Historical Context

Jason Wang and Peter Barkley

The moment that we are trying to convey is Tony traveling in Egypt during his 30s (which is assume btw), with his folk music and Kodak camera. 

Assuming that he went around the 1960s, the president of Egypt was Nasser, who brought the country to stability and peace after the previous leader was put on house arrest. He regulated the amount of land every person had and help the national GDP rise. It was a time of tranquility. 

"In 1956-1957, 25,000 Jews – almost half of the Jewish population of Egypt – were expelled from the country. Another 1,000 were imprisoned. (By 1972 the remainder had also been expelled.)" - History of Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser, Wikipedia

This potentially could explain the "prisoners" that he saw. Around 1962 Egypt also made a union with Syria.