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7000 years and counting ...

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    The Under-construction bridge on the Nile

    "The Rod El-Farg axis" bridge under-construction passing through Warraq island and connecting with the mainland for the first time.

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egyptian police speed boat outside the island

    Since the clashes with security forces on Sunday , Egypt's Water bodies police has been circulating the island in some sort of a besiege

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Warrq island overview in the Nile

    An overview for Warraq island from Giza's side

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    For nearly three weeks I have been away from the blog as I had technical problems with my laptop.
    Thank God, I fixed those problems by a clean Windows 10 install and you can imagine how things have been.
    In all those days, I had one thing I wanted to blog about as soon as I am back online: The Egyptian Tiran and Sanafir islands.
    Yes, I was planning to write about Tiran and Sanafir islands and share the documents I have been gathering online to prove that the islands are 100% Egyptian.
    Now, I am back and I am going to write on the blog about an island but not about Tiran or Sanafir. I am going to write about Warraq island because it seems that there is something is wrong with islands nowadays in this country.
    First of all, here are very quick information about Warraq island.
    It is the biggest Nile island in Egypt, yes it is bigger than Zamalek and El-Manial Nile islands
    It is the most populated island in Egypt as there are some estimations speaking about 100 thousand people living there.
    Its recorded history as well past Egypt’s census shows that it was inhabited in the 19th century and it has been commonly known as Warraq Al-Khader.
    Warraq island on Google map 
    Officially, it has been considered part of Giza governorate since the 20th century but it is over looking two other governorates: Cairo and Qalyubia. This gives you an idea of its size.
    It was the first place in Giza to cultivate potatoes and it was the main potato supplier to the British occupation camps. Yes, the Nile used to flood it before the construction of Aswan High Dam but it has been there the whole time.
    I had to say this introduction because of the lies spread by Pro-regime media in the past few days as well by the officials themselves in Egypt.
    From a week ago, we woke up one Sunday morning to find that there were clashes between the residents of Warraq island and the security forces from Egypt’s police and armed forces.
    Sooner, the clashes resulted in the death of one of the locals and we found out that the angry islanders cut roads in Imbaba district, the mainland. The Islanders returned back to the island to hold a very big funeral for that 20-years old man. Video clips of the angry islanders began to emerge to say another story than the government’s.

    Officially, the government and the ministry of interior issued statements claiming that a campaign went the island in order to restore the State-owned land to remove illegal structures and encroachments on state property on the banks of the Nile.
    They were speaking about 700 evacuations orders to be executed in the island, only 9 houses were evacuated and demolished them.
    After demolishing her home in Egypt's Warraq island
    A mother of four sitting in front of what once was her house.
    The statements also said that the residents of Warraq island attacked the security forces with birdshot and automatic guns injuring not less than 30 police personnel including a police general.
    At night, the usual Pro-regime TV night talk shows slammed and attacked the residents of the Warraq island for hijacking the state-owned land and resisting the authorities.
    The usual set of accusations like being an agent of Qatar and Muslim Brotherhood stronghold were repeated boringly.
    Early Monday 17 July, news came from the island that Water bodies police stopped the ferries on the island and it was technically under siege. At the same time, Egypt’s interior ministry announced that it arrested about 13 people from the island for riots and incitement of violence.

    At 12 PM or 1 PM on the same day, news came that ferries returned to operate.
    As soon as I heard the news, I took my camera and headed to the island for work and to see what is happening.
    Things were normal in Imbaba but when you could see the entrance of Warraq mainland a Central security forces “CSF" vehicle ready for anything. At the ferry dock, there were couple low ranking police officers setting away from the public, from island residents.

    The Islanders were angry and sad but quiet. They were all whispering about how the island was besieged for hours and only then they were able to go to the mainland to bring food.
    In the way to the island, you could see very well how the Water bodies police speed boats were circulating the island. You can also see that huge bridge under construction connecting Cairo and Giza passing through the island.
    Egyptian police speed boat outside the island
    Egypt's water bodies circulating the island on Monday 
    At the Ferry’s dock, I found one of the island elderly speaking to the media surrounded by angry residents. I met with that old man and he explained to me everything.

     A former head of Warraq island local council for 17 years, Mr. Yahia El-Maghraby was angry from the TV channels and State-owned newspapers yet he was and is still keen to explain to anyone about what was happening.
    According to him, what happened 24 hours earlier was an escalation for something being prepared a month earlier.

    Things began to accelerate more and more in June as President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi spoke about the island indirectly claiming that the people there lived and built their homes illegally and their sewage was directed into the Nile in one of his conferences.
    He also stated in his word that he had a plan to turn Nile islands into financial centers.

    In the same month, PM Sherif Ismail issued his decree to exclude 17 Nile islands from a-1998 decree recognizing them as natural reserves.
    The decree
    The decree to exclude the islands
    To refute the claims of the government, two MPs representing Warraq presented to the House of Representatives copies of documents that prove the land ownership of the locals there.
    They also arranged a meeting between the locals and officials in Ramadan.

    In the early morning of July 17th, the islanders found them in front of huge security force made of the central security force and army units. The governorate workers came as well to evacuate and demolish houses on the island.
    Only 9 buildings were demolished as the locals began to stand in front of the bulldozers to stop the demolishment of more buildings.
    One of the demolished buildings
    One of the demolished buildings in the island 
    According to Maghraby, the clashes started as a verbal altercation between the locals and the security then the security fired birdshot as well tear gases at the locals who hurled rocks in return.
    The Warraq elderly as well other locals are still denying the government’s accusations that the islanders started attacking security forces with firearms.
    Following the death of a young local man, the security forces withdrew from the island whereas the locals went to the mainland to transfer their injured.

    They transferred 13 injured to 3 hospitals in Giza, Qalyubia and Cairo but next day they found out that the security forces arrested those men from the hospital accusing them of riots the day before.
    The locals did not know where those 13 injured men were till one of those detainees managed to call them and told them that they were detained at some Central security forces camp far away.
    Later, the prosecution ordered the detention of 9 detainees 15 days pending and the release of the rest.

