There's little laughter inEgypt these days.
Once again, Mary Thornberry, a formerFort Worthwoman, is a witness to it all - the instability of the Egyptian government, increasing violence and protests in the streets. And she and others in the middle of the mayhem aren't finding much to smile at these days.
"Egyptians have always been known for their native ability to laugh at life," said Thornberry, who made international news in 2011 by defending herself during violent political protests inEgyptwith a rolling pin after being trapped in her apartment. "Now, no laughter.(...)
In Egypt, tensions are rising, protests are increasing and bloodshed is an increasingly familiar sight in the midst of political chaos - and officials have said they worry about everything from a civil war to the collapse of the country.
Thornberry, who moved toEgyptmore than 15 years ago to study ancient Egyptian history, said protests and violence are all around her and the tiny apartment she lives in nearTahrir SquareinCairo.
She is no stranger to violence.(....)
Now, she said, female sexual harassment in and near the square is rampant.
"One day, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., 19 cases were seen by an unofficial anti-harassment group," Thornberry said. "They were able to intervene in 15 of these. The incidents ranged from groping to rape.
"A female anchor for Sky Arabia was attacked and rescued by a group from a nearby cafe. She was taken to a hospital with bruises and a nervous breakdown," she said. "Some were bitten 'all over their bodies.' One lady had cuts on her genitalia. Where are the police?"
She described the side of the square where she lives as the Egyptian Museum side.
On the other side of the square is the structure that houses the American Embassy, government offices and offices charged with issuing passports and visas.
Much of the violence seen, protests held and general violence happens on the American Embassy side of the square.
But an increasing number of problems have been on Thornberry's side of the square as well.
One protester was shot earlier this week, and another was killed not far from her front door.
Recently, Thornberry got into an argument with a taxi driver that made her fear for her safety. Later, she said was groped on a microbus. "Me!" she exclaimed. "A 78 1/2-year-old female."She has for the most part stayed inside - other than to visit an Internet cafe and her neighborhood grocery store and to pick up her newspapers.
But she fears that more problems loom.