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7000 years and counting ...

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  • 11/14/16--16:17: And here is the Supermoon
  • Here is the supermoon from Giza late Monday.

    I had to take two batches of photos as in the first batch there were clouds all over the moon.

    Here are my Supermoon's shots from Monday.

    November 2016 Supermoon

    November 2016 Supermoon

    November 2016 Supermoon

    According to what I read the full moon was bigger 13% than usual. I also read that this was the biggest supermoon Earth has seen from 45 years.

    Some people thought it would be so huge and were disappointed to find not that big.

    I feel the edited photos gave them that impression.

    The moon was big and glowing.

    Happy Supermoon everybody.

    November 2016 Supermoon

    Here is the photos I took yesterday in Giza for the moon before it became Supermoon Monday night.


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    It seems that we are having some sort of news that became a norm , a daily routine that unfortunately does not shock anybody anymore.
    News like terrorist attacks in North Sinai and road accidents have become a norm. Unfortunately, the police brutality has become a norm that the news that a person was tortured till death in a police station does not shock people anymore.
    Earlier this week , another torture till death case took place in a police station and it did not catch the attention except few journalists.
    Then the media began to highlight it on Wednesday only as social media users began to speak about it.
    For the record, both Al-bediaih and United Copts news websites were the first to speak about the matter from mainstream media.
    This time , it was a poor cart driver who used to transfer and sell fish in Al-Amiriyah working class area, Cairo.
    Late Magdy Makeen
    Late Sunday , 52-years old Magdy Makeen was arrested and reportedly taken to Al-Amiryah police station. Next day , his family was called to take his dead body from Zaiton general hospital.
    Later , the body was transferred to Zainhom morgue where the family found outrageous traces of torture.

    Makeen was working a cart driver , yes a cart driver selling fish.
    This means we are speaking about a poor man who comes from a very poor working class.
    On Monday and Tuesday , the media whether mainstream or social media did not pay attention to the news till a video released by Makeen's family showing his body in morgue hit the internet and went viral.
    The short video is extremely graphic. "+18"
    The family says that according to eye witnesses  the whole thing started when 52-years old Makeen told a police officer from Al-Amiriyah police station not to insult his mother during a verbal argument.
    The verbal argument started when the cart dragged by a horse hit the police car according to eye-witnesses who spoke to the Makeens.
    Makeen was then arrested and taken by the orders of that police officer , allegedly police Capitan Karim Magdy to Al-Amiriyah police station where he was tortured till death.

    An unnamed source in the police station denied this the family's accusation claiming in the media that the father of two was arrested of "narcotic pills" and that he died because of diabetic seizure as well low blood pressure.

    Then on Wednesday , I read a statement issued by the interior ministry that Makeen and two other men were arrested late Saturday for the possession of 2000 "tramadol" pills and that he died because of low blood pressure.

    On Wednesday , the General prosecution issued a statement claiming that initial investigation reached out that Magdy Makeen died when his cart crashed as he was chased by the police !!
    The initial statement of prosecution also added Makeen and two other men tried to escape the police using a cart "yes , dragged by animal" because they had about 200 "narcotic pills". The two other men are currently detained pending investigation.

    The prosecution says that the two men confirmed its version of the story while the family says the opposite that he was tortured in front of their eyes.

    As you can see we got three different versions of the story of what truly happened to Magdy Makeen.
    I believe the family's version that he died due to torture thanks to the horrifying video and the long past record of police

    Unfortunately ,many Egyptians would not have believed that Magdy Makeen was the victim of torture and police brutality if it were not for the video.
    You must understand for Egyptians whether Muslims and Christians respect the privacy of the deceased people. So to expose their bodies like that in front of the camera means a lot and shows how much they are desperate to prove their rights.

    On Friday , the minister of interior opened an internal investigation into the incident.
    There is news that suspect police captain Karim Magdy was suspended from work but Masraway news website denies this according to security sources.
    The prosecution questioned Magdy earlier this week and released him pending investigation according to news reports.

    Makeen's case reminds me with lots of other torture cases including Khaled Said's case as well Siyad Bilal and Talaat El-Shabeeb from a year ago.
    The same everything when it comes to the details , only the names and locations as well the victims' backgrounds are different.
    Pro-regime media news websites began to publish reports about the criminal record of Makeen and his family as usual and expected.

    This time the victim is a Christian man from a poor working class in Cairo, not an Alexandrian Salafist or papyrus seller in Upper Egypt.
    Magdy Makeen is the first Christian to be a victim of police brutality from a long time.
    Many are wondering if the Coptic Orthodox is going to interfere or not.
    I think it should not interfere because it is a case of an Egyptian citizen before anything and this is not a sectarian problem.
    Anyhow , on Friday a group of priests led by outspoken by the head of Minya Diocese Anba Macrious visited the Makeens.

    In his official statement , Anba Macrious interestingly hoped this incident would lead to a "revision" to what happens from "torture in police station"
    Hours following this statement, the official Orthodox Church spokesperson issued another statement denying that the Church or the Pope spoke about recent "events" asserting that "law is the best way to face issues and fix problems".

    This is not a sectarian matter, this is a pure Egyptian matter when it comes to police brutality and torture.
    This happens in Cairo when Tunis is witnessing a truly historical thing as victims of torture and abuse speak on TV about their ordeal as part of the reconciliation movement in Tunisia.
    I can not imagine something like that happening in Egypt anytime soon.
    May God bless and protect Tunisia.  

