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[l] at 5/19/22 10:38am
Photo via Daily News Egypt The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced the raising of interest rates on overnight deposits and loans by two percent on Thursday, 19 May. According to its official statement, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to raise the CBE’s overnight deposit rate, overnight lending rate, and the rate of the main operation by 200 basis points to 11.25 percent, 12.25 percent, and 11.75 percent, respectively. Public speculation had been spreading recently expecting interest rates to be raised by up to two percent. The MPC decided that raising policy rates is necessary to contain inflationary pressures which is consistent with achieving price stability over the medium term, the statement said. This marks the third time that the MPC of the CBE convenes in 2022, and the second time since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.The post Central Bank of Egypt Raises Interest Rates by 2% first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, Politics and Society, CBE, central bank of egypt, economy, egypt, egyptian economy, featured, interest rates, news]

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[l] at 5/19/22 4:59am
Image Credit: Erem News Located near the Giza Pyramids, Egypt’s Sphinx International Airport (SPX) is set to become operational in mid-July 2022 in time to receive visitors for the coming summer season, a cabinet meeting press release revealed on 18 May. Sphinx International Airport will operate both domestic and international flights, offering oncoming tourists the advantage of arriving nearer to the Pyramids and Grand Egyptian Museum than Cairo International Airport. Domestically, Sphinx International Airport will serve the Greater Cairo demographic – residents of Giza, 6 October, and Sheikh Zayed will all benefit from an airport closer to home.  During the cabinet meeting, Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar highlighted that the airport is now 90 percent complete, and will start operations in accordance with Egypt’s summer schedule. Manar added that the new airport will also provide one-day tourist programs and receive exports. Manar further revealed that Sphinx International Airport’s total size has upgraded to 24 thousand square meters since its soft opening in 2018 in a bid to accommodate up to 900 passengers per hour. Egypt’s tourism sector is essential to its economy, making up for 15 percent of its GDP. Its tourism has suffered in recent years – primarily due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine – causing an increase in an effort to revive the industry. Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism launched its ‘Follow the Sun’ campaign for the country’s summer season back in March, whereas the Ministry of Civil Aviation digitalized necessary vaccination proof last April to alleviate arrival traffic.The post Egypt to Open Airport Near Pyramids in July first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, Travel, 6 october, 6th October City, 6th of october, africa, Alexandria, Cairo, cairo airport, cairo international airport, coronavirus, covid-19, economy, egypt, Egyptian cabinet, featured, giza, Giza Pyramids, grand egyptian museum, great pyramids, great pyramids of giza, greater cairo, middle east, middle-east, Minister of Civil Aviation, minister of civil aviation mohamed manar, ministry of civil aviation, ministry of tourism, mohamed manar, news, politics, Russia, russia ukraine, russian invasion of ukraine, sheikh zayed, sheikh zayed city, sphinx international airport, tourism, ukraine]

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[l] at 5/19/22 2:04am
Djara Cave. Courtesy of Pinterest The whole of earth’s beauty may seem like a canvas that is always visible and clearly seen by the regular human eye, but the truth is that not all works of art and beauty are laid down before us on a canvas. Some of the most exquisite wonders of the world can be found hidden inside caves, which are home to ancient works of history and art. Historically, caves served as shelter or protected places for ancient tribes and creatures, which continue to carry remains of their cave paintings and possibly origins of writing that have mystified scientists, explorers and archeologists for years. Caving, as the practice of studying caves is known as today, later grew into a scientific and recreational activity that carries its own specialized skill sets. Pioneered by Édouard-Alfred Martel in the 19th century, Martel first achieved the complete exploration of the Gouffre de Padirac, in France, where he developed his own techniques based on ropes and metallic ladders. As caving became increasingly popular in the 20th century, exploration teams in the Alps transformed cave exploration into an exploration activity, sometimes often deemed as a sport. Around the world, caving has also been used as a form of eco and adventure tourism, particularly in New Zealand, India, and Latin America. There are also some that use caves for worship and meditation, such as the Longmen Caves in China which carry a treasury of Buddhist carvings. Egypt is also home to historic caves with wondrous beauty, each carrying a rich history that dates even before the time of ancient Egypt. Like entering a museum, the caves provide a glimpse of ancient stories, memories, and reflections. Wadi Sannur Cave in Beni Suef Sannur Cave. Courtesy of Elt Travel The Wadi Sannur cave is considered to be one of the oldest in the world, formed by chemical reactions of underground water and its mixing with limestone since the Eocene era 40 million years ago. When a light is shone on the stalactites (icicle-shaped formation), they glitter and create an otherworldly environment. These chemical reactions have produced what is known as Alabaster marble, which is used in the manufacture of ornamental vessels. It was discovered by quarry workers in 1992, who were searching for alabaster marble, and was officially announced as a natural reserve in 1992. The Wadi Senour Cave is around 15 meters wide with a depth of 15 meters. Scientists have noted that the Sannur cave serves as a valuable source for geological heritage, which can be used for purposes of geological conservation and research. The research notes that the geological landscape of the cave bears numerous fossils, and that it is the only cave in the world representing “fossil occurrence of an exceptional type of cave origin”, particularly an ancient rimstone basin protected by the overlying limestones. Gara (Djara) Cave in Egypt’s Western Desert Located in the peaceful and pristine area of the Western Desert, Gara (Djara) Cave has attracted thou­sands of tourists in Egypt, especially as it is known to be one of the few well decorated caves in Egypt and is classified as the second most important Stone-Age settlement in the Western Desert after Nabta Playa by the German Archaeological Institute. With animal engravings dating back from the Neolithic Period, the cave also contains icicle-shaped rock forma­tions due to the effect of chemical activity of pure water in contact with the dry desert. Animal figures represented over 85% of the cave’s rock art, yet scientists have often found it difficult to identify the animals since their depiction is abstract apart from birds, giraffes, and camels. Cave of Swimmers  Cave of Swimmers. Courtesy of Bradshaw Foundation Located in the New Valley Governo  no rate of southwest Egypt, in the mountainous Gilf Kebir plateau, the Cave of Swimmers depicts ancient rock art that was discovered in 1933 by Hungarian explorer László Almásy. It is named as “the cave of swimmers” due to the absurd paintings of people with bent limbs and bodies, as it is estimated that they were created 10,000 years ago with the beginning of the African Humid Period, when the climate was much greener and wetter. However, other interpretations include more religious or symbolic meanings, as Jean-Loïc Le Quellec, an academic researcher at the Institut des Mondes Africains on anthropology and prehistory, noted that the painting figures could reflect  deceased souls floating “in the waters of Nun” as written in the ancient Egyptian Coffin texts.The post Egypt’s Oldest Caves Uncover Beauty, Art and History first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, ancient history, art, culture, egypt, Egypt tourism, featured, geology, history, tourism, travel]

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[l] at 5/18/22 10:51am
Netflix Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) smash hit series, AlRawabi School for Girls, which aired on 12 August 2021, was just renewed for its second season. Netflix Announcement | Harpers Bazaar Created by Jordian director Tima Shomali and writer Shirin Kamal, the six-episode series follows a group of teenage girls in Amman, Jordan, as they go through a series of challenges and triumphs, the bullied outcasts making plans to take revenge on their tormentors. The show, which premiered in 32 languages across 190 countries, attracted attention as it sheds light on social and cultural topics that are rarely discussed in the Arab world — especially through Arabic-language entertainment — such as bullying, women’s rights, religion, and relationships. Netflix has released a number of Arabic originals in recent years, including Egyptian series Finding Ola, Abla Fahita, and Paranormal, and Jordanian series Jinn. The release date of the second season is yet to be announced; however, fans eagerly await the second season’s twirls and twists.The post Netflix Arabic Original ‘AlRawabi School for Girls’ Renewed for Second Season first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Buzz, al rawabi, art, Cairo, culture, featured, high school, Jordan, middle east, netflix, new season, series, Show]

