Egyptian Chronicles: 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Seen in Giza : Zamalek Sporting Club's board elections

Location Nadi Al Zmalek, Gazirat Mit Oqbah, Al Agouzah, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Zamalek Sports Club
 One of  Zamalek Sports Club's entrances at 7 PM Cairo local time on Thursday 

Elections time in Zamalek sporting club "ZSC" as its members are going to elect their new board on Thursday and Friday according to the new sports clubs law.
The elections are not only in ZSC but in other several clubs across Cairo and Giza Governorates as well other Governorates.
Despite Sporting Clubs are considered like NGOs and the work in its board is actually a volunteer work that is done theoretically with no revenue or profit expected for it, millions "Yes !! millions" have been spent in the elections campaigns especially in Ahly SC and Zamalek SC.
I totally understand that those two clubs are the biggest when we speak about sports in general in Egypt but still !!

When we speak about Zamalek club,  we are speaking about a wacky miserable drama and I am not speaking here about its football "Soccer" team but I am speaking about its current administration and its rivals.

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Meet Egypt’s Ansar Al-Islam, the not so new Al-Qaeda group

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
Sun Tzu,
The Art of War

A little-known militant group claimed responsibility early Friday on 3 November of the 19th October’s Al-Wahat Shootout that took place between Egyptian police forces and a group of unidentified militants in Egypt’s Western desert where 16 police personnel were killed from Five weeks ago.

The group is called “Ansar Al-Islam” and it released online a statement on Social Media Network "Telegram", at one of its channels linked to Al-Qaeda “The Sharia Guards” claiming responsibility for the shootout calling it “Lions’ Den battle”, detailing from its side what happened and revealing also some important information.
The statement has got no videos or photos to support that claim though.

On 19th October, Egypt’s police fore convey was involved in a shootout with a group of militants. According to official statements, 16 police personnel were killed and 13 others were injured in one of the worst attacks targeting Egyptian security forces outside North Sinai.
The following days witnessed a joint operation between Egyptian armed forces and Egyptian police against terrorist hideouts claiming scores of them as well liberating police officer Mohamed El-Hayes who was captured by the militants during the shootout.

Interestingly, very few Egyptian media and news outlets covered that news of that militant group claiming responsibility while the majority of news outlets did not share it in the same enthusiasm like the news of the attack or saving Captain Mohamed El-Hayes. I do not know why for real !?
Some cited the reason was the Counterterrorism law and its 54-articles that include one article prohibiting the broadcast or publication of terrorist statements in the media.
Yet, I think there is a difference between being a terrorist organization’s mouthpiece and declaring that a little known terrorist organization affiliated with one of the world’s biggest terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for the most brutal attack against police force recently outside Sinai !!!!
Egyptian Police
A photo at the scene taken on 21 October showing security personnel
sitting on a police vehicle "AFP
The people need to know what they are facing already !!

Now here are a couple of thoughts I wanted to share it with you since that Friday from two weeks ago regarding the group and its telegram channel before it disappears. Luckily, I wrote down all my notes and observations before it vanishes. I do not know if its admins decided to close it down or it was closed down by the government or it became a secret one.

The Telegram Channel

Interestingly, the “Sharia Guards” channel was created on 19 October 2017 as Egypt’s first so-called “Jihadist” channel adding that its administrators are the so-called “The Forts of Glory’s lions” in Arabic.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

El-Adly of Arabia

Do you remember how Egyptians wondered and asked where the hell their former long-time notorious Mubarak’s interior minister Habib  El-Adly had gone?
Do you remember how his lawyer Fareed El-Deeb insisted that he would appear in court in time of court all those months? Do you remember who his wife, the veteran journalist Elham Sharshar claiming how she did not know his whereabouts in front of prosecution?

All those months many Egyptians included myself thought that the infamous ex-interior minister Habib El-Adly escaped abroad. Some websites claimed that he went to UAE just like other Mubarak’s businessmen.
The man made a comeback from a couple of months ago when Saudi Arabia declared that it founded a new security apparatus in July: The State security.
Habib El-Adly
A file photo fo Habib El-Adly during his trial "Reuters"
I overlayed a green layer as we are speaking about Saudis 
The name brought to Egyptians many memories yet it was interesting to see in September famous Saudi Whistleblowing twitter accounts like “@Mujtahid”, “@Ahdjadid"” and “@Coluche_ar” speaking about him

Saudi Whistleblowing twitter account “Mujtahid” said on 16 September that Prince Mohamed Bin Salman aka MBS had a plan to “Westernize” and “Zion-ize” the Saudi Kingdom and for that the Kingdom hired “600 State security Egyptian officers” to have “a full control on the Kingdom” in addition to military officers and pilots as well diplomats.

Then on 18 September, “@Ahdjadid” claimed that Habib El-Adly, the infamous former minister of interior of Egypt was among those officers hired to work in the Kingdom's new founded “State security”.
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

He Did Not Need to Blink Twice : What happened to Mr. Hariri !!??

I can’t ignore what is happening in Lebanon or Saudi Arabia because after all, it echoes in Cairo in a way or another.
For the first time since his televised resignation from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon’s Prime minister Saad El-Hariri appeared on TV in a very awkward on-air interview Sunday evening denying that he was under house arrest repeating that he would return home, to resign officially in accordance with the Lebanese constitution.

The Lebanese PM appeared with veteran Lebanese TV host Paula Yacoubian on his own TV network “Future TV” from his house reportedly in Riyadh insisting that he could return back home at any time he wanted.He repeated that he created a “Positive shock” in his country with resignation.

It was all about Hezbollah and its relation to Iran which mediates in the Arab world and imposes a danger to the Gulf.

He also spoke about his fear about that Lebanon would face economic sanctions just like Yemen.
This gives me an impression that he may be there negotiating about the future of his country. God only knows.

