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7000 years and counting ...
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    Happy Valentine’s Day from Egyptian Chronicles to those who still believe in love on the surface of that big sad planet called earth.
    I will seize this opportunity and share a couple of photos for my favorite Royal Egyptian Couple of all times at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo "EMC": Prince Rahotep and his wife Nefret.
    Famous Prince Rahotep and his wife Nofret Statues at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo
    Prince Rahotep and his wife Nefret "ignore my shadow" 
    I told you before that the Old Kingdom’s statues gave a shock to the workers who discovered them as they thought they were alive.
    Prince Rahotep was a prince from the Fourth dynasty.
    He is widely believed by most archeologists that he was the son of King Snefru and the brother of King Khufu.
    I remember reading at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo that he was an army commander but his Wikipedia page says that he was a high priest of Ra at Heliopolis according to the titles inscribed on his statue.
    Maybe he was both.

    After the break, there is a close-up photo of the two without my shadow thanks to a tip given by an Egyptian guide who saw me try in vain in taking a photo without my shadow.

    Famous Prince Rahotep and his wife Nofret Statues at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo
    A close look at the Royal couple after knowing a secret way to snap their photos without reflections 
    By the way, that couple is the best answer to that ongoing debate about Nefertiti's skin color.
    As you can see, Rahotep was a brown man whereas Nefret was white according to the Western definitions.

    The statues of Rahotep and Nefret were found at his tomb in Meidum in 1871 by archeologist and Egyptian Museum’s famous curator Auguste Mariette Pasha. “After I wrote a post paying my respect for his work, I found out that he was against teaching archeology to Egyptians.”
    I am praying that they are left alone at Tahrir museum, at their place in the Old Kingdom partition and not to be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum.
    Anyhow Happy Valentine’s Day.

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    Egypt's High State security prosecution ordered on Thursday the detention of former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh 15 days pending investigations into charges of spreading false news and leading a banned organization. 

    Originally I was planning to write this post about the arrest of Egypt’s ex-top auditor Hesham Geneina but I ended up Wednesday night following in disbelief the arrest of the former Presidential candidate and leader of Strong Egypt Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh.

    It started with a small yet alarming Facebook post by Hozaifa Abu El-Fotouh at 10:13 PM Wednesday Cairo local time saying that his father Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh and the members of the political bureau of Strong Egypt Party.

    At 12:25 AM, Hozaifa Abu El-Fotouh reported that all the of members of the political bureau that were arrested earlier were released while his father remained in custody.

    According to news reports, they were arrested at his house in New Cairo while they were having meeting after his return from London two days ago. “several politicians have been arrested nowadays from New Cairo as far as I could tell !!”
    Abdel Moneim Abu El-Fotouh speaks in his presser
    Abdel Moneim Abou E-Fotouh in a presser in 2012

    At first, there was no obvious reason on why the former MB leading figure and former presidential candidate and it seems that news websites and channels had different reasons.

    Later it turned out that he was arrested because “he had a contact with the Muslim Brotherhood”.

    Updated "@2:01PM Thursday :
    Abou El-Fotouh's lawyers say that they do not know the charges he is facing for real. They were also not allowed to attend his interrogation at the High State security prosecution.   

    I think we all know that Abou El-Fotouh left the MB in 2011 after a big fight and till that day the Brotherhood members hate him even more than El-Sisi because they could not forget how he called early presidential elections during the end of Mohamed Morsi’s era.

    Earlier this week, Abou El-Fotouh had an interview that was aired on Al-Jazeera Mubshar TV channel that was recorded in London.

    He arrived on Friday and recorded on Sunday despite the warnings he got from others not to speak through the Qatari TV channel. You can watch it after the break.


    During his stay in London, the former Presidential candidate also recorded an interview with London-based Al-Araby TV.
    The interview was going to be aired on Saturday but the TV channel aired hours following his arrest.


    He also recorded an interview with the BBC Wednesday morning before his arrest in the evening.

    I have not seen the BBC interview which was on Thursday but I have seen Al Jazeera Mubshar Misr and Al-Araby TV and they reminded me of how Abdel Moneim Abu El-Fotouh became an A-class politician.

    He repeated what he had said in both TV programs attacking El-Sisi only separating behind him and the Egyptian armed forces which he totally supported in its recent North Sinai operation.   He supported the peaceful political movement rejecting all talks of hunger revolution. He called the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Azhar and the Orthodox Church to quit politics and to stick to their religious role.

    Needless to say, he has been vocal and highly critical of Sisi’s regime and was among the early political figures calling for a boycott to the upcoming presidential elections in March.

    He was among those who signed the first statement calling the National Elections Authority “NEA” for the cancellation of elections following the arrest of former Egyptian army Chief of staff Sami Anan.

    It is worth to mention that Mohamed El-Kassas, Abou El-Fotouh’s deputy in Strong Egypt Party was arrested on Friday allegedly for joining banned group “aka Muslim Brotherhood” and working for that group’s media arm “Mekameeleen TV channel”.

    El-Kassas, who is a former MB that defected in early 2011 denied all those charges.

    For the record, Mohamed El-Kassas is among the best young politicians in Egypt since 2011.
    Of course, I can ignore the arrest of Egypt’s former top auditor Hesham Geneina by the military from two days ago as well.

    Back to Abu El-Fotouh who made it clear that he would spend the rest of days in a jail cell than to leave the country and live abroad.

    The High state security prosecution will interrogate the veteran Islamist politician early morning.

    Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh was imprisoned twice. The first time was in the infamous autumn of fury when Sadat arrested all his opponents from left to right in September 1981.
    The second time was during the era of Mubarak from 1996 to 2001.

    Opposition political powers and parties as well figures began to react to the arrest the veteran politician. Former Presidential candidate.

    Hamdeen Sabbahi was among the first who declared their support and even demanded the release of Abou El-Fotouh on Wednesday with his post on his personal verified Facebook account.

    Former presidential candidate and rights lawyer Khaled Ali has become a member of Abou El-Fotouh's legal team along with Ahmed Abu Ela Mady, the son of Abu Ela Mady, the leader of Al-Wasat Party.

    By making peaceful political change impossible, you are not giving youth too many options.
    Frustrated angry youth who do not know how to represented peacefully through politics.
    Either they will leave the country and immigrate as many of the young people I know in the past 7 years did or they will join militant radical groups.

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    You read the headline right !!
    Egypt is going to export gas worth USD 15 billion from Israel within the upcoming 10 years according to the Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier Monday.
    Monday afternoon, Egyptians and Arabs found out about this deal through PM Netanyahu’s social media accounts especially on Twitter as those accounts aired Bibi’s speech to the Israeli people translated into Arabic.
    Benjamin Netanyahu stated that he welcomed the deal to export Israeli gas to Egypt describing it as a historic agreement. He also said that that “historical agreement” would bring billions to State’s treasury adding that money would be spent on education and medical service for Israeli citizens.
    He also said that the gas agreement strengthened Israel’s security, economy and the regional relations.
    “Today is a feast,” He said in the video.
    Al-Masry Al-Youm Daily
    Al Masry Al Youm Daily Front Page
    "Israel announces that it exports gas to Egypt"


    What is the deal?

    Israeli Delek Drilling and Texas-based Noble Energy signed 10-year agreement to sell USD15 billion worth of natural gas from Tamarand Leviathan natural gas fields to little-known Egyptian Delphinus.
    According to the agreement, Israel is going to sell 3 billion cubic meters a year to Egypt through Delphinus, which did not hear about it before in the country.

    Despite several Media outlets have spoken like The Economist in April 2017 about the talks of that agreement, most of the public in Egypt only knew about it Monday afternoon.
    Needless to say, it shocked them because just for the past few weeks El-Sisi and his media have repeatedly spoken about his achievement and success in accelerating the production of gigantic Zohr natural gas field.
    Egyptian officials have repeatedly claimed that Zohr natural gas field will enable Egypt to be self-sufficient in the production of liquefied gas by the end 2018 or early 2019 yet now we find out that there is an Egyptian company that will import natural gas from Israel !!!!!

    What is even more ridiculous is how the Egyptian officials in the ministry of oil and Natural gas Regulatory authority claimed that they did not know anything about the agreement !!!
    Already that agreement needs to be approved by the two governments in order to be in effect.
    In 2017, Egypt passed a new Natural gas law that allows the private sector to import natural gas.
    Some officials in Egypt as well some people say that that natural gas from Israel is not imported for consumers in the country but rather to be liquefied and exported once again to Europe.
    Interestingly,
    Noble Energy said in its press release issued on Monday about the agreement that the Israeli gas “is anticipated to supply industrial and petrochemical customers as future power generation in Egypt”.

    What is Delphinus?

    Little was known in the media about Egyptian Delphinus before that announcement. We all knew on Monday that it is an Egyptian private sector company. We know that is head by a man called Alaa Arafa, of Arafa Holding , the famous textile company that owns Concrete for men's wear.

    1958-Born Alaa Arafa graduated originally as a doctor from the Faculty of medicine in Ain Shams University but it seems that he was attracted to the family's business in textile that goes back to the 1940s than helping in curing people.

     Alaa Arafa's father was said to be a personal friend to Hosni Mubarak as he was also an air fighter pilot like him and that's helped to expand the family business in textile in the past 20 years. He was from the first businessmen to join Qiz agreement allowing him to have business with Israel in order to export to Europe and the States.

