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[l] at 10/1/22 5:53am
As an author who managed to embed elaborate and immersive worlds into the pages of her stories — touching and influencing the lives of adults and children alike — Notalia Rashed is a pioneer in children’s literature. Endearingly known as ‘Mama Loubna,’ Rashed devoted years of her life to the creation and promotion of childrens literature in the Arab world. Born on 20 September, 1934 in Cairo, Rashed studied at Cairo University, where she wrote her first children’s stories, inspired by Egypt’s 20th century history. By 1953, her work jumped from ink on paper to radio broadcasts, and by the late 1950s, she helmed the creation of the groundbreaking educational Arab children’s magazine, Samir, which she later oversaw as editor-in-chief from 1966 until 2002. Through her work, Rashed aimed at providing children all over the world with an authentic depiction of life in contemporary Egypt through her stories. In 1979, she published Abo Qir and Abo Seer, a modern adaptation of Alf Leila w Leila (A Thousand and One Nights), which blends Egypt’s cultural heritage with modern life. “The world knew Pharaonic Egypt, and Egypt in the early Arab and Islamic epochs, but 20th century Egypt is not familiarly known to the same extent,” Rashed noted. She believed that while there were many literary works about life in ancient Egypt, contemporary Egypt was not talked about as much. Rashed had a profound influence on the promotion of Egyptian literature for children and young people alike, with varying influential input to children’s magazines, radio programmes, and television shows across the Arabic-speaking Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She had a weekly column called Awlady Habayeb Qalby (My Beloved Children). Adamant to teach children the basics of journalism and writing by creating, she opened the section ‘Correspondent Samir’ for aspiring journalists to further cultivate their media awareness at a young age. Among her most famous works is ‘The Diary of Yasser Family’, published in 1979, which inspired the first Egyptian children’s film created by the Egyptian National Council of Culture. Besides her work as an author, Rashed also translated foreign children’s classics into Arabic, including ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ (1837), ‘The Happy Prince’ (1888), and ‘Black Beauty’ (1877). She received a variety of awards in honor of her contributions to Egyptian literature and society, including the State Award for Children’s Literature in 1978, the State Award for Children’s Journalism in 1995, and the Medal of the Council of the Ministry of Culture in 2002. She was also a member of the High Committee of the Cairo International Festival for Children’s Film, and of the Child and Young People Committee of the Alexandria Library. After Rashed passed away on 26 May, 2012, Google paid tribute to the pioneering author on what would have been her 86th birthday, with a Doodle created by Jordanian-American artist Sara Alfageeh. Alfageeh, who like many people in the Arab world, has been inspired by Rashed’s work.   Photo Credit: Google “How hard she worked to keep art and reading accessible to every kind of child deeply resonated with me.” Alfageeh explained. “She made sure her magazines and comics could reach the hands of any kid by keeping costs low. In her stories, she never talked down to children and just provided moral lessons, she encouraged readers to come to their own conclusions. She was an incredible woman.”The post Meet the Egyptian Author Who Devoted Her Life to Children’s Media Awareness first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, art, author, Cairo, children, culture, egypt, featured, history, literature, magazine, mama loubna, media, middle east, notaila, rashed, samir, translation, writing]

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[l] at 10/1/22 5:28am
Image Credit: 3alawhere/Instagram Walking through the soulful streets of Korba, Heliopolis – a hotspot for lively cafes, restaurants, and bakeries – one place stands out above the rest. With its bright red signage, overhanging plants, and consistent stream of customers, Bouchée brings bounce and energy to the area, attracting customers from across Cairo, from 6 October in the west to New Cairo in the east. A resident of New Cairo myself, I wanted to go see what the fanfare was all about. In reality, my plan had been to drop by, try a variety of items, and silently begin the review process. This changed upon seeing Habiba Darwish: the youthful, part-owner who helps run day-to-day operations at Bouchée alongside a spirited staff. The shop, a mix between a patisserie and a cafe, opened in February 2022 – the product of a next-generation family business. Bouchée itself was the brainchild of Darwish’s father, who, along with his brothers, boast decades of experience in the restaurant and café industry. “My dad was always a fan of the Parisian style of cuisine – the intricate dessert presentation, the bakeries, desserts, and the relaxing atmosphere,” Darwish explains. “Then one day he decided to travel to Europe and learn how to make desserts there.” These trips took him to culinary schools in Spain, France, and Italy – learning hubs for any aspiring confectioner. His children and nephews followed suit, pursuing similar classes, and, eventually, opening Bouchée. Darwish’s father may have conceptualized the idea, but it is the youth that lead the business – an ever-enduring story of one generation passing the baton to the next. As inspiring as Bouchée’s tale was, I couldn’t help but worry: what if the food did not match the quality of the backstory? Still, the place was boisterous, with seats never empty. Image Credit: Egyptian Streets While I consider myself an outdoorsman, the Cairo sun made it impossible to survive outside, and Bouchée’s air-conditioned interior was a safe haven from the heat. In hindsight, however, an awning or umbrella could have served as an excellent source of shade for the outdoor seating. Sitting inside now, with an increasingly hunger-cramped stomach, I started off my breakfast with the store’s custom sandwich option. With a little help from Darwish, I opted for a focaccia turkey and cheese sandwich, topped with some arugula and not-so-spicy spicy mayonnaise. Within minutes, the chef had it ready and set on my table. The focaccia bread was a soft delight, with olives and cherry tomatoes baked into it, adding zest and flavor. While not a fan of overly-saucy sandwiches, I was quite pleased to see they didn’t overindulge in the mayonnaise. The turkey itself was delicious, and I could not have been happier with how my stomach was starting off its day. A spontaneous work call helped inspire my next order, a refreshing Iced Spanish Latte – a popular drink that is not actually Spanish in origin but rather more similar to Vietnamese coffee or Karak, as it is also made with sweetened condensed milk – made with strong Colombian coffee beans. This also gave me a good excuse to finally try the outdoor seating, since a cold drink would help me conduct my call outside and away from the lively noise inside. Image Credit: Bouchee/Instagram Back indoors it was time to end the experience with one of Bouchée’s iconic pastries. The pastry display in and of itself was overwhelming. Each dessert is designed and presented in a manner similar to framed artwork: intricate, and perfectly situated. Darwish, while showing me the abundance of pastry options, proudly mentions how her brother is the Head of Pastry. In the end, I opted for the bright white and sharp-looking Exotic Fruit Pavlova, made of Swiss meringue, almond sponge, tropical fruits, and a whipped coconut ganache. The dessert was artisanal in its presentation and delightful in its taste. Although, halfway through I think it got a bit too sweet for my personal taste. On another day, during a sporadic sweet tooth episode, I wouldve definitely indulged with more gusto. While eating away the base of the tart, I was starting to worry this review was sounding too positive. Fresh and flavorsome foods, a professional and polite staff, and a clear sign of artisanal craft in work. Image Credit: Egyptian Streets I came to the quiet realization that this is simply the level of quality Bouchée operates at – and it cannot be denied. This is what allows the store to stand out despite facing competition from the likes of Paul, The Bakery Shop (TBS), Vasko, and others that conquer street corners just across from Bouchée. Perhaps the only drawback is the size of the place itself. During the entirety of my time inside, I witnessed a handful of potential customers needing to wait at the door until a table was freed up. Some waited, others did not. Yet even that is being worked on; Darwish enthusiastically informed me that they’re refurbishing the upper floor for a wider and more comfortable seating arrangement. This features a balcony view of the animated streets of Korba. “The street right behind Bouchée, this was where dad grew up.” Darwish expresses, “Consequently, our family’s soul lies here – while we may no longer live here, we still frequently gather here as a family.” That line resonated with me: Bouchée was a place of soul, vibrance, and community, as shown in the delights, the staff, and the experience. Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.The post Review: Can Bouchée Conquer Korba’s Food Scene? first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Buzz, Restaurant Review, Reviews, al-korba, art, bakery, bouche, bouchee, business, buzz, Cairo, colombian coffee, confectionery, croissant, culinary, culinary schools, culture, egypt, egypt bakery, egypt patisserie, egyptian, egyptian bakery, egyptian patisserie, egyptian women, europe, exotic fruit pavlova, featured, france, french, french cuisine, french culinary, french desserts, habiba darwish, Heliopolis, iced spanish latte, italian culinary, italian desserts, korba, Masr al-Gedida, masr el gedida, masr gedida, middle east, middle-east, paris, parisian, parisien, patisserie, sandwich, society, spain, tart, women]