It is worth to mention Saudi Arabia called for an urgent meeting for Arab foreign ministers at League of Arab States in Cairo over Iran.
Will Saudi Arabia call for sanctions on Lebanon because of Hezbollah? We will know in few days I guess.
El-Hariri wanted Hezbollah to stop his relations with Iran and to stick to politics in Lebanon, the same old demand.
Saad El-Hariri
Self-resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad El-Hariri
Saad El-Hariri appeared shaken and was on the verge of crying in one instance forcing Yacoubian to go on a commercial break before returning.
His weakness was shown to the viewers as Paula Yacoubian seemed stronger with her questions insisting to get answers. He was there and not there.

Whatever happened to him, God as well Saudi officials only know !!

The self-resigned  PM seemed to contradict himself to me as he claimed to be ready to sacrifice himself to Lebanon whereas he said that he got his only family referring indirectly to a possible assassination attempt.

When he resigned, he claimed that it was there was a threat to his own life.
That claim was denied later by Lebanese security.
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Seen from Above : A Cairo Skyline sunset


 Seen from above: An overview of Cairo skyline in the sunset with no filters once upon a time from Cairo tower. Cairo can seem to be very big as well small from what was once the longest building in Africa !! 
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

#WeNeedToTalk about Nubian Egyptians for real !!

Do you remember the Nubian Egyptian protesters who were arrested while protesting peaceful using the Duf in Aswan early September?
There were 25 protesters detained pending investigation on a number of charges, including them illegal protesting.

Now there are 24 protesters detained only because one of them passed in custody at an Aswan prison according to his family who accuses the government of neglecting his health till he died.
Gamal Sorror
Late Gamal Sorror in Tahrir square "Facebook" 

On Saturday, Mr. Gamal Sorror who was one of the oldest men in the group as well the head of the Nubian association in France “Association Nubienne en France” passed.

His family as well Nubian Egyptian activists say that he fell into a diabetic coma at Al-Shallal and he was not transferred on time to the hospital. His family added that he died at the jail and that the ambulance reported that.
Nubia’s representative in the Egyptian Parliament MP Yassin Abdel Sabbour stated in a statement that he released according to Tahrir news that Sorror passed away in his detention and the ambulance refused to transfer his body for two hours !!
The Egyptian security authorities deny that and say that he had a cardiac arrest at the hospital. The usual claim denying any neglect in his treatment.

Late Gamal Sorror had a French passport and he refused to inform the embassy about his detention till his death according to his lawyer Mohamed Abdel Salam who spoke with Tahrir News website.
Abdel Salam added that Sorror believed his charge was honorable one as he was protesting to claim his right in the Egyptian constitution, to return to his rightful village in old Nubia.
Part of me believes that he should have contacted the embassy.
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Monday, November 6, 2017

And Khaled Ali is running for President in 2018

Famous Egyptian human rights lawyer Khaled Ali announced earlier Monday that he would run for the presidential office in elections 2018.
Ali announced that he would run in the upcoming elections from Egypt’s Doustor party headquarter in Giza in a very crowded press conference.
We will start in preparing our presidential campaign as well the drafts for our platform to discuss it with the public in order to present alternative solutions to save Egypt from that grim destiny waiting it
Khaled Ali said in a speech that focused in the first half about Egypt’s current problems or disasters to be accurate.
Despite his announcement that he will run in the upcoming elections, the founder of Bread and Liberty Leftist party warned that he would withdraw from the presidential race and even would call for its boycott if the regime started to mess it up “as usual and as expected”
We are ready for these elections without any illusions about the integrity of the rival but we were and won’t be part of political or electoral farce
He made it clear also that he took the decision after long discussions with other opposition political figures and powers in the country.
Khaled Ali
Khaled Ali in his press conference on Monday in Giza
"Reuters" 
The Presidential race has not started yet officially.
Legally and realistically speaking, the 45-year-old-widower won’t be able to run in the presidential elections if the appeals court rejected on Wednesday his appeal against the misdemeanor court’s sentence to prison him 3 months in jail in September for offending public decency over that Middle finger incident in January !!!!!
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Friday, November 3, 2017

Watch The Campaign which most of us missed

It turned that earlier this year , there was a TV campaign about sexual harassment and it seems that very few saw because I do not recall seeing it or even reading about it.
I knew about that campaign through Jenny Montasir's short documentary “The Campaign”.


It turned out that since 2010 Cairo-base Harassment Map wanted to have a TV campaign to increase awareness about the sexual harassment epidemic.
The famous initiative had an agreement with JWT to produce a campaign but it seemed from the documentary that it did not work but eventually after years, the TV campaign saw the light.
Three TV ads were directed by award-winning director Ahmed Abdullah.
Unfortunately, I do not think that they spread as they should. As I said before, I have not seen those ads or have seen people talking about them.
I believe you should see this short documentary and share it on the social media
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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and Egypt’s territories : We need to ask !!

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince “and de facto king” Mohamed Bin Salman aka MBS declared that the Saudi government was going to build a huge futuristic megacity at the North West part of the kingdom.
The name of $500 billion cities is NEOM which means “Neo” or New in Latin and “M” stands for “Madina” aka City.
The big city which is bigger than Lebanon, Qatar, and Bahrain combined is going to have its own laws under Saudi sovereignty.
Located on the Red Sea, NEOM will include Jordan and Egypt’s territories too !!
Yes, you read it right it will include both Jordanian and Egyptian territories and that’s was the first time we hear about in Egypt. I do not know about Jordan.
Here is the quote from the official statement released by the Saudi government about NEOM.
NEOM’s land mass will extend across the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, rendering NEOM the first private zone to span three countries.
I think citizens in both countries owe their government an explanation. Needless to say, there is a complete silence radio from the Egyptian regime’s side. The Saudis are the ones who revealed more details.

NEOM will also include Egypt’s Tiran and Sanafir islands as well parts of North Sinai.
Neom Map
The new NEOM on the map and you can see Tiran and Sanafir
included
You read it right, Tiran and Sanafir which the current Egyptian administration gave it to Saudi Arabia despite the court orders saga has not finished yet.
Needless to say, the Saudi officials forgot to tell the Saudi people how they are supposed to get Israel's approval for any plans in the two islands as they are part of Camp David treaty aka Zone "C". 
Considering what is happening between Saudi officials and Israeli officials behind closed doors, I believe that they got their approval. 