    Alaa Arafa is also said to be the second Hussein Salem when it comes to oil and gas investements with Israel

    In January 2016, Egypt’s PM Sharif Ismail announced that permits would not be longer issued to companies importing gas from Israel to Egypt despite Leviathan and Tamar natural gas fields signed letters of intent with Delphinusin December 2015.

    In August 2017, London-based New Arab News website published a report saying that Shell was going to buy Israeli gas from Tamar and Leviathan for Egypt. It seems that deal did not work and Delphinus replaced Shell.

    I think we know that the Israeli government has approved the agreement from that speech Bibi said. The Egyptian government claims that it knows nothing about the deal despite the fact we know it does unofficially.
    Anything related to Israel must pass through the Egyptian government in Egypt.

    I have the feeling that Bibi wanted to use that deal to score some supports in Israel after his corruption scandal throwing the Sisi’s administration back to Cairo to the bus at a very critical time.
    Already I do not understand how the current Egyptian administration is not using the need of Israel to export liquid gas to Europe and score political gains for example like forcing Bibi’s administration to return to the negotiations table or to suspend the expansion of the illegal settlements in the West bank !!
    This is the least the current Egyptian administration can do if it is sincere and committed to the Palestinian cause which is directly connected to the Egyptian National security.
    Needless to say, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said it loud during the inauguration during Egypt’s gigantic Zohr gas field that he was not  a-big-mouth politician. I wish he were
    I wonder if his administration knows that there is a dispute between Lebanon and Israel over those particular natural gas fields in East Mediterranean.

    Mada Misr quoted experts in an early report about the deal that actually Israel used that agreement to play a game with the Egyptian government.
    Accordingly, Israel dropped the 2017-USD 2 billion compensation case against the Egyptian government represented in the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation “EGPG” and  Egyptian Natural Gas company “EGAS”  after the cancellation of the deal to export natural gas to Israel in April 2012.
    Amazingly I was writing a post about the latest developments in the cases of Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh and Hisham Geneina but Bibi’s announcement was like another slap in the face on Monday.

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    Egypt’s ministry of interior announced on Wednesday that it arrested 6 fugitives from the banned Muslim Brotherhood at a ranch in El-Behaira’s Wadi Al-Natron allegedly owned by Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh in the latest bad news for the former Presidential candidate following his arrest last week !!

    In a quick reaction, Abou El-Fotouh’s family issued an official statement denying that he owns a ranch or an agricultural land in El-Behaira governorate or any other place.
    The statement added that his wife Dr. Aliya Khalil was the one that owned an agricultural land in El-Bahaira governorate but not in Wadi Al-Natron and that she had leased it for a farmer for 9 years since 2013.
    Abou El-Fotouh’s family made it clear that his wife had no knowledge about what was happening in that land since 2013.
    Abou El-Fotouhs have been very active in defending the leader of Strong Egypt Party refuting the interior ministry’s statements since his arrest like the first statement accusing him of meeting MB leaders in London early February.

    His family released a statement stating that he traveled to London to participate in a lecture organized by former leading MB figure Kamel El-Hellbawy “who is currently a member in Egypt’s quasi-official National Council for human rights and a big Sisi supporter” about the current situation in Egypt and he already announced on his official FB page.
    The statement interestingly reminded the government that Abou El-Fotouh defected unofficially from the brotherhood in 2009 and that defection became official in 2011.

    There are more bad news coming for Egyptian former Presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh and his party “Strong Egypt” after his arrest on Wednesday.
    On Tuesday , a Cairo criminal court designated him as a terrorist per a request of High State security prosecution.
    Accordingly, all his assets will be frozen. The court ruling is appealable.


    Saturday evening members of Strong Egypt Party reported to the media that a police force confiscated the “Strong Egypt” Party Headquarter in Cairo without any judicial order.
    This has got an ominous meaning especially Pro-regime news websites and state-owned newspapers claimed on the same day that the Parties committee was looking into the Party’s case.
    On Sunday, members of the Parties committee told Shorouk Daily that they were not looking into Strong Egypt Party’s case because they have not got any reports from the Prosecution or complaints about it.

    It turned out on the same day , lawyer Samir Sabry presented a petition to the Prosecutor general to designate Abdel Fotouh as terrorist and his party as a terrorist organization.
    It is worth to mention that following the arrest of Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh and his deputy Mohamed El-Kassas within one week, the Political office decided to freeze the Party’s political activities.
    The political office called for an urgent meeting for the Party’s general assembly.
    TV hosts like Lamis El-Hadidy are promoting lies that Strong Egypt Party is a religious party which should be disbanded according to current Egyptian Constitution.
    This is a lie , Strong Egypt Party is not a religious party like for instance Al-Nour Party which should be disbanded according to the Constitution but is kept to please the Salafists despite the fact I believe that it lost them.
    Yes , its founder and some of its co-founding members are former MB members but bylaws , goals and objectives are speaking about social democratic party.
    It is already too close to the Constitution Party which was founded by ElBaradei as social liberal party.

    Rights researcher at Egyptian Initiative For personal rights “EIPR” Amr Ezzat said in a post on his verified Facebook account that Strong Egypt Party has had a very democratic view about religious freedom in Egypt more than many so-called civilian parties. He even added that the Party was against religious totalitarianism of religious institutions in Egypt.

    In his last interviews in London as well in Cairo , Abu El-Fotouh made it clearly that he separated between politics and religion demanding Al-Azhar , the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church and the Muslim Brotherhood to stop meddling in politics and stick to worship.

    Now if Strong Egypt Party is disbanded , it will be a true loss for Egypt and its already dead partisan political life.
    It has a potential to play an important role if we will ever again have a true partisan political life.
    By the way , I can not ignore how other so-called Pro-democratic parties under Hamdeen Sabbahi’s umbrella used to ignore Strong Egypt and its members because of Abou El-Fotouh’s past connection with the Brotherhood.
    I believe those parties could have protected Strong Egypt party against the attacks of the regime and its media if they included it in their coalition.
    BY the way, the same goes to April 6 Youth and Revolutionary Socialists movements.
    They have always considered them pariah not to be included in their statements or press conferences.
    It is worth to mention that I have not seen any escalation to support Abou El-Fotouh from those parties other than statements are completely ignored.
    I cannot think of what they can do now but surely they can stir things a little bit.
    It is worrying as there are rumors that the arrest of Hisham Geneina and Abou El-Fotouh is just the beginning for a wide crackdown against politicians and activists in the country from Pro-25 January supporters.

    Since early morning I have been reading that prominent human rights activist and founder of Cairo Institute for Human Rights studies“CIHRS” Bahey El-Din Hassan got a tip that not less than 336 politicians and activists are going to be arrested soon.

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    I won’t comment on the going BBC report by veteran correspondent Orla Guerin about the crackdown on dissidents in Egypt or the crusade declared by the Egyptian regime and its media arms especially the State Information service especially with its Short bitter recent history with the BBC because it is getting sillier by the minute.

    The only thing I can say that Guerin should not have focused on the case of Zubeida especially Egyptian human rights activists working on the forced disappearance file questioned it before and Amr Adeeb should not have accepted to conduct a very odd interview with traumatized Zubeida  and her strange husband at the headquarter of the Egyptian Ministry of interior after claiming it was at her house a day earlier !!!!!!!!!!
    Zubeida
    Poor Zubeida for real as she appeared on TV earlier this week 
    By the way, Zubeida’s mother has been arrested and some concerned lawyer sued her in front the criminal court for spreading lies against Egypt and no journalist was able to reach Zubeida and her husband so far except Adeeb.

    P.S There are other cases in the BBC World’s report by the way.
    All what I can say about that ongoing debate about the forced disappearance is the following.

    If we do not have cases of forced disappearance in Egypt according to what the Egyptian president as well the Egyptian government say and that those all disappeared people have joined ISIS “ several cases indeed joined that death cult group” , why does not Egypt sign the United Nations' International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance !??

    Former vice president and Nobel prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei reminded us with that on Twitter on Wednesday.
    Already signing this agreement will the Egyptian state looks more committed to the universal human rights internationally.
    It is better than thousand PR campaigns that cost the country millions of dollars.
    The agreement goes with our constitution and our laws.
    This is a very important question and I believe that we should call for signing the International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearances.

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    Sultan Abu Ela Mosque in Cairo
    Sultan Abu Ela Mosque in Cairo 

     It seems that there is some negative water effect on the ancient mosque and shrine of Sufi Sheikh Sultan Abu Ela in Cairo and noonday is paying attention.

    The Mamluk-era Mosque is already neglected according to heritage activists for reasons beyond me. Already I do not understand how to ignore such beautiful old mosque when it is behind the headquarter of Egypt's Ministry of foreign affairs "You can see it in the back".

    It is also near the Royal carriages Museum !! 

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    MBS is in Cairo right now and we are reading on Monday that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have agreed to create a $10 billion joint fund to develop a 1000 square-kilometers mega-city in South Sinai governorate as part of MBS’ futuristic NEOM project.

    The new deal comes 48 hours following Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional court rule’s on Saturday to void all previous court orders of Red Sea islands deal.

    The court also stated that it recognized the Parliament’s decision to pass the deal as a law “despite the parliament depended on the Court for urgent matter’s rule to go on with the so-quick vote in June 2017”.

    In other simple words, the deal is on legally “as if they need a court order”. We lost, those who believe that the islands are true and genuine part of Egypt.