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[l] at 9/30/22 4:18am
Egyptian actress Sherihane. As a young girl, digging inside my mother’s purse everyday was a rehearsal to adulthood. Sitting cross-legged in a chair, I would pick up the rolled glossy magazine from her bag and imitate the older women I saw at the hair salons, flipping through the photographs of Egyptian and Arab celebrities as I took a bite out of my favourite snack. From Hala Shiha and Menna Shalaby’s overlined brown lips to Nancy Ajram’s thin brows, Arab women’s makeup techniques stood out from other women. At the time, the colour  was a staple in nearly every Arab women’s makeup bag. Everytime I wear brown today, vivid memories of my grandmother’s makeup looks come to mind—soft hues blended smoothly on her eyelid, paired with a pigmented brown lip liner that epitomizes her strength and sophistication, which creates a luminous contrast between her olive skin and the dark lip. However, growing up as a teenager in a highly Westernized culture, the colour brown was never popularized or valued as it was in my Arab households. Instead, the bubblegum pink lip shades, which matched the rosy-cheeked complexions of white women, were seen as the ideal standard of beauty. The school bathrooms were packed with girls comparing and sharing their berry lip glosses, imitating women in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, with their sheer lip glosses. Egyptian actress Hala Shiha For years, top beauty brands imported into the region rarely included a richer palette of shades to suit all complexions, such as Black, brown and olive skin tones. Women in the global South had to create their own shades by using brow pencils to shape their lips, or applying henna dye directly on their lips or eyelids. For my grandmother, applying the henna dye as part of her beauty routine was akin to religion, as there were little alternatives to help her reach the brown aesthetic she had always loved. Yet, when it comes to credit for the beauty trend of the lip liner, women in the global South have often been excluded from the narrative. They are simply not deemed valuable enough to be part of the conversation. Most recently, the revival of the dark brown lip liner look has been attributed to a 1990s and 2000s nostalgia, rather than the Black and Brown women who pioneered the look. Instead, beauty articles often reference famed celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez for popularizing the trend in the 90s. Egyptian actress Menna Shalaby According to beauty and culture writer Thalia Henao, the dark lip liner grew out of Black neighborhoods in the United States out of necessity in the 1940s, because there were few brands making lip products in shades that suited darker complexions. This look was later embraced by young Mexican-American women, who used the dramatic look as a mechanism to stand apart from other women. Henao notes that this esthetic laid the groundwork for the 90s look of the dramatic eye makeup, baggy clothes, and bold overlined lips. In a recent TikTok video, Latina creator @benulus shared that she has been wearing the dark liner regularly, but often received criticism for it, showing screenshots of comments calling it an “ugly lipstick.” Rather than celebrating the beauty culture and unique styles of ethnic women, the beauty industry often does the opposite: it appropriates their trends for profit, without adequately giving credit to origin. While female celebrities in the West boost their style persona off these beauty trends, women from the global South are either excluded or ridiculed for their own looks and cosmetic choices. The most visible example of this is on TikTok, where the “clean girl aesthetic” characterized by slicked-back hair and gold hoops which has long been worn by Latinas and Black women, is now rebranded and gentrified as looks inspired by white women for white women. The brown lip liner has also been rebranded as a “glazed brownie lip” look worn by mostly popular female celebrities, without any credit given to Black, Latina, or Brown women. Similarly, the appropriation of Arab women’s looks dates back to the 20th century, when the dark ‘kohl’ eyeliner came to be more associated with women’s beauty and fashion after German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt in 1912 discovered the bust of ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti in Amarna. Historians state that this pushed a large trend of dark eyeliner into the 20th century to mimic Nefertiti’s beauty. However, by the 1960s and onwards, makeup brands such as L’Oreal and Maybelline rebranded the kohl  as a “rock’n’ roll” edgy esthetic  made to resonate with pop culture at the time, excluding ancient Egypt from the narrative. There is little coverage online about Arab women’s appearances, but in contrast to the glossy magazines at the time, which were only sold to an exclusive number of people, social media provides room for Arab women, Black women, Latina women and all other women from the global South to speak about their beauty in a way that is entirely unique to them, and a beauty standard set by their community further into the mainstream.The post In Vogue: The Revival of Arab Women’s 90s Lip Liner Look first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Buzz, arab women, arts, beauty, culture, egypt, fashion arab beauty, featured, women]

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[l] at 9/30/22 3:48am
Oven in Cairo | Photo credit: Juan Nino February 2022 saw a paradigm shift in world economies, politics, and resource-management: it saw the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent war that has yet to see end. In the midst of tragedy and turbulence, crisis has become a common language among world leaders and housewives alike; more common, still, is the talk of crisis in Egyptian industry. Egypt has struggled to stay afloat between aggressive inflation and looming water poverty. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has only exacerbated this state of scarcity, given Egypt’s reliance on both countries to meet “even half of [its] domestic demand.” For years, Egypt’s agricultural sector has been unable to keep up with a growing population of over 106 million, and a growing need for food. As such, it has turned to subsidized imports in order to maintain affordability and sufficiency. For decades, Egypt has been importing cereal grains and oilseeds from Eastern Europe, namely Ukraine and Russia. The economic habit-turned-necessity has led Egypt to become one of the world’s largest importers of wheat and among the top ten importers of sunflower oil. Eighty-five percent of the country’s wheat comes from Russia and Ukraine, as does 73 percent of its sunflower oil. In 2021, Cairo was in the midst of food-price inflation not seen since the discord of the Arab Spring nearly a decade earlier. Despite working assiduously to rebuild the integrity of Egypt’s economic architecture, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi now faces existential food shortage threats, leaving Egypt “vulnerable to skyrocketing food costs that are reaching budget-breaking levels” only made worse by the Russia-Ukraine war. The war is credited with catapulting prices to “unsustainable levels” for Egypt. Wheat has increased in cost by 44 percent, and sunflower oil by 32 percent in what seemed to be an overnight exponential increase. With activity at Ukraine ports at a “complete standstill,” Egypt has grappled with finding alternative suppliers. Eish Baladi | Photo credit: Alex Block A Country’s Bread and Butter: Eish Baladi Bread, locally known as eish, is more than a staple in Egyptian cuisine, it is a vital resource and the bedrock of political stability. Egyptians consume a rough estimate of 150 to 180 kilograms of bread per capita; this is more than double the global average of 70 to 80 kilograms. Egypt’s reliance on bread as a non-negotiable is, truly, non-negotiable. To make a bad situation worse, eish baladi, a local flatbread, is subsidized by the government — which, as costs rise exponentially, is putting immense fiscal pressure on the local treasury. With more than 88 percent of Egypt’s population registered for the bread rationing system, Cairo has allocated over USD 3.3 billion (EGP 64.4 billion) in subsidies alone. Though it’s worth noting that, prior to the Ukraine war, Egypt’s prices had been considered record high, only shooting further when global inventories emptied out in the wake of the crisis. Photo credit: AlMagd Group Oil Crisis? Egypt imports 95 percent of its vegetable oil, and much like eish baladi, it is a subsidized commodity. With no end in sight to the Ukraine war, Egypt now faces yet another resource shortage; Russia and Ukraine are some of the world’s largest exporters of sunflower oil, with Egypt relying on the former for 54.4 percent of its imports, and the latter for 18.8 percent. It comes as no surprise that, alongside global shortages, Egypt has struggled against this worsening scarcity. Given Russia and Ukraine’s position as leading exporters, Egypt cannot easily find replacement suppliers for either oil or wheat, and has taken to raising subsidy prices by double-digit percentages. Still, while the food crisis’ severity continues to increase locally, Egypt is objectively “on much firmer financial footing than it was in 2011” during the Arab Spring. With greater fiscal resources at its disposal, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has been working to mitigate the effects of the Ukraine war on Egypt’s local supplies, and has been doing so even beforehand. This includes cooperation with Western partners that are major suppliers of these commodities. Calls for agricultural reform have, accordingly, been at the forefront of Egyptian dialogues — for good reason. Professor Michaël Tanchum of the Universidad de Navarra suggests establishing “joint venture investment partnerships” with the United States, Europe, and Israel in order to strengthen food security, given their position as industry leaders. While the future remains uncertain, Cairo will continue to grapple with crisis until local institutions and industries are able to adapt a self-sustaining modus operandi.The post A Foreign Famine? Egypt’s Food Crisis in the Wake of the Ukraine War first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Politics and Society, bread, egypt, egyptian food, featured, food crisis, invasion of ukraine, resource scarcity, russia invasion, russia ukraine, scarcity, ukraine war]

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[l] at 9/29/22 9:19am
Photo Credit: NSDAP News Mohamed Awad Tag Eddin, Advisor to the President of the Republic for Health and Prevention Affairs, announced Thursday, 29 September the possibility of future Egyptian ID cards including an optional field for organ donation. During a phone interview with MBC Masr, reported in Egypt Independent, he explained that organ transplantation in Egypt is a delicate, culturally-sensitive matter often “attached to customs, traditions, and emotions.” Yet, despite the “moral and legal” ambiguity in post-mortem transplantation, President Al-Sisi has been making moves to encourage the concept, recently giving orders to establish the Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) largest organ transplant centre in Cairo’s “integrated medical city.” Both Dar al-Ifta, Egypt’s leading authority on ambiguous Islamic matters, and the Egyptian Orthodox Church have released statements claiming that it is permissible to donate organs post-mortem, to “relieve the sufferings of sick living human fellows.” There are several technical terms and conditions stipulated for organ transplantation, on a legal level. These include (a) that the donor is not being pressured into the decision in any capacity, (b) the donors age should not exceed 50 years old, (c) the procedure must be undergone within a licensed medical facility, and (e) an accurate medical checkup is made for the donor, to ensure they do not suffer from any medical conditions. Article 8 of Egyptian law dictates that, in order for organ transplantation to occur between the deceased and a living person, it must be explicitly written in a will. Illegal organ transplantations will be subjected to, without prejudice, penalties described in Egyptian law; this may include imprisonment, and a fine of no less than EGP 200,000, and no more than EGP 300,000. “If the act results in death,” reports Egypt Independent, “the penalty shall be life imprisonment.”The post New Egyptian National IDs May Have Organ Donation Field first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, Politics and Society, featured, health news, largest organ transplant center, Mohamed Awad Tag Eddin, news, organ donation, organ transplant, president abdel fattah al-sisi]