The Saudis are saying that the King Salman bridge between Egypt and Saudi Arabia linking Asia and Africa is part of that huge futuristic mega city.
The site will also become the main entrance to the King Salman Bridge, linking Asia and Africa, which will add to the zone’s economic significance.
I thought that Sinai Peninsula has been playing that role already !!
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Friday, October 27, 2017

Al-Wahat shootout : 7 Days later

Seven Days later following the horrifying attack that killed at least 16 security personnel in Egypt’s Western desert and no group has claimed its responsibility for that attack.

Seven Days later following the incident that shocked Egypt for real and the Egyptian Presidency has not declared a single day of national mourning for some unknown reason.

Ironically and sadly, Jordan declared a-three-days-National mourning in solidarity in Egypt !!
On Monday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi told France 24 in Paris that Egypt was in still in the first stage of investigations regarding the attack.
He also added that the Egyptian-Libyan borders were 1,200 kilometers and up till now it could not be fully secured as it was part of Sahara desert.

That’s very important statement and it was not surprising or shocking one for me because I know that the SCAF asked the Americans for equipment and expertise to control the Egyptian Western borders.

Yet, many people remembered how in September 2016, Sisi said in a speech how the Egyptian army could mobilize its units in six hours only to protect the Egyptian state and its institutions.

On Sunday and after 48 hours of that Al-Wahat Shootout incident where at least 16 security personnel were killed in a shootout with an anonymous group of militants, Sisi issued a statement condemning the attack and vowing for revenge.
Only after 48 hours of complete silence, the President held a meeting with the ministers of defense and interior as well the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence agency and other officials.
Sisi in meeting
President Sisi in the meeting following the shootout by 48 hours
"Egyptian Presidency"
Chief of Staff of the Egyptian army Mahmoud Hegazy did not attend the meeting that discussed what happened in the Western desert on Friday.
He was in the United States attending some meeting related to the coalition against ISIS.

Only after 48 hours following the attack, we heard from the Presidential palace what many people including myself to be said regarding the condemnation of that awful attack and a promise of revenge.
Many people including some of El-Sisi’s supported criticized him for not speaking earlier and for participating with a big grin at Al-Alamein battle of WWII’s 75 anniversary when the victims of that ambush were just being transferred to Cairo.

The official death toll

The Egyptian President was not alone late when it comes to the reaction.
On Saturday and after nearly 24 hours following that attack, the Egyptian ministry of interior issued a detailed statement of the shootout/ambush/attack with figures unlike the first one issued on Friday.

According to the statement, the security forces got intel about a hideout for training and hiding of a terrorist group inside the Western desert at 135 km Giza-Al-Wahat highway and that two patrols from Giza governorate and Fayoum governorate headed there.
The first Giza patrol was spotted by the militants who opened their fire using their heavy weapons from all directions.The Giza police patrol fired back and there had been an exchange of fires that lasted for several hours.
The shootout resulted in the death of 16 security personnel and the injury of 13 others.
The MOI stated that only 11 police officers, 4 conscripts and one sergeant had been killed.
The injured breakdown is 4 officers and 9 conscripts.
It also revealed that one officer is missing.

The statement also included a list of names and ranks of those who were killed.
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Friday, October 20, 2017

El-Wahat 135 km : The Carnage

For hours now, Egyptian security forces have been battling unknown militants at Egypt’s Western desert near El-Bahariya Oasis “350 km away from Cairo”.

At least 30 security personnel including 15 officers and 15 conscripts have been killed in an ambush according to security forces that spoke with media outlets including Reuters “The number is increasing by the minute” at  El-Wahat Highway between Giza and El-Bahariya Oasis exactly at 135 km.
Updated at 1:20 PM, BBC is saying that the death toll reaches 53 security personnel :( 

This is the biggest loss for the ministry of interior and the Egyptian government outside North Sinai.
Al-Wahat high is currently locked between Giza and Fayoum governorates according to security sources that spoke with Al-Ahram.

From what I have been reading online, we have technically a battle between security forces and those militants.
I have been trying to locate 135 km on Google Earth but I can not reach it.
Sources speaking to Reuters said the following :
The security sources said authorities were following a lead to a hideout deep in the desert thought to house eight suspected members of Hasm, a group which has claimed several attacks around the capital targeting judges and police since last year.
A convoy of four SUVs and one interior ministry vehicle was ambushed from higher ground by militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and detonating explosive devices, a senior source in the Giza Security Office said.
At 10 PM Cairo local time, the ministry of interior published on its official Facebook page a very vague and short statement stating the following :
Intel came to the  National security “State security” sector at the ministry about a hideout of terrorists in the middle of the desert at 135 km of Al-Wahat Highway. A patrol was prepared to arrest those terrorists but when the patrol was close to the hideout, the terrorists opened their fire , the thing which led to an exchange of fire.This resulted in the death of some police personnel and some assailants. The security forces are sweeping the region.
It did not specify a number at all or ranks.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Seen in Cairo : The Yacoubian box

Yacoubian box

Seen in Cairo: a very old card box keeping very beautiful and old glassware owned by my late grandma in our attic aka (sandara).
The box had the sticker of “N.Yacoubian” which according to my knowledge was located at the famous Yacoubian building in Downtown Cairo.
It was immortalized infamously in Alaa Al-Aswany’s best-selling novel of the same name.
Built in 1936, the Art Deco building was named after its owner, businessman and the head of the Armenian community in Egypt then, Hagop Yacoubian.
I love the Art Deco font used to write Yacoubian in Arabic as well in English. 
I do not know if the store, which was like Tiffany's in the old golden days is still there or was closed. I will check it.
Ironically I passed through that building hundreds of times and I never thought to see it. 
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Saturday, October 14, 2017

1973 War special : The Nubian Sergeant

For the first time in 44 years following the 1973 October war, a forgotten hero has been decorated Egypt’s highest military medal for his role that gave Egypt an edge over the Israelis.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi honored last Monday 1973 war veteran Ahmed Idris decorating him the Order of the Sinai star for his role in that war.

