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  • 05/11/16--12:01: DSC01894 [Flickr]
  • Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    DSC01894

    After the great fire that destroyed famous Rewaiei commercial street in Downtown Cairo's famous Attaba square.
    ما بعد حريق شارع الرويعى


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  • 05/11/16--12:01: DSC01896 [Flickr]
  • Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    DSC01896

    After the great fire that destroyed famous Rewaiei commercial street in Downtown Cairo's famous Attaba square.
    ما بعد حريق شارع الرويعى


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  • 05/11/16--12:01: DSC01897 [Flickr]
  • Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    DSC01897

    After the great fire that destroyed famous Rewaiei commercial street in Downtown Cairo's famous Attaba square.
    ما بعد حريق شارع الرويعى


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  • 05/13/16--15:45: May 14, 2016 at 12:45AM

  • The #Statue of King #Djoser of the third dynasty in #Egypt's old kingdom. The #Egyptian #Museum in #Cairo #EMC #Citizenjournalism #blogger #Africa #History #AncientEgypt #Instahistory May 14, 2016 at 12:45AM via Instagram http://ift.tt/1XpOk7S

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  • 05/15/16--15:20: The Season of Fires in Egypt
  • Last Sunday evening , a fire erupted in a popular Downtown Cairo Commercial street destroying over 200 shops and workshops over three days then a series of fires broke out in different parts of the country making the people believe in conspiracy theories.
    The biggest fire of all was the devastating fire of Attaba square's Al-Rawiei street.
    At 11: 30 PM Cairo Local time , a huge fire erupted in Al-Andalus hotel building which occupies a whole block in the famous commercial street before it extended to other buildings in the narrow street.
    The fire on that night Al-Rawiei street
    According to the people who live in the area, the firefighters arrived late despite they are two blocks away. Yes, Cairo's main fire department is located in Attaba square and you can walk on foot from the square to the street.
    The Attaba Fire "AFP"
    The fire as captured on that night by Ahmed Abdel Gawad
    "AFP" 
    The fire as captured on that night by Ahmed Abdel Gawad
    "AFP" 
    On the other hand , the officials blamed the narrow crowded street " narrow because of street vendors stalls" and the lack of the industrial security as well the spread of inflammable materials.

    Al-Rawiei street is known to be a spot for shops and workshop of cheap shoes and leather products as well wooden doors accessories. It is also a major hot spot for street vendors and their wooden stalls.  It was  one of the centers of the gray economy in Cairo.

    After Al-Rawiei fire
    After the fire, this is what remained in Al-Rawiei street from merchandise 

    The buildings there are mostly not residential despite their license is residential.
    The apartments are turned into warehouses and shops.
    Technically speaking, it was the perfect place for fire because we are speaking about inflammable material everywhere with zero industrial safety measures for real.
    Another building on fire last Monday morning by Ahmed Abdel Gawad
    for AFP 
    Putting off a fire in a workship while other buildings and apartments were
    on Fire by Ahmed Abdel Gawad for AFP
    The photos and the videos from the scene were scary especially that the fires continued for two days.
    I went to on Tuesday to find that there were still fires in the completely devastated  street including Al-Andalus hotel itself.
    Al-Andalus Hotel after the fire
    Al-Andalus Hotel building after the fire on Tuesday 

    Now we are not speaking about a big hotel but rather a small cheap hotel located in the upper floors full of apartments turned into shops and workshops.
    Very few buildings made through the fire while the rest of the place was torched as you can see in the photos.
    People were angry and furious. They lost their work and money in the fire. The debris and that smell were there. People were removing tons and tons of black debris.
    Over 50 fire engines and ambulances hurried to the blaze which was seen from other areas in Cairo. Only three people were killed while 91 people were injured.
    DSC01870
    On Tuesday, the firefighters were still putting off the fire in the street 
    Luckily, the fire erupted on Sunday , Cairo Downtown's shops and workshops' holidays.
    The number of casualties could have been higher if it were any other day.
    According to Cairo's Chamber of Commerce ,the preliminary estimated number of financial losses in that street can reach up to LE 400 million as nearly 239 shops and workshops were destroyed in the fire. It is a big blow to the gray economy in Cairo.
    DSC01867
    That street was full of street vendors to the level that no car could pass it. 

    That was the biggest and most devastating fire we had this week in Egypt.
    Just a few hours after the start of the fires in Al-Rawiei , a series of fires broke in several governorates and cities that raised many eye brows.
    Then on Tuesday night ,a huge fire erupted in Al-Ghouria historical area which is known for the sale of textiles and 20 shops were destroyed there.
    On Thursday morning , another fire erupted in historical Darb Al-Ahmr area then another huge fire erupted in none other than Cairo Governorate's main building in the heart of Attaba square !!
    Thursday evening , another huge fire erupted in Damietta and the fires continued on Friday and Saturday.