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[l] at 9/28/22 3:20am
Photo Credit: LSJ Online Egyptian-Greek Dina Yehia has been appointed as New South Wales’ latest Supreme Court Judge, as of 4 July 2022. “It wasn’t easy,” Justice Yehia explained in quotes taken from state broadcaster ABC News; her rise to the Court has been a trying one. When you come from a different ethnic and cultural background theres a lot of fitting in to do… but I was very fortunate that I always had some supportive mentors from the very beginning. Justice Dina Yehia takes her place on the bench of the NSW Supreme Court | Photo Credit: LSJ Online Her journey began as a defense attorney for the Western Aboriginal Legal Service in 1989, where she underwent the task of representing thousands of indigenous Australians. “It was apparent to me even back then as it is now, that its really in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and experience that the criminal justice system has had a detrimental impact, she said. For nearly a decade, Justice Yehia “honed her skills” working with indigenous communities and struggling individuals. Eight years later, in 1999, she became a public defender, only to later be appointed Australia’s first female Deputy Senior Public Defender in 2013. Only a year later, her role was changed to judge at the District Court, which she leveraged to defend elders’ rights in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. If you go back to the stolen generations,” she explained, “the law was used to justify taking children away from their families and communities. Having elders contribute to the process, means reasserting cultural authority in the process. The stolen generations refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-born children who were forcibly removed from their families, in accordance with assimilation policies at the time. Justice Yehia hopes her position will serve as an inspiration for culturally diverse women and men indigenous or otherwise. When she first moved to Australia from Egypt at 7 years-old, Justice Yehia claimed she “didn’t speak any English but was nonetheless privileged to “have been given these opportunities.” “As a woman and an immigrant, I encourage diversity in the profession, she said. Diversity on the bench is an essential component of a fair and impartial judiciary. If our institutions are to remain strong and independent, they must reflect the community they represent.”The post “I didn’t speak any English”: Egyptian Dina Yehia Appointed Supreme Court Judge in Australia first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, Politics and Society, australia, dina yehia, diversity, egyptian, Egyptian judges, egyptian women, featured, legal system, news]

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[l] at 9/27/22 8:17am
Photo Credit: Presidency.gov Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has given orders to establish the largest organ transplant center in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as of Monday, 26 September. The project is in cooperation with an unnamed international partner. Presidential Spokesman Bassem Rady explained that the transplant center will include an automated database of organ transplantation, patients, and donors. Al-Sisi’s announcement was made at a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, and Head of the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces, Major General Hisham El Swefy. This is intended to bolster Egypt’s efforts to enhance its healthcare system. The center will be located in Cairo’s “integrated medical city”, which is being developed on the premises of the Nasser Medical Institute. Earlier in July, Al-Sisi called for the renovation of the Nasser Medical Institute, upgrading it into an integrated city. While organ donation has been a matter of controversy in Egypt, Egypt’s Dar Al Iftaa, issued a statement on its Facebook page, explaining that post-mortem organ donation is permitted to be used in the treatment of patients. “Treatment by transferring and transplanting a human organ from a deceased person to a living person in need is permissible according to Sharia Law, if conditions are met,” as said in the statement. It is permissible as long as it is not manipulative or turned into a ‘spare parts’ trade where they are sold and bought.” A person who wishes to donate their organs should document their desire with the Real Estate Registry, provide the applicant’s national ID card, and sign a paper acknowledging the organ donation is without benefit or a financial return.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Elham Shahin إلهام شاهين (@elhamshahin1) The post Egypt to Establish Largest Center For Organ Transplants in MENA Region first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, Uncategorized, abdel fattah al-sisi, Cairo, Dar Al-Iftaa, egypt, egyptian president, featured, human organs, largest organ transplant center, medical city, MENA region, middle east, nasser medical institute, news, organ donation, President Al-Sisi, Renovation, sharia law]

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[l] at 9/26/22 10:29am
Photo Credit: Getty Images / API News It was almost midnight on 10 July, 1923 when the sound of three gunshots echoed through London’s Savoy Hotel. It wasn’t long after, that Madame ‘Princess’ Marguerite Fahmy found herself on trial for the murder of her husband, Prince Ali Fahmy Bey. A thunderstorm broke over London that night, and even thunder couldn’t silence her wrathful shrieks. The night porter, who had heard commotion and tragedy, found her with a pistol in hand and a body at her feet. Photo Credit: Picasa 3.0 Born Marguerite Alibert to a humble Parisian family, Alibert’s roots did not bear aristocracy and wealth. Her father, Firmin Alibert, was a coach driver and her mother Marie Aurand, was a housekeeper. However, the meek French girl was of great beauty, and that beauty was her ticket away from the world she was raised in. Before her rise to esteemed classes, Alibert turned to sex work and became a member of the Paris demi-monde. Photo Credit: API News In 1907, she fell in love with a wealthy wine merchant, Andre Meller, who was already married. An affair doomed to fail from the start, Alibert met Edward, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne 10 years later. They were in love for a year, and the Prince wrote her a series of highly vulnerable letters giving his candid opinions on military matters and about his own family. Eventually, he turned his attention to other women, including Freda Dudley Ward, and abandoned Alibert. Prince Edward | Getty Images Photo Credit: Daily Mail Bitter and hurt, Alibert knew that the letters she possessed could jeopardize the royal family, and demanded they buy her silence. In 1922, she was in Egypt, where she met Ali Kamel Fahmy Bey, a wealthy Egyptian man 10 years her junior. After converting to Islam, she married him in Cairo in December 1922. But what was once a five-year romance that united the French social climber and the Egyptian heir soon unfolded into a tragic murder story. According to historian Andrew Rose, author of The Prince, the Princess and the Perfect Murder, the marriage was a disaster, andfilled with domestic abuse from both ends;the couple was given the nickname ‘the fighting Fahmys.’ On the 1st of July in 1923, the couple took up residence in London’s Savoy Hotel, in an exclusive suit on the fourth floor. And, one day, in the midst of a confrontation, Marguerite shot her husband dead. He was killed with a .32 semi-automatic Browning pistol, loaded with six bullets. When the night porter found him, he had bullets in the back and one bullet in the head, and it wasn’t long after police arrived that her identity was revealed. The murder, however, wouldn’t have consequences on Marguerite alone, but also on the British Royal Family because of the letters that Marguerite left in Cairo. As Rose puts it, “smart plotters do not leave a paper trail. Finding out what has been carefully concealed by clever people is challenging.” It is believed that the course of justice in Marguerites trial was perverted; the deal was to have a ‘show trial’ that would find her as innocent in return for handing over the letters. But that wasn’t Marguerite’s only ticket out of prison, English barrister Sir Edward Marshall Hall, who defended Marguerite in trial, acquitted her on grounds of self-defense from the ‘brutality and beastliness’ of her ‘xenophobic’ husband. Hall played on the public’s prejudice, and Marguerite was presented as a poor French woman who was cruelly treated by her Egyptian husband. Marguerite walked free, and lived in Paris until she died on the 2nd of January 1971, at the age of 80. Although the trial was over a century ago, it is a show of corruption and racism – where a woman got away with murder by using different predjudices to paint a victim as a villian.The post How to Get Away with Murder with Madame Fahmy first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, 1920s, arts, Cairo, culture, egypt, featured, london, madame fahmy, marguerite alibert, middle east, murder, paris, price Edward, prince Ali Fahmy bey, savoy hotel]

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[l] at 9/26/22 8:47am
Al-Qaradawi | Photo Credit: The New Arab Youssef Al-Qaradawi, the Egyptian spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, died aged 96 on Monday, 26 September, as announced on his official Twitter account. He had been living in Qatar since his exile in 2013, and was later granted Qatari citizenship. Egyptian courts tried and sentenced Al-Qaradawi to death in absentia by 2015. Al-Qaradawi was also the chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars for 14 years, starting at its establishment in 2004. Born in Egypt in 1926, Al-Qaradawi spent much of his life in Qatar, where he “became one of the most recognisable and influential Sunni Muslim clerics in the Arab world,” regularly appearing on Qatar’s Al-Jazeera network. He studied at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, and was often seen as the “moderate […] counterweight” to the radicalized Al-Qaeda, despite espousing violence in favor of his own causes. Al-Qaradawi joined the Muslim Brotherhood young, and advocated for Islam as a political programme. Since its founding, the Muslim Brotherhood has been considered a threat by Arab leaders accross the region. The Egyptian government has classed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, and continues to fight its innocuous local ideologies.The post Muslim Brotherhood ‘Spiritual Leader’ Youssef Al-Qaradawi dies aged 96 first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, Politics and Society, al-jazeera, Al-Qaradawi, featured, muslim brotherhood, news]

