Lillian Craig Harris
Vellum, 2016
334 Pages, 34 photos
ISBN 978-0-9974962-5-3 Paperback

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About the Author

LILLIAN CRAIG HARRIS worked as an intelligence analyst/Foreign Service officer at the State Department from 1976 to 1986 and has taught at Georgetown University (Liberal Studies program 1981–86), the American University in Cairo, Haigazian College (Beirut), and Wheaton College (Illinois). She has a Ph.D. from Georgetown University (Modern East Asian History 1977), Master’s degrees from the American University of Beirut (Modern Middle East History 1972) and Syracuse University (Journalism 1965) and a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia Bible College (1964). She accompanied her husband on diplomatic postings in Cairo (1990–95); Khartoum (1995–99) and Tunis (2004–08). She is the founder-director of Together for Sudan, an educational charity for Sudanese women and children, and until she retired in 2013 she visited Sudan at least twice yearly.  She is the author of nine books, including CHINA CONSIDERS THE MIDDLE EAST (I.B. Taurus 1993); and KEEPING THE FAITH: TRAVELS WITH SUDANESE WOMEN and IN JOY AND IN SORROW: TRAVELS AMONG SUDANESE CHRISTIANS (both Paulines Publications Africa 2000). She was awarded The Cross of St. Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, an honorary doctorate by Ahfad University for Women in 2006. and the Order of the British Empire in 2007 for charitable work in Egypt and Sudan.

About the book

The 57 short essays that comprise this book were written during 1990 to 1995 while the author, Dr Lilllian Craig Harris, a former American Foreign Service officer married to British diplomat Alan Goulty, lived in Cairo. The essays explore Egypt’s cities, deserts, societies, monasteries, and circumstances in a time of widespread unrest, which helped set the scene for the Arab Spring two decades on. Included are essays about life in Cairo, diplomatic difficulties,  religious tensions, the problems of the poor (including a growing resort to  suicide), unrest under the Mubarak regime, travels in the Egyptian deserts, Upper Egypt, the Sinai, and the far west of the country––and more.

The following is a sample of topics discussed: Malfunction of government, deepening corruption, and growing anger over dictatorship;  religious tensions between Muslims and Coptic Christians; antigovernment violence, usually well shielded from foreign eyes; marginalization of the poor; the growing anger of impoverished and marginalized Egyptians; the importance of the desert tribes; national dependence on the Nile and the great river’s encounters with tourism; the importance of faith, Islam as well as Christianity, in helping people cope; expansion of the Coptic monasteries while many secular Copts left the country; unsustainable use of the fragile desert environment; the resilience, hope, faith, and hospitality of the Egyptian people; a high rate of suicide, as revealed by Befrienders Cairo, a suicide prevention charity the author set up; the love/hate relationship between Egyptians and their former colonial master, the British––and more.

This  is a book in the ADST-DACOR Memoirs and Occasional Papers Series.
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“Harris was able to visit places that are now largely off limits to most outsiders, for security and/or political reasons….  Harris’s travels gave her insights on some of the key themes that are relevant to ongoing, and intense, political debate in Egypt today.”
— Robin Raphel, Former US Ambassador to Tunisia.

“The book is poignant on many levels. Sadly, following the turmoil in Egypt over the past 5 years, tourism has been profoundly affected and the many off-the-beaten-path sites she described are undoubtedly off limits for the foreseeable future. The mobility that she and her husband enjoyed as they explored Egypt in the 1990s seems to come from a very distant era!”
— Ann Van Dusen, PhD, Founding Director, Masters Program in Global Human Development, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.