    They also found out that Water bodies police stopped the ferries from working.
    Warraq is connected to the outside world through ferries, middle size old ferries.
    One family operates the ferry business on the island with 5 ferries only. They have got 2 ferries to Cairo, 2 ferries to Giza and one ferry to Qalyubia.
    The locals also got fishing boats. Originally, we are speaking about farmers and fishermen in Warraq despite the poor modernization that entered.
    The ferries are the only route to the mainland where the islanders can get every thing from food, medicine and fuel.

    Only means of connecting to the Mainland in Giza
    Currently, the ferries are the only connection between the island and the mainland
    Mr. Yahia El-Mahgraby recounted how the students could not go to their resit exams and how employees and workers could not get to their jobs because of that “Siege”.
    The “Siege” was ended at 12 PM on the same day when El-Mahgraby called TV morning shows criticizing the security’s action.

    Sadness, anger and fear were the common factors when you speak to anyone living in the island then whether an elderly or a child.
    They feel angry from the mainstream media attacking them as well the government that neglected them for years and now wants to kick them out of their home.
    Warraq island is a very poor village. It has no real public service.
    They got two schools and a small police station. They also got a very small clinic that cannot help anyone. The water is undrinkable there.
    Aside from agriculture and fishing, its youth suffer from unemployment inside the island and has to find work in the mainland.

    Showing the house's ruins in Warraq island
    The underage citizens of Warraq at one of the demolished houses
    Nevertheless, I felt some sort of pride while talking to the locals there whether the kids or women or even those who lost their houses.
    Here are a couple of interviews I recorded in the island. It can give a glimpse of the suffering of the people there. Please, spread it.

    Mr. Yahia El-Mahgraby explained to me that old fight between the government and the Islanders over the island that goes back at least two decades ago.

    In 1998, PM Atif Ebeid issued a decree recognizing Warraq island as well a number of Nile islands as Natural Reserves despite according to the islanders, they do not have any rare plants or rare animals or anything.
    In 2001, Ebeid’s cabinet issued decree number no.542 which stipulated that the land of the two Nile islands “Warraq” and “Dahab” to be expropriated for public use.
    The cabinet then claimed the two islands newly emerged from the Nile following the construction of Aswan high dam in the 1960s, which is untrue.
    Ebeid’s decree was met by huge anger in both islands and they protested it day and night.
    Then in June 2001, Late Atif Ebeid stated in front of the People’s Assembly that the people in both islands who got ownership contracts would not be kicked from their land or homes.

    Once a bedroom
    Once a bedroom in Warraq island for a farmer to rest in 
    Nevertheless, the locals in both islands feared of a setup, especially that during then just like now rumors spread that the government would turn both islands into gated upscale resorts and compounds. They sued the government in front of the Administrative Court with the help of not less than 52 lawyers.
    The civil society and political activists during Mubarak had much louder voice ironically.
    In 2002, the administrative court ruled in favor of the islanders of Warraq and Dahab.

    Standings of what was once a house
    The demolished house with its door and small batheroom
    Now, the menace is back.
    “Why did they bring up this project again? “ Mahgraby asked me.
    El-Mahgraby also revealed that Egyptian state got only 60 acres, a thing which the locals confirmed to me over and over in the island.
    Those 60 acres are divided into 30 acres owned by the endowment authority and 30 acres owned by the agricultural development authority. The agricultural development authority leased 25 acres of its land in the island to farmers with officially registered contracts.
    There are 2500 families living in the rest 5 acres also with official contracts registered at the Notary office.
    “If the state wants those 60 acres, it can take them but it must provide a compensation to those families living on those 5 acres.” Yahia El-Mahgraby told me.

    The man was also insisting that the rest of the people in the island own their land and houses with officially registered contracts.
    “The president himself must pay respect to those contract according to the law and the Constitution,” said the elderly who is highly respected in the island.
    A grandmother of 4
    Shourkia, a grilled corn seller and a grandmother shows the contracts of owning the land of her son's
    Interestingly, Yahia El-Mahgraby told me how the State-owned Arab Contractors Company compensated the people in the island for building the huge Rod El-Farg axis bridge in their land. The company took about 14 acres.
    People who lost their homes last week are wondering why the government or the state did not even compensate them like Arab contractors Company. It is a fair question.
    The Under-construction bridge on the Nile
    The Rod Farg axis under construction bridge. 
    On Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi revealed his plan to Warraq island to be a second Zamalek island saying that the upscale island was better than Warraq because it had better planning !!

    In my interview with Mr. Yahia El-Mahgraby , the 73-years old man told me that the president was given wrong information. I agree, not only president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is given wrong information but also not all the information.

    Zamalek has been upscale because simply Khedive Ismail wanted it to be upscale.

    So far the people of Warraq are still glued to their land and refuse to leave despite the President and the government’s statements.
    Unlike in 2002, I would say that the Nile Islanders are fighting alone. They are just standing in front of Goliath as much as they can waiting for David or a miracle to help them.

    “Do you know what happens to the fish when it leaves the water? it dies, the same thing will happen to us, we can not leave it.” He told me and only time will tell. 

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  • 07/26/17--17:43: The 200 pounds bill

  • This is a 200-Egyptian pounds bill that my aunt got from the ATM today and we found the following words on it in Arabic as follows :
    • 100 pounds for the refrigerator's monthly installment
    •  50 pounds for the TV installment
    •  50 pounds for the blanket's installment 😞
    • LE 200 Mahfouz
    This Says a lot about Egypt' economic situation. Those LE 200 were going to be divided for the monthly installment of a refrigerator, a TV and a blanket !! Yes, someone could not pay in full cash for his blanket and had to pay it in installments.

    That bill was issued in time of Central Bank of Egypt "CBE" governor Farouk El-Okdah who served from December 2003 to February 20013. The LE 200 bill was issued for the first time in 2007.