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head

    The head of syndicate Yahia Qallash in a meeting with a group of journalists including board members Khaled El-Balshy and Hannan Fakry


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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head

    The head of syndicate Yahia Qallash in a meeting with a group of journalists including board members Khaled El-Balshy and Hannan Fakry


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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head

    Head of journalists syndicate Yahia Qallash "L" after arriving from court speaking to journalists at the syndicate in Cairo about the court ruling to prison him for two years. Besides him , journalist Khalid El-Balshy "R" who is also sentenced with him two year in jail in the same trial.


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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head

    Head of journalists syndicate Yahia Qallash "L" after arriving from court speaking to journalists at the syndicate in Cairo about the court ruling to prison him for two years. Besides him , journalist Khalid El-Balshy "R" who is also sentenced with him two year in jail in the same trial.


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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head

    Head of journalists syndicate Yahia Qallash "L" after arriving from court speaking to journalists about the court ruling to prison him for two years


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    For the past 5 years , the 19th of November is marked by political tensions,mostly clashes and protests.
    This year , it is not an exceptional. Aswan and Red Sea governorates saw protests for different reasons and in Cairo, the confrontation between journalist unionists and state is back.

    Earlier Saturday ,a Cairo Misdemeanor Court sentenced the head of Egypt's Journalists syndicate Yahia Qallash and board members Khaled El-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim to two years in jail for "harboring fugitives inside the syndicate's headquarter" from seven months ago.

    Issued in absentia as the trio did not show up, the verdict is a first-degree one and can be appealed. The Misdemeanor court set bail at LE 10,000 for each defendant.
    Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head
    Yahia Qallash at the journalists syndicate earlier Today 

    This is unprecedented by all measures.

    For the first time in the history of Egypt's journalists syndicate, something like that happens.
    Actually, it is the first time in the history of unions in general if I am not mistaken.

    If you have forgotten the case , it all started when the security forces stormed the Journalists syndicate headquarter arresting journalists Amr Badr and Mahmoud El-Sakka who were having a sit-in there from seven months ago.
    Both were accused of spreading false news , inciting the public and plotting to overthrow the regime during the Tiran and Sanafir protests crackdown.
    Following the illegal storming of the syndicate, the majority of members of the journalists syndicate stood with Yahia Qallash , Khaled El-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for their stance against the storming of the syndicate as an escalation in May.
    In June , the three men were referred to misdemeanor court.

    Then people forgot about what happened and today we remember all this with this shameful verdict.
    "It is expected verdict as we have been found guilty and sentenced already by the Prosecutor general's statement from seven months ago," said Qallash in his short word at the journalists syndicate after the verdict.
    "If this is the price we will pay to defend the journalists syndicate, then we are going to pay it willingly" He added stressing that they would take all legal actions against this court ruling
    Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head
    Yahia Qallash and board member as well head of freedoms committee Khaled El-Balshy

    They won't go without a fight, this is for sure.
    In evening , journalists organized a protest on the iconic staircases of the syndicate chanting anti-regime/anti-military/anti-police chants.
    The protest by Mohamed El-Raay

    An urgent board meeting held later and reached out that the three men are going to pay the bail and appeal the court ruling as far as I understood.
    The journalists syndicate has been surrounded by Central security forces "CSF" and vehicles all day long.
    According to Qallash , the syndicate's board is going to meet soon with the general assembly to see what is next.

    Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head
    Part of the meeting held at the syndicate following the court's verdict

    I think the confrontation between journalists syndicate and the state is back.
    Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head
    Outside the Journalism is not a crime black banner was hanged

    FYI , Journalist Amr Badr was released on bail pending investigations in the case in August and then Mahmoud El-Sakka was released on bail as well pending investigation in September.
    The administrative court as well nullified the Tiran and Sanafir demarcation agreement between the current Egyptian government and Saudi Arabia. Yes , it is being appealed but this is happened.

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    Since Saturday not less than 150 Egyptian Nubians have started an open sit-in at Abu-Simbel-Aswan highway as a military police refused to let them head to their old Nubian villages in Toshka and Forkund to protest the sale of the land there to Non-Nubians.
    "Update : The Nubian activists ended the sit-in Wednesday morning" 
    The sit-in was already planned at the two villages as part of a protest called "The Nubian Return Caravan" against the presidential decree to include those two villages in President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's mega-national project of reclaiming 1.5 million feddans.
    Egyptian protesters
    A photo from the sit-in and you can see all ages as
    well women "Twitter" 

    "The Nubian Return Caravan" is actually a convey made of a delegation and representatives of Nubians from all over the country organized by several Egyptian Nubian organizations above them the Nubian Union after the latest presidential decrees as well cabinet decisions endangering once again the Nubians' rights to return.

    The military police did not only stop the caravan but it took photo copies from the activists' IDs.
    Later , it besieged the sit-in refusing to let food or protesters to join it.
    Things escalated when three protesters were injured when the military police tried to disperse the protest by force and they were transferred to hospital.

    Saturday and Sunday nights witnessed protests in several areas throughout Aswan as angry Egyptian Nubians cut highways and railways for several hours over the security actions.
    The protester announced that they would continue in their sit-in till their demands are met starting with allowing the Nubian Return Caravan to head for its original destination.

    The Egyptian Nubian protesters also demand the government not to sell the old Nubian villages in Toshka and Forkund as part of that mega-project and to stop selling the old Nubia land in general.
    They also demand a law for the resettlement of Nubians in their old villages in accordance with the Egyptian constitution.