Ahmed Idris who was born in old Nubia, Aswan is the man behind the secret code which the Israelis could not break in 1973 war despite it was not a real or complex secret code.
Mr. Idris joined the Egyptian army in 1954 as a soldier in the Border guards.
Since the time of the Egyptian kingdom, most of Egyptian Nubians worked in the Border guards.He was stationed in Sinai till June 1967 war aka Six days war.
Ahmed Idris and El-SIsi
Idris with El-Sisi last week at The Egyptian armed forces'
lecture about 1973 war 
Now according to him, after the defeat late chief of staff Abdel Moneim Riad decided to reassign a group of the border guards officers and soldiers training them on various missions including driving tanks, special forces courses and signals aka military communications for 3 years.
During December 1970 our sergeant was reassigned as a driver for one of the army commanders. He recounted that he was driving that commander and his aide after one of the meetings that discussed very urgent and disturbing matter.
A week earlier the Egyptian intelligence knew that Israel managed to decode the signals of the Egyptian army which meant all the communications between Egyptian commanders and officers were known to Israelis.
A new code was needed urgently. As the two men talked about that, Idris interfered in the talk telling them that he got an idea for a code that the Israelis could not know.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Another New State of emergency in Egypt : It never ends

And President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree on Tuesday “10/10/2017” to declare a state of emergency in Egypt for three months starting from Friday “Tomorrow” 1 AM Cairo Local Time.


Egypt's official gazette October 2017
A copy of the decree in the official
gazette
The decree was published in Tuesday’s issue of the Egyptian State’s official gazette.

There is online and ongoing confusion about this declaration as some considered it as an extension of that state of emergency.
El-Sisi declared the state of emergency last April following the horrifying the Black Palm Sunday bombings in Cairo and Tanta. 

It is not an extension to that state of emergency which was extended in July subsequently. Sisi extended the state of emergency on 10 July 2017 for three months only in accordance with the Egyptian Constitution.

That 3 months period has ended on Tuesday 10 October 2017.

According to the Egyptian Constitution of 2014's article no.154, the State of emergency can be only extended for another three months only one time.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

And Egypt is heading to World Cup Russia 2018

Okay this is from the historical important moments that I love to post in my blog

Egypt has finally qualified for the World Cup Russia 2018

Yes, I need to say this again loud and clear that Egypt has been qualified for World Cup Russia 2018
After 28 years, Egyptian National Football/Soccer team succeeded reaching the World Cup since 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.
This is the third time for our National football team to be qualified for the World Cup.
The first time was in 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy. We were the first African and Arab country to play in the World Cup.
It took 56 years to be qualified again in 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy also.
This was the first football memory for me as a child. I remember that I cried a lot when Germany won the Cup and wondered why Egypt did not get it.
My family tried to explain the matter for me but I did not get it then.
Now after 28 years, Egypt is going yet again to the World Cup, this time in Russia next year.
I am now grown-up enough to know that we are not a candidate to win the World Cup itself but the honor is enough to reach the World Cup.

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah "AP" 
I think I am lucky enough along millions of Egyptians to witness being qualified to the World Cup twice.

Also, the young generation is lucky enough to see our squad going to the World Cup.

Yes, I am bit emotional because I witnessed the happiness of the people first hand and how they headed to Tahrir square automatically as soon as Mohamed Salah, our golden boy scored that penalty.
One night of happiness won’t change anything of the reality we know and live but it will just give hope.

Back to Mohamed Salah, well God bless him as he made a true history for real.
Mo Salah is now the most famous Egyptian abroad and he deserves it.

A side note: The AP photographer who took unforgotten shots from the football match with Congo is photographer Nariman El-Mufti, a woman photographer. 

Salah and the rest of the squad were born after 1990 ironically except El-Hadry, our goalkeeper.
If I am not mistaken, he is by far the oldest goalkeeper so far to participate in World Cup Russia 2018.
The best goalkeeper in Africa deserves to be despite his shitty political views.
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Celebrating World Cup Qualification in Tahrir square

Location El-Tahrir Square, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
The Egyptian authorities did not allow cars to enter Tahrir square allowing people only on foot to enter.
Yet this did not stop people in their cars to celebrate Egypt’s victory in its football/soccer game against Congo and being qualified to WorldCup in Russia "More to come here" 
via IFTTT
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Seen in Giza : Getting ready for the big game


Getting ready for the big game after less than three hours for now and flags sellers are in every major street in the country.
Egypt is going to #Russia for the World cup if it beats Congo in a match millions of  Egyptians are waiting for eagerly as the Egyptian national team got better chances for winning.

We will see if we make football history again after 28 years.
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Muchas gracias Spanish government and EU : Sincerely Mideast government

On Sunday, the people of Catalonia held an independence referendum in defiance to the Spanish government in Madrid and the current Spanish constitution.
Spanish police in Catalonia
Police arresting voters in Catalonia "AFP"
The referendum was held at the same time the Spanish police attacked voters at polling centers dragging them out as well taking the ballot boxes in a scene that shocked many people including myself.

According to Catalan authorities, not less than 900 people were injured including elderly.
It shocked me because that scene was too familiar for us in the Mideast, in Egypt in particular.
It reminded me with the violence of the Egyptian police during the 2010 parliamentary elections which considered by many as one of the trigger for the 25 January revolution.

It shocked me because that was happening in Europe. It shocked me because that was happening in Spain , a country that I and other Egyptians look to a successful example of democratic civilian transition.
Since the ouster of Mubarak in February 2011 and many Egyptians looked to the Spanish democratic civilian transition as an example to follow despite the difference between the two countries. Needless to say , I believe that one of the weakness of our Egyptian revolution is the lack of figures like  Adolfo Suarez.

