Egyptian Chronicles: August 2017

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We do not need Spider walking people , We need projects like "Alef Bookstore"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Currently, 75% of the bookstore branches are owned by franchisees.
There are 250 employees working in the bookstore chain now and since 2009 more than 1000 employee worked in it.
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Seen in Cairo : The old house and Satellite dishes


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

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Free Shawkan and others : More than 1000 days behind bars

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

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

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

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

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

It is not only Shawkan who needs to be released from detention, there are many people like who were arrested and were locked up for infinity and beyond whether in pretrial detention or detention pending trial.
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Saturday, August 12, 2017

And we are back to that Presidency ever after talk !!

First of all, I must present my deepest condolences to the families of the Alexandria train tragedy. I can not express how much I am angry as I watch the media coverage of that horrifying incident or rather the lack of media coverage of that incident in the media
What makes me even angrier is the fact that it won’t be the last horrifying train accident of its kind if the current way of governance continues. If we continue not to hold the government truly for its actions, we will continue to have those disasters. I am working inshallah on a post dedicated to that train disaster.
Second, do you remember how I spoke about the upcoming Presidential elections 2018 and how we got no true presidential elections rival to our current president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi?
Do you remember how I spoke in the second half of the post on how some people wanted to change our Egyptian Constitution for the sake of an infinite presidential term?
Casting their votes
Egyptians casting their vote 

Well, last week those people returned to the scene boldly.
On Thursday, an MP in the House of Representatives announced that he would represent a parliamentary petition to amend the current constitution once again as soon as the Parliament started its upcoming session in October.
It is the same MP from February, MP Ismail Serg El-Din of Helwan who presented this petition. MP Serg El-Din wants to amend 6 articles in the current constitution because the current political circumstances demanded those amendments.
He wants to amend article No.140 so the president aka Abdel Fattah El-Sisi would stay in his current presidential term for additional 2 years.
He wants to change the Presidential term to become 6 years instead of 4 years.
The Helwan MP wants to allow Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to be reelected for endless terms instead of just one one reelection only.
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Zamalek underground blues

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

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

In the past year the people of Zamalek thought that they managed to stop the project but for the wrong reasons claiming that the metro would bring poor classes to the island.
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Monday, August 7, 2017

They Block Blogs now in Egypt !!

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

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

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

In a very alarming development, journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada’s personal blog was blocked in Egypt.
This is the first time a personal blog in Egypt is blocked like that. Ziada was using his blog to share his news reports to overcome the block imposed on the Websites he used to write for including Masr Al-Arabia website.
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Friday, August 4, 2017

Presidential elections 2018 : A-One-Man show Already

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

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

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

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

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

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

When it comes to his rivals in the upcoming elections, it is a big question mark.
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Another retro Cairo font

Location El-Sayeda Zainab, Cairo Governorate, Egypt

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

Via Instagram 
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