Lauren Unger-Geoffroy writes from Cairo:
After the long weekend of revolution participation here, I had to pay 13 Egyptian pounds — the equivalent of three U.S. dollars — to have an X-ray of my stress-fractured ankle. The hospital was part of a labyrinthine and crowded complex, and I had to ask directions repeatedly. But eventually a cast and a containment brace were put on my ankle, all for the cost of the equivalent of an additional 45 U.S. dollars. I tsk-tsked and said to the young doctor, “That is expensive! Much more than last year.” He replied apologetically, “Yes, I know, I am sorry, but now we are using some American products.”
I did not mention that these American products would cost at least 300 times more in the U.S. than they cost here, or that in America I would have to pay $600 to health insurance extortion every single month for life in order to afford medical treatment. As I limped back to the taxi, accompanied by the typical sympathy, offers of help and well-wishing of strangers, I reflected on the strange chasm of values, self-interest, the evils of capitalism, human decency, pragmatism, social unity, and the vacuum of understanding into which can rush ... anything.