    I expected that the security forces would unleash a wide crackdown and disperse the sit-in by force as they have done but so nothing happened.
    On Monday,  Field Marshal Hussein Tantawy, the former head of SCAF and minister of defense and current House of speaker Ali Abd Aal as well other officials and MPS visited Aswan and met with representatives from Nubia to discuss the latest developments or rather a crisis. "Yes , it is a crisis"
    Some are wondering why Hussein Tantawy suddenly emerged in this crisis. Well, simply because Tantawy is Egyptian Nubian. Ali Abd Aal is also Egyptian Nubian.
    The meeting so far reached to nothing on Monday as protesters insist to continue their sit-in till demands are met.
    The Pro-regime media somehow is dealing in a way that I did not expect.
    Either , the regime understands how the sensitive the issue is or the regime does not want noise as El-Sisi is visiting Portugal.
    The last thing they want while the President is visiting a European country is reports about mistreatment of ethnic minorities.
    Still, I am praying for the first to be true.

    How did the president and the cabinet endanger the constitutional right of Nubians to return ?

    In December 2015, the Egyptian President  Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued presidential decree No.444 that designated masses of lands along border areas as army territory that should not be populated.
    About 16 old Nubian villages are among that army territory according to Nubian activists who protested against the decree.
    In August 2016, President Sisi issued presidential decree No.355 allocating 922 feddans including the land of old Nubian villages "Toshka and Forkund" to the new Toshka development project. "Yes , we are back to that mega-national project !!"
    In October , the Egyptian government announced that it would sell parts of the project in an auction for investors.
    When they complained to the officials , the only answer they had the priority to buy the land of Toshka and Forkund before others.
    But how you can buy your land ; this is what I was told by one of the activists participating in the sit-in in Aswan earlier today
    Since then , the Egyptian Nubian activists began to work against the decision as well the decrees.
    The Nubian activists above them the Nubian Return Caravan reminds the regime that the President and the government themselves are violating the constitution they issued and supported.
    The 2014 Constitution's article 236 stipulates the following :
    The state shall develop and implement a plan for the comprehensive economic and urban development of border and underprivileged areas, including Upper Egypt, Sinai, Matrouh, and Nubia. This is to be achieved by the participation of the residents of these areas in the development projects and the priority in benefiting from them, taking into account the cultural and environmental patterns of the local community, within ten years from the date that this Constitution comes into effect, in the manner organized by law. The state works on developing and implementing projects to bring back the residents of Nubia to their original areas and develop them within 10 years in the manner organized by law. 
    The last highlighted part is considered by Nubian activists as an official constitutional to return to their villages.
    Despite I did not support or vote for that constitution "I was sick and I did not approve its other articles", I won't deny that article 236 was one of its best articles in that constitution.
    Anyhow , we are dealing with a regime that loves to violate the constitution it supported !!
    Egyptian Nubian
    An old Egyptian Nubian man participating in the
    sit-in on Saturday

    Thanks to dear Ahmed Abdel Rasoul, I found out that in November 2014 a draft law was being prepared to found the "High authority to develop and build Nubia" by the government.
    That 32-articles draft law would help in the resettlement of the Egyptian Nubians in their old villages.
    I do not know what happened to this law as it should have been submitted to the parliament.

    Historically , Nubia stretched for about 350 kilometers from Dabud village to the south of Aswan to Adendan village in the Halfa Valley in modern-day Sudan.

    The Egyptian Nubians have been for about 4 times in the 20th century because of Nile dams projects in Aswan since 1902.

    The biggest and worst displacement so far was during the construction of the Aswan high dam in 1960s.

    According to Nubian activists I spoke with in the past two days, there are currently not less than 4 million Egyptian Nubians living in Egypt across the country after the displacement.

    It is not an official number as just like other minorities including Egyptian Christians for some reason !!
    The latest official number I found for Egyptian Nubians goes back to 1960 when there were 100,000 in Aswan alone.

    As someone who has been following the Nubian cause for quite some time now , I think this is the loudest protest ever done by the Egyptian Nubians.
    For the sake of Egypt's true National security and its true identity that is actually built upon diversity, I pray to God that one day the Egyptian Nubians will restore back and reclaim their 44 villages.

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    On Wednesday , The Wall Street Journal published in its opinion section an op-ed by Egypt's minister of international cooperation Sahar Nasr about the latest "economic reforms" in Egypt.
    Addressing foreign businessmen and foreign government through the daily business newspaper, Minister Sahar recounted the economic reforms and achievements of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's administration.
    As expected and usual , the current minister of cooperation put the blame of economic woes on the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi and his one year rule.
    She did not  blame or compare "Mubarak's bad developments policies" with El-Sisi's policies interestingly in the op-ed.
    Personally , the only thing that caught my attention aside from putting all the blame on the bad MB was her statements in English about the future of public utility companies in Egypt.
    Through public offerings, Egypt will be partially divesting from several state-owned enterprises and banks. For the first time, this will cover public utility companies, which have historically been excluded from divesture as a strategic sector. Megaprojects, mainly in infrastructure, are being carried out as public-private partnerships. The objective isn’t only to keep the private sector as a main stakeholder, but also to ensure a crowding-in rather than crowding-out effect.
    I think what the minister said in English is clear.
    The Egyptian government will divest partially from several stated-owned Enterprises and banks as well for the first time in history public utility companies according to this statement, to this paragraph.
    Sahar Nasr
     Minister Sahar Nasr of international cooperation