    Egyptian Tiran
    An Egyptian flag overlooking
    Tiran island "Instagram
    Now according to law and constitution experts, this verdict is considered the end of the road for that path in that particular case but it is not the end for the legal path for Tiran and Sanafir island.

    This lawsuit was about the other lawsuits in front of the different courts but not about the deal itself and whether the islands are Egyptian or Saudi or whether the law issued by the parliament in June 2017 is constitutional or not.
    Now the legal procedures say that a group of brave lawyers should file a lawsuit in front of the High Administrative court regarding the constitutionality of that deal and the High Administrative court should transfer it to the Supreme Constitutional court. I do not if there are any brave lawyers in this country or not.

    Needless to say that there is a complete silence at the front of Khaled Ali and co.
    Khaled Ali has not commented a single comment about the verdict to explain its legal meaning to his followers and supporters.
    I know that he has been busy with the presidential elections which we all knew how it ended as well that #MeToo scandal that shattered his leftist party.
    He also got his own finger trial on Tuesday or Wednesday.

    That Tiran and Sanafir issue created a judicial mess like no other besides the political and strategic mess it created for Egypt.
    I know that officially Egypt and Saudi Arabia presented to the United Nations the new borders deal which means it will be very hard now to restore the two islands but it is not impossible.
    It is just an end of a sad chapter in a long tale in the life of Egypt and its Sinai.

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    Happy International women’s Day From Egypt to the fabulous and strong women around the globe especially in Africa, the Arab world, Muslim world and  Mideast ... not to mention Egypt itself.

    As this year’s theme according to the United Nations is the rural woman  “which actually is the true mother of human civilization if you think about it”, I would like to share with this beautiful photo I took for a beautiful statue at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo depicting an ancient Egyptian lady graining some grains.
    A statue of an ancient Egyptian woman gaining some grains at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo
    A beautiful statue indeed 
    It was not a statue of a royal figure or public figure.
    I do know if it was made based on a real model that lived from thousands of years ago on the banks of the Nile or not but I know that we should celebrate her and her granddaughters from rural women whom we should help in many ways especially economically in those hard days in Egypt.

    Women farmers at the field in Egypt's Sharkia
    Egyptian women farmers in the harvest of wheat in Sharkia, Nile Delta 


    Here I am not speaking the rural areas in Nile Delta and Upper Egypt countryside but also rural border areas especially in North Sinai which witnesses currently a big scale military operation to purge terrorism.
    The military operation is causing a huge shortage in supplies in North Sinai’s towns like Al-Arish and Sheikh Zowaid yet our ladies are standing there as much as they can with all force and strength as they have always down in those hard times.

    I also cannot forget Egyptian video journalist Mai El-Sabbagh who found herself accused of many charges and detained 15 days pending investigation for doing a simple video report about newly renovated tram in Alexandria as well other journalists currently behind bars.

    Happy International Women’s Day.

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    And as Egyptians were watching the current Presidential elections race in early January to see who is going to the king for the next four years whom they know very well, they got busy unexpectedly with something from the bygone true Royal era.

    In early January, someone shared on Twitter photos which Flickr user Islam Taha uploaded to his photostream in April 2011 showing a bedroom reportedly owned by King Farouk of Egypt. That bedroom is up for sale at a famous U.S based antiquities gallery.(12, 34,5, 6 )

    A group of friends who launched #MasrZaman’s active hashtag about Egypt’s history and heritage how King Farouk’s bedroom at his Royal Rest house in Giza zoo disappeared and was replaced by a cheap bedroom.
    King Farouk's bed and the two night stands "Rau antiquities"
    The bed and the two night stands "Rau antiquities" 
    began to discuss that tweet and photos remembering how the furniture and jewels of Mohamed Ali Royal were smuggled outside Egypt illegally. That discussion brought to the attention that news from September 2013 about

    On 15 January, Cairo-based Al-Molid website published a news report reporting about that royal bedroom that appeared in the United States concluding that it was the same bedroom that disappeared in 2013.

    In no time, the story went viral online and shared across the Egyptian social media universe to the level that the U.S antiquities company had to remove its King Farouk’s bedroom website page from its official website and its special video from its official YouTube Channel.
    It was the talk of the town that soon faded like any other thing despite it opened a very file in 2018: Where have Mohamed Ali Royal Family’s treasures gone?

    A King in exile reminds the government of its role

    The matter grew to the level that former King Ahmed Fouad II issued a short official statement about the bedroom suite that hit hard in January


    Regarding what was spread about the sell of his Majesty King Farouk I’s bedroom in an auction in the United States , King Ahmed Fouad II and his family would like to assert all what had been confiscated from the family {Mohamed Ali Dynasty} for the sake of the Egyptian people had become a part of the historical and intellectual heritage of the nation.
    That {heritage} is in the custody of the successive Egyptian governments , which should look after the people and its properties that should already be displayed in the state’s museums as public property. That heritage should not be neglected or left for theft.
    His Majesty {Ahmed Fouad II} ‘s dignity forbids him to reclaim that furniture as he is the original owner leaving this responsibility to the Egyptian state. God protect the nation from every evil.
    Or in other words “Dear Egyptian Republic, it is your Goddamn duty to protect Mohamed Ali Royal Family’s stuff, not mine, Signed Ahmed Fouad II” !!

    There has been no official reaction to Fouad II’s statement from Switzerland.
    He issued a more recent similar statement in February when Egyptian Lifestyle and Fashion Pashion Magazine announced that a King Farouk’s-Patek Philippe watch will be allegedly auctioned in March at  Christie’s Dubai.

    The watch of the late King
    The watch of the late king "Christie's" 
    I searched for it in the lot to be sold in that auction in Dubai but I could not find it.I do not know if Christie’s did not list online or not following the uproar that happened over the bedroom.
    Yet I found it after a couple of hours in research at a past auction’s lot from 2014. It was sold and returned back to Christie’s according to an interview with Remy Julia, the head of Watches in Christie’s in Khaleej Times.

    It is not the first watch owned by King Farouk that had been sold by Christie’s or any other big auction house.
    A number of King Farouk’s watches and accessories were sold in those shameful and infamous auctions held in 1954.
    Those infamous auctions included as well his rare collections of stamps and coins. His private underwear suites were sold too in a humiliating way. China plates and rare silverware in addition to vases were sold in those auctions.
    Interestingly, furniture or to be precise royal bedroom suites like the one mentioned here were not included according to my knowledge.

    Farouk’s Rest House in Giza Zoo

    Farouk’s Rest House was built for the late King in Giza Zoo between its famous Tea Island area and Khedive Ismail’s Rest House “wonder what furniture has remained in that rest House”.
    According to news reports, the four-room- Royal rest has been closed since 1986.

    The story goes that the rest house was used twice by the government as a residence for ministers who did not have houses in Cairo “from outside Cairo”.
    The first time was in 1978 till 1982, when the late minister of agriculture Mahmoud Dawood stayed mostly alone because the rest of his family was afraid to stay there at night because of the animals’ sounds and preferred to stay in Alexandria.
    The second time was in 1983 till 1986 when late minister Nagy Shatla of food supply and internal commerce and his family stayed there because he was originally from Mounfia governorate.

    Now legend says that one of the ministers’ wives did not like the royal furniture of the rest house especially the bedroom and decided to replace it next day from a nearby Omar Effendi department with a much cheaper bedroom. Allegedly the old bedroom of the former king was sent to some warehouse. In 2013, the bedroom was nowhere to be found in the Zoo’s warehouses.

    In 2018, according to the information we have got, the ministers are both dead and there is one wife that is still alive.
    I do not know which one of them but it seems that journalists have to fail to reach her to ask her if she was the one that ordered to change the bedroom or not and if that Farouk’s bedroom suite in New Orleans was the one that was in the Royal Rest house or not in the first place.

    Many people including Molid website journalists insist that that bedroom was the once that stolen from the Giza zoo’s Rest House despite we have not seen the picture of the original room which was officially reported missing in 2013.
    This is the available information we have got in Egypt so far.

    But this is not enough because we needed to know more about that bed suite that got nearly US 1 million tag in the States
    Using old secret Google search, I found out that the page was added online in 2004.

    That was my first lead then I contacted Rau Antiquities and I asked them directly about that the Egyptian King Farouk Empire bedroom, a thing which most news websites in Egypt did not bother to do, unfortunately.
    The renowned Rau Antiquities answered my questions in two emails. The second one had more details about King Farouk’s Bedroom suite which was sold to a client in 2004 in New York and then the renowned gallery acquired it from him again in 2010 when he sold his house.

    “Rau Antiquities acquired that bedroom suite in 2003 from Renoncourt Antiquities, a highly reputable dealer in Paris” Lori Page, the chief marketing officer said it in her email adding that the famous Paris art dealer owned it since the 1980s
    King Farouk's bedroom suite with nearly USD 1 million price tag
    King Farouk's bedroom suite with nearly
    USD 1 million price tag "Rau antiquities" 

    Paige added that they also knew from Renoncourt antiquities thatthe bedroom suite had been in France since 1970s.
    It was displayed in the main windows of the Paris-based antiquities gallery for two decades till the Americans bought.
    What Mrs. Paige told me in her email was the start of another lead to follow to know about that fancy bedroom.

    Unfortunately, Jean Renoncourt died in June 2016 and before that, his gallery collection was acquired by Rouilac auctions house.

