Egyptian Chronicles: 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The VOIP and the Internet Revolution in Egypt : Not So good "Updated"

Yes, Pope Francis was in Cairo and yes, he held important meetings with Sheikh Al-Azhar and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. He also made a historical agreement with Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church about baptism.

All the media around the globe is speaking about that important visit in critical time.
Thus I will speak today about something that happened in the past 48 hours in Cairo and I think it will be forgotten or be ignored amidst the coverage of the Pope's visit to Egypt.
Do you remember when I spoke about how FaceTime video and voice chat were not working properly from two weeks ago ??

Do you know that I have received comments on the blog as well replies on twitter confirming that there was a problem not only in FaceTime but also in other chat and msg apps !??
People began to speak last week about how Facebook messenger's audio and video services were not working. Same thing was reported with WhatsApp and Viber.
It was a nightmare for Egyptians working abroad and could not check or speak with their families back home. Yes, most of them are back to work fine again now but still, it was a nightmare.
All fingers were pointed to the mobile phone operators and internet service providers but those companies denied their involvement.
We know that those companies hate VOIP because it makes them lose money.
The companies pointed to the National Telecom Regulation authority "NTRA" but the NTRA also denied blocking the VOIP services on its official twitter account on 21 April.

It is not true what has spread by some that VOIP service was suspended in some apps. The authority stated that this news was untrue.
On April 24, NTRA spoke about the VOIP problem admitting that the VOIP was suspended actually while speaking about the upcoming e-crime draft bill.

The Undersecretary of the telecommunication committee in the House of Representatives : The draft cybercrime bill is from the most important bills that the committee will look in to carefully in upcoming stage. He also confirmed that the cybercrime bill has nothing to do with suspending the VOIP.
Tahrir newspaper quoted an unnamed source in NRTA saying that those services were suspended because of national security concerns.
Ahmed Abdel Naby
Ahmed Abdel Naby 
It is worth to mention that according to the state of emergency declared in Egypt from a couple of weeks ago, social media networks are being monitored according to the law.

Early Friday morning, Egypt's Homeland security arrested Ahmed Abdel Naby, the co-founder of The Internet Revolution Egypt Facebook page which has been calling for better and faster as well cheaper internet speed in the country since 2015.

Updated on 30 April: The general prosecution decided to release Abdel Naby for LE 1000 Bail for spreading false news and attempting to destabilize the society.

It turned out that Abdel Naby published leaks from alleged documents that show the government was involved in blocking and attempting to monitor the VOIP services in Egypt illegally since at least 2012.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sisi ratifies Judicial authorities law at night ; what will judges do !?

There are a thousand thing for real I want to write about now whether Sinai or the Pope's visit or the internal debt but this is urgent and can not wait.
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has just ratified the controversial judicial authorities law officially issuing it late Thursday.
The law has been issued in a supplement of the Egyptian State's official journal late Thursday. It is currently in effect.
Sisi and judges
Sisi and the judges at the Supreme court in April 2016

This law gives the Egyptian president "head of executive power" the right to choose the heads of judicial authorities and main courts in the country out of three deputies proposed within each judicial authority.

The old judicial authority law stipulates that the heads of judicial bodies are selected based on seniority by their judicial councils and that the president simply ratifies the council's selection.
The Egyptian House of Representative passed the law already only on Wednesday in a 15-minutes-session without any deliberation or discussion at all.

It was approved by two-third of the parliament.

Only 35 MPs including some of pro-regime MPs as well MPs appointed by Sisi himself objected and did not vote. Some are totally against the law and others were against on the voting process itself.
The parliament passed the law which will technically what so ever left from Judiciary independence in Egypt despite the complete rejection of judicial authorities.

Already, the Egyptian State council rejected for legal and constitutional reasons the law twice when it was a draft and demanded the parliament to amend in accordance with the law and the constitution.
We are speaking about 10 constitutional articles violated in that law according to the State council.
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Aya Hijazi is back to the U.S and Trump got his moment