    This is the first time , an Egyptian minister would say that the Egyptian state would divest partially in public utility companies and amazingly she announced that in a foreign newspaper.
    I do not recall that an Egyptian official told the Egyptian public or the parliament or the Egyptian media about that before.
    We already know that the government will divest partially from public banks , specifically Banque Du Caire and from oil sector as well.
    It is the first time to include the public utility companies in that plan.
    Several Egyptian newspapers and news websites like Ahram Arabic Gate published in Arabic the minister's op-ed highlighting her statements about the public utility companies.
    Despite I have not seen too many voices as expected or hoped for asking questions about Nasr's statements, the ministry of international cooperation issued a statement clarifying some points including the public utilities companies' future in Egypt.
    Unlike what has been inaccurately published by some websites, no reference has been made in the article to the service sectors including electricity, sanitation and water,  given that the state owns the dominant share of such projects. 
    So now the international cooperation ministry is denying that the government is going to divest partially in electricity , sanitation and water sectors.
    Well, I think then the minister or her office should have used another term than "public utility companies" in her op-ed because that term internationally in English means service sector companies , mainly the infrastructure companies including Water, sanitation and electricity companies.
    You can check the meaning of public utility here in Wikipedia, Oxford dictionary and Cambridge Dictionary.
    I just wish the Egyptian ministers realize that they do not deal with a bunch of idiots or that we live under the 1960s iron curtain !!

    Updated on 29/11/2016 

    The cabinet and the House of Representatives are now speaking about the op-ed and Nasr's statements about public utility companies.
    First , MP Alaa Abdel Moneim presented an urgent statement to the parliament about the sale of the public utility companies. 
    Minister of legal and parliamentary affairs Magdy El-Agati said that he did not read the op-ed adding that it was only "her opinion !!" 
    In what is described as a heated session , the parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal stated that there would be no selling of bank or public utility companies according to Ahram Online. 
    He also added that it could be a mistranslation or "that any selling may be of shares owned by the state in such companies" according to Ahram Online.
    I could be wrong but this sentence in English"that any selling may be of shares owned by the state in such companies" means what the minister said in her op-ed that the government will divest partially in public utility companies !?? 
    Either ways , I think that the minister's op-ed and her announcement as well the government reaction in Cairo were more of a "test balloon" to see the people' reaction.
    I am afraid the people did not pay attention because the media did not spot the light on that statement.
    Anyhow , I expect that the government will divest partially in public utility companies. It is matter of time.

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    Sidi Bishr Mosque
    Sidi Bishr Mosque 
    And Egypt's Alexandria has got its share of many Islamic saints , most if not all of them came from North Africa and Al-Andalus.
    Among those Islamic Saints who are highly respected in Alexandria : Sidi Bishr.
    Legend says Sheikh Bishr El-Gohary came from the West , either from Morocco or Al-Andulas to Alexandria in the Middle ages to join a famous mystic Sufi school growing in influence in North Africa.
    Living ascetically in an isolated area in the coastal city , Sheikh Bishr El-Gohary earned fame in the city as an Islamic scholar.


    The Sheikhs passed away in Hijri year 528 and he was buried where he lived.
    Time passed and his tomb turned into a shrine with little Mosque.
    In the 19th century , a big Mosque was built replacing the little Mosque as it became eccentric Khedive Abbas I's favorite mosque to pray at in Alexandria.
    The area itself was named after Sheikh Bishr El-Gohary officially as this is how it was among the Alexandrians for ages.
    The big mosque was extended to become even bigger Mosque in 1945 as the area was getting more and more urbanized.
    Soon Sidi Bishr or Master Bishr area was the center of Middle and Upper Middle Class in Alexandria in the 20th century.
    It started with a simple place for Sufi foreign man seeking mystic knowledge in the middle ages.
    Alexandria's Cosmopolitan nature goes beyond the foreign western communities that settled down there in the 19th century , it goes beyond there and Sidi Bishr is another proof.
    Those photos were taken during my little short spring break in Alexandria in May.  
    I have not gone inside but it was great to pass by the mosque of Sidi Bishr and know his story finally. 

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    The international media is currently having a long serious discussion about fake news and internet trolls in the social media.
    Only after the US presidential elections and its results, the world decided to put the spotlight on that dark use of social media.
    Only , now we got Mark Zuckerberg speaking about how  misinformation spreaders are using his platform and how to fight back for the first time.
    Sadly , we know very well about fake news or how Zuckerberg described it as "misinformation" and its impact first hand in the Middle East especially in the Arab spring countries before the west or the US but nobody cared till it reached to the States.

    The social media is always highlighted for its role in the Arab spring, especially in the Egyptian
    2011
    Once upon time in 2011 "Reuters" 
    revolution.
    Well, I think it is time to let the world knows that the social media is also destroying the Arab Spring.
    Ironically at the same time, the West was speaking about the fake news and the Russian machine propaganda, we had our own "fake news scandal" in November.
    It came unexpectedly out of the blue when one of the biggest Pro-regime conspiracy theorists exposed how the so-called
    e-committees aka Pro-regime internet trolls work from inside.
    Nobody is speaking about it any more thought in Egypt, so I thought it was good to bring it back. It gives you a glimpse of our own in-house problem

    On 5 November Pro-regime supporter/university professor/social media celebrity Khaled Refaat published a Facebook post on his account with alleged screenshots from a closed Pro-regime Facebook group for exposing who they are and how they are organizing themselves online.

    The story started with a fight inside the group  when Refaat seemed to violate the rule of not criticizing El-Sisi outside it and being vocal about it.Soon , he began to criticize the group indirectly describing it as an "e-committee" on his FB account.
    It seems that the members of the groups attacked and being reported him to the Facebook to close his account in return.

    In retaliation, he decided to bring down the temple by speaking directly about that group posting screenshots from showing its admins giving directives its members.
    That Facebook group is "State supporters union" and according to Refaat , it was founded allegedly by Media figure Ibrahim El-Garhi.
    Refaat added that El-Garhi included nearly 22 admins from famous figures known for their support to the regime and their hate to the 25 January revolution judging from the names. "Very interesting names but I won't have the time to speak about them specifically".