    And the Conspiracy theories spread like fire

    The Pro-Sisi supporters and their media , which is the mainstream media are blaming indirectly the fires on the Muslim Brotherhood.
    The anti-Sisi supporters are also speaking about a wicked plot by the regime to divert the attention from Tiran and Sanafir. Already many people began to believe that the regime is trying to divert attention from that disaster.
    For instance , they believe the crackdown against the activists and the fight between journalists and the Ministry of Interior are part of that wicked plan.
    I admit that now people or rather the annoying activists are focusing on their friends in jail and the freedom of press but they have not forgotten Tiran and Sanafir islands.
    Still when it comes to the people of Attaba and in other areas who really believe that there is something fishy there.

    Since I entered Al-Rawiei street , people were speaking about someone standing behind those fires for real. I met that lady who was screaming about her torched workshop and she told me that the fire started in the upper floors and not the lower floors as the officials and the mainstream media claimed.
    Shopkeepers and shop owners can not get over the fact that  from two weeks , suddenly fire erupted suddenly in the famous Sednaoui Department store building also Sunday evening but the fire did not extend to other parts of that magnificent building.

    One of the jewels of Egypt's Belle Époque department stores era before the 1960s nationalization , Sednaoui Department store in Attaba is said to have been sold to an Emirati investor by the government recently.
    Sednaoui Department store partially torched
    The Famous and beautiful Sednaouni building after it was partially destroyed 

    Then the fire of Al-Rawiei took place interestingly on a holiday evening. The fire spread to some buildings on the both sides of the street while other buildings were not untouched.
    Some accuse the Cairo governorate to stand behind the fires in order to get from the street vendors and merchants and their proof is the statement of the governorate itself.
    Yes , the brainy officials stated that the Cairo governorate was going to transfer 12 commercial markets in Downtown Cairo to New Cairo including Attaba , Al-Ghouria , Khan Al-Khalili "yes" and Al-Azhar because of the lack of industrial safety !!
    Few hours after that statement , fires erupted in Al-Ghouria destroying 20 textile shops in the popular historical area.
    People in Al-Ghouria joined their brothers in Al-Rawiei in their belief about that conspiracy.
    In fact , the people of Al-Ghouria surprised everybody by chanting on Live that it was arson and "Sisi should leave'. Yes historically the people of Al-Ghouria were the first to demand the President to step down on air and the TV channels muted them !!!
    Al-Ghouria People's chants
    People then considered the statements of Cairo governorate officials to Youm 7 was a like a map about where the next fire would take place.
    Then on Thursday , we got that Cairo governorate building's fire. The fire erupted in two administrative offices only in that huge building.
    Interestingly , a source in the governorate told Al-Shorouk newspaper that the two offices torched in some accident included historical documents of Cairo but no need to worry because the governorate got another copy on microfilm !!
    On the other hand , the official spokesperson of the Governorate told Mobtada website that the housing projects documents were destroyed in the fire !!
    The Cairo governorate fire destroyed the Housing project documents
    There is no trust in the government and there are lots of question marks about those recently fires in those days. I do not know if time will be able to reveal the truth in those fires , after all it failed to solve the mystery of Cairo's Great fire in January 1952.

    May be , we will know the truth if Cairo governorate starts to move those local markets to New Cairo.

    Other than that , the people in Al-Rawiei need help and I am not speaking about rich merchants but rather shop keepers and street vendors who lost their main source of income in one night in very hard economic conditions.
    DSC01892
    After the fire of Al-Rawiei, this is how the workshops and shops look like there

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    #Egypt's State Railways building in #Downtown #Cairo #Citizenjournalism #blogger #Cairowalks #ThisisEgypt


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  • 05/17/16--13:40: May 17, 2016 at 10:39PM

  • #Egypt's State Railways building in #Downtown #Cairo #Citizenjournalism #blogger #Cairowalks #ThisisEgypt May 17, 2016 at 10:39PM via Instagram http://ift.tt/24XTQAU

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    Once again, I woke up to the news of another airliner disaster related to Egypt !!
    I think you probably have heard or knew that there is a missing Egyptian Airliner and the world is searching for it in the Mediterranean.
    This is what we have known officially so far :
    An EgyptAir Plane carrying 66 passengers and crew heading from Paris to Cairo disappeared from radars off the Greek territorial waters before its debris is found near the Greeks isles.
    According to official statements above them EgyptAir Statement posted on its official twitter account at 4:52 AM CLT in Arabic before posting its English version 5 minutes later :