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[l] at 9/26/22 6:22am
Photo credits: Egyptian Streets Activism has proven to help amend laws in Egypt, from child marriage to animal rights. Other campaigns, however, are far more socially contentious – some, like atheism and sexual orientations, are considered culturally inappropriate. Nevertheless, activists continue to campaign for a change in certain controversial laws in Egypt. With the governments recent launch of its new National Human Rights Strategy in September 2021, and with a large number of activists being pardoned from prison, activists will be aiming to step up their efforts in the coming period. PHOTOGRAPHING UNSIGHTLY LOCATIONS AND MEDIA EQUIPMENT Up until July 2022, people were unofficially not permitted to photograph or film any public spaces in Egypt without prior approval from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. This has now changed, following an approved draft law issued by former Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled El-Enany, as announced in an exclusive interview with talk show host Amr Adeeb. The Ministry’s recent decision comes shortly after American food blogger Sonny Side, stated on his YouTube food and travel channel, ‘Best Ever Food Review Show’, that “Egypt is one of worst places for filmmakers”. He added that Egyptian security personnel mistreated him while filming Egyptian dishes, warned him to not film in unsightly locations, confiscated their cameras, and shut their filming down. YouTuber, Sonny Side, eating a traditional breakfast during his visit to Egypt, as the video thumbnail warns tourists to not visit Egypt following his experience with the authorities. Image Credit: Best Ever Food Review Show/YouTube Side’s last video regarding his trip to Egypt, shot after leaving the country, was an open criticism and formal request for more lenient laws towards capturing footage in Egypt. Side’s open call for change was posted prior to the amended law. El-Enany publicly cautioned photography enthusiasts that this amendment does not protect against documenting Egypt’s unsightly locations – this includes ugly scenes, like littered areas, government buildings, informal settlements, and security officials. These complexes include buildings and sites belonging to the Armed Forces or Egyptian Police, ministry buildings, legislative councils, other governmental facilities, and any other sovereign and security authorities. Under the new law, permits are still required for those with professional media equipment, drones, and underwater cameras. The penalty for flying an unauthorized drone ranges from one to seven years. If deemed a terrorist tool, that sentence can extend to life imprisonment. BLASPHEMY: ATHEISM AND RELIGIOUS MANIPULATION Atheism is yet another crime not explicitly cited in the penal code—still, some Egyptians have been imprisoned after publicly declaring their atheism on the basis of proselytizing. In the transitional presidential period between Mohamed Morsi and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, sparked by the 2013 uprising, a group of Egyptian atheist activists attempted to normalize the existence of non-believers within Egyptian society – a matter that is often fervently opposed by a predominantly religious society. Ahmed Harqan, an openly atheist Egyptian, was one of the first few atheists to feature in televised debates about atheist rights shortly after Al-Sisi’s first election victory. He later survived an alleged premeditated mob attack in 2014, was arrested on the grounds of allegedly defaming Islam on television, and permanently left the country in 2020. Sheikh Sherif Al-Sawy (Left) debating with public atheist figure Yasser Harqan (Right) in a live debate.Image Credit: Al-Hayah TV Network/YouTube Legal action taken against atheism often relies on Article 98 of the penal code, informally known as the Blasphemy Law, which stipulates that any person that exploits or condemns Egypt’s religions can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison. In September 2021, in a live press event for Egypt’s new National Human Rights Strategy, Al-Sisi publicly addressed the possibility of Egypt openly accepting atheists. “I respect nonbelievers. If someone tells me [they are] neither Muslim nor Christian nor a Jew or that he or she does not believe in religion, I would tell them, you are free to choose,” Al-Sisi explained. Al-Sisi followed his statement by questioning if religious Egyptians will be willing to accept their existence, and highlighting the difference between accepting atheism and accepting religious defamation. On the other side of the religious spectrum, that same article of law criminalizes the exploitation and distortion of religion, including by religious figures. Most recently, in June 2022, popular television cleric Mabrouk Attia was referred to investigations following remarks that blamed Nayera Ashraf, a femicide victim, for her own murder – citing her lack of veil and choice of dress as the reason behind her murder. LGBTQ+ AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION Egypt’s legal codes do not explicitly mention members of the LGBTQ+ community, nor do they explicitly criminalize homosexuality. Yet there have been a number of instances where members of the LGBTQ+ community have been arrested. In 2017, following a controversial, rainbow-flag-laden performance by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, Egyptian authorities were quick to arrest those who seemed to support the LGBTQ+ community, in addition to banning the band from playing in Egypt indefinitely. The question remains: what makes these acts criminal if not directly mentioned in Egypt’s criminal code? Egypt’s Law 10/1961, commonly known as the Debauchery Law, has been used to apply criminal action toward ‘homosexual activity’. While the law was initially intended to criminalize prostitution, its application has sometimes been extended to crack down on ‘sexual activity’. “Whoever employs, persuades or induces a person, be they male or female, with the intention of committing debauchery or prostitution and this is by means of deception, force, threats, abuse of authority or other means of coercion, the punishment is imprisonment for a period not less than one year and not more than five years,” reads Article 2, Section A of the law. There are, however, variances in rights between different members LGBTQ+ community. Sex reassignment operations for trans Egyptians are legally available upon approval from Egypt’s Ministry of Health, a medical examination, a psychiatric examination, and, finally, final approval from Egypt’s official religious bodies, either the Dar Al-Ifta or Alexandria’s Coptic Orthodox Church. However, gaining approval for the surgery is incredibly difficult, according to Amr Al-Najari, a professor in plastic surgery at Qasr Al-Aini hospital. FAKE NEWS AND SOCIAL MEDIA With the popular rise of digital news and social media over the past decade – integrals tool in Egypt’s 2011 Revolution – the Egyptian government enacted a law in 2018 that regulates website and social media activity, making both companies and citizens subject to prosecution if there is evidence of “fake news” or posts that incite public disorder. In 2017, Egypt blocked 21 news sites, including Qatari-based Al-Jazeera, Mada Masr, and CairoScene, for the “intentions to spread lies”, show support for terrorist groups, and for running a news site without proper licensing from the Supreme Council for Media Regulation. Egypt’s Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), a non-governmental organization that works on promoting freedom of expression and thought, launched a campaign to unblock news sites in 2020. “The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated how important access to information is [] In such circumstances, independent press sources become the primary refuge for citizens looking for the truth of what is happening, whether in terms of health policies or other social and economic impacts,” reads AFTE’s announcement. On 8 September 2022, four Mada Masr journalists were charged with spreading false news and inciting instability in the nation – social media was referenced as a tool of destabilization against the Egyptian state by the accusers. Another code of law stipulates that any social media accounts with more than 5,000 followers will be treated as media outlets and are obliged to avoid fake news and public disorder through social media posts. The penalty for inciting public disorder through news sites or social media posts is up to one-year imprisonment. Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.The post These 4 Laws in Egypt Must Change: Activists first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Buzz, Politics and Society, 2011 revolution, atheism, atheism laws, best food, best food reviews, buzz, Cairo, civil aviation, culture, drones, drones in egypt, economy, egypt, egypt atheism, egypt atheism laws, egypt civil aviation, egypt criminal code, egypt drones, egypt fake news, egypt media regulations, egypt ministry of tourism, egypt penal code, egypt social media law, Egyptian LGBTQIA activists, fake news, featured, khaled el enany, LGBT Egypt, LGBTQ, lgbtq egyptians, lgbtq+ egypt, LGBTQ+ rights, LGBTQIA activists, mada masr, Mashrou' Leila, middle east, middle-east, ministry of tourism, ministry of tourism and, news, politics, social media egypt, social media law, society, sonny side, sunny side, Terrorism, tourism, travel, United States, YouTube]

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[l] at 9/26/22 3:10am
Nubian chef Mohamed Kamel. Embraced by the warmth of a sunset, which spreads a tender peach color over the Nile river, the Nubians of Aswan have always been devoted seekers of beauty, as they are deeply influenced and inspired by nature —  a reverence brought to life through their cuisine. Mohamed Kamel is a Nubian chef specialized in modern Nubian cuisine, fusing the traditions of the past with modern tastes and styles. Since Nubian cuisine is little known outside the Nubian region, Kamal aspires to keep the culture alive through his twist on the traditional dishes. He was also part of the Egyptian Chefs national team that received the 2022 African Culinary Cup. Through his Instagram account (@nubian_chef_), Kamel shares different recipes of Nubian cuisine that are more contemporary in order to suit everyone’s taste. Nubian chef Muhamed Kamel at the African Culinary Cup. One of Kamel’s popular dishes in modern Nubian cuisine is the ‘Nubian Argeeh’ (7 grains), as the number 7 holds an important connotation in Nubian history, days, and different cultural rituals, Kamel notes. “This dish was made by Nubian women to provide relief from afflictions and heal the hearts of people who faced distressing events. It was not just a simple dish,” Kamal tells Egyptian Streets. “Ancient Nubians used to offer this dish to a higher being, instead of sacrificing humans like other ancient civilizations used to do when they faced disasters.” “This significant dish contains a variety of grains that crisp up the skin of the pigeon to form a crust. It actually holds a deeper meaning because the pigeon eats these spices, and so the core philosophy of this dish is that you are imitating the circle of life. When you taste the delicacy of the pigeon’s skin, you are also the pigeon eating the same spices.” Pigeon in the Nubian language is called Sherylii, Kamel says, which symbolizes the messenger that delivers love to the beloved. “Love is the most valued emotion for Nubians, and this dish  carries multiple meanings; first, that it was made out of pure love by the Nubian women, and second, that it delivers this love to heal other people,” he adds. Nubian Argeeh by Chef Mohamed Kamel. Ingredients: 250g pigeon breasts A pinch of chili powder (optional) A mixture of herbs (cumin, sesame, coriander seeds, anise, fennel seeds) (optional) The seven grains are: 10g of black eye seeds (per person) 10g of sorghum (per person) 10g of corn (per person) 10g of green peas (per person) 10g of wheat (per person) 10g of chickpeas (per person) 10g of fava beans (per person) Method: 1.Boil 2 litres of water in a pot, add a little salt and pepper, then add the seven grains and mix together until it creates a sauce from the starch of the grains. 2.In another pan, mix your pigeon breasts with salt, pepper, butter and herbs. Let it marinate for 3-5 minutes, then press your pigeon breasts in the pan and add the sauce on top of it to form a crust on the pigeon’s skin. 3.Remove from the pan and let the pigeon rest for 5 to10 mins, then thinly slice next to your side dish (rice, mashed potatoes, or mixed vegetables).  The post Recipe: a Modern Nubian Dish Symbolizing Love and Healing first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, african cuisine, african culinary, Aswan, culinary, culture, dish, egypt, featured, food, nubia, Nubian]

