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Doktor Nasser har ingen bil: Kairo i omvälvningens tid by Tina Thunander

The journalist Tina Thunander's latest book is about the revolution in Egypt, and its influence on the people. Thunander studies Arabic in Cairo, and her private teacher, Nasser, is a doctor but teaches Arabic to earn extra money. Nasser comes from simple circumstances in the countryside, and thinks highly of the Society of Muslim Brothers. But, eventually, he begins to doubt his conviction, and to think there are other solutions.

The image of Cairo is emerging through meetings with many people belonging to different class, with different opinions and dreams. When president Hosni Mubarak resigned, in 2011, the people were acquainted with freedom of speech, and politics and religion's part in society were discussed in public places. The concept of freedom and democracy are important and complex themes in the book.

Just as in her book "Att resa I Sharialand - Ett reportage om kvinnors liv i Saudiarabien", about women in Saudi Arabia, Thunander meets many different people, from the top of the class pyramid, the Tahrir square, poor villages in the countryside and extreme poor suburbs, where people literally live on garbage. They all have voices, and the reader gets a clear picture of people's conditions. Unfortunately, it's repetitive at times, especially Thunander's many visits to the same hospital or the same practice. Perhaps it's a way of really show the reader to the atmosphere, but it's somewhat exhaustive.

The book is about change. It's also about a city with immense injustice. The concept wasta, a person's social network, is the most difficult barrier to pass. Wasta confines people in the class they were born. Nasser wants to give his patients an impression of a successful and trustworthy doctor, and is bothered by not affording a car. His struggle to earn enough money for his family each month and the injustice he witness lead to a heartbreaking comment: ”Now you understand why I need a God”.

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