    According to Refaat , they were gathered to have discussions in one place.The group was a private one by an invitation and it reached at one point 14,000 members according to the screenshots.

    The screenshots included one where El-Garhi told the members not to criticize the government's economic decision outside the group as well an order to spread posts supporting current Central Bank governor Tarek Amer.
    There was another interesting post by a member or admin in the group calling the members to spread "positive news" or "rumors" to weaken the US dollar in Egypt !!

    Another interesting screenshot , Refaat posted was how one of the admins suggested to pick one of "junkies" aka "25 January revolution" activists and make comics and fun of her or him.

    Another screenshot included posts from admins telling members to report opponent pages. Interestingly in that screenshot, there is a mention of a group called "Mafia Battalion" whose role is to monitor international and foreign news websites.  

    Now what was known for real is the group was founded reportedly by a dentist called Shaimaa Refaat on 22 October who made El-Garhi and others as admins.

    Two admins of that Facebook were among the main speakers at El-Sisi's National Youth Conference : Ibrahim El-Garhi and Mohamed Negm.
    El-Garhi had an interesting opinion during the conference that the media and journalists in Egypt "believe that they can shape the public opinion in Egypt" demanding strict penalty laws against journalists !!
    Negm is considered an economic expert on Facebook who does not see a problem that Egypt suffers from corruption because China suffers from corruption among other things.
    Oh, he also says that people should not get involved with politics just like in India !! Yes, the biggest democracy on earth !!

    After coming out to the light 

    Despite the group was exposed , it is active and its membership grew to more than 50,000.
    According to what I have heard , many people were added without their knowledge by the administrators as the group came under the spotlight.
    Boldly Ibrahim El-Garhi defended himself in a long sponsored FB post to spread on Facebook insisting that he did not do anything wrong.  The former reporter says that he is not ashamed and that he is defending Egypt.
    He will also continue defending and supporting the current regime.
    I cannot find that post anymore on El-Garhi's official Facebook page which got more than one million fans.
    Amazingly, he did not claim that the screenshots were fabricated !!
    Pro-regime Youm 7 and its sister sites publish from time to time news on how the group launches hashtags on twitter to fight the "enemy of the state" and how they are successful in beating Qataris and MBs online.
    The Youm7 managing editor Dandarawy El-Hawary is from the admins of the FB.
    Nobody speaks about this group anymore or what they do.
    This is what you can consider a normalization of something totally wrong.

    A history of Web brigades/internet trolling 

    The e-committees aka Internet trolls aka Web brigades are not something new in Egypt.
    The web brigades appeared in Egypt when Gamal Mubarak and NDP had their own "e-committees" or "internet trolls" in 2009 according to blogger/journalist and social media expert Mohamed Atef.
    I remember those days.
    Those trolls did not stop after the 25 January revolution.
    After the revolution and the ouster of Mubarak as well the rise of social , we were introduced to the MB internet trolls that have been active in Morsi's short presidential term.

    They disappeared after the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood dramatically but they have been replaced actively and strongly by the Pro-Sisi/state internet trolls.The same techniques and the same misinformation that hurts the nation for real.

    In April , El-Sisi himself stated that he could send two brigades to close down the "net" while he was criticizing the social media.

    Social media is a double-aged weapon. I think that Freedom of expression can end Internet trolling but internet trolling is taking an advantage of Freedom of expression and democracy in the worst way ever.
    I have got no problem with Pro-regime supporters online as long as they do not troll others or spread misinformation as well hate and ultra-nationalism.
    Of course, I do not understand why the state would need internet trolling and misinformation as a tool of support !?

    I do not know how we can end this problem globally but I know when Egypt gets its true democratically elected civilian regime which will be held accountable on every single move in front of  true democratically elected parliament and the Egyptian people, those Pro-regime web brigades will disappear forever.

    To those members of Web brigades who think that they are doing their patriotic duty by defaming and spreading lies about dissidents and fake victories, one day you will regret that and you will know that you have hurt and harmed your country more than any enemy could have done.

    For those opportunists who join those groups for the sake of fame or power, Karma is there and it is a matter of time.

    In those difficult days , I pray to God to help Egypt.
    P.s I wrote this quickly and I consider this is the first episode of series about political internet trolling in Egypt. I hope I can do it inshallah. 

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    At exactly 1:39 PM Cairo local time Wednesday , the family of Egyptian lawyer and renowned woman right Azza Soliman announced that security forces arrested her from her house by the investigation judge in the infamous NGOs case.

    Azza Soliman
    Azza Soliman 
    Her son Nadeem Abdel Gawad kept the people updated as the head and co-founder of Centre for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance (CEWLA) moved from Misr El-Gedida police station to New Cairo Court to be questioned by the investigation judge in the infamous case.

    For nearly seven or eight hours and accompanied by many lawyers and human rights activist , Soliman was questioned by the judge over the accusations of receiving foreign funds with an aim to harm the national security , founding an illegal entity that engages in NGO activity "!!!!" and tax  evasion !!!

    After nearly 8 hours , she was released on LE 20,000 bail pending investigation in the infamous case.

    Azza Soliman made the headlines technically in Egypt as foreign media focused on her case as another sign of the crackdown on civil society and NGOs as well human rights activists.
    It  also came days after passing the infamous NGOs law.

    She and a number of human rights activists including Gamal Eid and Mozn Hassan are barred from travel and their assets have been frozen as the Justice ministry re-opened the investigation of the old illegal foreign funding case in March.

    Now as I hinted above , all the media focused on the NGOs case but they forgot a very critical and important fact about Soliman.