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[l] at 5/18/22 6:22am
Manal Rostom holding the Egyptian flagPhoto via Instagram Setting a historic and unparalleled record, Egyptian marathoner and mountaineer Manal Rostom became the first Egyptian woman to climb to the top of Mount Everest. Her feat was accomplished on Monday, 16 May, eliciting awe, and excitement on social media platforms. An Instagram account named Michael Hamill, Premier Seven Summits Mountaineering Guide Service, a world leading mountain guiding service was the first to break the news, which then spread feverishly as Rostom’s fans and mountaineering enthusiasts carefully monitored news for the on-coming record. Last week, Rostom posted a heartfelt video on her Instagram account, where she opened up about her journey at Everest camp, and described the situation as “tough, challenging, isolating, physically demanding, mentally draining”. After which, she received thousands of supportive comments from her followers, in addition to a video from her friends and family, cheering and praying for her. Born and raised in Kuwait, Rostom has climbed a total of seven mountains, was the first Hijabi woman to model in a Nike Running Campaign in 2015 and first Arab to be featured in an Audio Guided Run on the Global Nike Run Club App in 2018. Adequately, she was named “Africa’s top 50 most powerful women” by Forbes Africa in 2020. Seeking to inspire further, she is also the founder of a closed Facebook group called Surviving Hijab, which empowers hijabi women and helps them in their journey towards defying societal stereotypes about them.The post ‘I Hope This Makes Egyptian Women Proud’: Manal Rostom Becomes First-Ever Egyptian Woman to Summit Mount Everest first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Buzz, Politics and Society, arab women, egypt, egyptian woman, featured, manal rostom, mount everest, mountaineer, record, Summit, women]

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[l] at 5/17/22 5:05am
Image Credit: Alwafd Egypt is not known for high-risk earthquakes. When there is an earthquake, it often comes in the form of a shaky bed, with no sense of danger whatsoever. But every once in a while, calamity strikes, as it struck Cairo nearly thirty years ago on 12 October 1992.  On that day, an earthquake took the lives of 545 Egyptians, injuring 6,512, and displacing 50,000 Egyptians in the process. Modern-day Egypt had never seen so much seismic damage prior to that moment, forever reminding Egyptians that earthquakes can be more than a mere bed shake. The earthquake, which began at 3:09 PM Cairo time, possessed a seemingly-normal magnitude of 5.8. The country often experiences higher magnitudes with far less damage. However, when the earthquake occurred 25 kilometers southwest of Cairo, Dahshur necropolis being the epicenter, the damage was disastrous, it was felt throughout all of Cairo, as well as Alexandria, Port Said, and as far south as Asyut. An isoseismal map of the earthquake.Image Credit: USGS/Wikimedia The greatest damage was recorded in Bulaq, an area in Old Cairo, where centuries-long archaic structures suffered from the seismic impact. A report by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) reported 350 buildings destroyed, 9,000 severely damaged, with 216 mosques and 350 schools badly damaged. “Some of the walls of the Abdin palace were also badly damaged, as were various buildings in the citadel. A large block was dislodged from the Great Pyramid at Giza and rolled to the ground, while some other monuments in Saqqara suffered minor cracking,” the NCEI reported. To this day, older Egyptians remember where they were, what they were doing, and how they felt at that moment. Now nothing more than a memory to most, the incident serves as a reminder that disasters could strike at any given moment.The post Calamity in Cairo: The Earthquake That Shook Egypt 30 Years Ago first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Politics and Society, 1992 earthquake, abdeen palace, abdin palace, africa, Alexandria, asyut, Bulaq, buzz, Cairo, culture, damanhur, earthquake, earthquake damage, economy, egypt, egypt earthquake, featured, giza, great pyramids, great pyramids of giza, health, history, magnitude, middle east, middle-east, news, old cairo, politics, Pyramids, society]

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[l] at 5/17/22 4:54am
Photo via Facebook A spacious playground, a computer lab, a library, a 150-seat theater, and an art room, all located in a colorful school in the middle of Cairo’s informal slums. This is just one of Tawasol’s accomplishments to date. With the help of Egypt’s Ministry of Education and generous donations, Tawasol built a community school for dropouts and children who never attended school. The school offers free quality education and an elementary school certificate certified by the Ministry of Education. Today, more than 91 students have graduated from Tawasol, and received this certificate. In 2020, Tawasol built a new community school to accommodate a larger number of students, and accordingly, attend to the community’s needs. Photo via Tawasol In Egypt, philanthropic work is the most common form of giving. Stemming from a sense of community and togetherness, Egyptians are often at the forefront of providing for the less fortunate. From the idea of reaching out to the community, Tawasol (‘communication’) was born. Founded in 2008, Tawasol for Developing Istabl Antar NGO (Tawasol Egypt) was developed as an NGO registered with the Ministry of Social Solidarity to serve the low-income communities in three of Cairo’s informal settlements: Ezzbet Khairallah, Istabl Antar, and Batn El Baqara or Dar Al Salam. In Ramadan 2005, like many Egyptians, Yasmina Abou Youssef collected money to distribute food to impoverished communities. After which, she realized that while distributing food is a wonderful cause, those who are unemployed and those who are uneducated remain as they are. Realizing she had to do something about it, she founded Tawasol. Tawasol provides jobs for low-income families, gives vocational training, academic education, and arts, and offers health awareness sessions and services. Meanwhile, Tawasol’s Vocational Training Center provides women and youth an opportunity to learn Egyptian craftsmanship and handicrafts, such as woodwork, metalwork, embroidery, crochet, and sewing. Through this center, members of the Tawasol community from low-income families create products that are handmade and sold to financially support themselves and the community. From clothing to home decor, the proceeds are given back either as wages or to support community development projects. To differentiate themselves from other NGOs, and as part of their efforts to give their students a creative outlet, in 2012, Tawasol launched a performing arts program for students to develop their skills and talents in circus arts, theater, choir, and Egyptian folklore. Photo via Facebook Additionally, Tawasol provides health checkups and treatments at its clinic, and aims to increase the number of clinics in the area. With multiple arms, Tawasol is a holistic and comprehensive community development NGO, and this is what differentiates it from like-minded philanthropists. To support Tawasol, cover a child’s school fees from here, or buy their products from here.The post Tawasol: a Comprehensive Approach Towards Community Development in Egypt first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Buzz, Politics and Society, Cairo, charity, egypt, egyptian children, ezzbet khairallah, featured, NGO, slums, tawasol]

