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Civilization, Born Here, Raised Elsewhere

By Reck

Egypt is commonly called the birthplace of civilization, yet while civilization may have gotten its start in the fertile Nile delta in the midst of this vast desert, civilization no longer radiates outward from Egypt to the rest of the world but inward, from the global cities of faraway lands, back to the Cairo and the Nile.

The transnational features of today's global moment are not centered in Cairo, they extend from cities like New York, London, or Tokyo, and reach Cairo like they reach many other cities around the globe. The banks, the five-star hotels, the chain restaurants, that can be found in Cairo, are often the ones that can be found in any other city we've visited: HSBC, The Hilton, TGIF. These transnational companies are all parts of global networks linking cities across the globe, and unifying these same cities, not just as nodes on the same network, but fundamentally transforming them to reflecting and resembling each other. The same banks, hotels,, restaurants can be found in any global city anywhere in the world, and with the same corporate backgrounds, the looks of these cities unify like never before.

As cities grow in size and density high-rise buildings become more common. As global cities become more and more interconnected these skyscrapers are increasingly similar. Not only are the skylines of faraway cities becoming more and more transformed by the increase of shiny steel skyscrapers, but these skyscrapers are increasingly similar, even the names in neon lights at the tops of these skyscrapers are increasingly the same: HSBC, The Hilton, TGIF.

As the world becomes more connected, the old world centers of life are changing their ancient roles. No longer the source of civilization, they too are being invaded by the same transnational elements that are invading every other global, and pre-global, city around the world.

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