    Azza Soliman is a key eye-witness in the trial of Shaimaa El-Sabbagh murder or to be accurate the retrial of Shaimaa El-Sabbagh murder.
    Since coming forward on 25 January 2015 with her testimony publicly on the shooting of El-Sabbagh and Soliman began to face trouble.

     Above , the famous testimony of Soliman on how she witnessed what happened at Talaat Harb square on that 24 January 2015
    First , she found herself accused of illegal protesting  during the trial of El-Sabbagh instead of being an eye-witness !! Then the court acquitted her !!
    In June 2015, a police officer was sentenced to 15-years in jail for manslaughter in the leftist activist murder case but then in February 2016 an appeal court overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial.
    Now, the question running in mind since knowing the news of Soliman's arrest : Will she be included to the retrial as an eye-witness or her testimony will be excluded because of her legal trouble !????


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    At 10:30 AM a huge explosion that took place near the Egyptian Coptic Cathedral in Heliopolis.
    After the end of the Sunday ,an explosion took place in the Small church of St. Peter and St. Paul "El-Botroseya" which is near the complex of the main Coptic Cathedral.

    Inside the Church after the explosion
    Inside the Church " Bassam Abu Zeid" 
    According to the ministry of health ,23 people were killed. The victims are 8 men , 3 children and 12 women. There are currently 50 people injured in hospitals.

    The explosion took place in the women and children's section and that's why the victims are mostly women. 

    May God bless the souls of the victims.

    Officially , President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared three days of national mourning. 

    Pope Tawadros II , the head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church cut his visit to return back immediately to Egypt. He will head the funeral arranged for the victims tomorrow as far as I know. Strangely the funeral of the victims won't be held at the Saint Marks Cathedral in Cairo but rather another church in Nasr City.

    In the afternoon , hundreds of angry Egyptians "Mostly Christians" organized protests outside the Cathedral denouncing what happened and attacking the government and sometimes the regime itself according to their chants.

    One of their main demands is the dismissal of the minister of interior. 
    Four top Pro-regime TV hosts including an MP were attacked and kicked out of the church by angry people above them Lamis El-Hadidy. 

    According to security sources , not less than 12 kg of TNT were used in bombing the church.
    No terrorist organized has claimed its responsibility.

    Egypt's two main militant Nile valley based group "Liwa Al-Thawra" and "Hasm" distanced themselves officially from the attack denouncing it in two statements. 

    This is the biggest terrorist attack against Coptic Egyptians since the Two Saints Church explosion in Alexandria in December 2010.

    In fact, the death toll of this attack is higher than Two Saints Church explosion. It is worth to mention that after six years we do not know really who bombed the Two Saints Church explosion. Also in September 2016 , the administrative court ordered the interior ministry to reveal the results of its investigations into the bombing.

    Up till, it has not declared anything

    Many are drawing similarities between the two bombings : Two Saint Church and El-Botroseya Church. It is not a new level of terror for real as I wrote in the title I am afraid. We have seen it before.

    Today marks the Moulid El-Nabawy "Prophet Mohamed {PBUH} birthday" and officially it is a national holiday.

    Al-Botroseya Church was built by the Ghali family in Cairo in 1911 over the tomb of Boutros Pasha Ghali , Egypt's former PM "1846-1910".
    The Church that was designed by an Italian designer and architect includes the cemetery of the Ghali family up till now.
    It is considered among the Coptic antiquities  according to the ministry of antiquities in Cairo. The costs of damages in the explosion reached to LE 80 million according to the early estimation

    Live Coverage below for the day.




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    some flying thing in Alexandria

    Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Was it a shooting star during one fine sunset ??
    I do not know.
    I only know that I need to remember that short family spring break and enjoy those photos to have a break from that hard time in Egypt.   

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    The group claimed in a statement released Tuesday evening online first reportedly on its affiliated Telegram channels that a suicide bomber with a code name of “Abu Abdullah El-Masry” blew up himself inside St.Peter and St.Paul Cathedral in Cairo using an explosive belt.

    The statement 
    Daesh News agency Amaq then released a breaking news quoting a security source "inside the militant group" that one of its members blew up himself in the church. Surreal times for real when a terrorist group media outlet quotes a "security source" inside it !! 

    During the official statement funeral on Monday, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced that 22-years old Mahmoud Shafiq Mohamed was the suicide bomber. 

    He also added that four other people including a woman were arrested by security forces for their involvement in the attack.

    Monday evening, the Egyptian ministry of interior released a detailed statement about the suspects arrested prior accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of standing behind the attack.

    The official statement also spoke about Mahmoud Shafiq and his role hinting out that his code name was “Abu Dagana El-Kinany”. 


    Now people are wondering if "Abu Dagana El-Kinany" was "Abu Abdullah El-Masry" or what. 

    Despite the statement declares it clearly that Daesh behind the bombing and not the Muslim Brotherhood, the official and mainstream media in Egypt is happy that the ministry of interior was right when it said it was a suicide bombing. 


    Yes, because ironically people had a lot of doubts online and offline in the first 48 hours especially with the contradicting statements of the survivors and eye-witnesses as well forensics and security officials. 


    Then came El-Sisi's announcement followed by the interior ministry's statement and many people were just amazed on how quickly the police investigations reached to the identities of the suspects. We are being told that it only took 7 hours to get the DNA of the suspected suicide bombers. 

      
    Following that we had the statements of the alleged/suspected suicide bomber's family insisting he "Mahmoud Shafik" in Sudan and he did not do it demanding to see "that body". 

    Now we got Daesh admitting that it was the one behind it and this is a new scary reality or.. not even new. 

