Egyptian Chronicles: 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

Signal censored Once again in Egypt "Updated"

It was too good to be true.
On Wednesday, I knew by accident that Signal is once against blocked in Egypt and people are using VPN once again to bypass the block.
I have tried it personally on both mobile phone "Orange 3G & 4G" and desktop "TEData & Orange DSL" and it turned to be true. I can not send or receive any message.

Updated: The service is back once again without VPN, I have tested on 30 December and it worked fine on both iPhone and desktop

Last week, Open Whisper System confirmed that its app "Signal" was censored in Egypt after reports and complaints of users inside the country.

In the same week, a new update was released adding censorship circumvention for Signal users in Egypt and UAE.

It worked few days before the service was blocked altogether once again in Egypt. I do not know about UAE.

If you live in Egypt and want to use Signal, it seems that the VPN is your only option for the current time.
Interestingly, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority "NTRA" has not issued or commented on censoring Signal so far according to my knowledge.
By the way, Egypt's House of Representatives is going to discuss the upcoming infamous cyber crime law in January.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Seen in Giza : A Ford Model A up for sale

Location Nile St, Oula, Giza, Giza Governorate, Egypt
The Ford Model A

You will never know what can you meet in the streets of Egypt nowadays !! Today I saw that Ford Model A classical car in a Giza street near the Saudi Embassy and Turkish Embassy. 
The car seems in a need for a little renovation to be like that. 
Ford Model A
Ford Model A in a better shape in the States

The car is up for sale and if you are interested, you can contact its owner on that number: 01276666049.
I do not know the owner but this is what is written on that piece paper on the windshield. 
I do not know how much it is worth but I will guess a fortune especially with the high dollar price in Egypt.
I do not know much about the history of motors in Egypt but checking the very informative Egy.com website, it seems that Ford cars entered Egypt in the late 1910s. 
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Monday, December 26, 2016

Seen in Alexandria : Spring time a la corniche

Location Alexandria, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
Alexandria's corniche in Bahry
Alexandria's corniche in Bahary 
Just as thunderstorms and rain hit Alexandria right now, I remember how beautiful and calm it was in May. 
Here is a quick shot I took while I was in the car to the famous Alexandria's corniche and people enjoying their time at the popular Bahary quarter. 
Needless to say, the famous Corniche is currently "renovated" by the authorities.
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Sunday, December 25, 2016

A UN Security council draft resolution tale "Updated"

Since Thursday, there has been nothing I have following politically except the UN security draft resolution to end Israeli settlements in West Bank drama.
I was really happy Thursday morning to know that Egypt presented on behalf of the Arab league and the Arab States a draft UN security council resolution that "considers the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 illegal".

The UN security council would vote on it Thursday evening Cairo Local time.
Then came Thursday afternoon with ongoing drama that started with the US-elected President Donald Trump's tweet demanding current President Obama to veto the resolution.

That statement was not strange for me because after all Trump's in-laws donated for the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank according to Israeli Haaretz Daily.
The reports came afterward from Tel Aviv and New York that Israel is using all its powers to stop this resolution from going forwards.
The News came from Tel Aviv that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisors are using all kinds of pressure to make Egypt withdraw this resolution.
Normally as Egyptian and Arab, I know that usually those kinds of resolutions are met with US Vetoes but it never hurts to try.

A similar draft resolution was presented in 2011 and was vetoed by the States.
Then the news came that Egypt decided to postpone the vote after those alleged Israeli pressures per Israeli and international media Thursday afternoon.
At the same time, it was spread in the media through Western diplomats that the US would have abstained for the first time if the vote had taken place.
Sisi and Trump
Sisi and Trump in New York earlier in September
"Egyptian Presidency" 

The Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told Sky News Arabia that Egypt decided to ask for postponing the vote for further consultations on the resolution whether with the Arab states group in the UN or at the Arab League's Committee to End the occupation in Cairo.
The League's committee is made up by Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Palestine and it is the one that drafted the original draft resolution.