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[l] at 9/25/22 4:53am
Image Credit: The Olympic Games/Twitter Egypt could potentially become the first African and Arab country to host the Summer Olympic Games, in 2036, after successfully meeting the requirements to apply to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) The news was shared via a social media press release from Egypt’s Ministry of Youth and Sports on 24 September. While the official application for the 2036 Olympics is yet to begin, Egypt can already expect competition from the likes of Mexico, Turkey, Germany, Indonesia, India, Qatar, and Russia. Egypt’s bid to host the 2036 Olympics was approved by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, announced Minister of Youth and Sports, Ashraf Sobhi, in a live interview in Egypt’s new Olympic Village in the New Capital. Also in attendance at the press conference was the President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, on a visit to Egypt to discuss the country’s potential to host the event. Bach’s trip consisted of touring a setlist of sites, from the Egyptian Olympic Museum, to watching squash matches at the Egyptian Open, and visiting Egypt’s Museum of National Civilization – a recent venue for the World Squash Championships back in May 2022. “IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed that Egypts sporting infrastructure allows it to host the 2036 Olympic Games,” stated the ministry’s press release. Egypt’s history with the Olympic Games dates back to 1912, during its first-time participation in the Summer Olympics in Stockholm (Sweden). Since then, the country has amassed a total of 38 medals – 8 gold, 12 silver, and 18 bronze – the highest ranking Arab country in terms of medals. The country’s most recent gold came during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when karateka, Feryal Abdelaziz, clinched gold in the 61+ kilogram division. The country also hopes to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup, a joint bid with Saudi Arabia and Greece. Egypt’s efforts to become a venue for global sporting events comes in light of recent construction and infrastructure improvements, chief among them Egypt’s new state-of-the-art Sports City, located in the New Capital. Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.The post Egypt Sets Sights on Hosting 2036 Olympics first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, Buzz, International, News, 1912 olympics, 2030 fifa world cup, 2036 olympics, africa, ashraf sobhi, ashraf sobhy, buzz, Cairo, culture, egypt, egypt ministry of youth, egypt ministry of youth and sports, egypt museum of national civilization, egypt new capital, egypt olympic village, egypt olympics, egypt open, egypt sports city, egypt squash, egyptian olympic museum, egyptian women, egyptians, featured, Feryal Abdelaziz, fifa world cup, Germany, greece, history, india, indonesia, international olympic committee, IOC, karate, karateka, mexico, middle east, middle-east, ministry of youth and sports, national museum of egyptian civilization, New Administrative Capital, new capital, news, olympic village, Olympics, qatar, Russia, saudi arabia, sisi, society, sport, sports, squash, stockholm olympics, summer olympics, Sweden, thomas bach, turkey, world squash championships]

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[l] at 9/24/22 6:40pm
Rarely has anyone visited Egypt and not noted the hospitality of Egyptian people. Egyptians will treat any guest as a member of the family and feed them as though they were eating for two. Naturally, many people like to bring something a little something along with them when they are invited to a dinner party or ozouma  as a thank-you for that hospitality. Egyptian Streets asked readers what they like to bring along to a ozouma and here is a guide based on what they said. Flowers Photo credit: Pixabay Starting with the basics, many said that they like to bring along flowers. This choice is a classic one, and it is a safe one unless the host or anyone they live with is allergic. However, apart from this particular exception, flowers are aesthetically pleasing, fragrant, inexpensive, and less committal than a piece of décor. Dessert or chocolate While this is a choice that works all year round, dessert is a particularly popular choice during Ramadan. Several readers specifically said that they like to bring along oriental desserts such as kunafa and basbousa, two desserts that are always hits both during Ramadan and outside of it. The current season can help in making the choice. For example a summertime dinner party can be the ideal occasion for a fresh mango dessert, as there is nothing quite like Egyptian mango season. Another classic choice is chocolate. Whether it is a box of assorted chocolates or a brand name bar, it can almost be guaranteed that someone in the house will be a keen chocolate eater. Something homemade Photo credit: Pixabay While it may perhaps take a bit more work than any of the other options, home bakers or cooks, even artists, may want to bring along something they made themselves as a gift. Several readers noted that this shows sincerity and consideration in a way bought items often cannot. Depending on how close the guest is to the host, they can perhaps ask them if there is anything they can make and bring along, otherwise, a homemade dessert or handmade items are likely to received with much gratitude. Home décor or appliances Photo credit: Pixabay This particularly applies in the case of housewarming parties. If someone is inviting friends or family over upon moving into a new place, it is a very popular choice to bring along a piece of décor or perhaps an appliance once is sure they host has not bought for themselves yet. It is also always a good idea to try to gauge the style of the hosts home before buying anything, especially if one is not keen on including a gift receipt. Beverages Photo credit: Pixabay A few readers also said that they occasionally bring along alcoholic beverages, such as a nice bottle of wine, when they are invited to a dinner party, but they specified that this only applies if they know their hosts drink. A very significant portion of the Egyptian population potentially the majority do not drink alcohol, especially at home. Therefore it is always good to double check before purchasing alcohol as a gift at a dinner party.The post Never Show Up Emtpy-Handed: What To Bring to an Egyptian Dinner Party first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Buzz, alcoholic beverages, decoration, desserts, dinner party, egypt, featured, flowers, gift-giving, gifts, guest, home-made desserts, hospitality, housewarming, sweets]

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[l] at 9/24/22 12:55pm
Nermien Riad, founder and executive director of Coptic Orphans Amplifying the voice of Egypt’s Coptic minorities on the global stage, Nermien Riad, founder and executive director of Coptic Orphans an international Christian development organization   was chosen to speak at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Minority Rights. This year-long 30th anniversary focuses on the theme “All in 4 Minority Rights” to promote the belief that the rights of any person belonging to national or ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities contributes to the political stability and progress of states, and serves as an important ingredient to maintaining peace. As a Coptic Christian, Riad knows first-hand what it i like to be a minority in Egypt, which helped her shape the core vision of the organisation; one that is based on fostering unity and equality between the Egyptian people. Her frequent visits to orphanages in Egypt, coupled with her strong networking and connection with communities, enabled her to form a unique volunteering model that connects between a network of volunteers in the US and the church community in Egypt. “We suffered as a people, but we were never defeated,” Riad stated in her speech at the United Nations’ General Assembly. “We held on to hope, and have not only become model citizens of our homeland, but have also in the past few decades spread our wings around the world, with the Coptic community now stretching from Japan to California.” To help make the Declaration’s principles a reality for minorities, Coptic Orphans has since its inception helped fully fund the educational development of 75,000 vulnerable children across Egypt; proving the persistence of Copts to continue to play a positive role in building Egyptian society. As Coptic Orphans is a faith-driven organisation, which applies the commands of Jesus Christ to nurture love and service for all, Coptic Orphans’ Valuable Girl project encourages tolerance by bringing together Christians and Muslims in a safe space where they can communicate and express mutual respect. In the Valuable Girl project, girls in secondary school are trained to be “Big Sisters” and role models for their primary school “Little Sisters”, which helps to unlock the leadership skills of young women in Egypt through the power of education and activities that tackle community clashes and problems. The model of the mentor “Big Sister’ and the “Little Sisters” helped foster a stronger trust among the families in the villages that they target across Upper Egypt. Rather than directly sending the girls to school, the families feel a greater sense of ease that their daughters are guided and trained by a mentor, which encourages them to stay in school and avoid early marriage. “During one of my visits, one of the ‘Big Sisters’ in the program came up to me and said she used to pray that the Earth would split open and swallow her whole rather than have to walk the same street as the local priest,” Riad shared. “After the program, the same priest was one of the first people invited to her wedding.” Riad concluded her speech by saying that she hopes that “future generations continue to pursue equality, so that through love, we can continue to break down the barriers of oppression and heal the wounds of a broken world.” The Declaration, which is the only UN international human rights instrument devoted entirely to minority rights, provides guidance and pathways to support governments and minorities to uphold minority rights through non-discrimination, amplifying voices of minorities and promoting their effective participation in development and decision-making. In 2021, Coptic Orphans was granted the United Nations Consultative Status, which is the highest status granted by the UN to non-governmental organisations. In its statement on the NGO, the United Nations highlighted that “diasporic communities bridge the gap between local and global markets, incentivizing pathways for entrepreneurship and transforming the investment climate in home countries.” As the largest ethno-religious minority in Egypt, constituting roughly 10 percent of the countrys 95 million people, Coptic Christians have been victims of persecution, sectarian violence and repeated attacks on their churches, with a long history of being marginalised.The post Egypt’s Coptic Orphans Director Amplifies the Voice of Copts at UNGA first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, Civil Society, coptic, coptic egyptians, egypt, featured, general assembly, minorities, news, united nations]