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[l] at 5/17/22 2:12am
Baybars I | Photo Credit: Encyclopedia Britannica Mornings are riper in Aleppo; vibrant with the afterglow of victory. Baybars basks in it, but remains bitter; scars break the tan on his shoulders, battle-worn and time-sealed, and he thinks of how this city was meant to be his—made to be his. He approaches Sultan Quṭuz detailed in smile and courtesy, and with grace, cranes to kiss his hand. On that signal, the Mamlūks descend. Quṭuz is speared through the neck, and Baybars—in a moment of euphoric fanaticism—seizes sovereignty. He is now the most eminent of the Mamlūk sultans. The Mamlūk Carpet Seller | Painting by Vibert Jehan Georges Illustration of a mamlūk | Photo Credit: Bahath Born Tragic Baybars I, also known as ​​al-Zahir Baybars al-Bunduqdārī, is a controversial behemoth in Islamic history. Here was a man who sought to emulate Saladin, who married exalted vision with violence. There are few names more known or venerated; Baybars brought Egypt and Syria underwing, famously axed the final crusade, and time and time again fended off Mongol armies with renowned battlefield finesse. Though the most famous Mamlūk was not Egyptian in origin. Born in 1223 AD, north of the Black Sea in the country of the Kipchak Turks, Baybars was sold into slavery early on in his life. He was one of many Kipchak Turks who were dealt an unfortunate hand after the Mongols invaded their country circa 1242. Given that Turkish-speaking slaves had become indispensable and highly prized to Muslim armies at the time, Baybars soon found himself in the care of Egypt’s then-Sultan al-Salih Najm al-Dīn Ayyūb. Trained militarily, Baybars demonstrated superlative skill on the field. After his graduation and emancipation, he was appointed head of the sultan’s personal guard. His first substantial victory came in February 1250 AD, as commander of the Ayyūbid army, in capturing crusader-king Louis IX of France. Confident to the point of insolence, a group of Mamlūk soldiers headed by Baybars took it upon themselves to assassinate the newly appointed, final Ayyūbid sultan, Tūrān Shāh. At the behest of Shajarat al-Durr, supreme sultana and vicious politician, Baybars set the stage for a new era in Egypt. The Mamlūk sultanate had begun. “Pris de Marrah, 1098”| Painting by Henri Decaisne (1799-1852) Painting by Hippolyte Bellangé An Era of Blood and Slave-Sultans The storm would continue on into Baybars’ relationship with the first Mamlūk sultan, Aybak. After disagreement and hostility rioted between them, and with Shajarat al-Durr lying brutally executed at the base of the citadel, Baybars lost his footing in Egypt; he fled to Syria in 1260 AD, alongside countless Mamlūk leaders. He would only return to Egypt at the pardon of the third Mamlūk sultan, al-Muzaffar Saif al-Dīn Quṭuz. The very man he would come to kill. Soon after, the Mamlūks would defeat the largest Mongol faction in the Levant. The battle took place near Nablus, Palestine, and throughout it, Baybars established himself at the head of the vanguard. For his victory, he expected nothing short of a grand gesture: he expected Aleppo. Baybars was prone to dreaming, but quicker to anger—and when Quṭuz failed to fulfill this expectation, his end came swiftly after his mistake. In his place, Baybars would take the throne as the sultan of Egypt and Syria. A Sultan | Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons Inspired, and perhaps infatuated by Saladin’s legacy, his immediate action was the fortification of Syrian citadels and the reinforcement of his military position in the region. He consolidated new factions, built new arsenals, warships, and cargo vessels—all of which had been depleted during continuous battle with the Mongols. For decades he would simultaneously ward off the Mongols and conduct annual raids against the crusaders. In order to drive home this strategy, he united Egypt and Syria into a single, Muslim state that successfully took back the Levant from European control. ‘Atlit and Haifa were his, and soon after in the summer of 1266 AD, the Knights Templar would submit the town of Safed and Jaffa. Though his triumph against the crusaders has gone on to be one of Baybars’ more histrionic accomplishments, his fixation on the Mongols was of equal fire: he saw them as an essence that “threatened the very heart of the Islamic East.” Mamluk lancers, early 16th century. | Etching by Daniel Hopfer (circa 1526–1536), British Museum, London. Politics and Poison Baybars legitimized his power by associating with a “fugitive descendent of the Abbasid dynasty,” and would go on to build internal, diplomatic infrastructure that would sustain the Mamlūks for centuries. Though political architecture was not the only building Baybars was prone to doing; he was keen on new projects, including harbors and canals, postal service, and mosques. Baybars was also the first ruler of Egypt to appoint four qadis (chief justices) for the main schools of Islamic Law. He was a devout Muslim and a generous almsgiver, even under the weight of his vicious disposition. But even kings are not immune to poison—or perhaps, they are most vulnerable to it. After drinking from a chalice intended for another man, Baybars would taste the bite of poison under his tongue. He died in Damascus, in 1277 AD at the age of 54. Today, Baybars is buried under the dome of the al-Zahiriya Library in Damascus—a structure he himself built.The post King of the Mamlūks: Al-Zahir Baybars first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Feature, baibars, baybars, baybars i, egypt, Egypt's history, egyptian history, featured, history, mamluk, mamluks, shajarat al-durr]

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[l] at 5/16/22 11:00am
Omar Khorshid biking the streets of Beirut during his time there composing an album. The photo would later become the cover art for his posthumous album, Giant + Guitar.Image Credit: Voice of Lebanon Donning his signature velvet black suit, a dazzling smile from cheek to cheek, and slicked-back hair that would have given Elvis a run for his money, there stood a man and his electric guitar. Audiences were entranced by his performance, both on and off-screen. His name was Omar Khorshid, and he was Egypt’s first-ever electric guitarist.  During the post-war era which fused tradition with Westernization, Khorshid’s electric guitar would enthrall Egyptians for decades to come. And, following his death in a mysterious car accident, that same enthrallment would carry on to the conspiracies behind its circumstances.  The Making of Egypt’s Electric Guitar Giant Image Credit: Van Leo Khorshid was born into a family of artistry and wealth that almost ensured that he was destined for stardom. His father, Ahmed Khorshid, was an accomplished cinematographer with several connections to Egypt’s celebrity scene, whereas his mother was a socialite. His siblings, including the iconic actress and performer Sherihan, would also follow in the family’s artistic footsteps. Early into his childhood, Khorshid discovered his passion for music, learning the violin, piano, and classic guitar, eventually reaching the instrument that would turn him into a household name: the electric guitar. A budding instrument and predominantly Western in use, Khorshid’s mastery of the electric guitar was no easy feat. Khorshid’s electric guitar performances were unlike anything Egypt’s music scene had heard before. He fused the instrument’s Western style of sound with the oriental music of Egypt, ushering in an era of funk-rock that symbolized Egypt’s 1970s. Khorshid became the main event of Egypt’s hippest nightclubs, enchanting crowds with his surf-rock riff mixed with finger-picking skills expected from an oud player. His main event moments would later turn him mainstream, as Khorshid’s new wave of music would eventually grab the attention of Egypt’s musical titans: Abdel Halim Hafez, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, and Umm Kalthoum – legends who would invite the young blood to perform with them in concerts. Omar Khorshid posing with Umm Kalthoum during his wedding with Amina El SobkyImage Credit: Ein Khorshid’s star would only shine brighter with the cinematic opportunities that followed his mainstream popularity, turning the guitarist into a full-fledged celebrity. He would become acquainted with Egypt’s most influential circles, making it as far as being a member of President Anwar Sadat’s entourage during a visit to the White House in 1977. Yet to reach his 40s, Khorshid was already an icon in modern Egyptian culture. His adoring fans were eager for more guitar solos and heartthrob performances in the coming decades. But those hopes were crushed when Khorshid tragically died in a car accident in 1986, aged 36. Sudden and mysterious, Khorshid’s death remains a mystery to this day, as many suspect his death to be more than a mere car accident. Car Accident or Assassination? On 29 May 1981, Khorshid was driving at a high speed on El Haram Street in Giza, Egypt with his wife, Dina, a Lebanese businesswoman, and fellow actress Madiha Kamel, when he lost control of the vehicle and collided with a street light pole. The two women suffered from injuries whereas Khorshid’s autopsy determined him dead immediately upon collision. Khorshid’s death was ruled as a car accident, but it was only after his death that questions over a possible assassination arose. Upon healing from their injuries and shock, Dina later claimed that they were chased by a mysterious car that was determined to make Khorshid’s crash – a claim that gave rise to a number of theories from members of Khorshid’s closest circle.  The scene of the crash.Image Credit: Alqabas Etemad Khorshid, the late guitarist’s younger sister, believes that the cause of her brother’s death lies in the hands of former Minister of Information, Safwat El-Sherif, and the abusive relationship he is said to have had with cinematic superstar Soad Hosny. Hosny was rumored to have worked in espionage for El-Sherif during the Egyptian-Israeli conflict. According to Khorshid’s sister, Hosny, who is a close friend of the guitarist, was allegedly suffering because of El-Sherif’s orders and Khorshid came to her defense, leading to a spat and his eventual death. Ehab Khorshid, the guitarist’s younger brother, would support this theory in a phone interview on Al Hekaya (The Story) talk show, shortly after El-Sherif’s death in 2021.  One other theory accuses Palestinian freedom fighters of assassinating him due to his role as a member of Sadat’s entourage during peace talks between Egypt, Israel, and the United States. The late Maha Abou Ouf – who was also married to Khorshid at the time of his death – publicly shared her belief that Khorshid’s death was more than a mere accident during the Kol Youm (Everyday) talk show in 2019. While the actress admitted that she remains unsure of what truly happened, she did recognize the question marks surrounding the accident. “I did not go to the scene of the accident, but he was supposed to meet me after leaving [near Mena House], but then a friend who was with him called me asking if Omar made it home or not. When I said ‘no’ he called back minutes later to tell me that Omar had been in a car accident and that he was moved to the Anglo-American hospital…but why that hospital? There are several other hospitals much closer to [where he crashed], it doesn’t make sense,” remarked Abou Ouf. On the other hand, some believe that it was simply a tragedy that took Egypt’s electric guitar giant away. His former bandmate and drummer, Yehia Khalil, expressed disbelief in the conspiracy theories, believing it to be simply a tragic car accident. Despite the controversy and his untimely death, Khorshid remains an icon for both music and cinema, even 40 years after his passing. His work helped revolutionize music in the Arab world, becoming the first of his kind to push the boundaries of the guitar in Arab music. Khorshid’s legend lives on, both as an inspiration and as a conspiracy case.The post The Tragic Ballad of Omar Khorshid: Egypt’s Electric Guitar Giant first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Politics and Society, Abdel Halim, abdel halim hafez, abdel wahab, anwar sadat, egypt electric guitar, egypt rock, electric guitar egypt, funk egypt, giant + guitar, haram street, maha abou ouf, mena house, mohamed abdel wahab, omar khorshed, omar khorshid, oum kalthoum, Oum Kulthum, rock egypt, safwat el-sherif, safwat sherif, sherihan, soad hosni, soad hosny, Umm Kalthouhm, umm kalthoum, Umm Khulthum]