    Thankfully, Aymeric Rouillac answered my email and told me that he had a long conversation with Renoncourt’s widow and daughter and both remember nothing about that bedroom suite. There are no records about his acquisitions in the past either.

    This is what I have found and honestly, I may push it further with extensive research in French news archives but I got busy with work as well bad influenza and Egyptian Presidential elections wacky race.

    Is it the Rest house’s bedroom?

    Now there is a slight probability that that luxurious bedroom would be the one in the Giza zoo if it left Egypt in 1978 or 1979 and if the wife of late minister Mahmoud Dawood was the one who did not like the bedroom’s in the rest house.

    Again a photo of the original rest house’s furniture can save a lot of time.
    For me that room left Egypt in the 1970s or the 1960s illegally even if did not leave from Giza zoo’s royal rest house, it left the country from another guest house or a presidential palace

    There are growing doubts that this bedroom suite in New Orleans was actually in one of the main Cairo presidential palaces thanks to its distinguished style.
    Starting from minute 23:48, you can see a similar bedroom suite in Koubbah palace.



    This is a documentary produced Egyptian State-TV when Mubarak’s administration began to renovate the Presidential palaces in Egypt.
    ِA similar style bedroom suite at Kobbuah palace
    ِA similar style bedroom suite at Kobbuah palace 
    Needless to say, if it turns that the Rau antiquities’ bedroom was originally a bedroom suite at one of the presidential palace then we are in front of a bigger issue.

    There are officially 30 Presidential palaces and guesthouse, mostly from the time of the Egyptian Kingdom and many of them are closed not to mention other palaces and guesthouses that were not registered presidential and we do not know about its furniture except by accident.

    For instance, here is King Farouk’s bedroom at the Royal Guesthouse in Helwan.
    Alleged King Farouk's bedroom at the Royal Guesthouse in  Helwan
    Alleged King Farouk's bedroom at the Royal Guesthouse in
    Helwan !! "Youm7" 
    That Guesthouse was officially inaugurated as King Farouk’s Museum in 2016. Amazingly it turned out that this Guesthouse was registered a Monumental landmark in Egypt in 1976.
    One must wonder what happened to that Art Deco Villa from 1952 to 1976 as well from 1976 to 2016.

    In its heyday, Helwan was a hot spot because of its famous therapeutic water in Kabrittaj Helwan and King Farouk used to go there frequently.

    Nevertheless, it is said that he only used that guesthouse twice only.
    Even if he used it twice, I do not know why I have doubts that this was not the original bedroom allocated for King Farouk. I have the same doubts about the carpet too !!

    Not only Farouk’s bedroom but Other Royal bedrooms as well

    Late Famous Egyptian comedian Fouad El-Mohandes (1924-2006) was known to own and sleep in Khedive Ismail’s bed. It was always brought up especially in his last days.
    I remember how he described it as too high that he frequently fell because of it when he got older and was living alone.
    In September, Rosa Al-Youssef Magazine published an interview with his eldest son who said that his father got the Khedive Ismail’s bed at one of the auctions in 1969 in Cairo.
    People ignore that the famous comedian was antiquities lover and collector.
    Unfortunately, a fire erupted late December in El-Mohandes’s house destroying everything including the Khedival bed.
    I think we must ask how that alleged Khedive Ismail bed found its way that auction in 1969 when it should be in one of those presidential palaces.

    Needless to say, the alleged Khedive Ismail’s bed was lucky to find its way into a house through an auction and through the flea market !!
    According to that photo, the bed of Egypt’s Sultana Melek’s bed was up for sale in some old Cairo flea market in the 1960s as I assume.
    Sultana Melek's bed in a flea market in Cairo
    Sultana Melek's bed in a flea market in Cairo
    Date unknown 

    The palace of Egypt’s only Sultana in Heliopolis was turned in into the famous high school “Masr El-Gadida Ideal school for Girls” either in the mid-1950s or early 1960s.
    The school is considered the Egyptian President and his wife’s Polling station as it is blocks away from the Presidential Palace.

    The originally Turkish Sultana passed away in Cairo in 1956.
    So I assume that the take over on the palace and its furniture happened after her death.
    Now there is no official information about any official auction for the late Sultana’s possessions whether the Jewelry or the furniture.
    Yet I know that some of her Jewelry that was confiscated by the infamous inventory committee assigned to collect Egyptian Mohamed Ali Royal’s Jewelry and assets.
    I know also that some of her Jewelry disappeared in the 1970s according to late Egyptian journalist Gamil Aref’s investigative reports in October magazine about the Jewels of Mohamed Ali Royal Family.
    I wonder where Sultana Melek’s Jewelry as well bed is now.
    Those two simple examples are just the tip of the iceberg and that they are usually ignored in the media despite their importance.

    Unfortunately, as I hinted above the story of King Farouk’s bedroom faded away despite it forces us to ask a legitimate question on that what happened to the Mohamed Ali’s Royal Family stuff that had been confiscated for the sake of the public.

    The Egyptian people deserve an answer because this is their heritage we are speaking about.


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    Mohamed Salah

     Egyptian Liverpool FC football player Mohamed Salah aka Mo Salah appeared on Saturday in Egypt's Spring Flowers Show 2018 as a Christ figure made of grass.

    Later that evening he made a football history when he scored four goals in the Liverpool Vs. Walford game in England's Primer League. 

    He is the first Egyptian footballer to score four goals in one game in the Primer League
    He is the first Egyptian footballer to become a hattrick in the Primer League.
    He is the first Egyptian footballer to become top scorer ever.


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    Earlier Tuesday , many Egyptians were shocked to know that popular entertainment and showbiz website “Filfan.com” has been blocked in Egypt joining a long list of blocked websites that has been getting longer since May 2017.

    Interestingly Filfan.com is owned and ran by digital publishing Sarmady , which is a Vodafone subsidiary. Yes, Filfan.com is officially Egypt’s first website to be owned by a major ISP to be blocked in that wave.

    There is no official explanation on why the famous non-political website has been blocked and Sarmday has not issued anything so far.

    A better guess that Vodafone is working to lift that sudden block that hit its popular website

    People are referring to a small news that it published on Monday abut how Egyptian singer Amal Maher allegedly reported the head of General Sports Authority  in Saudi Arabia Turki al-Sheikh to the police in Cairo for assaulting her in front of her house in Maadi earlier that day. 

    Allegedly al-Sheikh was Maher’s ex-fiancé an they had some sort of fight.

    The Saudi official who is officially Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman “MBS” ‘s special adviser for sports issues as well childhood friend has been causing controversy in Egypt for the past two weeks mostly in the world of sports.

    Earlier Tuesday , the famous singer issued a statement denying that she had a fight with him or that he had assaulted.

    Few hours later, Filfan.com was completely blocked.


    To be honest I am completely amazed because we are speaking about a new low in censorship.

    In the past , most of the blocked websites were blocked because of politics. Most of the blocked websites presented content critical to the current regime but FilFan.com is blocked because Amal Maher-Turki al-Sheikh’s feud that did not happen !?

    This is censorship for the sake of foreign officials !!!

    Speaking about online censorship and football in Egypt, last week popular Cairo-based Koorabia announced that it was going to close down as it was blocked for the second time for no official or even logic reason. Koorabia is a football news website and nobody understands why it would be blocked in the country like that.

    The Huffington Post’s main website in the United States is also blocked now Egypt as well.

    Last week , the telecommunications committee in Egypt’s House of Representatives passed 21 articles out of 45 articles in the new counter e-crimes bill drafted by the government. Those articles legalize the ban and censorship of websites inside Egypt for the sake of national security.

    “The National security concept” in the bill includes “all what is related to the independence , stability and security of nation as well what is related to presidency, National Defense council , National security council , Egyptian armed forces and the ministries of defense and military production as well ministry of interior.

    The Egyptian General intelligence service and military intelligence as well The Administrative Control Authority are also under the umbrella of that concept of National security.


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    Happy fantastic Mother Day to all the fantastic and strong ladies in Egypt and around the globe. 

    Ancient Egyptian woman giving birth aided by goddess Tefnut

    Here is a beautiful depiction showing a pregnant woman from ancient Egypt giving birth with the help of ancient Egyptian goddess Tefnut at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.  

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    Every time I pass by Heliopolis in Cairo, I must look around to see its remaining beautiful villas and palaces. One of my favorite palaces there is the Palace of Sultana Melek at Al-Oroba street which was turned in to a public school in the 1960s.
    Sultana Melek's Palace
    Sultana Meleks' palace with two strange banners
    For decades the Heliopolis style building hosted Misr Gadida language school. In the time of elections, it turned in to a poll station, the President’s Polling station especially in the time of Mubarak.
    From two weeks, I took a couple of photos of that beautiful building that was once the residence of Egypt’s only Sultana.
    To my surprise, I found out that a big banner hanging on the building with the words “Qena police station” !!
    What brought Qena police station of Upper Egypt to Cairo Heliopolis.
    What was really strange to me was the fact that the Misr El-Gadida language school was still there !!!
    I did not understand anything and I forgot to search what happened to the residence of that Turkish woman who became a Sultana for three years only.

    A post shared by Zeinobia (@zeinobia) on

    Only earlier Friday, I knew that the palace turned in to a public school has become a film studio recently and it is a location for popular actor Mohamed Ramadan’s TV series whose original setting is in Qena governorate, Upper Egypt.

    Do not ask me why Mohamed Ramadan does not film his TV series in Qena itself but seriously speaking that Palace does not deserve to be a fake substitute for Qena police station.