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

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

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

    1-Ibn Zinky’s Villa: LE 270 Million

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

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

    2-Another Zamalek villa: LE 252 Million

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

    Its address has not been mentioned.
    The living room
    The living room 
    Its façade is not included in the ad but a photo for the door is included
    The villa's entrance
    The entrance of the villa 

    3-Katameya Heights villa: LE 240 Million

    Starting from the third place, we will begin to read more frequently “Katameya Heights” where there is a villa or a palace up for sale for LE 240 million in Egypt.
    The villa or Palace at Katameya Heights
    The villa or Palace at Katameya Heights 
    That 2,200 sqm villa is sold for LE 240 Million {USD 13 Million }.
    It is located at the upscale closed gated community Katameya Heights in a “very prime location”.
    The furnished villa has got more than 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.
    The villa/palace's entrance and drive way
    The villa/palace's entrance and drive way 
    The website did not show the type of furnish in that villa/palace or whatever, empty rooms are only shown.

    4-Katameya Heights villa for price LE 230 Million

    Comes in the fourth place a villa with LE 230 Million {USD 12 Million} price tag. "It is not available anymore !!"
    It is actually identical like the first one in design and even got bigger space “4,200 sqm” but it is cheaper “Am I even allowed to use this word here ?” by 10 Million Egyptian pounds. I do not know why.
    The villa
    The villa 

    The villa's swimming pool
    The villa's swimming pool 
    Unlike the first one, it got an inner swimming pool.
    It is over looking the famous Katameya Heights Golf & Tennis resort.
    The overview of the villa
    The overview of the villa 
    The website does not show any rooms inside.

    5- A Competition between Sheikh Zayed and Katameya Heights villas for LE 185 Million

    We got two villas up for sale for LE 185 Million {USD 10 million}. The first one is in Katameya Heights and the other one is at Sheikh Zayed Suburb.

    Katameya Heights villa

    It looks to me a palace more than a villa.
    The villa
    The villa from outside
    It got one kitchen and two kitchenettes as well two swimming pools. It is fully furnished.
    It is amazing to me that the owners are selling it with its luxurious furniture.
    The doors
    One of the doors inside the villa 

    Sheikh Zayed huge villa

    Sheikh Zayed in 6 October district, an upscale suburb is Giza governorate is not strange on multi-million villas but LE 185,000,000  {USD 10 million } !! What is going on?
    The Allegria villa
    The Allegeria villa 
    The villa is located in SODIC’s Allegria. In case you forgot SODIC was founded by Alaa Mubarak's father in law Magdy Raskh and Alaa Mubarak used to have shares in it.
    There are no photos showing us the villa or why does it deserve this huge amount of money.

    6 – Competition between Katameya Heights villas for LE 150,000,000

    Suddenly, we got a drop in the price from LE 185 Million to LE 150 Million  {USD 8 Million}.
    We got two villas at Katameya Heights are up for sale for a price of LE 150,000,000
    Here is the first villa (1,150 sqm) with 7+ bedrooms and bathrooms.
    Classical interior of the villa
    The classical interior of the villa 

    The villa's exterior
    The villa's exterior 

    The villa's entrance
    The villa's entrance 

    Here is the second villa which actually is smaller (950 sqm)  in space and rooms  (4 bedrooms and bathrooms only) than the first one.
    Living room
    A living room I think 

    A balcony
    A balcony 

    The villa's swimming pool
    The villa's swimming pool 

    7- A Palm Hills Villa for LE 146,640,000

    We got back to 6th October district and we got a villa up for sale for LE 146,640,000 which is approximately also {USD 8 Million}.
    The Palm Hills villa
    The Palm Hills villa 
    This villa (1500 sqm) got two 2 elevators inside along with 6 master bedrooms and 9 bathrooms.
    One of the 9 bathrooms
    One of the 9 bathrooms is so small 
    It is furnished from Italy and you get a certificate guarantee of Italian authenticity of the furniture when you buy the house !!
    The kitchen
    The kitchen. I do not know if you get that red Kitchenaid mixer or not 

    Palm Hills compound is owned Palm Hills Developments company. If you remember Palm Hills Developments {PHD} was founded in 2005 by Mansour & Maghraby Investments along with their partner Mahmoud El-Gamal, who would become later Gamal Mubarak’s father in law.
    After the 2011 January revolution, there were questions marks and investigations about the huge masses of land given everywhere to El-Gamal and his developments companies whether in Giza or North Coast.

    I do not know about the fate of those investigations as they seem to be have gone in the wind. Interestingly when I checked the management page at PHD’s official website, I did not El-Gamal among the names of the board of the directors. I only found the name of his business partner Shehab Mazhar.

    8-Back to Katameya Heights villas and the price now is LE 140,000,000

    There are three villas in that exclusive compound up for sale for LE 140,000,000 {USD 7.8 Million}
    The first villa is truly classical luxurious one. When I showed its images to my mom, she remembered the royal palaces of Mohamed Ali. "It is no longer available"
    The villa at night
    The villa at night 
    The dining room
    The dining room 

    The second villa is not that classical. It has got 5 bedrooms and bathrooms with an overview of the Katameya Gold and Tennis club.
    Salon and dining rooms
    The salon room and dining room 

    One of the 7 bedrooms 
    The third villa up for sale looks so familiar like other villas.
    The villa's swimming pool
    The villa's swimming pool 
    It seems that it is the standard model in Katameya heights.
    The villa's kitchen
    The villa's kitchen

    9- Another Katameya Heights villa and the price is LE 130,000,000

    This time the villa is small ( building: 750 sqm) and that’s why its price is LE 130,000,000 {USD 7 Million}
    The Katameya villa
    An overview of the villa 
    It has not got furniture like other villas but it got a closet room with a window.
    The closet room
    The closet room 

    10-Finally another Katameya Heights villa for LE 119,000,000

    And our finale for the top ten most expensive villas is a villa in Katameya Heights villa which is up for sale for LE 119,000,000{ USD 6 Million }
    Katameya Golf Club
    Another overview for the Golf club

    The library
    The villa's library I think 
    It is fully furnished with lots of carpets as you can see.
    Too many carpets 
    I do not know why those rich people are selling their luxurious houses like that , are they liquidating their assets and are going to leave the country  because of the economic crisis Egypt is currently having.