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[l] at 9/24/22 11:11am
Photo credit: Mostafa Hosney To many Egyptians, summer means sahel. But what exactly does sahel mean? Scattered on Egypt’s northern coastline, the resorts and compounds that lie between the cities of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh are referred to as sahel (Arabic for coast), and for the past three decades, they have provided the perfect seaside respite for thousands upon thousands of Egypt’s middle and high income families. Until recently, sahel could be summed up as the following: a place to let one’s hair down, swim, play games, eat simple food, and make up for any family time lost to the pace of city life. But this definition has begun to change. Or rather, a new face of sahel has emerged, creating along with it a new definition that now coexists, perhaps a little awkwardly, with the old one. Newer, trendier developments began to appear about halfway between Marsa Matrouh and Alexandria, and they came with a different identity, aesthetic, price point, and target audience. And while both sahels are bursting at the seams during the summertime, some began to feel as though this new side was diluting its real meaning of sahel. The subtle tension between the two worlds of sahel became more tangible in the summer of 2020, when a series of internet memes coined terms to distinguish these two worlds: ‘el sahel el tayeb’ (‘good sahel’), and ‘el sahel el sherrir’ (‘evil sahel’). Though it is difficult to trace back the origins of the joke, or identify who first made it, the terminology spread like wildfire on social media, and has by now become a common phrase understood by the majority of the people who frequent Egypt’s north coast. While it is clear that ‘el sahel el tayeb’ refers to the traditional sahel and ‘el sahel el sherrir’ refers to the newer, trendier side of it, we asked the readers of Egyptian Streets if they can tell us what distinguishes the two in their opinion. Here is what they said: Where you are Photo credit: Mostafa Hosney One of the rough rules of thumb sahel-goers have developed to distinguish ‘good sahel’ from ‘evil sahel’ is the location. When asked, most of our readers identified Marina, a once massively popular compound about 150 kilometers west of Alexandria, as the last point of ‘good sahel’. Everything further west was more likely to be considered ‘evil’. In the past, Marina itself was the closest thing to what is now considered ‘evil’ as it was the ultimate hotspot for parties and social gatherings. However with time, its trendiness faded, and it became a no-man’s land that neither fully belongs to ‘good sahel’ nor to ‘evil sahel’. Public policy student Zeineldin Elkhabiry tells Egyptian Streets that, in his view, Marina acts as a “buffer” between the two. “Once you finish Marina, it’s sherrir. Marina is the Black Gates,” adds PeaceCake co-Founder Marwan Imam, making a reference to The Lord of the Rings. How you get in Location may be an indicator, but it is not always an entirely reliable one, as there are pockets of what is considered ‘good sahel’ hidden beyond Marina, in addition to the few dozen kilometers of coastline before Marsa Matrouh that are not home to new and trendy developments. What several readers did identify, however, is that compounds lumped into the ‘evil sahel’ category tend to be far more gatekept and they meant that quite literally. The gates of the resorts and compounds that are considered ‘evil’ have far tighter security and more demanding entry requirements. Yomna Elshobaky, who works as an account manager at a tech company tells Egyptian Streets that to enjoy ‘evil sahel’, there is a need to “drive miles and miles to enjoy a small spot on the beach after getting codes to enter and making reservations everywhere to secure a spot.” This does not apply in so-called ‘good sahel’, where telling the security guards at the gates the number of the chalet you’re heading to is usually more than enough to get you inside. What you do and how much it costs you Though Twitter and Facebook gave space for more nuanced answers, readers on Instagram gave a nearly unanimous response on the key difference between the two sahels: the cost. While owning or renting a chalet or apartment is only accessible to middle and high income families regardless what part of sahel you are in, the ranges vary dramatically, as does the cost of everything you do while you are there. Restaurant and coffee house chains that are popular in Cairo are present in parts of ‘evil sahel’, but to their prices, the so-called sahel-tax is added: the price of the same drink from the same chain can vary differently from Cairo to sahel. Even the simple foods and activities associated with the old-school ‘good sahel’ are more expensive if they are found in the newer sahel. For instance if it costs you EGP 30 to buy feteer (a quintessentially Egyptian filled pastry) in ‘good sahel’, it could easily cost you three or four times that amount on the other side. In a few parts of new sahel, the beaches themselves require an entry fee, something that does not exist in any part of old-school sahel. One of the most popular compounds has even built a yacht marina lined with high end restaurants and brand name shops. University administrator Heba Mohamed tells Egyptian Streets that this also applies to childrens activities. Sahel has long since been the highlight of childrens years, and while traditionally this has always been due to the simple activities made available to them by the beach, there are now far more complex and pricy activities according to Mohamed, and she says that it has become more difficult for parents to provide their children with an enjoyable experience. Comparing the cost of the same good or service in the two sahels does not fully capture the difference in cost alone, as many of our readers alluded to. Even were the feteer and the round at the billiards table priced identically, spending time in evil sahel is far more reliant on consumption. There is simply far more to attend, eat, drink, and buy there. While in a old-school sahel compound, as reader Lina Gado tells us, you may find a feteer and zalabya vendor, a cafeteria with a few games, a bike rental spot, and a small supermarket, a compound in the trendier sahel has multiple party venues, coffee shops, eateries, and home decor shops even high end jewelers, clothing, and cosmetics shops. Not long before the summer, the TikTok account BubbleBurst, students at the American University in Cairo asked other students how much they spend in a day in Sahel. The lowest number mentioned was EGP 1000 (50 USD), while the highest was over EGP 10000 (USD 500). I pay in dollars, says one student in the video. In old-school sahel, a vacationer would be hard put to find anything to spend more than EGP 100 (USD 5) on. @bubbleburst_ Our 5th Episode Is Now Up! #viral #fypシ #egypt #foryoupage #fyp ♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) 山口夕依 What you wear A beachside vacation needs the right swimwear, and that is another point of difference readers mentioned. Alia Soliman, who works in gender and development, tells Egyptian Streets that in evil sahel, you will only very rarely find hijab-friendly swimsuits, often referred to as burkinis. Often, women wearing such swimwear will receive funny looks from their fellow vacationers. Photo credit: Mostafa Hosney On the other hand, Soliman says that it is also very likely for a woman in a bikini to feel uncomfortable at a pool or beach in good sahel as she will likely not be surrounded by others wearing the same style. Dress code differences are not exclusively related to swimwear either. There appeared to be a general consensus amongst readers that the degree of effort put into outfit choices is another significant. While in old-school sahel people tend to wear what is comfortable and easy, many said that they feel pressured to dress in fancier, more coordinated and thoughtfully put-together outfits. And outfit repeaters are heavily discouraged. If youre in a place where girls have a different slipper [for every] outfit, youve gone too far, jokes computer engineer Rania Tarek. Where you stand among peers If there are so many complaints about the so-called evil sahel, why then is it that it is still packed with people every single weekend from June until August? One of the most common themes named by our readers was that this was the result of peer pressure. Art history student Hagar Adam noted the element of social media. In the summer, the social media accounts of thousands of Egyptians are flooded with photographs and stories of them enjoying the most extravagant activities and parties in sahel, and it has begun to be seen as a sort of rite of passage. Something to be in on. Additionally, the ability to get into some of these locations has come to serve as a status symbol to many, and some find themselves feeling that asserting oneself as a member of this crowd is also a tool to prove oneself socially. Computer engineer Rofayda Karam argues that the newer sahel is a symptom of a growing tendency among Egyptians to focus on appearances. Showing peers that one is able to afford a certain lifestyle, a certain car, certain clothes, is one of the reasons this version of sahel is as popular as it is today. When people have a twang in their Arabic and the children speak English. says Ali Khaled, alluding to a tendency among some Egyptians to communicate with their children in English to appear well-off. What you make of it While Laila Fouad, who works in finance and economics, believes that the newer developments in sahel are built with poor use of the space and land they are in, she does not really buy into the tension between the two sahels. Does someone want to be seen drinking their avocado super-smoothie by the beach in the morning and eating sushi at night, with access to a million types of [outings] where [they] will run into people they know, asks Fouad. Or do [they] want to just chill and go to the beach? Photo credit: Ahmed Orban I feel like you can do either wherever you are so this poses the question of why is this beef there to begin with, or why is it a dichotomy of evil [or good] per se. Professor of journalism at the American University in Cairo, Nadine El Sayed and Egyptian Streets own Farah Rafik agree with Fouad, and generally argue that the peer pressure does not impose itself as many seem to argue that it does. You want to party all night and wear make up to the beach and call it el sahel el sherrir pressure, thats on you, El Sayed says. I mean you can be wherever you are on the coast and have the sherir or tayeb experience; nobody is forcing anybody to sleep in or wear lipstick. Rafik echoes this by saying that while in terms of location she usually finds herself in what is considered el sahel el sherrir, but she is always living the tayeb life. [Its] not about the location for me, its about what I can make out of it, Rafik says. So long as I am able to have good feteer, a place to swim, and a house to chill in, Im good! There are also other readers who were not afraid to admit that they enjoy both kinds of sahel and that it simply depends on ones mood. While sometimes what a vacationer is looking for is a relaxed, quiet, and inexpensive getaway from the social expectations of the city, the same vacationer might occasionally enjoy a more high-end gathering with friends, only with the added element of Egypts incomparable Mediterranean beaches. Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.The post Good vs. Evil: Are There Two North Coasts in Egypt? first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Buzz, Travel, alamein, amwaj, beach, diplo, egypt, egypt sahel, entertainment, featured, good versus evil, hacienda, hacienda bay, hacienda red, hacienda white, la vista, liesure, marassi, marina, marina el alamein, north coast, sahel, sahel summer, seaside, sidi krair, Stella, summer, summer activities, summer resort, telal, zalabya]

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[l] at 9/24/22 9:15am
When words fall short to commemorate a happy occasion, happy tears fall down, and zaghrata echoes loudly through wedding halls and hospital rooms where babies are born. Zaghrata, also known as ululation, is a joyous, thrilling sound commonly used to express joy amongst Egyptians and other Arab cultures over many generations. In Palestine, ulutations are sounds of protests, commonly associated with the Palestinian Revolution. Ululations also exist in some South Asian cultures, including in India, where women ululate at weddings, temple rituals, and festivities. In Egypt and other Arab countries, the loud energetic sound is achieved by making a high-pitched tone in the back of the throat while wiggling the tip of the tongue from side to side. Sources have differed on the historical origin of the zaghareet, but most seem to refer it back to the Jahiliyya (The Age of Ignorance) period. While some believe that women used ulutations to stimulate excitement and enthusiasm on battlefields, while other sources believe that they were used to seek mercy and help from the gods. The sound is made in celebration at weddings, births, graduations, and other happy occasions, a manifestation of joy in the Arab world. Here are some iconic scenes from Egyptian film and TV that feature the iconic cry of celebration. The post Sounds of Joy: The Significance of ‘Zaghareet’ Amongst Egyptians first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Arts & Culture, arab world, Cairo, ceremony, culture, egypt, featured, festivities, history, joy, middle east, music, palestine, sounds, ululation, wedding, zaghrata, zaghroota]