And Aya Hijazi returned to the United States, that is the main and sole news Egypt was speaking about on Friday.
Egyptian-American Hijazi arrived the United States on Friday along with her husband Mohamed Hassanein on a special plane accompanied by a top adviser to Donald Trump personally.
Their plan to stay in Egypt and to restart their project to help Cairo's street children seemed to be doomed.
Even after their full acquittal from all the shameful charges like child exploitation and human trafficking last week, it will not be an easy to start again an independent NGO like "Beladi" now with the new NGOs law and its strict regulations.
It is not like 2011 or even 2013 in Cairo.
Hijazi and Hassanein returned to D.C along with Dina Powell, Donald Trump's deputy national security advisor for strategy
The Egyptian-American whose star is shining recently among Trump's White House staff came to Egypt and met with El-Sisi last week according to the Washington Post's report about Aya's return to the U.S.
No journalist or reporter as far as I know in Egypt spoke or even knew that Dina Powell was in town except Washington Post. She was not alone in Cairo as U.S secretary of defense Jim Mattis was in town as well.
Aya arrived in Washington and hours later, she and her brother Bassil were received warmly in the White House.
Interestingly, the US president refused to answer any questions or let the media ask any question. It was clever to end at that point because the no.1 question would be: You lifted the human rights condition when it comes to the relations with Egypt but here you are sitting with one of those human rights cases !?
The 30-years old Egyptian-American sat on the same chair like Abdel Fattah El-Sisi from two weeks ago.
Aya Hijazi and Trump
Aya Hijazi shaking hands with Trump
on the same chair like El-Sisi "Reuters"

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cairo and Riyadh : What is really behind Asiri's statements !!

Usually, the military spokespersons are very specific and careful about what they say. After all , they represent their armies as well their governments or regimes.
On Sunday , a video clip went viral in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It started in the Kingdom before reaching Egypt's social media realm causing anger and astonishment.

In an interview with Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya News General manager and prominent journalist Turki Aldakhil on Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen official spokesperson Major General Ahmed Asiri spoke mainly about the coalition and its start in 2015 and its progress.

In a 45-second video clip, Asiri speaks about President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and how he offered to send between 30,000-40,000 soldiers as ground forces in Yemen.
Asiri speaks about El-Sisi's alleged offer

Here is what was said translated into English:

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Sham El-Nassim and Happy Easter

First, Belated Happy Easter to all those who celebrated it around the globe especially the Egyptian Christians who had real tough week.
Second, Happy Sham El-Nassim to all Egyptian around the globe.
Happy Spring Feast
Here is an old Kawkab issue's cover showing young Soad Hosni celebrating the spring feast in 1960.
Soad Hosni
Soad Hosni on the cover of El-Kawkab
"Misr El-Mahrousa zaman FB page"
A decade later, legendary Honsi became the queen of spring when she sang "El- Donia Rabe'i" in her blockbuster " Amira, my love"
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

And Aya Hijazi is free again in time of Spring

And this is one Happy Easter indeed :)
Cairo's criminal court acquitted Aya Hijazi, her husband and the rest of the defendants in the "Beladi foundation" trial earlier Sunday after three years in detention on charges of several charges including human trafficking and sexual exploitation of street children.
This is one of the best news I have heard recently.
Aya Hijazi
Aya Hijazi smiling to her husband Hassanein inside the court's cage
"Reuters" 
The 29-years old Aya Hijazi, her husband Mohamed Hassanein and the 6 other member team were accused of trafficking, kidnapping, and the sexual exploitation and torture of children.
The George Mason University graduate and her team were arrested in May 2014.
For the Past 33 month "Over 1000 day", Aya and her team were detained in custody whether pending investigation or pending trial illegally.

According to the Egyptian law, the maximum period of pretrial detention is 24 months.
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

A history of State of Emergency in Egypt

First, Happy Easter everybody :)
We are still with the state of emergency in Egypt. I forgot to mention in the first post about that Emergency law a very important piece of information.

State of emergency
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared the state of emergency applied the state of emergency in North Sinai governorate only in October 2014 following the IS-affiliated Anser Beit Al-Maqdis on the Egyptian army checkpoints killing at least 33 army personnel.

Needless to say, the current sad situation in North Sinai and the daily terrorist attacks there prove that the State of emergency is a failure.
It is a daily living example.

The terrorists do not give a damn about the state of emergency or any of our laws. The brainwashed suicide bombers won't be stopped by the state of emergency.

Already, the state of emergency during the time of Mubarak did not stop the terrorists in the 1980s or 1990s for God's sake.

Also,  many legal and constitutional experts voiced concerns that the Constitution is being violated by continuous never ending State of emergency.