    Later EgyptAir released more information about the disappeared flight.
    EgyptAir A320 aircraft "Flight number MS804" lost contact with radar above the Mediterranean Sea about 280 KM from the Egyptian seacoast at 02:30 am CLT as the flight was expected to arrive Cairo International airport 03:15 PM from Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.
    The A320 manufactured in 2003 departed Paris at 23:09 "CEST". It was at a height of 37.000 ft when it disappeared after entering the Egyptian airspace with 10 miles.
    The aircraft pilot has 6275 of flying hours including 2101 flying hours on Airbus 320 while the co-pilot has 2766 flying hours.
    EgyptAir MS804
    Where the EgyptAir MS804 went missing from FlightRadar.com
    Here is its flight history as documented by FlightRadar24.com
    Here is also the last 30 minutes as recorded by FlightRadar24.com
    The MS804 had on its board 56 passengers included 30 Egyptians, 15 French , two Iraqis, One Briton, One Canadian, One Sudanese, One Chadian , One Portuguese, One Saudi , One Kuwaiti and One Algerian
    The passengers included 1 child and 3 infants .
    There were 10 cabin crew members on the board of the airliner including 3 security personnel.
    Pray for them.
    Here are their names as released by Egypt's ministry of aviation earlier Thursday.
    The released statement as circulated in Egyptian media. 
    Hours later, we knew from Greek authorities as well from Flight Radar that the MS804 last appeared off the Greek Island "Karpathos".
    The last known contact with the flight pilot was with the Greek air controllers and he did not report any problems.
    Egyptian and Greek navy forces as well French forces are doing search and rescue operations near Karpathos.
    Marine Traffic released a video showing the navy forces heading from Egypt and Greece heading towards to where the MS804 was allegedly spotted in the Mediterranean sea.
    The sea rescue operations
    The US forces, Italy and Cyprs joined the rescue operations by the request of the Greek authorities.
    Hours after the start of the search , the Hellenic army of Greece declared that it found parts of the airplane debris off the island of Crete after it was spotted by an Egyptian C-130 plane.
    Nevertheless, EgyptAir reported that it could not substantiate that the debris was found near Crete after contacting the authorities as TV channels claimed !!!

    This is not the first confusion that happens on Thursday throughout the day. Earlier EgyptAir announced that Egyptian armed forces' rescue and search department received a distress call from the airplane at 4:26 AM. 


    The Egyptian prime also told the reporters earlier about that distress signal
    Anyhow , it was strange because EgyptAir mentioned that the airliner's last contact was at 2:30 AM CLT and not 4:26 AM.
    The Egyptian armed forces denied that it received any distress signal. 
    Anyhow at 7:09 PM , EgyptAir announced that it received an official letter from Egypt's foreign ministry saying that part of the wreckage was found near Karpathos.
    Then after several hours , now Greek officials say that they had not found the wreckage !!

    Officials speak : 

    Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held an urgent meeting of the National Security council earlier Thursday to discuss the matter.
    Sisi's urgent meeting in Cairo "Egyptian Presidency" 
    The French president also held a meeting for the French National security council but according to my knowledge that meeting in Paris was already planned to discuss the security situation in France and it seemed that it came at the right moment.

    Egypt and France started the investigation in the "disappearance" of the airliner.

    Egypt's PM Sharif Ismail said in media statements that it was too early to know the cause behind the disappearance of MS804 and whether it was due technical reasons or terrorist attack. The Same thing is confirmed by Egyptian officials in Cairo.

    On the other hand, French President Hollande confirmed that the Airliner crashed according to the Egyptian authorities while presenting his condolences to the families of the victims .
    Greek minister of defense told the media that the Egyptian airliner made abrupt turns, suddenly lost altitude just before vanishing from radar.
    Greece released the final moments of the airliner.

    In chaotic Press conference held at Cairo International airport , Egypt's minister of civil aviation stated that the possibility of terrorist act in the crash of the airliner was higher than the possibility of technical malfunction according to what he read and from his expertise but that "remains as assumption" according to what he said to Ahram Online.

    At the same time , head of Russia's FSB stated that a terrorist act was "likely" behind the crash.
    No terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for downing the airliner and people, unfortunately, circulating the statement of Daesh about the Russian airliner as it is a new statement.

    Here is the Airbus' Official statement about the incident.


    Whether it is a terrorist act or technical malfunction , it is a disaster to Egypt.

    Sadly enough , I went on a short gateway this week and this is not the sort of news I want to return back to.
    I had enough of bad news related to Tiran and Sanafir protesters this week.
    Just pray for the families of those missing people.
    The airplane is indeed missing till its debris is found