According to the statement published by Sky News Arabia at 5:57 PM, the Arab League's committee decided on Monday to evaluate the chances of passing that resolution.
At 7: 2 PM Cairo Local time,  US-based Al-Hurra TV channel diplomatic correspondent in the UN Nabil Abi Saab quoted Egypt's ambassador to the UN Amr Abo Al-Atta saying that he would wait for the instructions from Arab foreign ministers "aka the committee in Cairo" at 1 PM EST.
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays from Egyptian Chronicles

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to all those celebrating tonight all over the globe from Egyptian Chronicles. 
Christmas gift
Once upon time Egyptian cigarettes were a
Christmas gift !!!
Happy Holidays 
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Blocking and unblocking Signal in Egypt "Updated"

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

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

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

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


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

Updated on 23 December 2016 

Open Whisper System released a new version of Signal "3.25.3 for android" and "2.6.9" for iOS that added censorship circumvention for Signal users in Egypt and UAE "yes, it turned out Emirates blocked Signal as well"
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Monday, December 19, 2016

The unforgettable scene : Russian ambassador to Ankara's assassination

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

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

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

Moments AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici did not know that moment that he would snap a moment that would turn lives upside down.
The man went to the exhibition because it was on his way from work to home !!
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Saturday, December 17, 2016

The attack on media figures at El-Botroseya Church : Beyond the anger

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

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

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

Here is a video
Kicking out Ahmed Moussa as filmed by Al-Masry Al-Youm
It is worth to mention those who were following him on TV said that the channel stopped the live broadcast from the Church when people began to attack the security and the ministry of interior.
Then we got bigger-than-life Riham Saeed who was also attacked and kicked out by the angry people there.
Here are videos
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

And Daesh claims responsibility of Cairo church bombing


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Seen in Alexandria : Was it a bird ?

Location Alexandria, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
some flying thing in Alexandria

Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Was it a shooting star during one fine sunset ??
I do not know.
I only know that I need to remember that short family spring break and enjoy those photos to have a break from that hard time in Egypt.   
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Sunday, December 11, 2016

The explosion of El-Botroseya Church in Cairo : Terrorism hit the country hard again

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

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

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

May God bless the souls of the victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up till, it has not declared anything

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

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

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

Live Coverage below for the day.

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

The arrest and release of Azza Soliman and that other trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Azza Soliman is a key eye-witness in the trial of Shaimaa El-Sabbagh murder or to be accurate the retrial of Shaimaa El-Sabbagh murder.
Since coming forward on 25 January 2015 with her testimony publicly on the shooting of El-Sabbagh and Soliman began to face trouble.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Egypt's Internet trolls : The Union "Ep.1"

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

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

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

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

In retaliation, he decided to bring down the temple by speaking directly about that group posting screenshots from showing its admins giving directives its members.
That Facebook group is "State supporters union" and according to Refaat , it was founded allegedly by Media figure Ibrahim El-Garhi.
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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Seen in Alexandria : Sidi Bishr Mosque

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

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Monday, November 28, 2016

What are those public utility companies you spoke about , Madam minister ?? Updated

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

This is the first time , an Egyptian minister would say that the Egyptian state would divest partially in public utility companies and amazingly she announced that in a foreign newspaper.
I do not recall that an Egyptian official told the Egyptian public or the parliament or the Egyptian media about that before.
We already know that the government will divest partially from public banks , specifically Banque Du Caire and from oil sector as well.
It is the first time to include the public utility companies in that plan.
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Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Nubian Caravan and the right to return : Toshka crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

The confrontation between journalists syndicate and the regime is back as it seems

Location 4 شارع عبد الخالق ثروت، معروف، قصر النيل، محافظة القاهرة‬، مصر
For the past 5 years , the 19th of November is marked by political tensions,mostly clashes and protests.
This year , it is not an exceptional. Aswan and Red Sea governorates saw protests for different reasons and in Cairo, the confrontation between journalist unionists and state is back.

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

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

This is unprecedented by all measures.

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

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

Then people forgot about what happened and today we remember all this with this shameful verdict.
"It is expected verdict as we have been found guilty and sentenced already by the Prosecutor general's statement from seven months ago," said Qallash in his short word at the journalists syndicate after the verdict.
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Friday, November 18, 2016

And the victim this time was a cart driver !!