    I do not know what happened to the school but I know that the Palace deserve to be a Museum or a cultural hub if the school transferred to somewhere else.
    Updated: It turned that the school was transferred to a nearby building.

    Anyhow I will seize this opportunity to share more photo of that beautiful palace.
    Here are also a couple of photos from inside the Palace built between 1908 to 1909.
    Inside Sultana Melek's palace "Xenia Nikolskaya"
    Inside Sultana Melek's palace "Xenia Nikolskaya"
    It was designed by famous French architect Alexandre Marcel for Prince Hussein Kamel who became Egypt’s first and last Sultan in the 20th century.
    Inside Sultana Melek's palace "Xenia Nikolskaya"
    Inside Sultana Melek's palace "Xenia Nikolskaya"
    Marcel seemed to design several buildings for Baron Empain’s company in Heliopolis including his own amazing palace.
    Inside Sultana Melek's palace "Xenia Nikolskaya"
    Inside Sultana Melek's palace "Xenia Nikolskaya"
    Sultana Melek’s palace was officially registered as a monumental heritage building in July 2000.
    Inside Sultana Melek's palace "Xenia Nikolskaya"
    Inside Sultana Melek's palace "Xenia Nikolskaya"
    I cannot imagine how it looked like in its heyday or how it looked like with its complete furniture there.
    Sultana Melek's palace in 1915
    The palace in its heydays in 1915 

    I could not find any source speaking about how the furniture of that palace found its way to the market in the 1960s.
    As you may have known from my previous post about King Farouk’s lost bedroom suit the bed of her royal highness Melek found its way to the flea market in the 1960s.
    ًWhat I have read about that old Turkish lady who married Hussein Kamel that she was very kind and nice. May God bless her soul.
    Here is photo as an old lady during the reign of Farouk I.
    Sultana Melek in 1940s while wearing the Turkish Yashmak
    Sultana Melek in 1940s while wearing the Turkish Yashmak 


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    On Saturday the news came that 51-years-renowned Palestinian singer Rim Banna passed away after six years of struggling with cancer.

    Banna, the daughter of Nazareth was Palestine’s most female famous singer in the past decade bringing traditional Palestinian folkloric songs to the modern times with her sweet voice.
    A daughter of renowned Palestinian poetess and activist Zuhaira Sabbagh, Rim Banna was also an activist in her way supporting her people’s quest for survival, freedom and independent rightful state.

    She was a leading icon of modern Palestinian resistance that used art to remind that cruel world that there are people called Palestinians and they won’t give up that right of having their independence.
    Rim Banna
    Late Rim Banna of Palestine 

    Here is my favorite song by her, a Palestinian folk song called “On the top of the mountain”


    Banna was also a strong supporter of the revolutions in the Arab world, unlike many artists. She supported the Egyptian revolution and came to Cairo where she had concerts.

    I remember seeing her photos from an outing she went with a couple of younger friends from bloggers, photographers and journalists. Rim seemed to be true down to earth person.

    She was also a supporter of Syrian revolution as well Syrian refugees quietly. She went in a delegation including Egyptian MPs and activists and visited Syria in June 2013.
    Journalist and writer Abdel Rahman Ayyash remembered how she stood to two members of ISIS in Syria when they began to show up at the liberated areas “liberated from Al-Assad’s forces” refusing to give them their camera or cover her hair.
    That landed her in a trouble with the Israeli government in Nazareth.

    Despite her fight with cancer, she did not forget to show her support Egyptian revolutionaries online demanding the freedom of activists she knew.
    Here is another song for her. A romantic song called “Wait for me”.

    May God bless your souls Rim Banna of Nazareth.
    Here is her funeral earlier Saturday in her hometown of Nazareth where mourners sang her Palestinian folk songs.
    Here is also Rim Banna’s page in Spotify.
    Again RIP Rim Banna, your art will live forever.

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    After 12 hours from now Cairo local time, the polling stations will open its doors for more than 50 million eligible voters kicking off the 2018 Presidential elections inside Egypt which all the world knows its result in advance: an overwhelming victory for President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

    The Egyptian armed forces units have been deployed the polling stations, mostly at schools around the country. The Egyptian army has been securing the Election process in Egypt since 2011.

    Anyhow now the Egyptian Pro-regime mainstream media and social media have been doing something hysterically in the past few days especially in the past 24 days: Encouraging people to vote at the polling station in order to have a high turnout.

    Egyptians know very well that Sisi is going to win these elections so there is fear that they may not stand in queues like in past presidential elections.

    TV hosts are calling people to go and to vote in order to prove to the world that they are behind Abdel Fattah El-Sisi despite logically and theoretically speaking a high turnout does not mean those people will choose Sisi because they can choose that other guywhom most of the public ignore and foreign media ridicules.

    WhatsApp messages and Facebook pages and posts are shared that Abdel Fattah El-Sisi does not only have one rival or nemesis that he has to beat but he has got other nemeses like Israel “despite having officially and unofficially excellent relations with Israel” , United States of America “despite official statements that we are having eternal strategic relations with the US especially with Trump’s administration” , Qatar “because of course it should be there”, Turkey “because of Erdogan”, the Muslim Brotherhood “Naturally” and Iran “oh yeah !!”
    Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
    A pro-Sisi billboard 
    That post went viral in the past 48 hours.

    Now some pro-government TV hosts and journalists are saying that there are too many polling stations and thus we won’t notice long queues like before.
    Technically speaking queues are not expected in early Morning on Monday because it is a busy business day. People are expected to show up later in the afternoon or evening.

    Needless to say, there is a new level of incentive to make people show up at the polling station.




    Dream Park, the famous and biggest amusement park in Egypt presents a 50% discount on its tickets for those who vote on condition that they still have election ink on their finger !!

    The Ad
    The ad in Al-Ahram Daily on 25 March 
    Dream Park advertisement took half the Front page of Al-Ahram Daily newspaper on Sunday in Colors, which means more than LE 150,000 !!

    There is a rumor that Carrefour is having 50% discount on its merchandise except for electrical appliances if people go to vote and take a selfie with the ballot paper which is actually banned.

    On the other hand a group of Egyptian activists launched online a campaign “Do not go out” and “Your vote is needless” in Arabic on Twitter calling voters to boycott the Presidential elections listing many reasons starting from the fact all true presidential candidates have vanished to human rights violations to wrong economic decisions taken in the past 4 years.

    I do not know which group will succeed tomorrow in the high turnout battle: The regime and its supporters or the activists
    Will people go to polling stations and we will have a high turnout or they won’t go to the polling stations and we will have a low turnout !?
    In few hours we will know.

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    Elections ink at a polling station n Dokki , Egypt
    Elections ink at a polling station n Dokki , Egypt 
    The first day of presidential elections 2018 in Egypt is over as 13,706 polling stations in 26 governorates close their doors after 12 hours of voting.
    Since 9 AM, the polling stations secured by Egyptian armed forces units opened the doors for nearly 56 million eligible voters hoping for a high turnout that would send a direct message to the world as well to inside that Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has still got popularity.
    Scoring victory in elections with a high percentage is not enough proof especially that old Mubarak used to do that and no one bought it.

    After the January revolution, Egyptians surprised the world somehow of standing long queues in different weather conditions in 2011 in a referendum followed by parliamentary elections then followed by the first multi-candidate democratic presidential elections with its two stages in 2012.
    The true change was in the turnout. The turnout proves that the people trust you and trust your process.
    Long queues give a good image in the foreign media. It is good for the foreign partners who will use it to prove that you are popular.
    I have not seen those long queues the Pro-regime media whether mainstream or social are urging the people to show the world 

    All that I saw in Cairo and Giza till 2.30 PM was a moderate turnout for senior citizens and some people in their late 40s.

    I couple of young men under 30 in a Cairo polling station from the working class who were clueless on how to vote properly and three women in their early 30s from Middle Class in a Giza polling station.
    One of those ladies, a housewife who voted for that “other guy” aka Moussa Mostafa Mossua because “she wanted the elections to appear nice in front of the world” !!!!!!

    The main thing when I spoke with those people I found; they all complain about economy and prices. Sisi has to fix the economy in those four years, that what I was told.
    This is for now. I saw and noticed other things but I am tired to write anything. 

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    Another dispatch from Cairo, the land of pharaohs and elections.
    Earlier Friday, Egypt’s National Elections Authority “NEA” announced that no one has presented any appeal or objection against the elections.
    Thus on 2 April, the NEA will announce Current president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the winner of the 2018 presidential race in the non-surprising news.
    According to the unofficial preliminary results leaked from the NEA and Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s official campaign, the current president comes in the first place by 92% of the votes, the spoilt votes in the second place by 5% and Moussa Moussa in the third place by 3%.
    Estimations of the turn out speak about over 40% of eligible votes “59 million votes”
    This is the second consecutive presidential elections in a row to have the spoilt vote in the second place.
    In the 2014 Presidential elections between Sisi and Hamdeen Sabhi, also the spoiled votes came in the second place by 4.07%
    Needless to say, the fact that we have spoiled votes more than El-Sisi’s opponent in the Presidential elections say a lot especially  with all the attempt to mobilize people to head to the polling stations
    At 9 PM Wednesday, Egyptian Presidential elections 2018 concluded in a dramatic way as the NEA extended it for another hour whereas a huge sandstorm was hitting the country.
    Snapping a photo for mom in Egypt's Presidential elections 2018
    A lady snapping a photo of her old mother casting her vote in the presidential elections 2018
    This post includes my testimony on the second day and third day as well a more detailed day one of the Egyptian presidential elections 2018.
    The first post about the Egyptian presidential elections is brief as I was tired and God knows that I am still tired thanks to our dusty Egyptian spring and sinusitis.
    You can see a very short summary of that election in the video here. It is too short and I mock how the mainstream media covered the elections. It is different as you can than previous reports about elections since 2011.


