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As Egyptian town votes, a glimpse of the revolution spurs longing for the past

In a town that was once a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, many Egyptians are voting for former Mubarak ally Ahmed Shafiq in today's presidential election because they say life has been harder since the revolution.

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Islam Abdel Raheem used to sell three cows a week.

That was before the uprising in Egypt that forced former President Hosni Mubarak from power. Now, says Mr. Abdel Raheem, standing among the mostly empty meat hooks hanging from the ceiling of his tiny butcher shop, the meat he sells every week only amounts to one and a half or, at most, two cows.

The residents of this small village in the fertile farming region of the Nile Delta are buying less beef because prices are rising. The drop in business is just one of the ways life has deteriorated for Abdel Raheem since the uprising, he says. Another is security.

A few months ago, two men from outside the village killed a resident of Herreyat Razna. A group of villagers took the law into their own hands, beating the assailants to death. The police arrived late, and villagers chased them away so they could finish off the assailants themselves rather than hand them over to police, says Abdel Raheem.

“Before the revolution, the government was strong. It was governing,” he says. “Nobody could raise a gun, or even a dagger. So this never could have happened then. That’s why we need someone from the old system, so he can restore order.”

Abdel Raheem doesn’t curse the uprising, like some here do. But he says it’s made life harder. That’s part of the reason he’ll vote for Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under Mr. Mubarak, when Egyptians go to the polls today to elect a new president.


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