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    First of all, I think we should forget or ignore what is happening in Tiran and Sanafir ongoing debate in Egypt in addition to what is happening to EGYPTAIR 804
    We should not forget because there are over 100 people whose future is at stake for real.
    Already according to human rights lawyer and member of Egypt's National Council for Human RightsRagia Omran, the total number of arrests officially from 15 April to 10 May related to Tiran and Sanafir isles case reached to 1317.
    Some of the detainees have already been released while some others are detained pending investigations. There are also the misfortunate detainees who have been already sentenced to prison in very quick trials last week.
    On Saturday , a special court circuit sentenced more than 150 people 2 to 5 years in jail over protesting the Tiran and Sanafir Egyptian-Saudi deal on 25 April.
    Saturday morning , a special court specialized in terrorism-related cases sentenced 51 people to two years hard labor for  illegal protesting in Downtown Cairo on 25 April.
    Then Saturday evening and after 8 hours of hearings , another special court after sentenced 111 people to five years in jail for illegal protesting in Al-Massaha square in Dokki on 25 April , joining a terrorist group and disturbing the public order and security.Seventy-Five defendants in this case are fined LE 100,000 "USD 10,000"
    These are the maximum penalties in the controversial unconstitutional Protest law.
    It only took two sessions to convict over 150 people.
    Among those people mostly young men, a very fine man who is my friend : Mahmoud Gamal El-Din. Mahmoud, a senior social media and marketing executive in one of Egypt's top recordings company and  a talented freelance photographer.
    Mahmoud Gamal El-Din at the Egyptia Museum last
    December 
    He was arrested at Al-Massaha square among others.
    Gamal El-Din is a talented photographer who documented the past 5 years through his lens. Here is his work in CNN iReport as well on Flickr.
    Last December , we went along with a fantastic group of friends to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and he took that collection of photos.
    Besides Mahmoud , there is a huge group of innocent men who did not do anything wrong except protesting peacefully or even doing their job as photojournalists or even passing by in the wrong time !!
    Yes , this is a first-degree sentence and will be appealed. Of course, I fear that the boys are not going to be released.
    On Tuesday, the administrative court postponed the hearing in a lawsuit against the government decision to redraw the maritime borders with Saudi Arabia and giving up Tiran and Sanafir to 7 June.
    The court also ordered the Egyptian government to present all its maps , documents and correspondences supporting the validity of the agreement.

    Khaled and the rest of his team at the state council
    "Mohamed El-Raay" 
    The lawsuit was filed by a group of lawyers including Khaled Ali, Tarek Al-Awady and Malek Adly. "Malek Adly was working on that lawsuit with that team when he was arrested "
    During its first session, Khaled Ali presented documents that prove Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian territories historically including a military Atlas book published by Egypt's Ministry of defense in 2007 showing that the Red Sea islands as part of Egypt clearly contrary to what the Egyptian government claims.

    This is the first time I see that Military Atlas but in the past month , I have read testimonies and saw documents that prove the two islands have been considered part of Egypt since the Middle age. Yes , the Middle ages.
    On Wednesday, the prosecution renewed the detention human rights lawyers and activists  Haitham Mohamedein , Malek Adly and Zizo Abdu another 15 days pending investigations for a number of charges including spreading false news and attempting to topple the regime.
    Malek Adly's wife Asmaa Aly saw her husband at last and he told her that he was being mistreated in his custody.

    On the same day , a group imprisoned protesters arrested on 25 April announced that they were going to start a gradual hunger strike to protest their 5 years-prison sentence.
    The first 10 prisoners out of 47 young men started that hunger strike on Wednesday.
    Here is their statement as published by Freedom for the Brave in Arabic and English


    The Tiran and Sanafir crackdown did not stop at protesters and lawyers as well journalists who are just doing their job. Last week, news reports in different newspapers spoke on how there is currently a witch hunt against the judges and prosecutors who express their views about the disputed isles on the social media even with simple like click!!
    Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper says that 10 judges were referred to disciplinary committee for expressing their views about Tiran and Sanafir isles on social media violating the orders of The Supreme council of judiciary not to express their political views.
    Tabloid Al Fagr is speaking about 46 judge and prosecutors.
    With my all due respect, Judge Nagy Shehata has not been referred to any disciplinary committee for his clear political statements in Egypt as far as I remember.
    This is too much for real.

    I do not know if there are still any true politicians in the current administration or not. I know that this policy will end up in a disaster soon or later and once again we will have " how this happened" studies.
    Already, what happened to them convinced many people that the regime did sell Egyptian islands to Saudi Arabia.
    I know that the Tiran and Sanafir isles or rather that the Tiran strait is playing some role in a new Middle East alliance being made by Israel and Saudi Arabia against Iran.
    I know that there are other plans for the region and a new Sykes-Picot is being made and formed and so nobody cares that much about"those annoying and rude kids" protesting in Cairo with old slogans about national sovereignty.
    The thing is that long-term stability in the Middle East won't be achieved using the police state as well other  old ways that failed over and over.
    It did not bring long-term stability nor short-term stability.
    Do not follow Saddam and Al-Assad's footsteps to avoid the fate of Syria and Iraq for real.
    Did I say before that I feel sometimes that Egypt's location is more of a curse than a bless !?

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    I shot that video when I went to Al-Rawiei street after its huge fire.  from 11 days ago and unfortunately I did not edit or upload it on time.
    Still, it is never too late.
    I uploaded the video on Friday. I apologized for the late posting but it is really worth it.
    I added to it English captions.