    First of all, I did not vote in the Egyptian presidential elections 2018 because it is actually a referendum.
    It is a setback to the old days and continuing old tradition of the 99.999% yes to the leader referendums that started in the days of Nasser.

    Ironically I would have voted if the regime let other candidates like Ahmed Shafik or Sami Anan or Khaled Ali run without dirty games.

    I did not vote and I am ready to pay that LE 500 fine now the“NEA” has just announced earlier Wednesday as a fine in order to force the eligible voters to show up at the polling stations.
    The fine for not showing up to vote does exist in the 2014-Presidential elections law yet that article no.43 does not speak about the mechanism on how to apply that fine in the first place.
    The NEA’s threat comes as an indirect official announcement that the turnout in Presidential elections 2018 is low as expected.
    Presidential Candidate Moussa Moussa at a Polling Station in Egypt's presidential elections
    Moussa Moussa speaking to AFP reporter in French after casting his vote in a Downtown Cairo polling
    station 
    While covering the Presidential elections, I saw presidential candidate Moussa Moussa who is currently speaking of becoming the leader of opposition in Egypt.
    The thing is that he had never opposed El-Sisi let alone is popular enough among any group to become the leader of opposition in the country.
    It is another sad affair when you think about it.

    The first two days already witnessed a noticeable turn out of elderly people in the poll station. It also witnessed that unneeded atmosphere of festivities
    In the first day of the elections, I only saw young people that I can count on my hand.

    Egyptian voters at a polling station in Egypt's Presidential elections 2018
    Those three young ladies were the first young people I had seen in the first days of the elections

    From what I read the third and last day witnessed a moderate turnout from all ages and not from the elderly only.
    The declining turnout is not a surprise to me or others but what was astonishing is how the Egyptian officials went too far to encourage high turnout in what can be considered as electoral violations.
    The governor of Qalyubia announced on Tuesday a-LE 100,000 to the church or eparchy with the highest turnout “more than 40%” in the Presidential elections.
    In other words, he wants the Egyptian Orthodox Church and other Churches in his governorate to mobilize their members to vote !!
    State resorts to religion for a high turn out !!

    Choosing her president at a polling station in Egypt's Presidential elections 2018
    A nice old Christian Egyptian lady voting in the presidential elections. She came alone 
     I think this shows the Christian Egyptians were not so encouraged to vote for Abdel Fattah El-Sisi like what Robert Fisk claimed in his column in the Independent last week !!

    Governor Mahmoud El-Ashamawy did not forget Muslim voters in his governorate as he declared also that he would award the counties and villages with the highest turnout with Umrah trips !!!
    The former army general was met with his huge criticism as well rejection from the Orthodox Church itself. The Diocese of Shobra El-Khaima slammed the governor indirectly in a statement issued on its official Facebook page on Wednesday.
    “The Church has never accepted rewards for its service,” said the statement adding that the Church was doing its religious, educational and patriotic role from “its heart”
    Christian Egyptian activists and politicians also slammed him.
    On Thursday he backtracked what he said about the reward to churches and eparchies.
    Back on Tuesday, many governors followed the governor of Qalyubia but without a reward to Churches like for instance.

    Mounfia governorate announced on Wednesday a-LE 350,000-reward for counties and cities as well a-LE 150,000-reward for the village with the highest turnout in the Presidential elections on condition that their turnout would not be less than 40%. Those rewards will be allocated to raise the standards of infrastructure services in those towns, counties and villages !!
    As you can see this is not an individual act from one governor but several governors.
    I did not include here the rest of the links that speak about the rest of the governorates.
    Unofficially, there had been several initiatives by Pro-regime businessmen that cannot be ignored. Like the LE 4 million reward allocated by pro-regime businessman Hassan Ratab and a group of businessmen to the village with the highest turnout in the Presidential elections !!

    Those LE 4 million are to be allocated to the infrastructure projects in that lucky village !!
    I think it is the role of the Egyptian government and Egyptian president to provide the citizens with those services without any return.
    Needless to say, some people especially Pro-regime MPs resorted to old techniques.
    A local DJ outside a polling station in Egypt's Presidential elections
    Very young men seen dancing on DJ music seen too often in those elections
    A little birdy told me who is better kept anonymous that MP Abdel Rahim Ali promised on Saturday to give old ladies especially in the poor class areas in Agouza and Dokki bags of food supplies if they had gone and voted in the Presidential elections. The inked finger was the proof that they went to vote.
    This is not encouragement to vote, this is an electoral bribe and taking advantage of people’s poverty.
    Similar testimonies are showering the internet for real and yet the government and NEA kept a blind eye on what happened.

    In fact, I am reading now about a young man filmed electoral bribes who was arrested after he was attacked by infamous TV host Ahmed Moussa. I am trying to find the video.
    My little birdy also told me that the MP also hired unemployed young men and ladies for LE 500 to work as cheerleaders outside the polling stations in the area.

    That explained why I and others saw on the first-day of the elections young ladies and men wearing “Long Live Egypt” dancing and cheering with noisy DJs for no reason for real right beside the polling stations.
    What shocked me was those of young ladies were actually underage girls dancing in the middle of the street.
    I saw that in Agouza, Dokki, Downtown Cairo.
    Other saw it and filmed in El-Rehab in New Cairo as well in other governorates including Port Said !!
    Again the fact that that was seen in several areas in Egypt confirms that there was some kind orchestration.
    I do not know how young girls dancing in the streets while carrying flags of Egypt can attract voters !!
    Anyhow this what I have seen, read and heard in Egypt’s Presidential elections 2018.
    FYI on Thursday, calls have started to amend the Egyptian constitution to allow El-Sisi to run for eternity and beyond.
    Egyptian women voters in Egypt's Presidential elections 2018
    That lady in the Middle asked me to photograph her and those nice old ladies whom she did not know
    at the polling station

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    Sunday afternoon, Egypt’s High Media Council fined Daily Al Masry Al Youm “AMAY” LE 100,000 for allegedly publishing misleading news as referring its editor in chief and one of the reporters to an investigation at the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo.
    The High Media Council which is led by veteran pro-regime journalist Makram Mohamed Ahmed also ordered the newspaper to apologize to the National Elections Authority in the daily newspaper itself.

    All that happened because AMAY published on its first page in the edition of Wednesday’s issue a news with the headline saying the following in Arabic ( الدولة تحشد الناخبين اخر ايام الانتخابات) or “The state mobilizes the voters in the last day of the elections”.
    AMAY
    The issue with the headline that caused trouble
    It seems the headline and the news itself did not like some VIPs did not like the title or the news because the AMAY editorial team decided to change to remove from the first page as well the AMAY’s website and its cache !!
    Late on Wednesday, AMAY’s editor in chief as well its Presidential correspondent Mohsen Smika declared his resignation on his official Facebook in a short post.


    Matters have reached to a dark tunnel , as political stances and not profession stances are being forced on AMAY , the latest stance was its headline on Wednesday’s first edition. Thus I declared my resignation from AMAY
    Some think that Smika was slamming the regime but h actually is slamming the publishers of the newspaper, above them Salah Diab and his son.
    One look to Mohsen Smika, you will know that the man took the side of ‘the state’
    On Thursday, Egyptian Prosecutor General ordered an investigation with AMAY editor in chief for insulting the Egyptians !!

    When I searched, I found that notorious Samir Sabry filed a legal complaint with AMAY editor in chief for insulting the Egyptians and state institutions with that statement !!

    Al Masry Al Youm has not committed anything wrong in its headline on Frontline because in Arabic it described perfectly what the Egyptian government was doing from attempting to mobilize the public into voting !!
    The governors in several governorates were doing so with all those rewards to the village and county as well city with the high turnout !!
    This is called mobilizing in English and (حشد) in Arabic !!

    The AMAY should not have changed its first page or apologized but it seemed that there was an extreme pressure on the privately owned newspaper.
    Either way, this is not a good sign for press freedom or media freedom at the end of El-Sisi’s first Presidential term and the start of his second presidential term.
    It is not a big secret that the freedom of expression as well the media in general in the past four years in an unprecedented way.
    Mubarak was smart enough to a margin of freedom of expression and journalism in the county so people can vent their anger.
    Journalism is not a crime .. period.

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    On Monday, Egypt’s National Elections Authority announced the final and official results of the March Presidential elections 2018.
    Incumbent President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was elected unsurprisingly in a landslide victory with 97% of the valid votes in a-41.5%-turnout.

    His rival, the leader of Ghad Party Moussa Moussa got2.92%  of the total votes.
    For the second presidential elections in a row, the spoilt votes come in the second place right after Sisi with1,762,231 votes or 7.27% of the total votes.
    It is worth to mention that the number of eligible voters increased from 53,909,306 in Presidential elections 2014 to become 59,078,138 normally.

