Echoes of the past as Egypt chooses a new president

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In Egypt it seems there has always been someone lying awake in the hot, airless night, dreading the policeman’s midnight knock. It is hard to imagine it now but once it was the old man we had come to interview. These days, straight of back and bright of eye he is the kind of pensioner who carefully puts on a suit and neatly knots a tie before going to his favourite restaurant for coffee. He is not the oldest person in the place – one of the waiters here started work here a few months after the Battle of El Alamein in 1942 – but he has seen more history than most coursing through the streets and squares around us. He talks of his first arrest as other men might talk of a first date. He…

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