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[l] at 5/16/22 6:49am
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly Egypt’s Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, outlined Egypt’s vision to increase private sector investments to 65 percent in the next three years, which equals to USD 40 billion (EGP 732 billion) in investment over the next four years, in a bid to mitigate the shockwaves of the Ukraine war on the economy. The vision revolves around three main components: a package of policy incentives, improving the business market, and open communication channels with the private sector. By the end of May, the government is set to announce the details of a State Ownership Policy document, which will outline a governmental plan to offer a variety of state assets to private investors, including projects in electric vehicles, data centres, networks for oil and gas, expansion of gas liquefaction plants, communication towers, and wind power. The prime minister also explained that stakes in two military-owned firms and 10 other companies will be offered on the stock market by the end of this year, adding that the state had already identified USD 9 billion (EGP 164 billion) in assets to be monetized, and another USD 15 billion (EGP 274 billion) that it would start preparing to offer. He highlighted that Egypt is eyeing USD 40 billion (EGP 732) in investment in green hydrogen projects, which have become essential to facing the energy crisis and diversifying Egypt’s energy mix.Egypt intends to increase the supply of electricity generated from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2022 and 42 percent  by 2035. Named as the “worst crisis since the 1920s” by the prime minister, Egypt’s economy has been heavily affected by the Ukraine conflict and sanctions imposed on Russia, leading to a surge in the inflation rate by 14.9 percent in April, significantly higher than the previous month’s 12.1 percent. Egypt has also imposed an export ban on cooking oil, corn and green wheat for three months, as Egypt’s wheat supply was hit severely given that Russia and Ukraine provided the majority of its wheat imports.The post Egypt’s Vision to Increase Private Sector Investments to 65% in 3 Years first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, business, economy, egypt, featured, investment, news, private sector, sisi, ukraine]

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[l] at 5/16/22 4:20am
Image Credit: Official Spokesman for Egyptian Presidency/Facebook President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, and Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) Amr Talaat convened on 15 May to discuss the president’s directives to help entrepreneurs establish their businesses digitally, in a bid to shorten the bureaucratic process Bassam Rady, the Presidential Spokesperson, listed Al-Sisi’s directives in an official social media statement. Entrepreneurs will be able to formally register their business through a “digital notification” platform, “so as to eliminate all obstacles facing start-ups and entrepreneurs.” Egypt will also allow the formal establishment of virtual companies, without the need for a physical headquarters, for those running their business digitally to cut costs on renting or purchasing headquarters. This decision works in tandem with another directive that aims to ease requirements for establishing one-person companies. The directives also include “expanding the establishment of free investment technological zones and expanding tax exemptions for start-ups,” the statement reads. The president’s directives offer a boost to what is an already booming industry. Egypt’s startup sector has been on a rapid rise over the past years, culminating in an all-time high funding volume of EGP 8.9 billion (USD 491 million) in Magnitt’s 2021 Egypt Venture Investment Report achieving first place in Africa. In 2022, Egypt’s Swvl debuted in the United States’ Nasdaq stock market as the first-ever Middle Eastern unicorn (start-up with a valuation higher than USD 1 billion), showcasing the country’s flourishing startup scene.The post Egypt Plans Digital Process for Establishing Startups first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Business & Technology, News, Politics and Society, abdelfattah al sisi, africa, Al-Sisi, amr talaat, Bassam Radi, bassam rady, bureaucracy, bureaucracy in egypt, business, buzz, Cairo, culture, digital business, digital startup, economy, egypt, egypt bureaucracy, egypt startups, Egyptian entrepreneur, egyptian entrepreneurs, egyptian prime minister, egyptian start-ups, egyptian startups, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs in egypt, featured, magnitt 2021 egypt venture investment report, mcit egypt, middle east, middle-east, minister of communications and information technology, Ministry of communication, ministry of communications and information technology, mostafa madbouly, news, politics, President Sisi, sisi, society, start-ups, startups, SWVL]

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[l] at 5/15/22 12:45pm
A screenshot of the puppet show of El Leila El Kebeera. Throughout most of my childhood, my family and I traveled from one country to another. I never spent long enough in any one foreign country to call its culture my own, nor did I spend enough time at home to escape the feeling that there was much I was missing out on. This presented a challenge, but one my parents decided to rise to. Aside from the usual of speaking Arabic at home and visiting every summer, another weapon in their arsenal was the windows they gave my brother and me into the culture and traditions of Egypt. And in our childhood, the crowning jewel among those was El Leila El Kebeera. El Leila El Kebeera (The Big Night, 1961) the name given to the peak of the seasonal celebration of the Prophet Mohammeds birthday, was a treasure my parents held on to from their own childhood. On a cassette tape it traveled with us as far to the east as Tokyo and as far to the west as Washington D.C. Written in the accessible, yet witty, thoughtful, and sometimes even philosophical style of Egyptian poet Salah Jahine, along with the music of the quintessentially Egyptian composer Sayyed Mekkawy, the operetta was a pillar of my early years. Listening to it, even without watching the iconic puppet show it premiered as, transports the listener straight into a typical Egyptian mulid. In fact, the entire operetta feels like a walk through one such fairground, catching snippets of conversation, song, vendors calls and performances, and Sufi chants, with the spiritual and religious rituals blending in seamless harmony with popular celebration and fun without a hint that the two are in contradiction with each other. Along that walk the listener meets a myriad of characters that encapsulate the spirit of a mulid. The first voice we hear is that of a man singing fondly and poetically of the chickpeas he is selling to passersby. He is not the only street vendor that appears throughout the operetta either. From freshly fried fish to malban (Turkish delight), stands and carts selling food punctuate the story as it goes along. The iconic Egyptian Aragouz is also a key voice in the El Leila El Kebeera – he is the first to sing the words of the title. He also provides the watching children with a side-splitting performance, as he pranks a small town mayor asking him for directions. The recurring character Mes’ed, an ordinary mulid-goer, and his unnamed friend hop from ahwa (a traditional Egyptian café) to ahwa, trying to get away with listening to the live performances of singers like Rayyes Hanteera without spending money on anything to drink, while elsewhere an emcee announces the program of a circus with clowns, lion tamers, and more. Like any child, I carried within me a fear of getting lost in a crowd and not finding my family. As a result, one of the snippets that are etched deepest in my mind is the song of a mother seeking her lost daughter. يا ولاد الحلال..بنتي تايهة طول كده رجلها الشمال فيا خلخال زي ده Kind people, my daughter is lost, she is about this tall, On her left foot is an anklet just like this. Until today when I hear the sadness in the woman’s voice, I find myself wondering if the girl was ever found. Unfortunately, most of the beauty of El Leila El Kebeera gets entirely lost in translation. Steeped in local culture, the words of the operetta may be found in other languages, but the context and significance behind them and the smoothness and sincerity of Jahine’s rhymes can only fully reach those who are familiar with the Egyptian Arabic dialect. دول فلاحين ودول صعايدة..دول م الكنال ودول رشايدة Over there are some from the Delta, Some for Upper Egypt, the Canal, and some from Rosetta From the femininity of the song Tar Fel Hawa Shashi and the masculinity of Osta Emara and his claim of being known for his strength – and his subsequent inability to prove it – to the romance of Rayyes Hanteera’s songs and love and spirituality in a chant performed by another mulid-goer who hurried to the fairground after having a beautiful dream of the Prophet Mohamed: El Leila El Kebeera is layered and varied. I have never been to a mulid myself, not, at least, as far as I recall. But as I listen to the songs of El Leila El Kebeera, the words tumbling out of my mouth as though through muscle memory, I close my eyes and I feel like I am there, sat at a table listening to Rayyes Hanteera singing his love song, or observing the devotion in the Sufi rituals. A microcosm of Egypt at its most cheerful and wholesome, El Leila El Kebeera has been putting smiles on the faces of Egyptian children and adults for decades. However, its evocative lyrics and unforgettable music are slowly fading from the standard traditions of families across Egypt, a fact that I lament. Many of my peers who grew up in Egypt are not familiar with El Leila El Keebera, or at least did not have a childhood in which it played a meaningful role. Perhaps parents raising their children at home did not fear any cultural alienation or loss of identity. And in that way, with the help of El Leila El Kebeera, my distance from Egypt may, ironically, have helped bring me closer to it. Any opinions and viewpoints expressed in this article are exclusively those of the author. To submit an opinion article, please email submissions@egyptianstreets.com.The post Growing Up Abroad, El Leila El Kebeera Was My Window to Egyptian Culture first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Buzz, aragouz, egypt, el leila el kebeera, featured, mouled, moulid, mulid, operetta, prophet's birthday, Puppet Show, salah jahine, sayyed mekkawy, sufi ritual, sufi traditions, Sufism]