It seems that we are having some sort of news that became a norm , a daily routine that unfortunately does not shock anybody anymore.
News like terrorist attacks in North Sinai and road accidents have become a norm. Unfortunately, the police brutality has become a norm that the news that a person was tortured till death in a police station does not shock people anymore.
Earlier this week , another torture till death case took place in a police station and it did not catch the attention except few journalists.
Then the media began to highlight it on Wednesday only as social media users began to speak about it.
For the record, both Al-bediaih and United Copts news websites were the first to speak about the matter from mainstream media.
This time , it was a poor cart driver who used to transfer and sell fish in Al-Amiriyah working class area, Cairo.
Late Magdy Makeen
Late Sunday , 52-years old Magdy Makeen was arrested and reportedly taken to Al-Amiryah police station. Next day , his family was called to take his dead body from Zaiton general hospital.
Later , the body was transferred to Zainhom morgue where the family found outrageous traces of torture.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

And here is the Supermoon

Here is the supermoon from Giza late Monday.
I had to take two batches of photos as in the first batch there were clouds all over the moon.
Here are my Supermoon's shots from Monday.
November 2016 Supermoon

November 2016 Supermoon
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Monday, November 14, 2016

The moon before the supermoon

After a few hours later today , the world will meet what is believed to be the biggest supermoon sine the 1940s the Earth would witness.
Those photos of the moon were taken in Giza , Egypt Sunday night showing a glowing moon that has not reached its super status yet.
The moon before the supermoon
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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kodak Agfa presents Alexandria in late spring

Location Alexandria, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
In May , I went to Alexandria in a short a three-days visit with my family. It was a nice spring break before the start of summer as well before Ramadan.
This is my second - somehow long trip to Alexandria from 8 years ago.
The last time I went there  was a for quick one-day or rather a few hours visit in 2012.
I went by train from Cairo's Ramses railway station.
It was the first time to see Egypt's first and oldest as well main railway station after its controversial renovations.
I think you have seen of those photos I took quickly while I was running to catch the train on time.
We took the first-degree train , the newest one in the service. It was better for real than the one I had taken in 2008. It got Wi-Fi Service but it was not working.
A direct trip to Alexandria , I took a couple of snaps of the Nile Delta towns and villages we passed through.

A video posted by Zeinobia (@zeinobia) on


Arrived Alexandria aka Alex by Afternoon , the weather was hot unlike springtime. I remember we had a terrible heat wave during then in Cairo.

I remember the taxi that took us from Sidi Gaber Railway station to the hotel where we stayed describing the Mediterranean sea as "Non-movable carpet" because of the heat.
We were staying in Middle-class area of Sidi Bishr.

As someone who has not been to the city for 8 years , I noticed that many of the public beaches were closed for maintenance by none other than The Egyptian armed forces' Engineering authority. The army's Engineering  also renovated the famous historical casino Cote D' Azur but it is still closed. {Once upon time, King Farouk of Egypt used to gamble in that casino}
Also, more and more concrete ugly towers are everywhere.

And the sea was amazing in May for real. It was breathtaking and clear.
The Alexandrian sea
The sea in Alexandria in May 
Now in the city of God as the Alexandrians like to call it, you will find many things that force you to take your camera or open mobile phone camera and snap !!
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

About that so-called 11/11 Revolution in Egypt on Friday

Supposedly after Friday's prayers which are a few hours away , a so-called revolution or protests or uprising of 11/11 will erupt against the current Egyptian regime because of its so-called economic policies.
The graffiti of the so-called revolution "Reuters" 

As usual, Downtown Cairo is locked down and famous Sadat metro station in Downtown is closed as usual. The ambulance authorities
For months , the pro-regime media has been warning the Egyptian people of participating in the 11/11 protests or so-called revolution which seemed to be an orphaned call with no political powers claiming it.
Suddenly , those calls for protests appeared from nowhere whether online or offline.
All the opposition/Pro-January 25/Pro-Democratic political powers and parties stated that they won't participate or call the people to join those protests.

Independent revolutionary activists also denied any relation with those calls appearing online and offline. At the same time,  people from the working class began to speak about.
Pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters seemed to support the call for 11/11 protests  , they always support any calls for protests against the regime jumping into the wagon without knowing who is behind.