    The prices in Egyptian pound are quite scary but I think that the owners of such villas do not want Egyptian pound in the first place as they want in dollars. The high US dollar price to the Egyptian pounds is the reason behind those prices.

    Now quick facts about Katameya Heights :

    • It has been the most exclusive gated compound Egypt.
    • Egypt’s Crème a la crème\VIP\Whos is who got villas there from Mubarak’s ministers to businessmen to officials whether military or civilian.
    • I do not recall reading ads for that compound or watching TV ads on TV channels about it like in SODIC’s Beverly Hills Compound or  Palm Hills or Talaat Mostafa’s projects.
    • Katameya Heights Compound was founded by New Cairo for Real State Developments Company which is headed by Khaled Abu Taleb and his brother Tarek Abu Taleb. You won’t find the names of those two men spread in the media like Shehab Mazhar or Hussein Sabour or Hisham Talaat Mostafa.
    • Following the ouster of Mubarak in 2011, infamous minister of house Ibrahim Soliman was accused in the media of selling directly the land of Katameya heights compound to the Abu Talebs for price less than its original value in mid 1990s in another classical corruption case. I do not know if the Prosecutor general had investigated those allegations or not.

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

    Via Instagram 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    His 2014 elections rival Hamdeen Sabbahi got only 3.09% of the votes in a big scandal.
    Already Sabbahi lost a lot of supporters especially among the youth who considered him as a puppet whose only role was to beautify the Presidential elections in front of the outside.

    Leftist lawyer and human rights activist Khaled Ali said he may run in the presidential elections from a couple of months ago.
    After the Tiran and Sanafir lawsuit in courts, Khaled Ali became so popular in Egypt.
    Despite he won’t win except by a miracle in front of El-Sisi, he has a chance to rock the elections by raising important topics in the media that we are not allowed to speak about anymore.
    Still, Ali was dragged to the court over a finger sign. If he is convicted, he won’t be to run for the elections.

    From his self-exile in UAE, former Presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik refuses to give a definite answer whether he will run or not.
    He made it clear that he would announce his candidacy for elections in Egypt and not outside it.
    Shafik has been staying in the UAE since 2012. Despite he was acquitted from all the corruption lawsuits that followed him, he has not come home yet. It is unclear why he does not want to return back.
    Personally, I considered Shafik as a true rival who can take votes from Sisi so easily especially from the Pro-State/army/regime/police fans voters base.

    Despite no one has announced his intention to run for elections, the Pro-regime media is marketing El-Sisi as the only option for Egypt because there is nobody else can save the country from chaos like him.

    So far it is a-One-Man-show for real and this man is Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

    The Pro-regime media has also begun to consider him the President forever after despite there is one obstacle standing in front of him when it comes to "that President till death apart thing"

    Constitution 2014 as an obstacle for forever after rule

    The current Egyptian constitution says in article no.140 that the presidential term of the President is 4 years only and that he or she may be re-elected once.
    Needless to say, there are calls for amending the Constitution “sometimes changing altogether”.
    In February, we found a couple of MPs from “Support Egypt” Bloc collecting signatures in the House of Representatives to allow Constitution amends in order to give the President more powers.

    Those MPs wanted to amend article no.226 which speaks about constitutional amendments.
    Aside of explaining the legislative procedures mentioned to amend the Constitution, the article stipulates the following :
    In all cases, texts pertaining to the re-election of the president of the republic or the principles of freedom and equality stipulated in this Constitution may not be amended, unless the amendment brings more guarantees.
    Those MPs wanted to amend that part of the article so they can amend article no.140 so the President may have 7 or 6 years as a presidential term instead of 4 years only.
    Their logic is that the Parliamentary term should not exceed the Presidential term. The Parliament’s term according to the Constitution is 5 years whereas the Presidential term as mentioned above is 4 years.

    Those MPs and the signatures they were collecting disappeared in the news but one of the MPs, Ismail Nasr El-Din made a comeback in the Pro-regime news on Friday calling Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to run “for the sake of the people in the upcoming Presidential elections”.

    It is worth to mention that in July 2016, the cassation court nullified Nasr El-Din’s parliamentary membership and yet he has been representing Helwan district in the parliament up till now !!!

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

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

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

    In a very alarming development, journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada’s personal blog was blocked in Egypt.
    This is the first time a personal blog in Egypt is blocked like that. Ziada was using his blog to share his news reports to overcome the block imposed on the Websites he used to write for including Masr Al-Arabia website.
    Ziada, a photojournalist and a writer spent more than 486 days in pre-trial detention in Egypt since December 2013 after his arrest in a student protest in Al-Azhar University.
    He was acquitted along other 12 defendants in the same case in April 2015. He was initially accused of illegal protesting and assaulting officers. Since his release and Ziada has become an activist who defends detainees rights and more vocal against the current regime.

    Another political website has been blocked lately despite it was just released recently somehow. This website is “Bel -Ahmar” or “In Red" and it is an independent leftist theoretical website dedicated to op-eds and leftist analytical pieces.
    It is not a news website but I think words like “revolution”, “labor rights”, “human rights” and “Military rule” as well the names of the writers from leftists terrified whoever runs the blocking show.
    “Bel-Ahmar” is founded by a group of veteran Egyptian leftists above them the veteran journalist and former editor in chief of Ahram Weekly and Ahram Online Hani Shukrallah.
    Leaving the leftist website, I do not remember if I spoke here about how football and sports website Kora Arabia was blocked.