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[l] at 5/15/22 11:24am
Siwa Oasis, Salt Lakes | Photo Credit: Rachid H via Flickr Isolated and idyllic, the Siwa Oasis sits spun with sand and stone. Its water is clear, near-mythic, its shores baked with salt. For some, it is an escape—a place far removed from the bustle of the city. As the pulse of Egypt’s Western Desert, the location is a thing of immense beauty, sitting just short of the Libyan border. For others, the oasis is much more than beautiful. It is home. Among the palm and olive groves live the Siwi, a people of Berber origin often characterized as “independent, private, and resistant to central authority.” In their own words, they are Imazighen: ‘noble and free men.’ Nomadic in nature, the Siwi are farmers and vagabonds indigenous to North Africa. Although their communities are various, and often speckled with respective idiosyncrasies, the Siwi are most famously Swians: peoples who inhabit the Siwa oasis. Their staple crop includes olives and dates, a romantic duo associated with their intrigue. To a lesser extent, the Siwi farm wheat, barley, sorghum, onions, and broad beans. Land is bought and sold amongst them, as are water rights; the Western Desert is arid and inhospitable, and their dependence on the oasis is essential to their survival. Siwa girls in their familys bridal outfits, late 20th century. | Photo Credit: TRC Leiden Traditional Music and Dancing in Siwa. | Photo Credit: Taziry As Berbers, they are the furthest East in comparison to similar Imazighen communities in Algeria and Morocco. Still, the Siwi adopt a Berber dialect (Siwah) that separates them from Arabic-speaking tribes and communities in the Western Desert. Berber as a language, also known as Tamazight, belongs to “the Afro-Asiatic language group, which embraces ancient Egyptian and Semitic languages.” Despite the connection, Siwah is not as closely related to other Berber languages. Though language is not the only thing that defines the Siwi. Their town is walled, and their villages are recognizable mud-brick, separate from the whole, with patriarchal dynamics ingrained into their intra-group politics. The majority of Siwi are Sunni Muslims, though many still adhere to traditional belief systems, observing pre-Islamic customs. Interestingly, Siwa has a patron saint (Sidi Suleiman) whose tomb sits beside a new mosque in the center of town. Siwa | Photo Credit: Flo P via UNSPLASH Egyptian Berber | Photo Credit: Global Times Present-day Siwa has nine Siwi tribes in total: three Western tribes and six Eastern tribes. Their central town—an unmissable enclosure—separated itself organically into a West-East split. The Western tribes are Shihayam, Awlad Musa (Sons of Moses), and Sarahena. The Easterners are Zanayn, al-Hadadin (the Blacksmiths), Lehamudet, al-Jawasis (the Spies), Sharameta, and Aghurmi. Although considered a minority on Egyptian soil, the existence of the Siwi is common knowledge among locals, and with the influx of tourism, insight into their communities has been on a steady incline. Still, it is important not to overly romanticize their existence; the Siwi’s reality as isolated and tribal has manifested several issues, including risky separation from state. Amany El Weshahy, leader of the Imazighen World Congress in Egypt. | Photo Credit: Marc Español via Nationalia Window overlooking the Siwa Oasis | Photo Credit: Rawan Yasser While Cairo remains in control of basic necessities such as water and electricity, any and all issues present are often overseen by the tribes themselves. Traditional processes are often favored over lengthy, costly, and often discriminatory court proceedings. Additionally, despite Siwah being the predominant language spoken—and in some cases, the only language—Arabic is often imposed in all forms of legislation and schooling. Reasonable as it is to assume an Arabic-speaking country must speak Arabic, the lack of infrastructure surrounding the Siwa Oasis has prevented integration and continues to be a disconnect that severs the Siwi from Cairo’s linguistic, cultural, and political philosophies. Regardless, it is reasonable to admire the Siwi for what they are: a colorful, enigmatic facet of Egypt prior to its Arabization. They are a raw, and unfiltered observation of how culture can simultaneously persist against all odds and evolve to survive.The post The Unseen World of Egypt’s Siwi Berber first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Buzz, Amazigh, Berber, culture, egypt, featured, hidden gems, Imazighen, siwa, siwa oasis, siwa people, siwan women, siwi, siwi people, tourism, western desert]

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[l] at 5/15/22 6:41am
Source: Pixabay In a strange turn of events, social media users have shared dubious footage of Egypt’s iconic Sphinx statue with its eyes mysteriously closed. The original post, which has been shared over 6,000 times on Facebook, showcases different photos and videos of the ancient statue with its eyes seemingly closed. The ‘sleeping’ photos of the Sphinx have been snubbed as fabricated and illogical, as per Ali Abu Dish, an Egyptian antiquities expert and a member of the Federation of Archaeologists, reports Al-Ahram. Nonetheless, Abu Dish asserted that the rumor provided an opportunity for domestic tourism, with a potential for visitors to see the statue for themselves. “A source at the Ministry of Antiquities confirmed that the photo was a fake of the Sphinx, as it was filmed at an angle opposite the sun. With a weak camera, his features were not shown, which made the picture appear like this,” also reads a post by Tourism Egypt, an Egyptian tourism-focused account on Facebook. In a similar post, it stated that the Sphinx’s makeshift appearance of ‘sleeping’ and ‘closed’ eyes can be attributed to various reasons: a change in angle, lighting, and finally editing. The Sphinx is one of Egypt’s most iconic and visited sites. The limestone colossal statue is believed to have been erected during the Old Kingdom, bearing the facial features of the ruler Khafre, to whom one of the Great Pyramids of Giza belongs. Far and wide, ancient Egypt has continued to be at the heart of mystical and magical ruminations espousing far-fetched theories. Many ancient Egypt enthusiasts resort to untrustworthy pages, poorly-made documentaries, and amateurs to understand more about the civilization which has attracted millions to its sites. The science of studying ancient Egypt, Egyptology, however, remains a carefully academic field, supported by researchers, excavators, and university professors who base their theories on years of work, and research.The post Did Egypt’s Sphinx Really Close its Eyes? first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Buzz, al-ahram, closed eyes, egypt, featured, giza, ministry of antiquities, Pyramids, sphinx, tourism]

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[l] at 5/14/22 11:59am
  From illustrated stories to riddles and one-frame ca​rtoons: Sindbad was a seminal childrens magazine, whose storytelling and illustrations have influenced comic publications across the Arab region. The magazine, founded by Egyptian writer Mohamed Saeed al-Arian, was the first Arabic children’s book published. The events followed the life of a legendary literary character, Sinbad the Sailor from the collection `Thousand and One Nights.’ Hussein Bicar was the illustrator for the magazine, alongside Mario Morelli. The first issue was published in 1952, and continued to be published every Thursday for six years until its last issue was published in 1960. Here are some pictures of the magazine that changed the face of illustration and storytelling for generations.   Sindbad Issue 5 | 1952 Sindbad Issue 18 | 1952 Sindbad Issue 5 | 1953 Sindbad Issue 1 | 1954 Sindbad Issue 3 |1956 The post Sindbad: The Children’s Magazine that Influenced Generations first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Buzz, arab, art, Artist, Cairo, children book, comic book, egypt, featured, hussein bicar, Illustration, journalism, magazine, MENA region, middle east, sindbad]