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[l] at 9/23/22 10:48am
Ahmed Issa | Photo Credit: Benok Istithmar Ahmed Issa, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, has made the executive decision to open “all archeological sites [for] free” on 27 September, 2022, in honor of World Tourism day, and Egyptology’s 200th anniversary as a science. In a letter addressed to the Chamber of Tourism Companies, the Supreme Court of Antiquities announced its intent to allow Egyptians and foreign visitors free access to all Egypt’s museums and its touristic archaeological locations. However, the letter explicitly excludes: the tombs of Tutankhamun, Nefertari, Seti I, Ramses VI, and inside access to the Giza Pyramids. This comes alongside the launch of several new promotional campaigns meant to stimulate Egypts touristic sector, including the digital  Ancient Egyptian Language campaign which simplifies information on Egyptian hieroglyphs and Know About the Treasures in Your Governorate. Egypt’s Ministry of Culture is also running exhibitions at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat to showcase rare documents on the decipherment of the Rosetta Stone from the National Archives. Photo Credit: Cairo24The post Egypt to Open Archaeological Sites for Free on World Tourism Day first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, archeological sites, archeology, egypt, egypt ministry of tourism and antiquties, featured, history, ministry of tourism and antiquities, news, society, tourism, world tourism day]

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[l] at 9/23/22 4:31am
Courtesy: iStock It starts with detachment. Silent family dinners, prolonged absence, missed phone calls. Anxiously waiting for the doorbell to ring in the middle of the night. The sight of him sitting in the room alone in dim light, seemingly occupied with nothing at all, neither reading nor writing, nor watching television. In the space of just an hour, he enters the house after a long day at work and heads quickly to the room to get dressed, eat, and then fall asleep. Between the two moments — the moment he appears and then disappears — there is an undefined interaction that has no label to it, nor can it be described by the language of the mind. He asks me how my day was and I answer him. He asks about my future plans and I answer him. He asks whether I’ve made up my mind about traveling and I answer him. He asks and I answer again, using the best of my ability to summarize all of my thoughts and emotions so as to not overwhelm him with more emotional baggage. He then lays back on the couch and covers his eyes with his hand, signaling that he is now out of reach and has ended the final mission of the battle. His existence in our home often felt like we were visited by a hummingbird; darting back and forth and alternating from one task to the next. You can only sit back and quietly watch the bird from the window before it flies on to the next house. I did not meet my father before he became a father. I did not know who he was as a child, as a teenager, as a friend, or as a son. I did not get to meet his heart until I was born. I try to dig deep, try to reach out to him, try to see beyond his empty, tired eyes and get to know the original version of his heart before he became a father. I long to define our relationship, and attach letters together to bring meaning to the void, but after 24 years, I cannot yet grasp the meaning of fatherhood. To value the human experience is to understand that fathers were individuals before they became fathers, and that their experience in life is not limited to the role of a breadwinner or a parent. The transition to fatherhood, and the mental health challenges that come with it, is a public health issue that has long been poorly understood and neglected. In religion, the meaning of fatherhood is often seen through rights, duties and responsibilities, but just as there are responsibilities, there are also human experiences. There arent enough awareness activities by religious institutions on the individual experiences of fatherhood, and that the role is not restricted to duties and responsibilities. As a young child, the stories of Prophet Abraham and Prophet Ya’qub (Jacob) were often told to me as though they were nothing more than religious tales that were infused with wisdom and symbolism. But today, I’ve come to also realize the human experiences in these stories. The dialogue between Prophet Abraham and his son illustrates how much he valued the perspective and views of his child Ishmael. He questioned, listened, and talked as though he was talking to another mature individual, rather than as someone who was inexperienced, young and immature. The relationship between Prophet Ya’qub (Jacob) and his son Yusuf (Joseph) also serves as an example of the supportive relationship between the two, and how much patience Prophet Ya’qub endured with the actions of his sons; ​​portraying a character tempered with tolerance and calmness. Research has shown that there are three main factors that affect fathers’ mental health: the formation of the fatherhood identity, facing the competing challenges of the new fatherhood role and managing negative feelings and fears that come with it. The underlying theme behind all of these factors is the understanding that the role of the father is restricted, which often results in feelings of stress and resorting to denial or escape activities, such as excessive smoking or working longer hours. Just as the research points out, fathers need to understand that their roles are not restricted; they need more guidance and acknowledgment from health professionals. During the perinatal period, fathers are treated as though they are ‘behind the scenes’ yet never fully included in the picture, with little to no information on pregnancy, birth, childcare, and the needs of balancing work with family responsibilities. There is definitely more that can be done by medical institutions, health professionals, and nurses to make the transition to fatherhood much easier and less stressful for new fathers. With prices of gas, food, goods and services rapidly increasing this year, which is not met by a corresponding increase in employment or salaries, Egyptian families are bearing more financial burdens that are leading to longer working hours, extreme stress, and higher divorce rates. Egypt’s Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center found that Egypt’s divorce rates are among the highest in the region, with around 200,000 married couples getting divorced every year, and 40 percent ending within the first five years. Against these contexts of economic pressures, gender stereotypes and cultural norms force Egyptian men to hide their emotions and take on the role of a tough, dependable, emotionless, and strong father. Since crying or expressing any form of vulnerability is regarded as unacceptable, or is not part of the ‘duties’ of being a father, fathers instead resort to detachment and aggressiveness in order to survive. As I reflect over the years I had spent with my father, I cannot help but wonder why we — as young adults — often show more tolerance and compassion with a friend or a colleague of his age than our fathers. It is not just about the fear of losing our freedom and independence, which is what is commonly perceived, but it is also about the fear of the restricted role that our fathers have carried since we were born. If I could go back in time, I would tell my father that he did not need to restrict his identity to fulfill the role of a father, nor did he need to lose himself to become the perfect father figure. The only thing he needed to do was to be himself — to live life fully as an individual and not just a parent. Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.The post Why Is It So Hard to Acknowledge Fathers’ Mental Health? first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Opinion, culture, egypt, egypt society, egyptian family, egyptian father, family, fathers, fathers mental health, featured, mental health, opinion, society]

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[l] at 9/23/22 12:46am
Port Fouad, Egypt | Photo Credit: Mohamed Wardany via BBC Sweltering heat overwhelms the desert, and a thin haze lifts from the sand; adrenaline pulses behind the throat, and a hiker prepares themselves for an unparalleled trek. Egypt’s landscapes are a study in beauty, ranging from Jebel Elba’s unsung oasis, to the mountain ranges which have come to define the Red Sea. Between the historic nature of these sites, and the mythic grandeur packaged with them, is a curiosity looking to be satiated. A curiosity for a good, long hike. Here is an exploration of some of Egypt’s most beautiful and symbolic hiking trails. Photo Credit: Amusing Planet 1. Colored Canyon, Nuweiba Hiking through the Coloured Canyon is an extraordinary affair. While Nuweiba is often associated with white stretches of beach, the Canyon presents a powerful statement by nature—a labyrinth of layered, colourful sandstone formations seen nowhere else in Egypt. With a depth of 30 metres and a length of 800 metres, the Coloured Canyon is situated 210 miles (322 kilometres) from Cairo, and roughly a two-hour commute from Sharm el-Sheikh. Its colourful nature is a result of receding Red Sea tides and the erosion of limestone, leaving open an underbelly of magentas, oranges, and deep golds. The location is also home to various Bedouin communities and biodiversity. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 2. Valley of the Whales, Fayoum Sleeping in the sands of al-Fayoum are whale fossils with hind legs, a baffling evolutionary find that documents 50 million years of Egypt. First discovered in 1902, Wadi al-Hitan (Valley of the Whales) has come to be known as one of Egypt’s oldest historical sites, alluding to a marine biodiversity no longer present in the area. Fossils are assembled in large formations, emulating the whales they once belonged to. A hiking trail of about 60 kilometres winds through the site, allowing the public a chance to glimpse a bygone, unseen reality. Photo Credit: Best of Misr 3. Jebel Elba, Southeast Egypt Known firstly as a national park, Jebel Elba is a majestic mountain range oasis located in the remotest southeastern corner of Egypt. Rising to a peak of 1,435 metres, the mountain and its respective territory sit 250 kilometres south of Marsa Alam. Given that Jebel Elba is one of the least-touched locations in Egypt, the ecosystem and biodiversity are in full-flourish. Getting permission to hike around Jebel Elba is no easy task, due to its proximity to the Sudanese border and its delicate environment (which in practice makes it a protectorate). However, for those brave enough to plough through the necessary paperwork, the trails are an experience second to none. Photo Credit: Hike Sinai 4. Jebel Serbal Jebel Serbal is one of seven famous Sinai summits, and is considered one of Sinai’s “most iconic” destinations. A string of alternating peaks and deep depressions, Jebel Serbal is best climbed across the course of two to three days, as the lowest summit in Sinai (2,070 metres). Home to symbolic maturity, the mountain range is said to have been a divine location where pre-Islamic Bedouin tribes gathered to worship the ancient deity Baal. Early Christians also mistook Jebel Serbal for Mount Sinai, also known as Mount Moses. While its sanctity has long since faded, Bedouins in the area still appreciate the location for its immense beauty and tranquillity. Photo Credit: Wheelchair Travel 5. St. Catherine Monastery / Mount Sinai (Mount Moses), Sinai Sitting amid the dunes of Sinai is yet another significant trail, one which revolves around one of the oldest functioning monasteries in the world: St. Catherine’s Monastery. Said to have been the location where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, Mount Sinai is one of the most well known locations across the country, if not the region en masse. There are several mountain trails and hikes that could be made in the area, however Mount Sinai as a whole is heavily monitored for security purposes. Some paths are sectioned off, and one needs a credible, informed guide to be able to make the hike. Photo Credit: We Seek Travel 6. Blue Lagoon, Dahab While there is little academic insight into Dahab’s Blue Lagoon, there are plenty of anecdotal resources that help paint a picture of one of Egypt’s most crisp, beautiful hiking trails. The Blue Lagoon trail borrows its name from the “large, sheltered natural pond” that is often likened to “paradise.” The location is approximately 16 kilometres from Dahab, and is considered the town’s furthest attraction. Hiking to the Blue Lagoon, or rather Ras Abu Galoum, is an adventure in and of itself; there are no roads leading up to it, meaning one either has to hike to it, or take a speedboat from Dahab. Photo Credit: BBC 7. White Desert, Sahara Desert More of a trail than a vertical hike is the White Desert National Park. As one of Egypt’s countless natural wonders, the location is aptly named: it stretches for 115.8 square miles (300 kilometres squared), and is laced with pure, bone-white sand. Individuals are required to have a guide accompany them throughout the hike, much like Jebel Elba and Mount Sinai. It is part of the Farfara depression in the Sahara Desert, and features a number of famous oases, sites, fauna and precious crystal. The white sand accumulates in dunes scattered across the landscape, with white stone structures accentuating the horizon.The post Hike like an Egyptian: a List of Egypt’s Most Powerful and Symbolic Hiking Trails first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Listicle, Travel, blue lagoon, colored canyon, egypt, egypt's white desert, featured, hiing trails, hiking, jebel elba, jebel serbal, Mount Moses, Mount Sinai, mountain, red sea mountain trail, St Catherine, trails, travel, valley of the whales, wadi al hitan]