    Now the NEA, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Pro-regime media are claiming that there was a huge turnout thanking Egyptians inside and outside for once again proving to the world that they supported the current president.
    Ballot boxes at a polling station in Egypt's Presidential elections 2018
    Inside an Egyptian presidential elections polling station in Giza 
    Well numbers, the official numbers released by the NEA says a different story; especially when compared with presidential elections 2014 and presidential elections 2012 which were released by NEA’s predecessor the High Elections committee
    Let’s see my dear readers what the official numbers say.

    First of all
    Here is El-Sisi Vs. Moussa’s graph


    You can see Moussa Moussa got very tiny percentage comparing to El-Sisi which is unsurprisingly considering what happened in those elections and how he ended up standing against him.
    Presidential Candidate Moussa Moussa at a Polling Station in Egypt's presidential elections
    Moussa Moussa voting for photographers waiting for after voting in the Presidential elections in March
    The number of votes Moussa Moussa has got actually were smaller comparing to Hamdeen Sabbahi who is a well-known politician in Egypt unlike him and he actually presented a true show and a true fight as much as he could.


    Sabbahi got 757,511 votes "3.1%" when Sisi got 23,780,104 votes  "96.1%" in Presidential elections 2014 when Moussa Moussa only got 656,534 votes "2.92%" and Sisi got 21,835,387 votes "97.08%" in Presidential elections 2018.
    Ironically Hamdeen Sabbahi was among the opposition figures in Egypt that wrote on their social media accounts one word when the NEA was announcing the results of the elections on air.
    That word was "Liars".
    Sabbahi and his allies from Civil Democratic Parties declared that they would boycott those elections already. They called the public to boycott as well but honestly, the public did not need any call.

    Now moving to the spoilt votes, the real competitor growing in front of Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in both elections.
    As I mentioned earlier Moussa Moussa came in the third place after the Spoilt votes and Abdel Fattah El-Sisi from the total votes in Egypt in 2018. The same thing happened in 2014. The percentage increased only.



    This is the highest record for the spoilt in the Egyptian Presidential elections since we have had the Multi-candidate system in 2005 if I am not mistaken. Also, it is the first time, Egyptians choose a footballer as a rival to an incumbent president. 

    There are local and international news reports that people were forced to vote by orders from the managers and superiors in companies, hotels, schools and factories in the last day of the Presidential elections.
    Egyptian Facebook page "Al-Mawkaf Al-Masry" has published so far 8 posts with videos and testimonies from its readers showing elections violations including elections bribes and forcing citizens to go and to the election (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
    The NEA has stated that there had been no violations reported in those three days of Presidential elections in March.
    The NEA also stated that the number of eligible votes has increased yet the numbers show a decline in the total votes and correct votes but on the other hand a rise in the spoilt votes from 2012 elections to 2018 elections.


    This means the turnout has declined from 2012 to 2018. The media campaign encouraging citizens to votes and warning them not to votes did not work as the local pro-regime media claimed or hoped.



    The Egyptian Pro-regime media had been cheering for the Egyptian expats' turnout claiming that it was huge.
    An Egyptian voter, an Upper-middle class Middle aged man I met on the first day of the Presidential elections was feeling sad that the turnout of the Egyptian voters inside Egypt was not that high like the Egyptian expats.
    Well, I do not think that he shouldn't feel sad because the turnout of Egyptian expats in the Egyptian Presidential elections 2018 is actually compared to the last two multi-candidates presidential elections we have had according to official numbers.


    I could not go deeper into the Presidential elections 2018's numbers when it comes to the breakdown in the governorates because those numbers above are saying enough.
    We are on the verge of returning back to Mubarak's days when the Egyptian people used to boycott the ballot boxes in a silent protest without any social media because they know there is no use and it is only a charade
    They only go to the polling stations when they feel that there is a true hope for change.
    They stand in long queues for that hope for hours with no complaints.
    I think the world knows that.
    The world saw that in 2011 and 2012.

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    Cleopatra hotel in Cairo

    Seen in Cairo: Cleopatra Hotel in Cairo’s Tahrir square which is under current renovation according to what I have read today.
    Surprisingly and contrary to what I thought, Cleopatra hotel is not closed and is actually operating.It has got a page in booking.com.
    Inaugurated in 1962, it has got 82 rooms according to its profile in its mother company EGOTH.
    The State-owned tourism company is leasing the hotel to an Egyptian-Saudi company called "Arkan" to operate it.

    Cleopatra hotel
    The hotel luggage label in the 1960s
    Cairo Observer once spoke about it and its very curious case among the hotels in Downtown Cairo. 
    It is true that it looks like a-1960s modernist governmental building but I can't deny that I like its side -name thing.
    It is worth billions of Egyptian pounds now with its location in the most famous square in Egypt. I see there is a lot of potential in it. 

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    Seen in Giza: Egypt’s Renaissance statue stands high in the square named after it in Giza. The statue was made by sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar in 1928.
    This is the most famous statue in Modern Egypt.
    The father of modern sculpture in Egypt, Mahmoud Mokhtar wanted to symbolize Egypt after its independence from the UK in 1922. The Sphinx representing the past and besides a young Egyptian peasant lifting up her veil.
    The statue was originally placed at Ramsis square but it was moved later to be beside Cairo University and Giza Zoo. 

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    And I am avoiding all that useless debate about Syria currently because I am too angry of that hypocrisy in this world so I will stick to photography and spring.
    It is that time of the year where Kodak Agfa studio proudly presents Egypt’s Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    I went to my favorite Spring Flowers Fair 2018 to enjoy a good spring weather with a breeze of beautiful flowers’ smell. I went
    A pink rose at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    A beautiful pink rose at the Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    at the beginning of the Fair which was inaugurated on the 10th March.
    Elections campaigning and flowery arcs at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    I used to go on working days in the past but this year I went on Saturday during the weekend for most Egyptians in Cairo.

    Initially, I did not intend to go to the fair on that day. I planned to visit Aisha Fahmy palace in Zamalek to see the Special Fabric exhibit that will end this month. There, I was told by security that I could not use my professional camera inside except after taking a permit from the ministry of culture’s department of something. I can only use my mobile phone camera.
    Determinant to use my professional camera on that day, I headed to Orman botanical to spend a couple of hours at the Spring Flowers Fair 2018.
    Purple daisies at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Beautiful purple daisies at the fair 
    The ministry of agriculture understood that it can get extra revenue with extra fees and I can’t blame them.
    The Spring Flowers Fair 2018 was fully packed that Saturday afternoon to the level that you could not park your car inside Orman botanical part because the parking area inside it was full.

    The visitors of Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair
    Visitors visiting the fair 
    Families from all social backgrounds, university students, Egyptians and foreigners were all there whether to buy nice plants and flowers or enjoy a good spring view or for the sake of selfies.
    A family visiting Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    A family visiting the fair 
    Beside the huge crowd, the fair echoed the March of Presidential elections.
    There were banners hanged calling the people to vote in the Presidential elections.

    Elections and flowers at Egypt's Flowers Fair 2018
    For the sake of stability, participate in the elections
    There were also banners supporting Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in the Presidential elections.
    Elections campaigning at Egypt's Spring Flowers Show 2018
    Sisi's photos were there too 
    I believe that this is the first time Spring Flowers Fair was used in its long history as a campaign tool.
    Here is a Sisi grass portrait that was placed in the Middle of that fair.
    President SIsi at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    I saw last year that portrait but in a different location
    I think Mohamed Salah or Mo Salah’s Jesus grass portrait is better than Sisi’s grass portrait.
    Liverpool Jesus aka Mo Salah at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Mo Salah, Liverpool's Jesus
    Aside from elections, this year more people were taking Selfies and photograph to remember their visit to the fair.
    Whether a mother taking a photo of her cute little girl in front of some garden décor by a landscaping company in the fair.
    Smile to Mobile phone camera at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair
    Smile at the mobile's camera dearie 
    Or a student taking a selfie alone in front of some sort of illusion fountain at the fair.
    A selfie with an illusion at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    A quick selfie by the fountain 
    Or a mother who was trying to take a selfie with her uninterested kids.
    A mother Selfie at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Stand still for a Selfie with mom 
    Or a man taking a photo of his family in front of a fountain using his mobile phone.
    An Egyptian family at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    See Cheese 
    Or a student taking a selfie while her friend under a flowery love arc.
    A selfie with flowers and friends at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Take my photo, please  !!!
    The fair is bigger than last year’s fair.
    The big landscaping companies and flower nurseries kept their locations and the year before like, for instance, My Garden landscaping company.
    Its partition attracted everybody.
    It had the same colorful cacti which I photographed once again.
    Colored Cacti at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    The same photo of every year
    As well bonsai trees which are sold a for ridiculous price.
    Bonsai trees at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Another same photo of every year 
    Exotic bonsai at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    I have seen them before in the same place. 
    There were new stuff there like this flower which I do not know its name.
    Beautiful flowers at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    What is its name? 
    And that potted flower as well
    Another beautiful flower at Egypt's Flowers Fair 2018
    I want to know the name of this beautiful flower as well. 
    The company’s rock-in-the-air-illusion fountain attracted people from all ages to take selfies and photos in front of it as you could tell from previous photos.
    A rainbow made of an illusion at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Click on the photo to see the rainbow 
    Another landscaping and nursery company “I think the Egyptian German company” attracted also visitors to its partitions thanks to their beautiful flowery arcs.
    Under the arcs of flowers at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    People loved those arcs 

    Those arcs were there in that company’s partition last year.
    Under the arcs of flowers in Egypt's Flowers Fair 2018
    The arc looks great to the level I regret not taking a photo for myself in it 

    This year that company presented as well new flowery arcs on the shape of a heart and they were very cute.
    Elections campaigning and flowery arcs at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Flowery heart-shaped arcs 

    Interestingly I noticed that the ministry of education had a big partition sharing the products of the technical agricultural secondary education sector as well the educational directorates.
    Ministry of education's partition at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair
    The ministry of education is there

    It was really interesting to see that.
    It was even more interesting to see strange stuff at the partition of the education ministry like for instance a pot of chocolate peppermint.
    Mints at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Chocolate mint and Syrian mint 
    Reading the peppermint’s entry in Wikipedia I found out that there is something called Chocolate mint for real.
    The ministry also offered vegetables in pots for visitors who want to grow them at their houses to save money
    Vegetables at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    House vegetables 

    I saw also Orman botanical garden’s partition offers for visitors its products from plants.