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[l] at 5/14/22 11:25am
image via amateurs In the land of the Red Sea, where sheltered sandy beaches and clear water surround, and palm-trees line the promenades, Al Sahaba Mosque stands with its mesmerizing architecture in Sharm el-Sheikh. Al Sahaba Mosque was inaugurated in 2017 by the Minister of Religious Endowments, Mohamed Mokhtar. The foundation stone for the Mosque was laid in January 2011, however, the construction was suspended for four months due to the events of the 25 January Revolution. President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi ordered the engineering body of the armed forces to handle the last phase of the associated costs for completion, which amounted to roughly EGP 15 million (USD 833,000). The 3,000 square meter masterpiece was designed pro bono by Egyptian architect Fouad Tawfik Hafez. The mosque can accommodate up to 3000 visitors, and its 76-meter long minarets. image via sharmstan   Located in the Old Market, a tourist area in Sharm el-Sheikh, the mosque is enwrapped in a stellar fusion of different styles – Ottoman, Fatimid, and Mamluk – creating a unique blend of architectural elements and interior design. The aim of mixing different cultures and styles in one structure is to create a kind of inter-religious harmony, architect Hafez told Al-Monitor. Consisting of two floors – the first floor for men and the second floor for women – the mosque also has a library in its upper floor that houses dozens of books on Islamic teachings. SHARM EL SHEIKH, EGYPT- DECEMBER 15, 2017: Al Sahaba mosque has many prayer halls on different floors, the most beautiful is located on the upper level and boasts colored painted dome and gilt decors, on December 15 in Sharm El Sheikh. image via 123rf The mosque has two imams, fluent in English and French, with the intention of catering to foreigners, residing in and visiting Sharm el-Sheikh. It stands perfectly amidst the tranquility and serenity of Sharm el-Sheikh – with a large fountain in the front, the mosque’s construction also led to the renovation of the Old Market; its floors were polished and new cafes and shops were added. Blending religious devotion with divine beauty, the mosque brings a new breath of spiritual and religious aspects to a destination primarily associated with its beaches and all-inclusive hotels. Although tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh has significantly declined over the past years, the beauty and splendor of Al Sahaba mosque is expected to attract international and domestic tourists alike.The post Sharm El Sheikh’s ‘Al Sahaba Mosque’ Blends Spirituality and Tourism first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Buzz, al sahaba, architecture, art, Cairo, culture, egypt, featured, middle east, mosque, religious, sharm el-sheikh, tourism]

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[l] at 5/13/22 12:42pm
Elif Shafak. Photograph: Muammer Yanmaz Freedom needs space to move, French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir once observed. In the case of women attaining their freedom, there is usually little space for them to “see their bodies through their own gaze,” since the gaze of society, of their families, and of men permeates most cultures. How can women, then, become who they desire to be, beyond what the outside world the outside gaze thinks of them? Renowned Turkish author Elif Shafak provides an honest introspection of her womanhood in Black Milk (2007), which details her experiences with anxiety, identity, and depression as she struggles to balance a writers life with a mothers life, while endeavoring  to become her own kind of ‘woman’. The book reads like a stream of water flowing along her body’s surface, carrying the names and stories of all of the women she encountered throughout her life. It is divided into a chapter of a story of one woman writer’s experiences and struggles, followed by a chapter that goes inside the “harem of women” who live inside of her, each symbolizing a part of her personality the intellectual, the goal-oriented and ambitious, the practical-rational, the spiritual, the maternal, and the lustful. At first, it can be difficult for the reader to truly visualize these “little women” inside of her, for despite the fact that they all have their own names, unique style of dress, and personalities, it is not made clear as to whether it is Shafak speaking through them or whether they are independent of her. Shafak’s voice is often overshadowed by the powerful and assertive aura of the ‘other’ women inside of her, each espousing full confidence in who they are, while her own timid, insecure voice is only noticed when she responds to their speeches and conversations. When she asks for their opinion on having children, for instance, each of them aggressively impose their view while she looks at them with hesitant “puppy eyes.” Little Miss Practical tells her to “snap her fingers and find a nanny,” while Miss Ambitious Chekhovian scolds her for even considering the option of having children, arguing “with all that we have to do ahead of us, it is hardly time for children!” Ironically, this disconnect is one of the book’s major strengths; it allows the reader to recognize that these other women do not truly represent her, but rather, they present an illusion of confidence; they are merely a mirage that hides the deep core of Shafak’s personality, which is piled with insecurities, doubt, and mixed emotions. The stream of water is constantly overflowing with different  women’s stories rather than her own. Throughout the book, Shafak observes others and ponders whether or not they chose the optimal lifestyle for a woman, and accordingly, if she could emulate them to reach her own ideal state of being. From narrating the lives of other renowned writers such as Anaïs Nin and Sylvia Path, to the less known married women she encounters in her own life, Shafak floats on the stream of water aimlessly, moving from one woman’s life to another, failing to reach the deep core she holds within. Shafak recognizes that a common theme holding all of these stories together is the question of anonymity and visibility, and how far a woman, particularly a woman writer, can go in achieving fame, ownership and recognition for her work in comparison to men. While men enjoy the privilege of fame and visibility throughout their lives, women often have to go through phases where they suddenly drift away and fall into a black water abyss that hides them from the world. Motherhood, romantic relationships, and family life are usually triggers, as evidenced by the tragic story of Zelda Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald struggled to rise above being her husband’s (Scott Fitzgerald) shadow and her position as a back-seat driver,” vying endlessly to earn recognition for her own accomplishments. Though it seems like merely a story of a woman’s own personal crisis, Black Milk is also a story of freedom and politics. Shafak cleverly chooses to describe her own internal war with political terminology, such as ‘democracy’, ‘dictatorship’ and ‘oligarchy’. At first, the relation between these terms and her personal crisis isn’t quite pointed out, but later in the book the reader can discern that her journey to womanhood is political; it is only when she learns to let go to allow each woman inside of her to take up their own space does she begin to feel more at ease and content with her own being as a woman. Instead of choosing to live in a dictatorship, the little women inside of her begin to tolerantly accept one another and embrace their differences. Whether it is an internal war or an external war, the book seems to send a key political message that pushes for diversity, tolerance, and plurality. Across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), women have been in constant conflict with not just an external political system, but also an internal one. From the tragedy of wars, terrorism and economic crises, women in the region had to bear the brunt and face their own internal, yet silent, wars. In one study, it was found that depression is ranked more highly among MENA’s women than any other region. But Shafik’s book can be used to assist in better understanding womanhood in Egypt, and help Egyptian women come to terms with the reckoning that finding yourself is not just an intimate act, but its also political.The post ‘Black Milk’ Book Review: On the Fragility and Darkness of Womanhood first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Feature, book review, depression, egypt, elif shafak, featured, feminism, middle east, motherhood, postpartum depression, review, turkey, woman, womanhood]

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[l] at 5/13/22 5:02am
The United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed passed away on Friday, May 13 report global news outlets. Mourning the loss of the Emir of Abu Dhabi, the Emirates News Agency-WAM has also reported that the Ministry of Presidential Affairs will be suspending all work for three days, both public and private. The president had been in office since 2004, is considered one of the wealthiest worldwide, and has been largely credited with enabling the UAEs development. His half brother, Mohammed bin Zayed, had taken on executive duties since. Since his 2014 stroke, the president had maintained a low profile with public appearances, and he largely kept a ceremonial role. Egypt has extended its condolences to the UAE, among a throng of many nations. With sincere sadness and sorrow, I mourn one of the most precious men and one of the greatest leaders, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who passed away after a long journey of giving, in which he gave a lot to his country and his nation, until the Emirates became a model for development and modernity in our region and the world, reads a tweet from President Abdel Fattah Al-sisis official account. أنعى بخالص الحزن والأسى رجلًا من أغلى الرجال، وقائدًا من أعظم القادة، الشيخ خليفة بن زايد آل نهيان، رئيس دولة الإمارات، الذي وافته المنية بعد رحلة طويلة من العطاء، قدم فيها الكثير لبلاده وأمته، حتى صارت الإمارات نموذجًا للتطور والحداثة في منطقتنا والعالم. ١/٢ — Abdelfattah Elsisi (@AlsisiOfficial) May 13, 2022 The country is expected to witness 40 days of official mourning.  The post BREAKING: UAE’s President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Dies, Aged 73 first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, Politics and Society, breaking, egypt, featured, khalifa, sheikh khalifa bin zayed, uae]