    Up till now, there has been no direct official statement or order to ban those websites.
    The head of journalists syndicate Abdel Mohsen Salama has not managed to lift the ban on websites like Mada Misr, Daily News Egypt and Al-Mesryoon that are operating legally in the country despite his promises before.

    The mainstream media is ignoring the whole matter completely in a shameful way. As the mainstream media has not covered the websites ban as it should in Egypt, most people ignore that there are websites that are banned.
    it is frustrating for real.

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

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

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

    Now it is a reality they have to live it. I know that there is still an active group of Zamalek residents who are trying to organize themselves to protest and to stop the project. I wish them luck.

    The project started last week and the traffic has become a living hell already.

    Needless to say the Zamalek people are angry. My aunt was there last week doing some shopping and she overheard the one of Zamalek ladies speaking with the shopkeeper complaining about the traffic changes in the small island.

    My aunt told me that the lady accused the president and his government of "closing down" Zamalek to force the foreign embassies there to leave it and head to the New administrative capital built in New Cairo.

    It is true that the New Administrative Capital got a special embassies area.
    It seems that President Sisi began to lose his popularity among Zamalek ladies after all.

    Sadly, those ladies who cheered and supported him massively now can not organize one big protest for the sake of their island thanks to the protest law !! 

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    First of all I must present my deepest condolences to the families of the Alexandria train tragedy. I can not express how much I am angry as I watch the media coverage of that horrifying incident or rather the lack of media coverage of that incident in the media

    What makes me even angrier is the fact that it won’t be the last horrifying train accident of its kind if the current way of governance continues. If we continue not to hold the government truly for its actions , we will continue to have those disasters. I am working inshallah on a post dedicated to that train disaster.

    Second do you remember how I spoke about the upcoming Presidential elections 2018 and how we got no true presidential elections rival to our current president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

    Do you remember how I spoke in the second half of the post on how some people wanted to change our Egyptian Constitution for the sake of an infinite presidential term ?

    Casting their votes

    Well , last week those people returned to the scene boldly.

    On Thursday , a MP in the House of Representatives announced that he would represent a parliamentary petition to amend the current constitution once again as soon as the Parliament started its upcoming session in October.

    It is the same MP from February , MP Ismail Serg El-Din of Helwan who presented this petition. MP Serg El-Din wants to amend 6 articles in the current constitution because the current political circumstances demanded those amendments.

    He wants to amend article No.140 to so  the president aka Abdel Fattah El-Sisi would stay in his current presidential term for additional 2 years.

    He wants to change the Presidential term to become 6 years instead of 4 years.

    The Helwan MP wants to allow Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to be reelected for endless terms instead of another ones reelection only.

    Ismail Serg El-Din wants to amend article no.190 concerning the duties of the State Council.

    Oh yes , the State Council which is currently in odds  with President Abdel Fattah and his administration.

    Article No.190 stipulates the following :

    The State Council is an independent judicial body that is exclusively competent to adjudicate in administrative disputes, disciplinary cases and appeals, and disputes pertaining to its decisions. It also solely competent to issue opinions on the legal issues of bodies to be determined by law, review and draft bills and resolutions of a legislative character, and review draft contracts to which the state or any public entity is a party.Other competencies are to be determined by law.

    Now the MP wants to have a very small amendment to that article which will have a bigger impact on the independence of judiciary and separation of powers in Egypt. He wants to remove the word “Solely” from that phrase which I have highlighted.

    I think according to that suggested amendment any other court in the country like for instance the urgent matter court can “issue opinions on the legal issues of bodies to be determined by law , review and draft bills and resolutions of a legislative character and review draft contracts to which the state or any public entity is a party”.

    I am not a legal expert but this is how I understood it.

    I think I missed covering the latest escalation in that fight

    State Council chose Judge Yahia El-Dakroury as a head of State council but El-Sisi decided to go on with his law in July and chose another judge , the fourth senior deputy of the Council’s seven-senior-most deputies. 

    El-Dakroury did not give the fight thought. In July , he filed a grievance with the presidency according to the law against the decision to bypass him for head of the council as the most senior sitting judge. 

    In August , He filed an appeal with the High Administrative court to suspend the President’s decree in another escalation that has not been covered as it should in the mainstream media.

    Anyhow back to the upcoming 2018 Presidential elections.

    Before Ismail Serg El-Din went public with his parliamentary petition , Pro-regime TV hosts and journalists showered us with Op-eds and news reports calling for amending the Constitution they originally supported.

    More MPs including prominent faces in the Support Egypt Bloc declared their total support to that suggestion.

    Interestingly, the Chairman of Constitution 2014 committee and former Presidential Candidate Amr Moussa appeared once again publicly defending the constitution and slamming the attempt to amend it in order to extend the Presidential terms in an official statement.

    He said on his official twitter account the following :

    The Constitution is a sign of stability in the nations, respecting the constitution is a sign of sophistication in the people’s political life. 

    Calls to amending the constitution in the year to elect the President raises question marks about the political maturity of those standing behind those calls. Egypt is in a need to deepen stability and not to spread tensions , it needs a respect to the constitution and not to doubt it. The constitution is not above amendments but it is wisely to choose a time that is perfect politically for the sake of Egyptians and Egypt especially in those hard times.

    This matter “The Constitution amendments” should be discussed by the society in parallel with smart politics before any move to suggest or officially discuss amendments.

    The Constitution should be protected by the Egyptian people especially by the House of Representatives which I trust to be responsible enough to activate the Constitution instead of amending it.

    In 2016 , Moussa and a group of Prominent figures including members of the Constitution committee announced the launch of “The Egyptian Institution to protect the Constitution” NGO to raise awareness about that 2014 Constitution against the calls to amend it then.

    During then , late  MP Sameh Seif El-Yazel stated that the articles concerning the President’s powers should be amended.

    Back to 2017 , Amr Moussa is currently being attacked by the Pro-regime supporters on social media claiming that he is a MB supporter !!!!!!!!

