohab Mamish, described the Suez Canal as “a gift from the Egyptian people to the rest of the world” at a press conference following the tour of the new site.
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