Anyhow it seemed that the legacy of Franco is still deep-rooted in Madrid or at least in the Spanish police as the World has seen in the past two weeks.
Just as I and others felt sad to see that scene of Spanish police attacking Catalan voters and activists, others were happy in our sad miserable part of the world.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Seen in Giza : A Nile view with concerns

Location Americana Boat 26 Nile Street, Giza, Cairo, Al Nile, Giza, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Egypt's Nile River

This photo was one of my early attempts to snap a 180-degree photo using my old iPhone.
The amazing river Nile is majestic in perfect weather condition in Cairo and Giza.
By the way, this photo shows both banks, the Cairo and Giza Metropolis skyline of ugly buildings we love to hate.
I will seize this opportunity to speak again about the future of the Nile River in Egypt especially after constructing Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam "GERD".
Last week, an official in Egypt's ministry of irrigation and water resources announced that Egypt was officially suffering from "Water Poverty" and the era of "water abundance" in the country was over thanks to the increasing population. 
Now my concern is that if we are suffering from "Water poverty", why the hell does the state allow building new compounds as well a new administrative capital full of swimming pools and fountains !?

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Friday, September 29, 2017

How to lose your UNESCO’s chair Egyptian way for dummies

After few weeks, a secret vote will take place at the 202nd session of the UNESCO's Executive Board in Paris to choose the Organization’s new director general. There are currently 9 candidates who have been seeking the word countries' votes in order to replace current director general Irina Bokova. Among those 9 candidates, there are 4 Arab candidates “As usual Arabs could not agree to nominate one in the race because we are ARABs”.

Moushira Khattab
Former minister and Ambassador Moushira Khattab 
Those Arab candidates include Egypt’s former minister and diplomat Ambassador Moushira Khattab.

Despite the huge campaign the Egyptian government launched in July 2016 with her official nomination, it seems that the same government is doing its best to destroy her chance for that important international position.

Do you remember how the Egyptian security authorities closed down Karma libraries in December 2016 because its founder and owner is Human rights lawyer Gamal Eid?
Ambassador Moshira Khattab said that she would do her best so children were not deprived of the right of knowledge after her visit to one of the closed branches of the library.
Do you remember how the authorities have confiscated Alf bookstore in August because of the Muslim Brotherhood alleged affiliation of its co-founder and co-owner, entrepreneur and economist Omar El-Shenety.

Last week, the security authorities stormed and shut down “El-Balad bookstore” which is exactly two blocks away from Tahrir square. “El-Balad” is owned and founded by Egyptian social democratic Party leader Farid Zahran.
Interestingly it turned out Zahran owns a newspaper called El-Tariq which was stormed by security forces in September 2016.
There has not been an official explanation on why the security authorities closed down the bookstore which became a cultural venue in Downtown Cairo like that !!
I do not know how the Egyptian government can help Moshira Khattab when it closes down bookstores and libraries like that.
It is the worst way to support your candidate to top the world’s most important Cultural organization.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Media Empires in Egypt : The Egyptian Falcon

From two weeks ago, Tawasul group announced that it acquired Cairo-based Hayat TV Network from Sigma Media Company in what was described as the biggest media deal in the past couple of years in Egypt.

Tawasul, a subsidiary of Falcon International group declared that it acquired the TV Network founded in February 2008 for LE 1.4 billion “ USD 79million“.

Some say that it is the media deal of the decade but the majority of that money is used to pay the channel’s debts according to its former owner and founder El-Sayed Badawy.
Badawy, the current leader of New Wafd Party aka Wafd Party revealed in the media that the debts of the TV network reached USD 57 million “More than one billion Egyptian pounds”.

It was not a big secret in the Egyptian media realm in that the TV network that once had the highest ratings in the country struggled financially in the past two years.
For more than 8 months the employees in the channel did not get their salaries regularly and they had strikes from time to time.

The Egyptian Media Production City “EMPC” took the channels off the air July on Nile Sat for 24 hours for not paying their studio rents for an over a year and filed a lawsuit against Sigma Media for issuing dud checks in the same month.

For months we have heard and read that that businessman or this media company was negotiating with El-Sayed Badawy and in the end, he reached to a good deal with Tawassol group or rather Falcon International group.

The announcement was not just a declaration that Badawy, the famous politician and pharmaceutical tycoon was leaving the media but it was an announcement that there was a new player in the Egyptian media scene.

That player is Tawassol or rather its mother company “Falcon group” and those behind it.

Who owns the Egyptian Falcon officially?

Falcon International was founded officially in 2006 by the Commercial International Bank “CIB” as a private security company providing private security, cash in transit, general services, and properties management.
It started as the security department originally in the bank before it was turned into a company with 400 employees that grew into a huge Corporation and a group with not less than 6 subsidiaries in 11 years.
Its customers are multi-national companies in Egypt from big names like Orange to Allianz to the United Nations.

Falcon security personnel
Falcon security personnel "Falcon Group official website"
Officially and on papers, Falcon is a joint venture between CIB (40% of the shares), CIB Employees Fund (19.59% of the shares), Al-Ahly for Marketing (5.46%) and undisclosed private entities (35%).
Its current CEO is Sherif Khaled Ibrahim Attaya or Sherif Khaled. In a report about the company in 2014 in Al-Ahram Daily, it is revealed that Khaled was a retired army general who served as the undersecretary of Egypt’s military intelligence.
After leaving the army, Khaled was appointed as the head of the security sector in Egypt’s Radio and Television union “ERTU”.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Another Nile view with questions about its future With GERD

Location 5 Al Nile, Oula, Giza, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Egypt's Nile

 And who could get bored of a scene like that?
 From Egypt’s Giza, an overview of Cairo’s towers and buildings on the other bank of River Nile.
In case you do not know, Egypt's foreign affairs minister Sameh Shoukry expressed official Egyptian concerns concerning the late and delayed technical studies of the Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam "GERD" at last somehow. 

Do you still remember Ethiopia's Biggest dam that may affect Egypt's share of Nile River negatively but Ethiopia denies so ??

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Does not this mean bigger external debt for Egypt ?