    Now the latest updates of Al-Rawiei street especially when it comes to compensations
    I have just read that the ministry of solidarity compensated on Thursday the families of the three victims killed in the fire giving them LE 30,000 each.

    Interestingly,the street vendors were also compensated as well. Not less than 82 street vendors out of 187 stall owners were compensated and given LE 20,000 each.
    I do not know what happened to the shops and workshops owners as their losses are more than the street vendors for sure.
    Al-Rawiei street
    Shops destroyed at Al-Rawiei street in Downtown Cairo 
    People are not longer focusing on fires around the clock in Egypt thanks unfortunately to EGYPTAIR MS 804.
    ِAnyhow , you can refresh your memory by reading the post I linked above as well checking out those photos I took there. 

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    Cairo's Ramses Train Station
    Cairo's Ramses Train station  
    Seen in Cairo : The 1892-building of Cairo's Main Railway station in Ramses Square. The building is known for its Heliopolis Style exterior yet unfortunately, its interior was heavily modernized till its identity is quite lost in between the two styles.

    More about Egyptian Railways' History here. 

    More to come from Egyptian Chronicles' Seen in Cairo on Instagram. 

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  • 05/22/16--15:39: Full Moon May 2016 [Flickr]
  • Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Full Moon May 2016

    A full moon


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    On Sunday , we found out that the Speaker of Egypt's House of Representatives, Ali Abdel Aal  warning the MPs of speaking about the government's fiscal policies in the media critically or otherwise he or she will be referred to a disciplinary committee.
    On Monday after facing criticism in the media , Abdel Aal claimed that he only said that because the fiscal policies were discussed confidentially and the members are free to express their opinion but not to insult the state institutions  !!
    I do not think that the financial or fiscal policies of Egypt should be or are confidential.
    House of Representative Speaker Ali Abdal Aal 
    In fact , all the countries discuss the fiscal and financial policies freely and openly in the parliament and in the media criticizing the government because this is what the parliament is supposed to do technically speaking !!


    What is even worse, Abdel Aal stated that freedom had limits and that even the United States got tough laws when it comes to national security.
    Unfortunately, Abdel Aal who met Paul Ryan in April forgets that the U.S Congress and Senates discuss the U.S administration fiscal policies freely and openly and attack the U.S administration in public and in media freely !!
    This is what the MPs should do as the representatives of the Egyptian people.
    They should discuss the fiscal policies of Sharif Ismail's cabinet policies publicly and not in some committee secretly. They should stand up and criticize the government freely and openly in the parliament as well in the media.
    They also have the right to reject the fiscal policies of the government.
    This is how it goes. I do not believe that I am speaking about fundamental political parliamentary rights !!
    That provoking statement  comes at the time the speaker of the current parliament is warning of international mega-conspiracies against Egypt by the way.
    He also warned the members of the parliament of taking courses at those "suspicious" NGOs without knowing their intention.

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    Just as Egypt was just in shock over the tragedy of EGYPTAIR MS804 on Thursday , many Egyptians found out that Russia would lend Egypt USD 25 billion to build its nuclear station in Dabaa.
    Putin and Sisi "Ria" 
    Yes , we are going to have another foreign loan according to what was announced in the Egyptian State's Official Gazette.
    The Egyptian State's Official Gazette issued on Thursday "19 May 2016" included Presidential Decree "No.484" for the year 2016 to approve a loan from Russia to build and operate a nuclear power plant in Egypt.
    According to the decree , Russia will lend Egypt USD 25 billion and in return Egypt will pay an interest rate of 3% annually starting from October 2029.
    Egyptian will repay the loans over 22 years in 43 installments !!
    I do not know what to say !!!
    This is the biggest foreign loan in the modern history of Egypt.
    Is it really worth it to add all those financial burdens on the future Egyptian generations to build an environmental threatening plant ??
    Already , I do not understand how El-Sisi approved that loan without the discussion or approval of the House of the Representatives.
    Article No.127 of the Current Egyptian Constitution already stipulates the following :
    The executive authority may not contract a loan, obtain funding, or commit itself to a project that is not listed in the approved state budget entailing expenditure from the state treasury for a subsequent period, except with the approval of the House of Representatives.
    I do not think that the Egyptian parliament approved that deal if I am not mistaken.
    To be honest, I am not surprised if the Egyptian Parliament will approve such loan after all because its members voted overwhelmingly in favor of that defense loan agreement with France.
    In March and for the first time in Egypt's modern History , the Egyptian ministry of defense signed an agreement with a number of French banks led by Credit Agricole in order to provide it with  33375.54 million euros to buy weapons from France.
    By the way , the members of the parliament voted on that loan during the infamous Okasha-Israeli ambassador affair circus.
    Needless to say , all the media attention was focused on Okasha and his circus.
    Earlier in January during his visit to China , El-Sisi signed financing agreements by which China would lend Egypt over USD 800 million including loans so Chinese companies can construct the new administrative capital.
    This is in addition to the loans from the World Bank and African organizations.
    This is in addition to crazy and scary growing domestic debt !!
    History does not repeat itself too often but we learned that once a great and true visionary man called Khedive Ismail borrowed from foreign countries to build mega-projects in Egypt and despite what he did , his economic policies ended up with disasters above them foreign dominance on the Suez canal and invasion.
    If we are speaking about real priorities of Egypt , we do not need all those weapons or that nuclear plant or that administrative capital now.
    If we are speaking about Egypt's National security then we should discuss those loans seriously.