Same thing when it comes to the Pro-Muslim Brotherhood media from websites , Facebook pages and TV channels.
Many activists actually suspected the 11/11 revolution or protests call was a trap by the security to crackdown protests and political powers.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

When Sisi congratulated Trump on the phone

After announcing that Donald Trump has become the 45th president of the United States by two hours , the Egyptian Presidency announced that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the first leader to congratulate him in a telephone call.
During the call according to the readout released by the Egyptian presidency , Sisi invited Trump to visit Egypt. "I do not know if he visited it before".
Trump and Sisi
Trump and El-Sisi in NYC last September "Egyptian Presidency" 

In return , the new US president-elect told Sisi that he was looking forward to see him soon.
It is worth to mention that Trump met El-Sisi in New York during the United Nations General Assembly "UNGA" in September.
El-Sisi was quite impressed by the Republican nominee then that he did not care much about insulting and disturbing statements about Islam and Muslims. 

It is not a secret that Trump expressed his admiration with El-Sisi and his war on 'Islamic terrorism' from his point of view.

I think this has to do with the fact that his national security ex-General Michael Flynn praises El-Sisi whether in his book or in is talks.

Also, his top expert on the Middle East and terrorism issues Walid Phares also praises El-Sisi.
Phares is too open to the Egyptian media as in the past months , he used to give statements in Pro-regime media.

On Wednesday , he told Egyptian media allegedly that Trump would issue a law designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
Yes , it is all about the Brotherhood. They do not mind having an alliance with the devil itself to get rid of the Brotherhood.
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

And "it" hit the fan finally !! "Updated"

And you know "it" hit the fan finally.
The Central Bank of Egypt "CBE" issued its decision early Thursday to freely float the Egyptian pound and raise the key interest rates as part of the government's economic reforms.
In its statement issued earlier , the CBE announced that it temporarily devalued the Egyptian currency by 48 percent to LE 13 to the dollar.
Egyptian bank
Taken earlier Thursday in some Egyptian bank
in Cairo "Reuters" 

It is up to the banks move the price of the dollar to within a10-percent margin above and below the above-mentioned exchange rate until the next exceptional forex auction .

Since then the prices at the Egyptian banks including the ones I know whether public sector banks or private/foreign banks between LE 13.01 to 15.99 to the dollar.
And it was a chain reaction.


Here is a copy from the Central Bank of Egypt's statement in Egypt thanks to dear Heba Mahfouz.
 It started rapidly with an increase in customs and tariffs then air flights tickets by 46%.

At 9.30 PM , media began to speak about how the prices of fuel would increase at midnight. This created a frenzy and thousands of people took their cars and headed to gas stations creating traffic jams till early Friday hours !!

Before the midnight , the prices of fuel increased officially in Egypt.

The 80-octane gasoline fuel "used by lower and lower middle classes" price increased by 46.8% while the 92-octane gasoline fuel price increased by 34.6% and diesel price increased by 30.5%.
Of course, the increase of diesel prices means the increase in the prices of food especially vegetables and fruits as they are transferred by trucks that use diesel.
Fuel price decision
A copy from the decision

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

And ElBaradei is speaking up about what happened in summer 2013

Recently , Egypt's former VP Mohamed ElBaradei has been very active on his twitter account criticizing directly and indirectly what is happening in Egypt. As usual , the Pro-regime media slams him spreading lies about him day and night.
There is nothing new about that but something happened on Tuesday turning the table upside down.
On Tuesday afternoon, ElBaradei issued a long statement on his official Facebook page in Arabic slamming the Pro-regime media directly and the regime indirectly.
In his statement ,the former vice-president spoke about his role starting 3 July until 14 August 2013 including his short time as the vice president of interim president Adly Mansour.
Here is the statement after the break.
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

The case of Saad Lamjarrad's and how innocent until proven guilty is taken out of context "Updated"

"Updated : This post was written before the incident of the fish seller rocks Morocco for real"
For  four days now , Moroccan and Arab social media universe have nothing to speak about Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarrad and his case in Paris in the worst way ever.
Saad Lamjarrad
Saad Lamjarrad

On Wednesday , the French authorities arrested 31-years-old Lamjarrad in Paris for an alleged sexual assault.
Yes, the Moroccan star was arrested for an alleged sexual assault of a French girl.
 He is currently detained as far as I understand from the news reports coming from Paris till Tuesday.

This is not the first time  Lamjarrad is facing those charges.
In 2010, he faced similar charges in the United States as he was accused of beating and raping a woman in New York.
He left the States after paying a bail and never came back.
In May 2016 , the case was reopened.

The Pepsi Arabia face is denying all those allegations whether the NY incident or Paris incident.

