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On one side of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, a 20-foot-tall statue of Egyptian national hero Omar Makram towers above the crowds that have lately made the square their revolutionary base. Under his left arm, Makram clutches an unknown book, and with his right index finger, he points upward, as if he’s about to lecture someone.Makram is remembered for having led Egypt’s successful resistance to British and French occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and he would no doubt be surprised to learn that both countries have since built bases of power in Egypt, as purveyors of international commerce and wealth through institutions such as the U.K.-based Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) and the Paris-headquarterd BNP Paribas (BIT:BNP), both of which have bank offices on nearby Al Kasr Al Aini Street.The banks, along with dozens of other Western financial institutions scattered across Cairo, are reminders of a new and modern Egypt that is more open to foreign investment and influences. Yet their presence has proved somewhat tenuous: Both Barclays and BNP Paribas have been forced to close their doors and evacuate their foreign employees more than once during the ongoing Egyptian protests. Banks, unsurprisingly, are vulnerable to disruption by the kinds of forces brought to bear a couple of centuries ago by the likes of Makram and today by legions of young revolutionaries who organize via the flagship offerings of Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and the privately held Twitter.“Cash has always been an issue in war zones, and in collapsing countries,” observed Anna Therese Day, a conflict journalist who has worked in Egypt and, more recently, Syria. As a war reporter, Day is on the front lines, which isn’t a good place to run short of cash. The same is true for soldiers, rebels and civilians caught up in the fight.