    I feel that there will be more talk and more attempts to delay the upcoming presidential elections.

    By the way the Egyptian Parliament approved in July a law to eliminate judicial supervision of Elections by 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

    There are lots of names, lots of people who that need to be released from detention and to receive proper medical treatment.
    Among those names I remember frequently, the name of Ibrahim Halawa pops up.
    Egyptian-Irish Ibrahim Halawa spent the past 4 years behind bars too whether Pre-trial detention or detention pending trial after his arrest in the clashes of Fatah Mosque, the next day following Rabaa Massacre in 2013.

    He was sent to prison when he was 17 years old and now he is 21 years old.
    A photo of Halawa before his arrest from Facebook
    I know that Ireland pressed several times and is pressing but it seems in vain. Even the United Nations tried to use its power to release him but also with no use.

    I think they may wait longer till Halwa is sentenced along with other 400 defendants so the President will use his Pardon power and send him back to Ireland.

    Halawa and more than 400 other people are also accused of a number of charges including attempted murder. They are facing the death sentence and life sentences if they are found guilty.

    Up till now, there are thousands of people in jail following the Rabaa and Nahda sits-in dispersal as well what followed those dispersals from protests.

    Many of those young detainees especially who did nothing illegal are frustrated sad and angry.
    According to the testimonies of many lawyers, families, and ex-detainees, Daesh finds a new fanbase among those young men, unfortunately.
    I do not know what to say more. Hopefully Shawkan , Halawa and others will be released inshallah soon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In 2016, Alef Bookstore opened its first branch in London reaching to a new level of success.
    In all those years, as a culture venue Alef Bookstore presented a great opportunity for Middle-class youth to meet with authors, novelists and intellectuals through book signing events or lectures across the country.
    Readers had a good opportunity to meet their favorite writers including Pro-regime writers and Novelists like for instance best selling author Ahmed Mourad.

    Personally, I believe what happened to Alef Bookstore is a result of the Egyptian intellectuals’ silence towards the closure of Karama libraries founded by human rights activist Gamal Eid in working class areas.
    If the regime was faced by bigger and stronger condemnation during the closure of Karama, it would think twice before confiscating Alef Bookstore I believe.

    Anyhow back to Omar El-Shenety who is officially accused of being Muslim Brotherhood member. In other words, his name will join the infamous terrorist lists like famous ex-footballer Mohamed Abu Trika for some unknown reason.
    The AUC ‘05 alumni is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or affiliated to them from near or far according to many people close to him as well close to the Brotherhood.
    Omar El-Shenety used to write for both State-own Ahram Weekly and Ahram Online his views about the Egyptian economy. Did somebody dislike what he had written?
     He also writes in his blog.
    Is it because he supported the 25 January revolution and is a friend of Wael Ghonim !? I found a picture of him with Ghonim as well renowned American Egyptian economist Mohamed Al-Arian in LA in early 2013.
    Omar El-Shenety
    Omar El-Shenety in some lecture "Facebook" 

    El-Shenety is a capitalist investment banker who founded an investment banking company in Dubai.
    I think the UAE’s position from the Brotherhood is clear to the level that they won’t accept company related to the MB especially after 2013 in the country.

    The governmental committee assigned to confiscate and freeze Brotherhood assets assigned supervisors from State-owned Akhbar Al-Youm investment company to manage and oversee the Bookstore and its branches.
    Akhbar Al-Youm financial and managerial supervisors are currently managing Daily News Egypt and Borsa News as well Cairo Portal. Interestingly, Cairo Portal is no longer blocked in Egypt !!
    By the way according to Journalists’ gossip in Egypt, Akhbar Al-Youm got debts and losses over one billion pounds so I do not know how those supervisors are going to manage those projects more successful than their owners as the committee claimed in its statement !?

    Earlier this week, the committee released another statement announcing that it froze the assets of 18 companies owned allegedly by MB members in that terrorist assets. Among those companies, Delta RS which owns RadioShack Franchise in Egypt.
    Yup, RadioShack and its more than 35 branches across the country are currently under government control. Delta RS also owns Computer Shop, Mobile Shop as well Compu Me which it acquired in 2012.
    Delta RS was founded in the 1980s by businessman Ali Fahmy Tolba who is being accused officially of being an MB member.

    I do not understand how the government or the regime does not believe that such actions of confiscation and freezing assets are not in the best interest of the country.
    What kind of a message the Egyptian government is sending to foreign investors when it puts its hand on the assets of someone like Omar El-Shenety !?
    What kind of a message the Egyptian government is sending to young Egyptian entrepreneurs when it confiscates a successful project like Alef bookstore?

    In the past couple of days, all that I thought about is that the regime does not want any kind of assembly of youth in any way, even if it were a book signing !!!

    Young Egyptian entrepreneurs do not want to walk the Spiderwalk, they want to be successful like Omar El-Shenety.

    After all, failed states regimes want to rule people who walk using their hands instead of their feet. They are better than the people who read. 

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    Workshop Window

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

    Via Instagram

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

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

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

    There is ongoing war in Syria and Mosul’s liberation since 2016 forced many Iraqis to leave their homes.
    The big surprise for me is to find Congo on the top of the list in both years somehow because unlike Syria or Iraq, there is not enough media coverage of what has been happening there.
    Since August 2016, the war between the Kamwina Nsapu militias and Congo’s security forces in Kasai resulted in the death of more than 3000 people and the displacement of nearly 1.4 million others so according to the UN as well the Catholic Church in July. Atrocities are reported hugely in that ongoing war from recruiting children as soldiers, ethnic cleansing, and massacres committed by all parties involved including State security forces. The militias also believe in witchcraft and voodoo too.
    A displaced child holding onto his teddy bear "Getty"
    Egypt got no entries in the Internal displacement by conflicts in 2017 or 2016 despite Egyptian Christians were forced to leave North Sinai in February 2017 and before them, families from Rafah were forced to leave their homes because of that buffer zone created by the Egyptian armed forces.
    The IDMC acknowledges this in its report about Egypt on its official website. It only speaks about 78,000 people internally displaced by the eviction in 2014 and 2015

    Simply that there is information or enough credible data about the forced displacements in North Sinai because there is a complete media blackout imposed by the government there.