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[l] at 9/22/22 6:59am
Renowned Egyptian actor Hesham Selim passed away, at the age of 64, on Thursday after a long battle with cancer. The funeral is expected to take place this afternoon at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Head of Egyptian Acting Professions Syndicate, Ashraf Zaki, announced the news on Instagram with a photo of Hesham Selim and a short message: Farewell, old friend. Selim’s long standing career in the film industry puts him beside other legendary names that have maintained a prominent role in the industry across generations. His journey to acting was sparked by a random encounter with famous actress Faten Hamama, who was friends with his father Captain Saleh Selim, and chose him to star in her film “M Empire” (1972). Following this role, he worked further in acting roles in films such as “I Want a Solution” (1975) and “The Return of the Prodigal Son” (1976), which embedded in him a passion for acting for the rest of his life. His latest work was Counterattack (Hagma Mortada, 1972) alongside Hend Sabry and Hani Ramzy, which focused on one of Egypts intelligence files following the January 25 revolution. Last year, Egyptian actor Hesham Selim won praise on social media after revealing his 26-year-old son Nour is completing the process of physically transitioning to a man and has already socially transitioned to the male gender. The segment and Selim’s frank admission in a country where gender issues remain taboo have won praise on social media, with many applauding Selim for his position and his decision to speak about it on Egyptian television. Sex reassignment surgery and transition is rare but is legalised in Egypt and is governed by certain codes and legislation.The post Legendary Actor Hesham Selim Passes Away Aged 64 first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: News, art, Artist, egypt, featured, film, hesham selim, news]

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[l] at 9/22/22 2:53am
Image Credit: Al-Masry Al-Youm Amassing a wealth of EGP 5.7 billion (USD 7 billion at the time) during his peak in 1986, Ahmed Al-Rayan was an Egyptian conman so notorious that a television series centered around his upbringing, businesses, and crimes. That wealth is equivalent to almost 20 percent of Egypt’s entire GDP during that year. Al-Rayan was only 30 years old at the time. In the United States, two decades after Al-Rayan’s Ponzi scheme, Bernie Madoff shocked Wall Street with a major USD 64 billion fraud case in 2008. Once the chairman of America’s NASDAQ stock market, Madoff built a Ponzi empire that stole from the likes of famed director Steven Spielberg, and actors like John Malkovich and Kevin Bacon. Americans of that era still remember the impact Madoff’s fraud had on the American economy. To the Egyptians of Al-Rayan’s era, his Ponzi scheme not only left a staggering toll on the economy – it forever reshaped the Egyptian government as well. HOW AL-RAYAN’S PONZI BUSINESS HAPPENED A Ponzi scheme can be defined as a fraudulent investment operation that promises fast, easy, and lucrative returns on investments with barely any risks. These schemes trick thousands into investing their money, sometimes their savings, never seeing a return on their investment ever again. In Egypt’s case, Al-Rayan was the leader behind a decade of fraudulent operations. And Al-Rayan always had an eye for business opportunities and financial gains far before his Ponzi scheme. More specifically, he always had an eye for money. As a child, he explored a wide variety of business ideas, ranging from wooden medallions with calligraphy engravings to printed school notes. However, Al-Rayan’s fraudulent financial behavior really took off during early adulthood, when his older brother’s – a contractor – client wanted to exchange 100 Kuwaiti Dinars to Egyptian Pounds. Al-Rayan succeeded in exchanging the currency, and at a higher price than what banks offered during that time although this was a criminal offense. Al-Rayan continued with his illegal exchange business, earning EGP 50,000 a day. A few years later, in 1981, Al-Rayan established the private investment fund ‘Al-Rayan for Investments’ in partnership with his brother. Al-Rayan’s company promised Egyptians the chance to invest their money in his fund with 20 to 25 percent interest. Akin to his exchange rate business, these rates were far greater than bank standards which were 13 percent at the time. His company took investments, from both poor and rich, and re-invested that money in his portfolio of businesses. These businesses were far and plenty, ranging from contracting to fridge-making, as he promised investors exorbitant returns based on the profits generated from his businesses. Al-Rayan’s financial gains were unprecedented at the time. Egypt’s existing investment law of 1974 had no articles that addressed what was a predominantly unexplored form of investment fraud. The conman capitalized on Egypt’s economic troubles at the time – troubles that placed it as the most indebted country in terms of foreign debt in 1986. Trust in the state and banks were at an all-time low as citizens sought alternative means to invest in their assets. Al-Rayan’s financial strengths grew to such an extent that he attempted to acquire majority shares in the Bank of America during the 1980s. In an interview with journalist Amr Adeeb in 2011, Al-Rayan alleges that the purchase was approved by the United States but rejected by Egypt’s Central Bank. In that same interview, he claims that Gamal Mubarak, son of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, was his competitor in the acquisition and the main reason behind the rejection. 1986 was also the year the government also fell folly for Al-Rayan’s financial influence. As Egypt struggled to reach a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund, the government sought Al-Rayan’s financial assistance to import yellow corn due to an increasing shortage. The deal, however, was a catastrophe as the required corn imports were not met and the country fell into a corn shortage crisis. Egypt’s Development and Agricultural Credit Bank reached a deal worth USD 50 million according to Al-Rayan in the same interview with Amr Adeeb, and his money was never returned to him. This was Al-Rayan’s first deal with the government. It was also the beginning of his downfall. THE FALL OF AL-RAYAN In 1988, shortly after the corn crisis, Al-Rayan merged with Al-Saad, another investment fund-revealed-ponzi scheme run by Ashraf Al-Saad. The merger was advertised across all newspapers and promoted as a pivotal moment in Egypt’s economy. “For Egypt’s sake, the two companies merged into one giant body,” announced the advertisement. For the Egyptian government, however, this was a fraudulent tumor further sapping the economy. State authorities opened a formal investigation in 1989, looking into the whereabouts of Al-Rayan’s financial assets – assets that were originally not his. Investigations revealed that Al-Rayan transferred a large portion of his company’s assets to offshore accounts and in foreign stock exchanges. Additional inspection revealed that certain influential officials, clerics, and media figures aided in smuggling said assets abroad. Their names remain unknown. The final nail to the investigative file was a government report that concluded Al-Rayan had transferred USD 550 million to his offshore accounts in Switzerland. Al-Rayan was caught trying to flee the country after an official arrest warrant was granted in 1989. Al-Saad, his business partner, managed to escape. He remains in exile, spending his remaining days in London. Al-Rayan received a 15-year prison sentence in 1990 for violating Law No. 246 of 1988, drafted specifically to criminalize ponzi schemes popularized by his own successes. His arrest had a direct impact on the Egyptian economy. Despite the government’s seizure of Al-Rayan’s remaining assets, the majority of money invested by citizens was never returned, according to Al-Rayan in an interview with journalist Lamis Al-Hadidy in 2011. He went on to accuse the government of never returning the seized money. Al-Rayan was released in 2010, following a seven year-extension of his sentence due to evidence of fraudulent checks. He would spend his years beyond prison cells promoting his innocence across television talk shows, intensifying his innocence campaign after Egypt’s 2011 revolution revealed long-running state corruption. His years of freedom were short-lived, however, as he passed away in 2013 following a battle with cancer. Some Egyptians continue to believe that he was an innocent pawn for Mubarak’s struggling administration. Sympathizers of Al-Rayan range from famed lawyer Mortada Mansour to average citizens who strongly believe they lost their investment as a result of government wrongdoings, not Al-Rayan’s.l Al-Rayan left behind a legacy mired in controversy and mystery. More significantly, he set the tone for future generations of conmen in Egypt – famously known as Al-Mestarayaheen, and they ensure that Egypts con culture continues to exist.The post Egypt’s Bernie Madoff: The Story of Ahmed Al-Rayan first appeared on Egyptian Streets.

[Category: Buzz, Politics and Society, 2011 revolution, ahmed al-rayan, ahmed el rayan, ahmed rayan, ahmed rayyan, al rayan, amr adeeb, amr adib, ashraf al-saad, ashraf el saad, ashraf saad, bank of america, bernie madoff, business, buzz, Cairo, culture, economy, egypt, Egypt economy, egypt gdp, egypt investment law, egyptian, egyptian economy, el rayan, featured, fraud, gamal mubarak, history, hosni mubarak, IMF, international monetary fund, lamis al-hadidy, london, mestarayah, mestarayeh, middle-east, news, politics, ponzi, ponzi scheme, rayan, rayyan, society, switzerland, United States, wallstreet]

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