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[l] at 5/13/22 5:02am
The United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed has passed away on Friday, May 13 report global news outlets. The country is expected to witness 40 days of official mourning. This story is still developping.  The post BREAKING: UAE’s President Khalifa bin Zayed Dies, Aged 73 first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, Politics and Society, breaking, egypt, featured, khalifa, sheikh khalifa bin zayed, uae]

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[l] at 5/13/22 2:04am
    Woman and child in Mozambique. Source: UN Photo gallery Flickr If I were to ask you what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Africa without any fear of social judgement, what would you say? The Lion King, poverty, coups, corruption, civil war, tribalism, zebras, and rhinos are all valid and understandable answers that most Westerners would respond with, including the writer of this article. Whether it be through mainstream media, Disney movies, or controversial headlines, the West has looked at the African continent through a pitiful yet indifferent orientalist lens for centuries. While the opinion of Westerners might seem irrelevant at first glance, this destructive narrative that captivates our minds and hinders our natural curiosity heavily impacts African politics and the continents fight for democracy and human rights. How the West Views Africa and Why It Matters Westerners often have a depiction of the African continent as one large country, stripping a continent with 54 independent nations with numerous languages, religions, and traditions of all its diversity. This is quite specific to Africa as most Westerners understand that China and Japan or Argentina and Brazil have different political systems, languages, and social norms despite sharing a continent full of problems. An African not often imagined: Port Luis. Photo source: The Africa Report When the main headlines about Africa that dominate the news echo notions such as “why is Africa so poor” and “why is Africa constantly unstable,” it minimizes the entire continent in the minds of readers to a place ridden with poverty and tribal warfare. Such a notion implies this extremely diverse and complex region is one of one people with one set of problems. Therefore, an accurate understanding of any part of Africa is impossible to reach through this lens as the cultural and political differences between Nigerians, South Africans, and Egyptians are not taken into account. A well-decorated Political Scientist and Professor at UC Davis who preferred to remain anonymous explained how the negative view shown in the media is also heavily impacted by Africa’s long-standing history with colonialism which has created several different social and economic cleavages in Africa. Likewise, Africa as a whole suffers greatly from a dangerous narrative of orientalism, described by renowned Palestinian intellectual Edward Said as a narrative that emphasizes, exaggerates, and distorts differences between Western culture and the Eastern world. Orientalism is what makes Westerners think of famine, corruption, and tribalism when thinking of Africa which degrades and generalizes African cultures. The exaggeration of these differences is as powerful as it is inflated to the extent that many Africans in countries with significant European influence like Tunisia and Egypt don’t even consider themselves African. The orientalist lens that promotes Western culture as superior has many identify more with the ‘civilized’ European culture rather than the cultures they themselves are a part of. When this is the picture the mainstream media paints, it becomes far easier for oppressive African governments to attack and discredit political opposition and Western governments are less likely to pay attention to growing problems in the region, as shown with the disregard of the continent during the vaccine race. The mixture of pity, superiority, indifference, and orientalism tailors a dangerous narrative that depicts all Africans as poor, pitiful, tribal people that have always been and will continue to be cursed with famine, war, and all things unstable. However, a glaring question remains unanswered Are These Narratives True? There is no question that the African continent has no shortage of poverty, civil war, and political instability. When we look to the present day, we see several disturbing developments. Sudan has recently experienced a military coup where the military took control of the transitional government tasked with moving the country on the democratic path, removing civilian Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and putting him under house arrest. Even after Hamdok was reinstated after signing an agreement with the military to restart the democratic transitions, many still speculate the Military’s willingness to allow a transition to democracy and civilian rule. Tunisia, the starlight of hope from the Arab Spring that has been considered one of the freest African nations in recent years, also experienced a severe form of democratic backsliding after President Kaïs Saïed dissolved parliament last summer and expanded his own powers. Even Africa’s three largest nations are facing serious demons with Ethiopia plagued in a deadly civil war, pro-democracy activists in Nigeria unable to hold the government accountable for hiring thugs to kill protesters, and a continuous crackdown on all forms of political dissent in Egypt with thousands of journalists and human rights defenders unconstitutionally imprisoned in pre-trial detention. Atop all of this, Africa still remains the continent with the highest rate of extreme poverty in the world. Such developments and facts are no doubt worrying and serious, but they in no way tell the whole story. The depiction of the entire continent as a homogenous, poverty stricken place, full of “shithole countries” with no hope for a better future is absurd. To start, solely highlighting the most negative aspects of any region will automatically give a sense of hopelessness and despair. While it is extremely important to talk about the issues and troubles of a region, it cannot be the only time that African nations are mentioned in front-page articles. This focus when mixed with an unfair orientalist lens not only gives an inaccurate depiction of the region, but also robs Africans of their sense of dignity and ability to tell their own story. When discussing the problems of the region, there must be an attempt to find a solution, not merely pointing out the struggles and worries. Another dangerous notion that is thrown around is that Africa has a deep history of political conflict and instability and therefore there is no hope for democratization. Yet prior to the second half of the 20th century, the same exact notion could’ve been said about Europe. Nevertheless, a European continent, cursed with civil wars, poverty, and religious fundamentalism for hundreds of years was eventually able to move to a more prosperous political path that guarantees its citizens basic rights and liberties through public dissent followed by gradual political and social victories. Can This Sort of Thing Happen in Africa? Political dissent, revolution, and mass peaceful protests demanding increased political freedoms, economic reforms, and a path towards democracy have already happened across the continent for decades. The survey data by independent research center, the Afrobarometer, shows that a strong majority of Africans believe democracy is the best political system for their country. Protests outside of Darfur university. Source: Flickr. From Algeria to Zimbabwe and from Ghana to Kenya, activists, journalists, and human rights defenders have risked their lives for decades across the continent to advance democracy with little to no attention from Western media. So if Africans are Fighting for Democracy, Why Aren’t We Hearing About It? The key reason behind the survival of these dangerous narratives is their political benefit and convenience in the West. For the media, depicting Africa as a poor, homogenous, crisis-ridden region attracts clicks and is eaten up by western audiences. Politically, this narrative simultaneously gives Americans and Europeans a dose of both cultural superiority used by conservative parties that often tout the superiority of traditional Western values and a dose of pity and white guilt used by liberal parties that manipulate people’s sympathy to play identity politics. In either form, this narrative is lucrative and continuous. As a result, what is put in the spotlight for Western audiences to view is an unfair, inaccurate, and dangerous narrative that makes global and local recognition and legitimacy hard to come by for the African revolutionaries who risk everything to defend the rights of their people. So What Can We Do? Just as constant rebellion and gradual improvements were the keys to moving European democracy forward, small victories and continued protests demanding civil liberties and democratic transition will move Africa on its desired path to democracy which is already happening in many parts of the continent. Countries like South Africa have seen surprising political changes in elections that have led to the fall of presidents and political powers that have dominated the political sphere for years, giving an opportunity for new and innovative political parties to have a chance at governing. The mainstream media echoed notions of worry and fear of instability in South Africa with the African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela, losing more political power than ever before in South Africa. African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela. Photo credit: ANACLETO RAPPING/AFP via Getty Images But as the UC Davis Professor emphasizes, the most recent South African elections are exactly how democracy is supposed to work and should make us cautiously hopeful. South Africans have shown the ANC that they can no longer be complacent in power and that the people of South Africa will no longer blindly support their corrupt politicians who have failed to solve the country’s key issues. In countries experiencing a decline in the quality of democracy like Tunisia and Sudan, where regimes threaten to reverse democratic momentum, the fearless reformers that were the spearheads of their countries respective revolutions continue to be a thorn in the side of these regimes by protesting en masse against the loss of their rights and their country’s future. Even in authoritarian countries where analysts often claim that revolutionary spirit has disappeared, small victories mean everything. In Egypt, the victory of several NGOs in a decade-long legal battle to allow them to resume their activity in the country was seen by many as a beacon of hope. Along with the publication of “You Have Not Yet Been Defeated,” a book written by one of Egypt’s most influential intellectual and revolutionaries Alaa Abd el Fattah, into international literary markets despite Abd El Fattah being sentenced another 5 years in prison on sham charges, both developments revive and amplify the presence of political resistance, even if only symbolically. Alaa Abdel Fattah | c. Middle East Monitor The UC Davis professor also emphasized the importance of growing internet access across Africa giving young Africans needed tools to express themselves and understand the world around them better. In literature, Abdelrazak Gurnah’s surprising win of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2021 as the first African to win the prize since 1989 empowers many Africans to continue to tell the stories of their countries and communities despite the setbacks they face. All these victories, even if minor, are baby steps towards a freer and more just Africa. In the West, all we need to do is try to curb the impact of the inaccurate and unfair narratives that have been thrown around and give the defenders of democracy the spotlight and recognition they deserve. As for the activists themselves, as Alaa Abd El Fattah explains in his book, “we always find a way.” This article was first published on the Davis Political Review, and was written by Nour Taha. The Davis Political Review is a magazine dedicated to publishing political commentary for students, by students, with a focus on generating insightful and informative conversations about political issues taking place at the state, national, and international level.  The post How Changing the African Narrative Can Change the Region first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: International, Politics and Society, africa, africa narrative, democracy, egypt, egypt in africa, featured, mauritius, nelson mandela, orientalism, policiis, south africa]