    The only official statements coming from North Sinai regarding the War on terrorism there is the official Egyptian armed forces’ Spokesperson and that’s it. It is sad and frustrating because I feel that the people who were forced to leave their homes in North Sinai whether Muslims or Christians are angry that the people back in the valley do not help them as they should.

    I am afraid the people of the valley are in the dark for real

    Most people focus on refugees who cross their borders in search for a better life yet internally displacement people are also in extreme need of help and care.

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    The Egyptian state railways It was coming to this either ways, but the government wanted to pick up the perfect timing to go on with its plan.
    On Sunday, Al-Ahram Daily Newspaper announced on its Front page in Arabic that Egypt’s transportation ministry finished drafting a law that would allow the private sector to participate in the railways' projects and services in the country for the first time since the 18th century.
    In other brief and realistic words, the transportation ministry is drafting a law that would allow the privatization of railways in Egypt.

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

    The draft law will be sent to the cabinet to issue it officially accordingly then it will be sent to the State Council for legal and constitutional revision before sending it to the Parliament.
    It is not a coincidence that many Pro-regime MPs suggested that the railways should be privatized following the terrifying Alexandria train collision that killed not less 41 people and injured 179 others earlier August

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

    The informed source told Al-Ahram Daily that the draft law currently got one article only and that it would be in effect till a comprehensive legislation was drafted by the government in cooperation with the World Bank as well law experts for Railways.
    The one-article law which stipulates that the Egyptian Railways authority or others whether people or companies can found and operate railway networks on a national level. It also stipulates that the current railways can be operated, maintained and managed by the private sector under usufruct right for maximum 30 years.

    If you remember in November 2016, Minister of investment and international cooperation Sahar Nasr wrote an Op-Ed in the Wall street journal announcing that the Egyptian government would “divest” partially from state-owned enterprises and public utilities.
    That Op-Ed caused a controversy then.
    As I said then, it was only a matter of time.

    Now my two cents. Before the Egyptian government goes with its plan to satisfy both the World Bank and International Monetary fund, it should first try to fix the Railways authority as well the railways themselves for real.
    I can not count the number of times I have been reading about fixing the railways since the time Mubarak.
    I can not count the number of how many millions or rather billion have been allocated to fix authority either !!!

    I do not understand how this government or rather this regime spent billion of dollars on constructing a new administrative capital when the railways in the country need to revamped for real !!
    Now here is a very sad infograph about the most deadly train crashes in Egypt in the past decade.

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    : coming soon to Egyptian Chronicles another trip to #Cairo's #khanelkhalili #market.Here is one of my favorite places in the #old #IslamicCairo market : Bab El-Ghouri #nofilter #mideast #africa #northafrica #TourCairo #tourism #Cairowalks #places #egipto #Egyptevia Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    According to the Sports law’s 4th article, the social and sports clubs got 3 months since the start of June till 31 August to adopt the new system and to have general assemblies.

    There are more than 40 sports clubs in the country classified into Sports clubs, clubs owned by companies and syndicates as well clubs owned by the armed forces and police. Each one of those categories got guideline bylaws issued by the EOC.

    Now in August, big clubs like the Shooting club, Gezira club and Smouha SC in Alexandria discovered that they got 30 days only to choose specific bylaws and the concerns were raised for the first time.

    People began to share on Facebook the proposed guidelines bylaws of the EOC and their clubs’ own bylaws. Huge campaigns started with the call for a general assembly of the members at Cairo’s Heliopolis Club.

    The members were called to attend the general assembly asap and not to do what Shooting club members had done, they should return immediately from North Coast resorts to vote and then return back to the vacations and beaches. They were giving special offers in order to show up.

    I am not a member of Heliopolis Club but I was added by friends in an open Facebook group for the members.

    I saw first hand what the people thought and wrote aside what was said in the social media that they were just bunch of classists who want to keep off people from lower classes from joining their private old club.
    Yes, some members wanted to keep others from their club so it would not be spoiled like “any other thing in the country”.

    For example, the EOC’s bylaws allowed, for example, honorary membership without any criteria “membership for army and police officers and judges” and non-university graduates to become members of the Club’s board but it is beyond that.

    I read the proposed EOC guidelines bylaws and I found at least three rules that allow a government control on that club and other clubs like it.

    For example, the EOC is given the right to amend the guideline bylaws as soon as they are applied immediately without returning back to the general assembly.
    The General assembly’s power also in the EOC’s bylaws is limited.

    On 22 August, more than 17,000 Heliopolis Club members showed up at the general assembly meeting including Current PM, Hisham Ismail himself.

    It was considered the biggest general assembly meeting for the club that was found in 1910.
    The majority of the members or exactly 17,273 rejected the EOC’s guideline bylaws and supported their own club bylaws. Only 42 members approved the EOC’s bylaws !!
    It was some kind a victory for Heliopolis Upper Middle and Upper Class.

    What happened in Heliopolis was a rehearsal for the big show at Egypt’s oldest Sports Club on the island of Zamalek.

    Founded in 1882, Gezira Sports Club  “GSC” is considered from the most expensive Egyptian clubs with a long history where you can find Crème de la crème of the Egyptian society.
    Following what happened in Heliopolis, the GSC members declared mobilization to save their club from a grim future if “the state” controlled it.

    Buses were arranged to transfer members from North Coast resorts as well from other far away areas in Cairo like in Heliopolis and some restaurants even declared special discounts for the members.

    The common theme in the angry posts for many of the GSC members was that “the guideline bylaws allowed membership without any criteria” which means that its membership would be opened for the rest of the public.