    Yes, not a new reality because Daesh has been in the Nile Valley for awhile but people are either not paying attention or have forgotten. 
    This is not the first Daesh operation or a group affiliated with Daesh operation in Cairo or in Nile Valley. 

    In 2014 and 2015, the Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for several big operations including the bombing of Sharkia and Cairo security directorates. 

    In July 2015, the Italian consulate in Cairo was bombed if you remembered and a Daesh affiliated group called " Egypt province" or "Egypt state" claimed responsibility officially. People forgot this. 

    Interestingly, the statement did not mention which affiliated group was responsible for the attack, unlike other previous statements where Daesh Sinai-based affiliated group "Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis" claimed responsibility for its endless attacks. This raised questions. 

    Update: The Sinai-based militant group released a photo of the alleged suicide bomber masked using his code name only. 
    The alleged suicide bomber 
    Some say that the eyes of the alleged suicide bomber are identical to Mahmoud Shafik's mugshot released by the ministry of interior. 


    Suspected suicide bomber Mahmoud  Shafik
    Suspected suicide bomber Mahmoud
    Shafik
    Shafik was previously arrested in 2014 by security forces in Fayoum during a Pro-MB protest and was accused along with another young man of carrying weapons including a hand grenade. 

    He was released later after he was proved to be innocent of the charges. His lawyer stated online that he said that he was subjected to torture during his arrest. 

    After his release in 2015, he tried to resume his life and studies but then he vanished. His family says that he went to live and work in Sudan "allegedly still alive". 

    Security sources say that he headed to North Sinai. 
      
    His father is a former army officer. Both his father and brother are currently detained as I have read. 

    Back to Daesh. 

    Some say that this operation is a shift in targets for Daesh. groups that used to target mainly police and army but also those people forgot that Daesh's branch in North Sinai is making the lives of Egyptian Christians like hell.  
    Also, we should not forget the Egyptian Christian workers who were slaughtered by Daesh in Libya in 2015.

    Unlike most people, I do not consider North Sinai an alien part outside Egypt or what happened in Libya as something not related to Egypt.

    Egyptian Christians are on the target list of Daesh from a long time but some like to bury their heads in the sand and consider what happened "terrorist's frustration and jealousy of our success".

    You must know that according to several released detainees and prisoners, Daesh support among young prisoners is spreading unfortunately in prisons. Daesh inmates and Muslim Brotherhood inmates are said to have ugly nasty fights till death over control and ideological differences. 

    Yes, we have to be afraid because the current Egyptian administration will fight terrorism just like in the 1980s and 1990s using the same old methods that did not actually succeed in ending radicalism or terrorism because if the old methods did work, why we would see new terrorist organizations and terrorists in our country !?

    I am tired of repeating what has been said before thousands time, of stating the obvious.
    One can only pray now in those dark days for better future. 

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    Earlier Monday, Cairo witnessed the funerals of 23 Egyptian Christians after their murder in the awful El-Botroseya Church bombing.
    In the afternoon and during the official funeral ceremony, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced for the first time the name of the suspected suicide bomber who allegedly blew up the Church.
    On the same day, the interior ministry issued a  statement accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of standing behind the attack.
    Then Daesh declared its responsibility for the bombing on Tuesday.
    Since Monday, the debates and conspiracy theories have not stopped about whether this suspect did it or not. In nutshell, many people disbelieve the government and ISIS. To be precise the government more because simply the government or the Egyptian regime is not the most transparent one.

    I won't go into details about that. I won't speak either about terrorism and the situation of Egyptian Christians because there is nothing more or new can be said.
    All what can be and should be said in those two matters have been said before and I am afraid we are going to say it again. "Hopefully not"
    I would like to speak now about something that happened following the bombing of the church that nobody spoke about as it should.
    After the explosion, at least three prominent Pro-regime TV hosts were attacked by angry Egyptian Christians protesting outside the church.

    Hundreds of angry Egyptian Christians protested angrily for several hours outside El-Botroseya Church, which is beside the main St. Marks Coptic Orthodox Cathedral Church in Cairo. They were so angry that they did not let the minister of interior to visited the bombed church.
    They also attacked and kicked out those Pro-hosts in a way that makes you ask questions about the public and the propaganda.
    Notorious anti-25 January TV host Ahmed Moussa was attacked and kicked outside the Church as he attempted to interview the people on air for his Ultra-Pro-regime/Close to the regime.

    Here is a video
    Kicking out Ahmed Moussa as filmed by Al-Masry Al-Youm
    It is worth to mention those who were following him on TV said that the channel stopped the live broadcast from the Church when people began to attack the security and the ministry of interior.
    Then we got bigger-than-life Riham Saeed who was also attacked and kicked out by the angry people there.
    Here are videos

    Attacking and kicking out Riham Saeed as filmed by Al-Masry Al-Youm

    Kicking out Riham Saeed as filmed by Tahrir news
    For the record Riham Saeed and Ahmed Moussa are used to that.

    Saeed was kicked out of Ras Gharib town in Red Sea governorate two months ago after the heavy rains and floods when she began to praise the governor whom the people demanded his dismissal.
    Moussa is used to be attacked and beaten by Muslim Brotherhood supporters abroad whenever he accompanies El-Sisi in tours whether in Europe or the US.

    Then we got the attack of Lamis El-Hadidy, the worst attack of all.
    Here are the videos speaking about the attack

    The attack on Lamis El-Hadidy as filmed by VETO

    Former TV host and current MP Abdel Rahim Ali is said to be attacked and kicked out of the Church and its surrounding area by angry protesters.
    I have not seen videos or photos of him being attacked.