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[l] at 5/12/22 6:40am
Plus-size bloggers in the Middle EastPhoto via Twitter Attempting to lock in a soirée dress for her upcoming event, Omnia Medhat ventured into a shop belonging to a chain specializing in fancy evening dresses. After picking a few dresses that she liked, she asked the shop clerk for a size 16. As Medhat began to try the dresses on, she realized none of them fit her. Between giving in to a mental breakdown and questioning whether she recently gained weight, Medhat decided to innocently ask the woman if these had been size 16 as she had requested. Following which, the woman immediately responded: “No, I got you sizes 14 and 12 because you’re going to lose weight anyway since you have an event coming up.” Medhat is a 27-year-old content creator who, like millions of women in Egypt, has been facing various struggles, from size availability and overpricing, to rude sellers and insufficient options when shopping.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by L I F E . W I T H . N (@narimaan.farouk) “In Egypt, I feel like there’s a perception that, if I’m plus-sized then I’m an old woman, even though there are so many plus-sized girls in Egypt, most of the population actually,” Medhat tells Egyptian Streets. Other Egyptian women, like Yasmin Sameh and Nourhan El Rifai, agree with Medhat. From unavailability of sizes to lack of fashionable options “We are offered the ugliest designs and the most boring colors. It’s as if our bodies have to be hidden and overlooked, as if our bodies are offensive to the public eye, when what the industry calls ‘plus sizes’ are the sizes most prevalent in our society from what I can see,” says Sameh, a 30-year-old elementary school teacher. Nearly six years ago, Sameh started to gain weight, and began her journey of shopping for plus-sized clothing in Egypt. Since then, she has also been grappling with the reality at hand. “The biggest struggle Ive found is size availability,” Sameh highlights. Likewise, El Rifai, a project assistant at UNESCO, recalls how she constantly has trouble finding clothes that she likes, a simplicity that is a privilege to most women in the country. Plus-size clothing is generally considered above size 18, and these are usually cut differently than straight-size clothing to flatter different body shapes. However, sizes and fit can vary according to every brand. According to Ahram Online, Egypt’s ‘100 Million Healthy Lives Initiative’ revealed that 49.5 percent of Egyptian females find themselves on the heavier side. There is thus a large segment of Egyptian society that finds itself needing to recalibrate its options for clothing. “The biggest struggle is finding things to wear that I actually like. It got to a point where I would buy a shirt or jeans just for the fact that they fit me. I would be ecstatic to find something that actually fits, so I would buy it, regardless of whether or not I like or dislike it. Most “fashionable” clothes only go up to a certain size, so for a long time, I would buy clothes that looked like they belonged to someone much older than I am or are just simply not my style. I wore clothes because I had to wear clothes,” El Rifai shares. Photo via H&M Egypts website In Egypt, namely in the cities of Cairo and Alexandria where international and local outlets have branches, there are a handful of shops that offer plus size clothing such as Marks & Spencer, H&M, Mango, and American Eagle. In these shops, the sizes above 12 and 14 tend to be sold out. However, there are also some ‘plus size’ specific clothing shops such as Ula Popken, Evans, and Max, although the style might be deemed suitable for a specific and older segment of society. “Finding good jeans is also like searching for a needle in a haystack. It is extremely difficult to find plus size jeans that are comfortable and proportional to someone who looks like me,” El Rifai adds. Recently, more online businesses have popped up, providing Egypt with local produce for its fashion wear. Stemming from their belief in everyone’s right to wear fashionable clothes, Nonplussed is a local online shop that does not just sell plus-size clothing, but aims to change the narrative towards the absence of fashionable plus-size brands in Egypt. In the past few years, there has been more public awareness of the importance of catering to women of all sizes. Despite being a large number in Egypt, plus-sized women continue to suffer from lack of representation, and lack of options. Though there are multiple brands who claim that they are size-inclusive and cater to women of all sizes, the majority only goes up to xl. HK Designs is a local brand with sizes up to 4XL, and branches in Heliopolis, Tagamoa, and Sheikh Zayed. Located in Heliopolis and Nasr City, BeautyXXL is another local brand with sizes starting from xxl. For plus-sized women, walking into a store and trying as many items as they like is not an option; trying on clothes their size can sometimes even be a luxury. While many brands have started catering to plus-sized women, and marketing themselves as inclusive and empowering brands, their plus-sized clothing is often perceived as not stylish or trendy as their straight-sized clothing, and some have this department online only, like H&M, in Egypt. When seeking soirée dresses, El Rifai resorted to less-popular stores in Roxy and Kasr El Nil, where she found dresses of all shapes, colors, designs, and sizes, for cheaper prices than mainstream places. However, both Medhat and Sameh believe nothing beats tailoring. Photo via CARE Egypt “I started going to a tailor because tailoring is hassle-free. I can choose whatever design I want, whatever color I want, and I can adjust it according to my size. I don’t feel like I have to fit into the dress. When I customize a dress, I customize it according to my own taste,” Medhat explains, as she describes her tailor who makes her feel good about herself. Inflexibility in Pricing Although movements advocating for body positivity and self-love are on the rise, the market does not seem to be as supportive as these movements. One of the major issues facing plus-sized women in Egypt is the differences in cost for them as plus-sized consumers. “I was ordering pajamas from a woman who gets branded pajamas from abroad. She told me that all sizes until large are for EGP 450, and size xlarge and xxl are for EGP 550 because they take up more space in the bags, which was very rude,” Medhat recalls. Sameh reiterates Medhat’s words, voicing her irritation at shops that are known for catering to plus-sized women, like Gerry Weber, Bella Donna, and Marks & Spencer. Alternatively, while online businesses do offer more options, many exercise a ‘no-refund’ policy, rendering a purchase tricky and not always suitable for the purchaser. In some form or another, plus size purchasers factor in an element of financial loss. “The price range always shocks me. It does not feel good to know that this industry is taking advantage of us for needing something that caters specifically to our bodies so they jack up the prices exponentially.” “Overall, the experience of being plus-sized in Egypt is very frustrating, and I’m between size 16 and size 18, so I don’t know what bigger women do,” concludes Medhat.The post Fashion Struggles of Being a Plus-Sized Woman in Egypt first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Feature, Politics and Society, egypt, egyptian fashion, egyptian women, fashion, fashion bloggers, featured, narimaan farouk, plus size, plus size women]

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