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    Inside Ramses Railway station
    Inside Ramses Railway station 
    The famous and main hall of Cairo's Ramses Railway station after its renovation. The new Neo-futuristic Pharaonic style drew lots of criticism as it does not match the famous Islamic Heliopolis style of the famous station's exterior.
    I can see why.
    Via Instagram   

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    I was going to write a short post about the upcoming cyber-crime draft law and how it is an introduction to control and limit the social media in Egypt when once again an ugly violence incident erupted in the country that demonstrated the importance of social media.

    Thanks to viral and angry Facebook posts , we knew that last Friday sectarian violence erupted in Minya, Upper Egypt and I have been following the case since then.

    Sectarian violence erupted 20 May , Friday at 8 PM when an angry mob attacked and torched a couple of houses owned by Christians  in "El-Karm village in the city of Abu Qarqis , Minya Governorate over a rumored affair between a Christian man and a Muslim woman as usual.

    A photo inside one of the torched houses at Karm village
    by Mahmoud Hakim 
    Nobody got killed but what happened this time was shocking for many if not for most Egyptians.
    The mob attacked the house of that Christian man rumored to have a relation with a Muslim woman dragging his old mother out of her house and stripping her off her clothes in the street.
    The lady was then taken and covered by her Muslim neighbor till the police showed up at 10 PM to arrest 5 people and that's it.

    It is worth to mention that the Christian man and his family filed complaints and warned the police on 19 May as the rumors began to spread like fire in the rural village.

    From Friday till Tuesday , most Egyptians did not know anything about the shameful incident.
    Later this week , two journalists working for Christian newspaper and TV channel reported the whole shocking incident on Tuesday.

    Wednesday morning , the angry Facebook posts about the incident went viral like fire where as the authorities whether the governorate or the Church did not comment except very late night.

    On twitter "#Egypt_is_stripped_naked went viral expressing the anger and disgust over what happened to the old lady and how the whole matter would end up in another  reconciliation would solve anything.
    Late night , the Diocese of Minya and Abu Qarqis following the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church confirmed the incident demanding the authorities to arrest the perpetrators.


    At the same time and not so surprisingly, Minya Governor Tarek Nasr did not deny that there was an attack on houses owned by Christians in the rural village but he denied that an old lady was stripped naked.
    Nasr , who was once a state security police general described the whole matter as "simple" and blamed the Muslim Brotherhood "as usual" for spreading lies.
    On Thursday , things changed as people became very angry and the social media reflected that anger.
    Pope Tawadros II , the head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement from Austria demanding the authorities to arrest the attackers and for self-restraint.
    President Abdel El-Fattah El-Sisi also issued a statement calling the officials for the arrest of the perpetrators stressing on his full respect to the Egyptian women.

    Several Christian MPs led by Nadia Henry and John Talaat in addition to the Human rights committee presented a request to question the minister of interior over what happened in Minya.
    On the same day , five other people were arrested from the village.
    Despite , the Church and the people Muslims before Christians demanded that the state applies the law to restore order in the village , we found out that there are attempts to use the old ways to solve the matter aka The informal reconciliation session led by the Sheikhs and priest along with the village's elderly.

    The Minya MPs including the MPs of liberal Free Egyptians Party seem to take the Minya Governor's side.
    Usually, those sessions end up with nothing , solving nothing and some Christian families are forced to leave their homes.
    On Friday , the Diocese of Minya and Abu Qarqis released the only video statement on its official Facebook page of the old lady who was reportedly stripped naked, Mrs. Soad Thabet.



    The old lady thanked the President , Pope Tawadros II and the head of the Diocese. Saying that she forgave her attackers , Thabet said that she did want to be interviewed or to be helped by anyone.
    She also revealed that she was not in Minya.

    On the other hand , reporters including the reporters of BBC Arabic TV channel who visited the village revealed that the attackers were from the family of the Muslim Man who spread a rumor about his estranged wife and a Christian man in the village in order to deny her rights.
    The reporters also found out that the people who were arrested mostly are the Muslim men who hurried to help and save the Christian neighbors.

    It seems that the governor and the government are trying to push the informal reconciliation where the head of Minya Diocese Anba Macrious is insisting on applying the law instead.
    This is what happened.
    Personally, I know that this is not the first or the last sectarian motivated attack in Egypt especially when there is no true state of law.