    It became hysterical to the level that I found Ali, the son of sports minister Khaled Abdel Aziz posting a video on his Facebook account telling the GSC members to chill out.

    Despite telling them to vote for their own club’s bylaws , Abdel Aziz defended the guideline bylines insisting that the membership would not be open to anyone as they thought.

    I found also veteran actor and entertainer Samir Sabry in a rare appearance calling people to come to save the club from a grim fate like Zamalek , which is being damaged because of the Metro.

    To be honest , I am not fond of a particular class or type of Gezira club members whom I cannot stand online , let alone offline “the elitists, racists and classists “.

    I am not fond of the GSC administration either that loves to poison stray cats in the club from time to time but when 29 August 2017 came, the GSC members amazed everybody.

    Paralyzing the streets of Zamalek, thousands of GSC members came from everywhere leaving their cars parked in queues to vote in a historical turnout for the club’s General assembly since early morning.

    According to news reports, more than 18,899 registered members came and voted and 18,840 voted for the Club’s own bylaws while only 55 voted for the EOC’s bylaws. It was one hell of a defeat for the EOC and a victory for the GSC members.
    Lamis and Ghada at GSC
    Pro-regime TV host Lamis El-Hadidy and social solidarity minister
    Ghada Wali at GSC during the assembly meeting "El-Hadidy's twitter account"
    The Shooting Club members are now jealous of the Heliopolis and GSC members and so they decided to have a new General assembly meeting but as I mentioned above the EOC rejected it.

    What puzzles me is how many of Gazeira club or Heliopolis club members understand very well how what the State control means “at least how I understand from their Facebook posts in the last couple of days” and how Egypt turned from bad to worse to worst since 1952 , still they support the repressive policies of the current regime against public and private freedoms.

    I totally understand that we are speaking about a special socioeconomic class that panics once its safe havens are in danger.
    Upper and Upper Middle-Class clubs like Gazeira or Heliopolis are among those safe havens for certain people in those classes
    Personally, I believe it is extremely selfish for those classes to protect their pseudo safe havens and ignore the rest of the country.
    Fairly on the same level, I believe that what happened in the past three weeks was an act of rebellion in its own way considering the current situation in Egypt and how the civil society is suffering.
    The current regime in Egypt does not give a chance to any kind of assembly so to have this happens now !!
    Well, God acts in a mysterious way.

    Ironically, some of the proud members of those clubs claimed on Facebook claimed that their electoral victory was like the one in the "30 June revolution that ousted MB Morsi" without realizing that it actually resembled the March 2011 referendum when it comes to the turnout.

    This also shows you how Egyptians can mobilize to vote if they know for sure that their vote can do a significant change.
    One big difference in Tunisia that made ahead of other Arab countries in the Arab spring that it had already a strong civil society.

    May be in the end, those small victories of those battles will lead the Egyptians to a triumph eventually in the war for democracy and freedom.

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

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

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

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

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

    Auguste Mariette Pasha
    Auguste Mariette Pasha in Egypt
    in the 18th century smoking a very long pipe 
    Historically, the first Museum dedicated to the Egyptian antiquities was founded in 1835 during the rule of Mohamed Ali Pasha. It was built near the Ezbekeyah gardens in Cairo. Later, it was moved to the Citadel.

    In 1855, Khedive Saeed decided to give the whole collection of that museum to the Austrian Emperor of Mexico "yes, you read it right" Maximilian I.
    Already, Saeed sent Egyptian troops to fight with the French against the Mexican revolution during then.
    Now the whole Egyptian collection of that first museum is at Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria.

    In 1858, under the supervision of French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette and with the support of Khedive Ismail, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo was founded in Boulaq area on the banks of the Nile  In 1878, that Museum drowned in a flood of the River Nile.

    Not only Egyptian antiquities drowned by the flood but also Mariette Pasha's notes and drawings drowned too.
    Mariette Pasha and his work were significant in the Egyptian archeology whether in Egypt or Sudan.

    Before his death in 1881, Mariette made sure his countryman Gaston Maspero would replace him as the head of the Egyptian department of antiquities.

    He also demanded to be buried in the garden of the museum in a fancy sarcophagus like the Ancient Egyptian kings whom he dedicated his life to studying. He got his wish after his death. Mariette Pasha was buried in the garden of the Boulaq Museum.

    Mariette Pasah's tomb in Boulaq museum
    Mariette Pasha's tomb at Boulaq Museum "Facebook" 
    The Egyptian department of antiquities also made a statue of him to commemorate him in the most ancient Egyptian way I would say.
    The statue was made and put in Boulaq Museum.
    Mariette  pasha  statue
    The inauguration of the statue at Boulaq museum "Facebook" 
    In 1891, after Mariette's death by two years, the remaining collection of the Egyptian Museum drowned in the flood was moved to a former Royal Palace in Giza aka Giza Palace.

    The remaining collection did not move alone because August Mariette's tomb moved with it and he was buried at Giza Museum.
    Mariette Pasha's tomb in Giza Museum
    The tomb of Mariette Pasha in Giza Museum.

    During the rule of Khedive Abbas II, the current Egyptian Museum was inaugurated in 1912

    As a sign of gratitude by Maspero, Mariette's tomb was moved to the new location. The new tomb was more sophisticated than just an art deco sarcophagus especially the statue of the pioneer Egyptologist was placed over the tomb.
    Mariette Pasha tomb in Cairo
    An old photo of the tomb at the Egyptian museum in Cairo

    Mariette Pasha statue overlooking the museum
    "@ JustinC4se Twitter account"
    Later, the busts of famous Egyptologists as famous museum curators were placed on the semi-circular memorial around the sarcophagus.

    No doubt that Egyptians owe a lot to both Mariette Pasha and Maspero.
    Mariette Pasha
    Mariette in an Arab attire
    Next time when you go to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, do not forget to visit Mariette Pasha's tomb before you leave.

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