Saad Lamjarrad hit regional fame when his song  "LM3ALLEM" became the most viewed Arabic song on YouTube with more than 400 million views. "do not ask me why"
Anyhow , personally I believe in " innocent until proven guilty" and I deal with the matter with extra cautious because we are speaking about sexual assaults and rape charges here twice with very disturbing details in the French newspapers.

Yet,I am more than shocked to see how "the innocent until proven guilty" is taken out of context in Morocco and across the Arab world.

Actually, the whole matter turned into a big circus.
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Saturday, October 29, 2016

It is time for the annual heavy rains season in Egypt " Update"

The time has come !! The annual time of heavy rains seasons in Egypt especially in Red Sea mounts range, Sinai and Upper Egypt governorates.

More than 15 people were killed in the past 48 hours following the heavy rains in three governorates.
Eight people including children were killed and 23 others were injured after heavy rains and flood hit the town of Ras Gharib in Red Sea governorate.

Updated : The ministry of health announced on Saturday that the death toll increased to 26 people while 72 were injured in four governorates. 

Since early Friday early hours, tweeps from Ras Gharib  were asking for urgent help on social media to help them as heavy rain waters flooded their streets and buildings.The mainstream media is off on Friday and will return to work on Saturday.



This is an aerial view of the town shot from an oil company plane.
Ras Gharib from an aerial view by Mohamed Soliman
Ras Gharib in an aerial view by Mohamed Soliman 

Ras Gharib from an aerial view by Mohamed Soliman
Ras Gharib on Friday after the heavy rain by Mohamed Soliman 
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

National Youth conference week and 8-seconds GIF !!

"P.S: This is belated post"
Currently , the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh is hosting a 3-days conference organized by Egyptian presidency dedicated to Egyptian youth.
It is just like the old Mubarak and NDP's youth conference but not for a single day but for three days with really bizarre quotes.

El-Sisi and the youth in a marathon on Wednesday "Egyptian Presidency" 
That conference comes in a very strange timing as the conference celebrates youth as well freedom of expression in Egypt according to its session on media on Wednesday.

On Wednesday ,the speakers in the so-called "Youth media" panel unleashed another attack against Social media users who "think that they can change the country" according to the index on censorship 2010 award-winning  journalist Ibrahim Eissa. "Fair enough he criticized the state during the session in some theatrical performance" 

Ironically a small incident happened earlier this week and proves that some people got a big problem with social media.

Earlier Monday , Cairo's prosecution ordered the release of a popular comic Facebook page administration pending investigations without a bail after his arrest and detention for nearly 48 hours on charges of "insulting state institutions".

Only on Sunday it was known that  popular comic Facebook page administrator Khaled Mokhtar aka "Shiko Biko" was arrested from his house and accused of "insulting state institutions", inciting protests on November 11 and obstructing security and public peace  despite it is known that Mokhtar has not political activity of any kind !!
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Farewell Gamal Kotb , Egypt's top Book cover artist

Egypt lost last Sunday one of its most talented as well underrated painters and artists , Gamal Kotb.
The 1930-born painter passed away last Sunday in Cairo quietly as only his fans and students from artists mourn him.

Gamal Kotb
Gamal Kotb in a photo that goes back to 2010
Despite as a painter he may not be famous I think like other Egyptian artists in the 20th century , Gamal Kotb can be or actually is Egypt's top book cover artist.
Originally from Gharbia , Gamal Kotb graduated from the faculty of arts in Cairo.
He joined Dar El-Hilal press institution when it was still a great publishing house.
His name as an illustrator began to become famous in Egyptian press the 1960s thanks to Dar El-Hilal's publications.
Gamal Kotb's real fame came as the cover artist of Naguib Mahfouz's novels as well other prominent writers and novelists like Ihsan Abdel Quddous since the 1960s thanks to publisher Abdel Hameed Gouda El-Sahar.
Yet, his name has become a synonym to Mahfouz's books cover artist thanks to his beautiful retro romantic illustrations.
A collection of Naguib Mahfouz's novels and their original covers by  Gamal Kotb
A collection of Naguib Mahfouz's novels and their original covers by
Gamal Kotb 
His style was a mix of noir and pulp fiction , very distinguished that you recognize it without reading his signature.
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall of discontent Redux : The viral videos week "Updated"

Did you see the video of Tuk-tuk driver ? Did you notice how it pissed off all the Pro-regime mainstream media and supporters !?
P.S : The Pro-regime media is still fighting the tuk-tuk driver's video insisting that he is a Muslim Brotherhood member.
Well, guess what ??
The Tuk-tuk driver video was not the only viral video of citizens expressing how much they fed up with the current economic situation.
There are other videos that went viral in the past 48 hours and now we got the "Video revolution" week.