On Sunday, Reuters said that Egypt’s ministry of finance has asked the cabinet to approve two new Eurobond issuances. According to two sources that spoke with Reuters, the two Eurobond issuance will be in late 2017 and in 2018.
The first issuance will be ranged between 1-2 billion Euros before the end of 2017 while the second issuance will be ranged between from $4-8 billion in 2018.
Egypt's external debt
From Google images -_-
The Egyptian government has already sold $7 billion in 5, 10 and 30-years Eurobonds on the Luxembourg stock exchange in early 2017.
Also in November 2016, Egypt signed an agreement for a three-year $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund “IMF”
Now the simple question I have in my mind: Do not those new Eurobonds mean a bigger external debt for Egypt ??
The external debt of Egypt is scary right now.
It has reached in the fiscal year 2016/2017 which concluded in July to $73 billion !!
I did this graph to see the external debt of Egypt from 2010 to 2017 and it is not good.
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Kodak Agfa presents : A 2016-Ramadan night in Khan El-Khalili Market

Location El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
First of all, due to my own personal reasons I have been away from the blog the past few days but I am back thank God to rant as usual ;)
It is never too late to share with you a couple of photos I took in the famous Khan El-Khalili market during the Holy month in 2016.
It has become an annual habit for me as well many Egyptians like me to spend to have a Ramadan Iftar "breakfast" there and hang around in the famous market's alleys.

In 2015, I went to Khan El-Khalili market also in Ramadan and I spent a good night there.
I entered Khan El-Khalili as usual from Al-Azhar square.
In 2016, Al-Azhar Mosque was still being restored then just like in 2015.
The restoration works have not finished yet as far as I have read lately in September 2017.

Al-Azhar Mosque and Mohamed Abu Dahab Mosque
Al-Azhar Mosque was still under restoration works 
I want to visit the Mohamed Abu Dahab Mosque. The 18th-century ancient Mosque looks amazing from inside already according to the photos I found online and I feel it is so underrated.
Abu El-Dahab and Al-Azhar Mosques
Al -Azhar Mosque and Abu Dabab Mosque 

I also want to know what building is standing beside Abu Dahab Mosque and a school.
Besides Abu Dahab Mosque
What is that old building? 

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Days at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo : Mariette Pasha's Tomb

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo does not only include the Sarcophagi and mummies of ancient Egyptians who died thousands of years of ago but interestingly it includes the tomb of its original founder: Auguste Mariette Pasha

Just outside the museum in your way to the exit, you will find a big statue standing over a fancy Art deco sarcophagus, surrounded by a semi-circular memorial topped by busts of men.
Mariette Pasha's tomb at the Egyptian museum in Cairo
Bad iPhone photo for the Memorial 

That's the tomb of French archeologist Auguste Mariette Pasha "1821-1881".

Frenchman August Mariette was the first curator of the first true Egyptian Museum in Egypt as well the founder of Egypt's first official Egyptian department of Antiquities aka the Supreme council of antiquities aka the Current ministry of antiquities.

The big irony is that Mariette Pasha was not the founder of the Egyptian Museum in its current location but he was the founder of the true Museum dedicated to Egyptian antiquities under the supervision of the Egyptian department of antiquities.
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Friday, September 8, 2017

Rebellion in Egypt’s Clubs : Beyond Classism

On Thursday, Egyptian Olympic Committee “EOC” rejected a request from The Egyptian Shooting Club to hold another General assembly meeting on Friday to have a new vote on the Club’s bylaws and rules once again.

The Upper Middle class-Giza club held its general assembly meeting early August and out of 94 thousand members, only 573 attended the meeting.

As a result of failing to meet the minimum number of members eligible to vote on the famous club’s bylaws, the club would be following the guideline bylaws issued by the EOC instead of the Club’s elected board of administration’s bylaws.

An old 1950s news report in some old
Egyptian magazine about Cairo clubs 
What followed then at upscale and Upper/Upper middle classes clubs in Cairo was hysteria and panic reaching to the level of mobilization for a vote to save the “clubs’ independence and class” that some considered unjustified. Before going on with that August hysteria, I must go back a couple of months to explain what is going on.

In May, the Egyptian Parliament approved the new Sports law prepared by Egypt’s Sports and Youth ministry “Yes, we have a ministry with such name” after two years of debates and amendments.
In June, President El-Sisi ratified the Sports law aka No.71 for the year 2017.

Aside from creating a judicial body that has the power to judge sports disputes and to regulate spectators’ attendance and violations “aka a special court, not a civilian court”, the law also regulates the relation between the government or the state and sports clubs as well sports associations.

Compiled as much as it can be with the provisions of the International Olympic Charter, the law moves power and control over sports clubs and sports associations to the elected boards of those bodies themselves as well to the Olympic Committee in Egypt. The government represented in the Youth and Sports Ministry and its minister will be monitoring only the sports clubs and sports associations.

Theoretically, this is a huge improvement because now officially and legally the State has got no control on the clubs and sports associations if their General assemblies chose the official guidelines bylaws over their clubs’ bylaws.
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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Bab El-Ghouri again and again

Location El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
Khan El-Khalili

Coming soon to Egyptian Chronicles another trip to Cairo's Khan El-Khalili market.
Here is one of my favorite places in that old Islamic Cairo market: Bab El-Ghouri. I went there before as you may know if you are a regular visitor to my blog.  
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

And here it comes : Privatization of Railways in Egypt "Updated"

The Egyptian state railways It was coming to this either ways, but the government wanted to pick up the perfect timing to go on with its plan.

On Sunday, Al-Ahram Daily Newspaper announced on its Front page in Arabic that Egypt’s transportation ministry finished drafting a law that would allow the private sector to participate in the railways' projects and services in the country for the first time since the 18th century.
In other brief and realistic words, the transportation ministry is drafting a law that would allow the privatization of railways in Egypt.

According to an informed unnamed source in the ministry of transportation, the new law would end “the monopolization” of the government in the railway sector.

The draft law will be sent to the cabinet to issue it officially accordingly then it will be sent to the State Council for legal and constitutional revision before sending it to the Parliament.

It is not a coincidence that many Pro-regime MPs suggested that the railways should be privatized following the terrifying Alexandria train collision that killed not less 41 people and injured 179 others earlier August

It seems that the government was waiting for some train disaster to push that agenda for real !!

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Internal displacements by Conflicts in 2017 : Still not so good

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre “IDMC” released its mid-2017 report about Internal displacement worldwide whether by conflicts or natural causes.
According to the Geneva-based international NGO, conflicts as well violence and natural disasters caused more than 9.1 million people have bee displaced internally in their countries around the globe since January till the end of June 2017.