    The Orman botanical garden partition at Egypt's Spring Fair 2018
    Orman park's own partition 
    It was also the first time for me to see a partition in the fair for an NGO called “Youth Love Egypt” showing the handmade products from the south.
    Youth Love Egypt's partition at the Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Youth Love Egypt's partition 

    Handmade products like bags and shawls from areas like Hala’ib triangle and Siwa oasis are sold in that partition.
    The partition was packed.
    The unsung heroes in the fair for real are the gardeners and assistants who are trying to help people as well the owners of the partitions.
    Sellers and buyers at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Customers speaking with gardeners and workers at one of the partitions
    I do not think they get proper rest but this old gardener managed to get a nap in the shade.
    Taking a quick nap at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    I went to ask him something but I found him taking a nap on that hot afternoon in the shade

    I do not know if I will go again or not but here are some of my favorite shots of the fair this year.
    Beautiful flowers at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair
    This is what Spring means 

    A flowery path at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Flowery road 

    I want to go again to buy some nice flowers and that Chocolate mint pot also to take a couple of photos sans elections ads.
    Here is the rest of the photo gallery on Flickr.
    Once again due to the popularity of the fair, it is extended until the beginning of May.

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    For the first time since starting to blog here, I did not publish the official anthem of Spring or Sham Nassim in Egypt this year.
    Busy between work and home, I tried at the same time to take some rest.
    I feel sad that I did not publish my Spring Flowers Fair post on time then as I hoped so along with “الدنيا ربيع” or “The world is springy” as a tradition of Egyptian Chronicles in Spring.

    Anyhow it is never too late to publish or speak about Soad Hosni’s unofficial Spring anthem because after all, it was the talk of the Egyptian society this Sham Nassim for the wrong reason.

    After 43 years of appearing in Soad Hosni’s “Amira, my love”, the cheerful song about the beginning lost one of its scenes to the censorship because Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulations ”SCM” saw that scene is inappropriate for audience !!!!!

    Here is the song
    The scene that was censored is in “2:13” minute.
    The inappropriate scene !!!

    I can not believe it for real.
    Some are saying that SCM decided to remove that scene because there was some sort of meme with sexual innuendo.
    It seems that there were Facebook pages that took a screenshot of the scene and referred to the man carrying Soad Hosni as “The man who had seen spring for real”
    This is a high school joke for real but it seems it disturbed the members of SCM too much that they decided to remove that scene.

    Egyptian film critics are furious over the decision of SCM and they have to be so.

    Sadly enough there is complete silence from the Ministry of Culture and its minister !!
    This is SCM’s latest strike after its witch hunt against Al-Masry Al-Youm and Masr Al-Arabia because of their presidential elections coverage. p.s the High Media Council is the Supreme Council for Media Regulations, I did not know then that official translation of its name.
    On Thursday, the High State security began its investigation in Al-Masry Al-Youm incident interrogating its former editor-in-chief and 8 of its journalists !! 

    It had already pulledSNL in Arabic in February 2018 from local TV channels because the show contained sexual expressions.
    Despite I am not a big fan of the show and its sketches as they are not funny for real and despite I believe it turned in to a Classicist and sexist show, I am totally against its ban.
    Originally SNL in Arabic was aired on a Showtime-OSN network cable network but it was aired in parallel on ON TV since October 2017.
    I do not know if it will continue on OSN Ya Hala channel or not.

    Now there is complete media silence about what has happened and how SCM is imposing its own set of moral code in the Egyptian media and Egyptian showbiz.
    Needless to say, if that happened during the rule of Mohamed Morsi, things would have been different and social media would be flooded by campaigns rejecting that sort of censorship attacking that Taliban rule in Cairo !!
    I thought that among the reasons people accepted the ouster of Mohamed Morsi for was to protect the freedom of expression, thought and creativity in the country from religious fascism !!

    Founded in 2017 in accordance with Egyptian Constitution’s article no.211, the SCM is supposedly an independent body in Egypt that regulates the affair of radio, television, printed and digital press but all that it has been doing lately is imposing strict conservative right wing censorship.

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    A Downtown Cairo building after renovation

    The three floors above the old renovated building were added illegally as usual making it look ugly


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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    A Downtown Cairo building after renovation

    A Downtown Cairo building after renovation.


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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Cairo's Sherifeen street after renovation

    Downtown Cairo's Sherifeen street after renovation.


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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Cairo's Sherifeen street after renovation

    Downtown Cairo's Sherifeen street after renovation.


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  • 04/22/18--12:29: Egypt's Lake Qarun [Flickr]
  • Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Lake Qarun

    Happy Earth day
    A quick teaser for an upcoming collection of photos from beautiful Lake Qarun of Fayoum


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    Egypt National team and Liverpool footballer Mohamed Salah aka Mo Salah has just made a true football history for real. He has just won England’s Professional Footballers’ Association “PFA” player for the year 2018.
    He is the first Egyptian football player ever to win that important title.
    Mo Salah with the trophy
    He is also the second Arab and African football player to win that important title after Riyad Mehrez of Algeria in 2015/2017 Premier League.
    Needless to say, millions of Egyptians included myself were glued and watched that boring PFA 2018 gala “with all my respect to them” only for Salah and that moment.
    Salah has become the first Egyptian footballer to achieve that title again; an important and fact that can’t be ignored especially when you see his numbers with Liverpool FC.
    Since joining the Reds of Liverpool, Salah scored 40 goals in 46 matches in addition to 11 assists that ended in goals.
    Here are his first 30 goals with Liverpool.


    He is truly an Egyptian king in football "also in charity as we have heard and known" 
    I do not think any Egyptian footballer has reached that level of success in the Premier league or abroad since 1911 when Hussein Hegazy, the first Arab and African to play England joined Dulwich Hamlet.
    First the PFA player of the year then Ballon D' Or.
    Now millions of Egyptians are going to sleep happy.
    Thanks Mo Salah for giving them happiness and hope in hard times.
    Liverpool Jesus aka Mo Salah at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
    Mo Jesus Salah at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018 

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    Earlier Monday, the UNESCO announced it awarded detained Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid aka Shawkan its UNESCO /Guillermo Cano Press Freedom prize for 2018.
    “The choice of Mahmoud Abu Zeid pays tribute to his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression,” said Filipino veteran journalist and head jury of the prize Maria Ressa.
    Shawkan
    Shawkan in court behind bars "AFP"
    Shawkan has been detained for four years since his arrest during Rabaa sit-in while doing his job as a freelance journalist working for Demotix agency.
    He was accompanied by two foreign journalists who were arrested as well by security forces. Those two foreign journalists were released and left the country leaving Shawkan behind facing hell because he does not have a foreign passport.
    Shawkan has been behind bars for two years without any charges till he was charged officially with six charges in March 2016.
    He is facing the death penalty for a number of charges above them the incitement to murder

    This is the first time an Egyptian journalist or photojournalist wins this important award. He is third Arab to win it after May Chidiac of Lebanon "2006" and Mazen Darwich of Syria "2015"

    Earlier Sunday, Egyptian foreign ministry’s official spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid issued a statement saying that the ministry expressed its regret on how the UNESCO nominated “an accused charged with murder and vandalism”.


    The statement which is provoking and so bad honestly claims that human rights organizations related to Qatar were behind that nomination !! It is always Qatar !!

    I feel angry that Egypt’s foreign ministry issues such statement.
    The Egyptian parliament and its speaker as well its human rights committee followed Egypt’s MFA and issued statements slamming and warning the UNESCO against awarding the Press Freedom prize to Shawkan.
    The award of the most bizarre comment in that sad affair goes to the head of the human rights committee Alaa Abed. The former police officer said on Monday that the UNESCO should award Mohamed Salah instead of Shawkan because he is a good role model to youth everywhere !!
    I do not know the relation between Salah and the UNESCO !!

    Officially, Mahmoud Abu Zeid aka Shawkan is a defendant in front of the court and defendants are innocent until proven guilty in all the world except Egypt.
    I am disturbed on how Egypt’s foreign ministry and parliament act as the freelance photojournalist had been found guilty by the court.

    By the way, it is not the first press freedom award received by Shawkan behind bars.
    In June 2016, Shawkan won the US-based National press club’s John Aubuchon Press Freedom award.  He was awarded the International Press Freedom Award in the same year the Committee to Protect Journalists“CPJ”.

    Anyhow, I am happy for both Mohamed Salah and Shawkan.
    Hopefully, Shawkan will be released soon to watch Salah playing in the World Cup inshallah.