Let's start with that video shared crazily starring a very angry and honest woman.
The video is published by Turkey-based Arab Affairs website. I think it is recorded recently in Alexandria as this lady used the Alexandrian term to describe her purse .
This video has been top trending on Youtube in Egypt as well in other Arab countries especially in Gulf.

A lady complains about prices on video

That angry lady said more than what the tuk-tuk driver said about the army and its role in the society.
"The army will distribute meat , the army will supervise the sewage system , are there no more people in the country except the army !??" She wondered in anger.
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Monday, October 17, 2016

Kodak Agfa presents : October Supermoon

And here is October's supermoon , big and shiny like a perfect Moon on the 14th night of the Hijri month. 🌑

October Supermoon
That's a full supermoon
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Saturday, October 15, 2016

The tuk-tuk driver who spoke on behalf of many Egyptians now "Updated"

First of all,  God bless the soul of the 12 Egyptian Conscripts who were killed earlier this Friday by terrorists in Mid Sinai.
I won't say anything new more than what I have said before in similar incidents before: Something wrong in the strategies concerning war terrorism in North Sinai.

Second , In the past 24 hours , Egyptians had nothing to speak about or share about online except that tuk-tuk driver who was not afraid of speaking on camera about the woes of Egypt slamming its government and president directly and indirectly.

I am writing a post about the current crisis between Egypt and Saudi Arabia but I have to pause for awhile to write about that short 3-minutes interview that became the talk of the country for real.

Wednesday evening, prominent TV host Amr El-Lissy aired on his TV show " Someone from the people" on Al-Hayah Private TV channel a special report he recorded earlier about people's complaints "mainly from economic crisis" in the working class' local market at October city.

Among those people whom he interviewed , a "tuk-tuk driver" who is extremely angry because of the current economic situation as well how things in general deteriorated in Egypt since 1952.

Here is the video. The tuk-tuk driver appeared in minute  7:19 exactly.
-

Angrily and eloquently , the "tuk-tuk driver" told El-Lizzy that instead of spending billions on mega-national projects, the government should spend more on education , health and agriculture "so Egyptians can eat".

During the interview , El-Lissy interrupted him and asked him from where he was graduated as he spoke very eloquently unlike the general perception of "tuk-tuk drivers" as uneducated. The man told him that he was a "tuk-tuk graduate".

In 3-minutes , that anonymous man expressed what many Egyptians want to say publicly on TV.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Seen in Egypt : A short trip through the countryside

Egypt's Nile Delta 
Taken in May on the way to Alexandria by train from Cairo.
I love train trips in Egypt because you can use easily the countryside you have not seen before in a very short time.
Those photos were taken in different places. The upper two were taken in Beheira governorate , exactly in the famous "Itay Al-Baroud" city while the lower one was taken on Banha railway bridge.
You can see here couple of nice photos from Egypt's countryside in Nile Delta's Sharkia 

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Monday, October 10, 2016

A sign that tells you a lot about Egypt's economy now

That sign was seen in the upscale Seoudi supermarket on Wednesday telling their upper-middle-class clients new rules.
Seoudi market's announcement 


As we are keen to provide goods continuously to all our clients, we would like to hint out that the available quantity for each client from (sugar or oil or rice) is 2 packs or 2 bottles only.

I think this tells you how much the current economic  crisis is affecting Egypt and it began to echo in the privilege classes above them the Upper Middle Classes.

Friends tell me that similar hypermarket chains got similar restrictions including Carrefour especially when it comes to sugar.

It seems that we are having a sugar crisis in Egypt as its prices soared reaching to LE 10 if you find it in the market.

The minister of supply denies that there is "sugar crisis" and news reports speak about the dirty role of greedy suppliers.

It is like that we are back to the 1960s once again and its crises when it comes to food supply.