IDMC says that 4.6 million displacements were caused by conflicts and violence in 29 countries while 4.5 million displacements were caused by natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and cyclones in the first half of the year 2017.
So far Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Syria still lead the world when it comes to internal displacement caused by conflicts and violence whether in 2016 or in the first mid half of 2017.

Here is a graph I made comparing the numbers between 2016 and the first half of the year 2017.
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Friday, August 25, 2017

Tales of Cairo : The Workshop window

Location Al Azhar, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
Workshop Window

A local workshop window that looks like a jail window in famous Cairo's Al-Azhar.
The famous quarter is not only known for its mosques and old houses but also for its shops and workshops for apparel, accessories and what so ever on your mind.

Via Instagram
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We do not need Spider walking people , We need projects like "Alef Bookstore"

On Saturday, former Egyptian armed forces spokesperson and current vice CEO of Pro-regime “Al-Assema” TV channel Mohamed Samir wrote in his daily short column in Pro-regime “Youm7 “ News website about how much he admired a very “talented “Young man” in Upper Egypt who made an “incredible achievement”.

The former Brigadier General believes that 18-years Mohamed Meghad had done amazing achievement that he should be honored in the upcoming State conference. He also believes that story of that young man and his achievement should be translated into different languages by the State Information Service.

Mohamed Meghad managed to break the Guinness World records in doing the “Spider Walk” faster than anyone in the world. He walked on his hands instead of his legs.
Yup, this is the great achievement which should inspire youth in Egypt as Samir says.

On Thursday, an Egyptian government committee assigned to confiscate and freeze the Muslim Brotherhood “MB” members and their affiliated assets in the country announced that it had confiscated the assets of 16 alleged MB members.
This time the list included the children of famous 90-years old Brotherhood spiritual figure Sheikh Youssef El-Qaradawi who is currently staying in Qatar.
It was no surprise for me because, in July, the security forces arrested al-Qaradawi's eldest daughter Ola “a grandmother” and her husband Hossam Khalaf, the leading figure in Al-Wasat Party on terrorism-related charges.

Yet in that statement, there was a shock for many people including friends who work in business as well friends who cover business news Egypt.
Alef bookstore
Alef Bookstore in Maadi 
The assets of Egyptian businessman and economist Omar El-Shenety were frozen and confiscated by that governmental committee including his shares in the famous “Alef Bookstore”.
I did not know who El-Shenety was before that news but I know very well “Alef Bookstore”.

Since 2009, Alef Bookstore became another important cultural venue for Egyptian youth in Cairo.
Soon it began to spread across the country with 36 branches in the 10 governorates past 4 years thanks to a successful franchise model.

Currently, 75% of the bookstore branches are owned by franchisees.
There are 250 employees working in the bookstore chain now and since 2009 more than 1000 employee worked in it.
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Seen in Cairo : The old house and Satellite dishes


Seen in the glorious city of Cairo : a very old #building at one side of Alazhar bridge with three modern satellite dishes. 
That scene you can see all over Cairo bridges, old and informal buildings with satellite dishes on their balconies and roofs. 

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Free Shawkan and others : More than 1000 days behind bars

Next Saturday Freelance Photographer Mahmoud Abou Zeid aka will stand in front of the Judges panel in Cairo to see if he is going to be released after more than 1000 days behind bars following his arrest during Rabaa sit in dispersal when he was only doing his job or he will continue to suffer in detention pending trial just like the past 600 days.
Shawkan
Shawkan behind bars by Eslam Gomaa

Shawkan, an Egyptian young man who was only doing his job as a photojournalist at Rabaa sit-in when he was arrested along hundreds of people.

The young photographer and 738 other defendants in the trial known as “Rabaa sit in dispersal” in the media are facing nine charges in this trial including forming a militant assembly, cutting highways and attempted murder.

Shawkan and other defendants are facing the death penalty in this trial if they are found guilty.
A freelancer, Shawkan is not a member of Journalists syndicate and I do not think that the current Pro-regime administration of the syndicate cares for him.

The fact that he got Hepatitis C while is in detention and is currently in a need of medical attention do not play any role in his release nor it gives him the right to receive proper treatment in a hospital
I do not know when Shawkan will be set free to enjoy his life for real.
I hope and pray for a miracle that on Saturday the judge will order for his release.

It is not only Shawkan who needs to be released from detention, there are many people like who were arrested and were locked up for infinity and beyond whether in pretrial detention or detention pending trial.
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Saturday, August 12, 2017

And we are back to that Presidency ever after talk !!

First of all, I must present my deepest condolences to the families of the Alexandria train tragedy. I can not express how much I am angry as I watch the media coverage of that horrifying incident or rather the lack of media coverage of that incident in the media
What makes me even angrier is the fact that it won’t be the last horrifying train accident of its kind if the current way of governance continues. If we continue not to hold the government truly for its actions, we will continue to have those disasters. I am working inshallah on a post dedicated to that train disaster.
Second, do you remember how I spoke about the upcoming Presidential elections 2018 and how we got no true presidential elections rival to our current president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi?
Do you remember how I spoke in the second half of the post on how some people wanted to change our Egyptian Constitution for the sake of an infinite presidential term?
Casting their votes
Egyptians casting their vote 

Well, last week those people returned to the scene boldly.
On Thursday, an MP in the House of Representatives announced that he would represent a parliamentary petition to amend the current constitution once again as soon as the Parliament started its upcoming session in October.
It is the same MP from February, MP Ismail Serg El-Din of Helwan who presented this petition. MP Serg El-Din wants to amend 6 articles in the current constitution because the current political circumstances demanded those amendments.
He wants to amend article No.140 so the president aka Abdel Fattah El-Sisi would stay in his current presidential term for additional 2 years.
He wants to change the Presidential term to become 6 years instead of 4 years.
The Helwan MP wants to allow Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to be reelected for endless terms instead of just one one reelection only.
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Zamalek underground blues

Location Ismail Mohammed, Zamalek, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Zamalek Metro
Zamalek's Metro route and station are dangerous the lives of the residents and the architectural heritage
Let's keep Zamalek together.
 I found that poster on several residential building in the upscale Zamalek Island expressing the rejection of the people there of the Metro or Underground project.