    When it is deeply investigated , it turned out that it is not truly sectarian motivated but rather it is about a man who wanted to divorce his wife without giving her rights "The Muslim" and disgustingly spread rumors about her and his former Christian partner with no regards to the consequences.
    Sectarianism played a role and above it tribalism and patriarchy rule. It is all about women and their honor here.
    First , we got an alleged anger because of a rumored affair between a man and a woman regardless of their faith.
    Second , we got a mob that strips an old woman naked in order to humiliate her son by attacking his honor too.
    It is the same mentality that famous Blue bra girl was stripped of her clothes in Tahrir square in front of the whole world.
    Even , the public angry reaction reflects this somehow.

    Most of the people are still extremely angry because that disgusting inhuman humiliation that old lady has been through. "Personally, I am furious over what happened to that old lady"
    I have not seen them angry in that way before when people get killed or forced to leave their houses in similar sectarian-motivated attacks.
    Needless to say , I think that anger is a good sign because of the first time Christians and most Muslims online urge and beg the regime to apply the law and restore to informal reconciliation session.
    I will not speak about religion here because it is beyond it.
    When we speak about Upper Egypt , then you must realize that traditions , customs and honor as well patriarchy come first before religion for Muslims and Christians.
    Poverty , ignorance and marginalization to the south contributed to that.
    It is no wonder that the true extreme and militant radical groups of the 1980s found a good place to flourish in Upper Egypt.

    Rural Upper Egypt is more of lawless areas with its own code of law
    Ironically , the Upper Egyptians from Qena and Assuit do not consider Minya as part of their "Upper Egypt" !!!

    One more important thing  to add in that matter.
    Now when I think about , without the social media we would have not known about that awful incident in Upper Egypt, let alone other sectarian-motivated attacks across the country in the past few years.
    I think this demonstrates its importance in a very simple way.

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    On Tuesday , a Giza court of appeals overturned the five years jail sentence for 47 people for participation in the 25 April protests against the Egyptian decision to give up Red Sea Tiran and Sanafir isles to Saudi Arabia.
    Still the court upheld an LE 100,000 "USD 10,000" fine for each defendant.
    And according to the Egyptian law , if the defendants will spend three months in jail. Already those 47 spent one month in Pre-trial and so they will have to spend two months in custody if they do not pay the fine.
    The month in jail in Egypt is equal to 22 days if I am not mistaken .
    It is worth to mention that the court has not acquitted the protesters of illegal protesting charge , it only overturned the jail sentence and upheld the fine.
    Now LE 100,000 is one hell of a big sum of money for many families among the 47. We are speaking about LE 4,700,000.
    The defendants lawyers in the case presented on Wednesday a request to the court to reduce the fine from LE 100,000 to LE 10,000 "USD 1000" as it was common.
    Usually according to lawyer Tarek Al-Awady who has been in that career for almost 25 years, the court accepts that request and reduces the fine.
    Unfortunately, the court rejects that request and insisted on LE 100,000.
    When one goes back to the archives , he or she will find that for the court accepted to reduce the monopoly fine of famous steel tycoon from LE 100 million to LE 10 million in November 2014!!
    I do not know why the court refused to do this with the 25 April protesters !!! I wish that the court treated them like Ahmed Ezz and reduced the fine.
    Already I do not know why they have to pay a fine according to a disputed unconstitutional law !!
    I think the message from that LE 100,000 fine court ruling that peaceful protesting has got a very big price in very tough economic days.
    Only four people among them my friend Mahmoud Gamal El-Din were able to pay the fine.
    Mahmoud Gamal el-Din
    Mahmoud and his brother after his released
    "Othamn Gamal El-Din's FB account" 
    Still there are still 43 people need help to collect the fine, unfortunately.

    Other updates related to Tiran and Sanafir cases

    Malek Adly
    Malek Adly at court last week
    "Twitter"
    Lawyer Malek Adly and journalists Amr Badr and Mahmoud Sakka were once again detained 15
    days pending investigation in their case.
    They are currently accused of spreading false news and attempt to down the regime.
    There is a Facebook page called "Free Malek Adly" demanding his release publishing videos for Pro-25 January public figures and activists demanding his release.
    On Sunday , the State commissioners authority of the administrative court fined the State's lawyer LE 200 for not presenting the Text of the Egyptian Saudi Maritime borders redrawing deal as demanded by court.
    On the same day, a group of Egyptian activists launched a website dedicated to Tiran and Sanafir isles and its detained protesters.
    The website shows the documents that say the two disputed islands are Egyptian.
    I wish that there will be an English version from that website. 

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    Ramses Railway station
    Another shot for the main hall at Cairo's main hall of Ramses Railway station after its futuristic renovation. Most people wonder what that thing in the middle represents .
    Via Instagram 

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    This can be the most interesting and cheerful news coming from Egypt on Wednesday aside from the fact that the EGYPTAIR MS804 black boxes' signals can be detected in the Mediterranean.