An ant male tells ant female : where shall
I find you sugar Fawzia ? I can not find
it in the market " By Anwar" 

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

The return of Mubarak living dead week !!

It was not only Ahmed Ezz or Hussein Salem who had a comeback last week , it seems that most of Mubarak cronies above them the controversial officials are back to public life shamelessly.

Amr Adeeb hosted on Sunday Mubarak's minister of planning Osman Mohamed Osman in Ahmed Nazif's cabinet who wrote an op-ed in Al-Masry Al-Youm Daily "Just like Ezz" suggesting the cancellation of subsidies.

Speaking about the cancellation of subsidies "which Adeeb advocates in his show and actually IMF demands El-Sisi to do" , Osman said  something that is very interesting.
Mubarak on 6 October waving for his fans
at Maadi hospital in Cairo "AP"
He says that the person who earns LE 20 "$2" per day in Egypt is not poor !!
In the same moment , he said that those who earned LE 16 "$1.6" per day are living under the poverty line according to the official US exchange rate in banks on Sunday "USD 1 = LE 8.88"
He forgot that the price of US dollar in the black market reached this week to LE 14.30 as far as I have heard!!
There was a joke on social media that soon after hosting Osman and Salem , Adeeb would host Suzanna Mubarak.

Former PM Ahmed Nazif is back to teaching at Cairo University and according to Youm 7 Sources he is going to supervise the post-graduates' studies in the faculty of engineering.

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

#Oct73 war anniversary : The 2016 edition

On Wednesday , Egypt celebrated the October 1973 War 43rd anniversary.
It was quieter than previous years as far as I could tell.
An Egyptian soldier on the Front in October 1973
An Egyptian soldier on the Front in October 1973 
On Wednesday , Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi attended the commemoration of the war by the Egyptian armed forces along with none other than Sudan's Omar El-Bashir.
As an Egyptian , I felt insulted twice.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Seen in Cairo : Waiting for the trip to start

Location Cairo, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
On the board of a train at Cairo's Ramses railway station 
Back in May , I was waiting for a short  trip to Alexandria to start from Cairo on the board of a train at Ramses railways station. I love train trips but I hated waiting.
The train window shutters bugged me at first and looked like bars till I managed to open them as far as I remember.
Source : Instagram 
In case you wonder , all those photos are just a prelude for bigger series of photos from the Mermaid of the Mediterranean. 
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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Happy new Hijri year 1438

Happy new Hijri year 1438 to all Muslims celebrating it around the globe.
Today marks the start of the first day in the first month "Muharram" in the Islamic Hijri year.
Really praying for peace this year in the Muslim world especially in the Arab world.
El-Siyada Zeinab Mosque
El-Siyada Zeinab Mosque in Cairo 

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

The return of cronies : Ahmed Ezz writes Op-ed and Hussein Salem speaks to TV "‘Updated"

Yes , you read it right in the headline.
Infamous former NDP leading figure and steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz is back to write op-eds about the economic situation in Egypt.
Last week , we found Ezz among the guest writers in Daily Al-Masry Al-Youm in Op-eds section speaking about his optimism during the current economic crisis in Egypt in a letter to the editor-in-chief.
"A Call for optimism !!" the former leading NDP member wrote about the Egyptian economy.
According to his experience as an industrialist and a businessman as well the head of planning and  budget committee in the People's assembly for a whole decade , Ezz is telling the Egyptian people not to worry because everything will be right according to numbers.
Ahmed Ezz
Ahmed Ezz
The Pro-regime media and supporters spread his call as a testimony of an experienced businessman.
This is not the first Ezz writes about op-eds in newspapers.

Many people including me remember how he wrote a long op-ed that was published in Youm 7 website and Al-Ahram newspaper "2 pages spread" about how the National Democratic Party led by ousted Mubarak won the controversial 2010 parliamentary elections fairly  !!!

"The people's assembly elections.. a call for people to read" , that was the title of his lengthy op-ed stating the reasons then behind the so-called "landslide victory" of Egypt's ruling party then above them the economic growth in  Mubarak's time

I notice that he always uses "A Call for ...." in his op-eds.

It is worth to mention that Ezz op-ed about the NDP was published on 24 December  2010 ,a month before the 25 January protests would kick off paving the way for the Tahrir revolution that raised the slogan "Bread, Freedom and Social Justice"
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