The people are afraid that digging tunnels in the island will affect its buildings, which are mostly old. Nevertheless, the Egyptian government does not care for the details people whether rich or poor.

In the past year the people of Zamalek thought that they managed to stop the project but for the wrong reasons claiming that the metro would bring poor classes to the island.
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Monday, August 7, 2017

They Block Blogs now in Egypt !!

The last time I wrote about websites being blocked in Egypt when they were only 93 websites in June.
A whole month passed and the list of websites in Egypt increased madly that it became a necessity to have a VPN on your computer or mobile phone if you are a journalist.
Now the number of websites blocked in Egypt reached 133 websites according to Cairo-based human rights law firm Association for Freedom of Thoughts and Expression “AFTE”
The latest two websites to blocked in Egypt are Arab Network for Human rights information “ANHRI”  and journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada’s personal blog.

I am not surprised to find ANHRI joined the blocked website as its executive director, famous human rights activist Gamal Eid is currently banned from travel and his assets have been frozen for several months now. Eid is currently investigated along with other prominent human right activists like
Hossam Bahgat and Mozn Hassan in the
infamous foreign funding to Egyptian NGOs for several months ago.

CensoredI must not forget here to speak about Gamal Eid’s personal project which is a series of children libraries in highly populated working poor class areas in Nile Delta and Cairo was closed down.
Yes, Karma library or dignity library for children was closed down by security orders in Cairo and Nile delta governorates.
Egypt’s official candidate for UNESCO’s secretary general position, former ambassador Moshira Khattab announced her rejection for the closure of the libraries and even visited one of those libraries but the government did not care.
Back to the blocked websites that increase now by the week instead of the day.
ANHRI is considered the fourth human rights NGO website to blocked in Egypt after Sinai Organization for human rights, Al-Jazeera center for public freedoms and human rights and the Arab Monitor for media freedom.

In a very alarming development, journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada’s personal blog was blocked in Egypt.
This is the first time a personal blog in Egypt is blocked like that. Ziada was using his blog to share his news reports to overcome the block imposed on the Websites he used to write for including Masr Al-Arabia website.
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Friday, August 4, 2017

Presidential elections 2018 : A-One-Man show Already

Do you know that Egypt is going to have presidential elections in mid-2018 ??
Yes, Egypt is going to have new presidential elections most probably in May 2018.
Most people can not remember this fact because simply we do not have ongoing presidential elections campaign like in the past or even in other countries.

Only those who follow news carefully can find this sort of news like "National Elections committee to start preparing for 2018 Presidential elections" to remember shortly that we are going to have elections in May.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s first 4-years presidential term will end after a couple of months and yet we do not have officially or non-officially any presidential hopefuls who ready to stand against the current president whether sincerely or even for the sake of the show.

Per Egyptian Constitution article No.140, the procedures for electing the President of the Republic begin at least 120 days before the end of the presidential term.

It will ridiculous for real to start the Presidential elections campaigns 120 days before the end of the Presidential terms of El-Sisi but it seems that this is what is going to happen.
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi did not officially or directly that he would run for the Presidential elections 2018 but he said indirectly that he would do what the people wanted him to do including running for the presidential office again.
It is not a big secret that he will run eventually.
El-Sisi poster
El-Sisi's campaign poster in Presidential elections 2018

He also urged the people to go to ballot boxes when the time comes.
We still remember how the last Presidential elections which El-Sisi in 2014 had very low turnout.
Sisi got 96.9% of the votes in those elections.

When it comes to his rivals in the upcoming elections, it is a big question mark.
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Another retro Cairo font

Location El-Sayeda Zainab, Cairo Governorate, Egypt

There is some kind of love relation between me and handwritten fonts on the shop banners in Cairo, especially Downtown Cairo.
This shop is not in Downtown Cairo but its handwritten banner which says it Samir upholstery was beautiful standing between two ugly computer generated banners.
I love how the word "Samir " is written in a retro-ish way. I am searching for that Font online.

Via Instagram 
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Sunday, July 30, 2017

These are the Most expensive Houses in Egypt “I guess”

I stumbled upon that Real Estate website last week when my colleague was speaking about it and about how it had probably the most expensive houses sold with ludicrous prices in Egypt.
I did not believe the numbers at first but then I took a look and browsed in the website.
Then I remember how Egypt is the land of extreme contradictions, we got extreme wealth and poverty at the same time.

Last week I was interviewing a poor woman who was sleeping under a bridge under construction because the government kicked her out and demolished her house allegedly built on a state-owned land, a claim which is false. It is just crazy country indeed.

Without any further due here are the most expensive buildings in Egypt as listed in PropertyFinder.eg :

1-Ibn Zinky’s Villa: LE 270 Million

Yes, you read it right, this villa is up for sale for LE 270 Million {USD 15 Million}.
I do not know who owns this villa or rather the palace.
At first, I suspected it was owned former minister of finance and fugitive Youssef Botros Ghali in Zamalek which has been confiscated by the state in Zamalek island. (He turned to have a land in Zamalek worth of LE 200 million located directly to the Nile which he bought from more than ten years with a price less than its real value)
Yet, it turned out that Ghali’s villa is on another street in the upscale island.
Oddly, the website did not publish photo for the villa’s façade but it published photos of the villa’s interiors.
It seems that it is art deco village based upon its door.
The villa's door
The villa's door 
Aside from the many bedrooms, this villa got a sun room and some sort of a theater.
The website did not mention either when this villa was built.
The Sun room in the villa
The Sun room in the villa 

That small old home theater
That small old home theater 
Needless to say, we are speaking about Zamalek upscale island so this villa could be very old.
I know the location of this villa, I will try to go and have quick look.


2-Another Zamalek villa: LE 252 Million

In the second place, we got another Zamalek villa for sale. You can own this classical villa for LE 252 Million {USD 14 Million}.
The dining room
The dining room 

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