    The dagger after the discovery of the tomb in Luxor
    in 1922

    Egyptian and Italian researchers found out that the famous dagger of King Tutankhamen with crystal rock in its end was actually made out of a meteorite.

    Yes, it turned out that the blade of the famous golden dagger was made out of a meteorite according to their research published last week at Meteoritic and Planetary Science Journal.
    The blade's iron was taken from the Kharga Meteorite near Marsa Matrouh governorate.
    That Meteorite which I ignored that it existed in Egypt in the first place was found in May 2000.

    I will use this fantastic occasion to celebrate this great discovery and post a photo I took for that dagger with a blade from outer space at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo in December.

    King Tutankhamen's dagger خنجر الملك توت عنخ امون
    The dagger ith the blade from outer space
    The dagger looks fantastic in reality , those inlaid gem stones with gold and its golden cover itself. Just an amazing piece of art , of course the whole collection is amazing just like any other Ancient Egyptian piece of art. We are speaking about art here. Of course this gives you a hint on how kings and rulers in Egypt are treated.

    I want to post the King Tutankhamen's collection photos here but the problem I can not find the best time thanks to what is going in Egypt currently.
    I do not know why I have the feeling that we may see a whole episode based on that discovery on History Channel's Ancient Aliens with wild theories.

    Already Ancient Aliens show promotes the wild theory that Akhenaton , Tut's father  and controversial figure in the history of Ancient Egypt was actually an alien ... or an alien-human hybrid !!

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    For the first time in the history of journalism in Egypt , the head of the journalists syndicate and two of its leading board members are going on trial on Saturday and there is a big change that they will be sent to jail as well.
    It all started late Monday evening when suddenly people knew that head of Egyptian Journalists syndicate Yahia Qallash as well its secretary general Gamal Abdel Rahim and undersecretary Khaled El-Balshy were at the Prosecution General's office in Downtown Cairo questioned for what happened during the storming of the syndicate earlier this month.
    After 14 hours , in fact in the early hours of Tuesday the prosecution decided to release Qallash, El-Balshy and Abdel Rahim on bail charging them at the same time of spreading false news and sheltering fugitives !!!! 
    Rejecting to be charged for something they believe they did not do, the three journalists and veteran unionists decided not to pay the LE 10,000 " USD 1,000" bail.
    Head of Journalists syndicate Yahia Qallash also demanded an investigative judge to be investigative the incident instead of the General Prosecution.
    After the storming of the syndicate, the Prosecutor General issued a statement supporting the Police's action imposing a media gag order on the case.
    Qallash and his colleagues considered the Prosecution after that statement as biased party involved in the matter that could not
    According to the law , they can face detention up to 4 days.
    So the Prosecution decided to detain them till either pay or they would be sent to Misdemeanor court.
    For nearly 32 hours , the three journalists were detained at Kasr Al-Nil police station where they were kept at one of the offices in the police station.
    Yahia Qallash on left and Khaled El-Balshy on right
    at Kasr Al-Nil police station 
    They technically semi-board meeting inside the police station.
    Despite the three journalists insisted in an act of defiance that they would not pay the bail , the bail was paid anonymously after more than 30 hours against their well in some crazy scene.
    It was not really anonymously because it turned out that lawyer Tarek Negida , the former leading member in Nasserite Popular current party.
    Negida had to resign from the party hours that it was known that he paid the bail .
    Many accused and are still accusing Tarek Negida of being security informant.
    More shockingly, it was found out that only one board member testified against them.
    That board is Hatem Zakaria and he is currently referred to some sort of disciplinary committee in the syndicate.
    Anyhow the three men were released despite their refusal to pay the bail.
    Here is the full account of Khaled El-Balshy on what happened that day.

    There are lots of interesting coincidence in that incident as on the same day we found out that A Cairo urgent matters already adjourned the case to impose state guardianship on the Syndicate for the first time of its first !!!
    This tells you a lot.
    What is happening got too many meanings. There is truly an unprecedented attack on that margin of freedom of Press in Egypt. Even that margin of freedom is not allowed before.
    People should have known that when President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said that he envied President Nasser for his media , he was not bluffing.
    Nasser killed freedom of journalism and created the one single-state controlled media by Nationalization.
    What is happening at the journalists syndicate clearly carries as well the massage that the regime does not want unions and syndicate to have a role bigger than social clubs.
    The regime does not want to see that scene at the Doctors syndicate or Journalists syndicate again.
    Nobody speak about that unfortunately.
    What is interesting that all this is happening when the media map is being reshaped by new business deals.
    I will not comment on the Egyptian Ministry of foreign affairs about the UN and EU's statements regarding what happened to Qallash and his colleagues.
    We will see what happens on Saturday.
    Personally, I am not optimistic. 

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