    The three appeared later on TV care less vowing that those who attacked them would be arrested describing them as infiltrators and Muslim Brotherhood members because they got beards !!
    Christian men also grow beards you know like other men on this planet.

    What happened to those TV hosts and reporters speaks about something bigger and makes us wonder if something has changed in the public mood.

    Those are well known Pro-regime TV hosts who present the regime's views on a daily and weekly basis, especially in the past three years.
    Allegedly those TV hosts are the most powerful and most watched but it seems no more.
    In the first real public anger, those TV hosts were attacked in Egypt like that.
    Lamis El-Hadidy protected by some man from the
    angry protester "Screenshot"
    I do not know if they were attacked because they represent the regime or the people had enough from their lies or they just hate them personally.
    What I know that the regime is losing credibility with the people.
     We should not forget that those people who attacked them are from the Egyptian Christians, whom the regime considered to be on its side.

    But the regime itself forgets that they only support it for fear of Islamist groups and for the sake of security only.

    The regime also forgets that public in Egypt is not dumb, the majority used to watch to Bassem Youssef every week to making fun of those TV hosts and their hypocrisy and ignorance.

    Many people cheered for their attack especially Ahmed Moussa and Lamis El-Hadidy
    because of their incitement in the past against other Egyptians including activists.

    The trio is considered masters in incitements and there is no doubt in a democratic Egypt that triumphs human rights , laws and citizenships they will be held accountable for what they say.
    I totally understand their view.

    When I read the news of Ahmed Moussa , all what I can think about it was karma.
    But then I saw the videos of Lamis El-Hadidy and the horror look on her face and how people reacted. It was terrifying.
    I think we should be worried a lot because what we saw in the video is extremely anger that can explode at any time.
    This little incident can speak a lot 

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    It was meant to be a scene to be remembered by the whole world when it was planned, it was meant to be a message heard in the whole world.
    Thus Russian ambassador to Turkey 1954-born Andrei Karlov was shot down by 22-years old Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Aydintas at the Contemporary Arts center in the Turkish capital where the Russian embassy was hosting "Russia in the eyes of Turks" exhibition.

    Mevlut Mert Aydinatas killed the Russian ambassador because of Syria and Aleppo.

    That moment captured by AP's Burhan Ozbilici
    As we live the age of social media, the assassination was recorded and the whole world saw Aydinates standing like defocused black grim reaper behind Karlov minutes before he would pull his gun shooting him down.
    It was a matter of minutes as captured by AP's Burhan Ozbilici

    Moments AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici did not know that moment that he would snap a moment that would turn lives upside down.
    The man went to the exhibition because it was on his way from work to home !!

    22-years old Turkish police officer Aydintas by AP's Burhan Ozbilici
    22-years old Turkish police officer Aydintas by AP's Burhan Ozbilici 
    "Do not forget Aleppo, do not forget Syria, only death can take me from here" The young Turkish police officer declared in Turkish in his Arab-Turkish short speech before he was shot down in his fancy suit.
    As an Egyptian tweep said, Turkish drama does not come from nothing  !!!
    Karlov is the second Russian ambassador to be assassinated in service since the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Poland in 1927 according to NY Times.
    22-years old Turkish police officer Aydintas by AP's Burhan Ozbilici
    22-years old Turkish police officer Aydintas by AP's Burhan Ozbilici 
    I do not know Turkish to follow Turkish news reports and I do not trust Russian media.
    What I see that young 22-years old police officer can not be the sole planner of such act.

    From true Islamic religious point of view, ambassadors are prohibited to be killed or attacked.
    But tonight it was real about Islam despite the short old poetic verses the young Turk said in Arabic, it was about Aleppo and Syria.

    Many Arab social media users are cheering for the assassination of the ambassador wondering why they would care for the ambassador when Russia killed thousands in Syria directly and indirectly and the world stood still. I saw even a poem in Arabic dedicated to Aydintas who avenged for the nation not only for Syria.
    Two wrongs do not make right ... in a perfect world and we are not in a perfect world. All lines are blurred.
    I can safely say from what I see only that there are growing anti-Russian sentiments as well anti-Iranian sentiments because of Syria that are replacing the anti-American sentiments.

    Today I read that the Russian state TV described the murder of the US ambassador to Libya in Benghazi in 2012 as a boomerang effect for the US intervention in the region.
    I think Russia was hit by this boomerang tonight.

    All what, I know for sure now the blood cycle won't stop.

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    On Monday, Open Whisper System confirmed that its private messaging app "Signal" has been censored in Egypt after numerous reports over the weekend.
    Signal app

    Over this weekend users of Signal in Egypt "including myself" reported that they could not connect to Signal through major ISPs.

    Personally, I did face this and I could not connect to Signal through Orange 3G and 4G networks as well through TEData, Egypt's main ISP.

    According to reports, you can use the famous encrypted messaging service through VPN. On Monday, Open Whisper System confirmed that you can only access Signal through


    Interestingly, the service would connect and disconnect throughout the weekend.
    On Tuesday, the service is back again on TEData. I do not know what is really happening.

    Signal earned fame in Egypt when it was reported that Italian investigators used it to communicate with Rome during their first visit to Cairo to investigate Italian researcher Giulio Regeni's murder.
    It is not a big secret that the security authorities in Egypt above them the ministry of interior monitor social networks after 2013.
    Seems to me that encrypted Signal caught the attention of authorities and it was found that it could not be monitored easily, thus it was decided to block it altogether.
    Great days indeed. 

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    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to all those celebrating tonight all over the globe from Egyptian Chronicles. 
    Christmas gift
    Once upon time Egyptian cigarettes were a
    Christmas gift !!!
    Happy Holidays 

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