According to them, Constitution article no.154 which says that the parliament should approve the declaration of state of emergency for three months and that it can be extended for another three months only. I lost counting how many times El-Sisi declared the state of emergency in North Since October 2014.

This is not the only constitution violation when we speak about the state of emergency.

It turned out that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared the state of emergency on last Sunday "9 April 2017" and that declaration was published in the official Egyptian state's Gazette on Monday "10 April 2017" without the approval of the House of Representatives.

The parliament should have approved the declaration of the state of emergency first before publishing it in the official gazette.
The House of Representatives approved it on Tuesday "10 April 2017".

I think the new amendments in the 1958-emergency law concerning the detention with an arrest warrant also violated the constitution.
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Friday, April 14, 2017

What happened to Apple's FaceTime in Egypt ??

Move aside dear Signal because it seems that Apple's FaceTime is blocked in the country as well.
Since the beginning of the week, Apple's iPhone users in Egypt reported that they can not FaceTime in the country anymore.
I tried twice with a friend of mine two days in a row and found the following:
Apple's FaceTime and its big moment in the Middle East
last year in Turkey
You can call your contact whether using video or voice chat and he or she will receive that call.
Once he or she answers the call, you can not see or hear her or him.
You can see yourself only if you are having a video chat.
This is what we have concluded from our experience.
We tried this on TEData Wi-Fi and Orange mobile networks.
I do not know about Etisalat and Vodafone thought.
If you are iPhone user in Egypt , please try it and share your experience in the comments section. 
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Egypt returns back to the state of emergency

Late Sunday following the terrorist attacks on Egyptian Orthodox cathedrals that killed at least 46 in Alexandria and Tanta, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held an urgent meeting for Egypt's National Defense council.

Hours following the meeting, El-Sisi addressed the Egyptian people in a recorded speech telling to "bear the pain" criticizing at the same time the terrorist attack's coverage in mainstream media.
He also announced that he gave his orders to the Egyptian armed forces to help the police in protect vital infrastructures and facilities.

Then President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced the emergency law in Egypt after following the legal conditions

Once again, we are back to the emergency law.
Technically, we lived under emergency law in Egypt in most of our lives in the 20th Century.
We have been living under the state of emergency for the past 83 years. From the 1910s till 2010s, we got only 17 years in total we have lived without the state of emergency.

It is like a curse left by the British occupation just like the infamous bureaucracy that we can not get rid of it.
On Monday, PM Ismail Sherif announced that State of emergency would be in effect starting at 1 PM Cairo local nationwide.
At the same time, he announced that he sent to the House of Representatives asking its members to approve the State of emergency.
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Sunday at the National
defense council meeting "Egyptian Presidency" 
According to the constitution's article no.154, the House of Representatives must approve within 7 days on the State of emergency.
Just as all the country expected on Monday that the parliament would approve the state of emergency, its speaker and MPs surprised us by sending the Tiran and Sanafir agreement to the legislative committee and approving the amendments to the protest law.
Yup, against all odds the Parliament speaker sent the Tiran and Sanafir agreement to the legislative at 2.05 PM Cairo despite the High Administrative court order.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

The Martyrs of Policewomen force in Egypt : Remember their names

Among the 46 martyrs killed who lost their lives in those suicide bombing attacks targeting Egyptian Christians in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday.
Those three ladies are the first Egyptian policewomen to die on duty as well in a terrorist attack.
Here is a quick post with the names and pictures of those ladies.

Police Colonel Nagwa El-Hagar

The first woman to die in that horrifying suicide attack was Colonel Nagwa Abdel Allim El-Hagar.
Colonel Nagwa
Late Colonel Nagwa with her son 

Abdel was married to a police general and had two young. The eldest son is a police officer as well.
Sadly , it turned out that her second son died in less than a year. He joined the police academy like his father, mother and brother.
Her younger son passed away while training in a sports club in Alexandria.
He did not die in a terrorist attack as some Pro-Police/army/Sisi/regime Facebook pages claimed.

Police corporal Asmaa Hussein

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Black Palm Sunday "Updated with videos"

From Tanta's Cathedral
From Tanta's Cathedral 
This Sunday, millions of Christians around the globe celebrated the Palm Sunday and the start of the Holy Week. In Egypt and the Arab world, Arab Christians and Churches call the Holy week in Arabic "The Pains week".

This Sunday was officially the start of "Pains week" in Coptic Orthodox Churches in Egypt in a sad irony.

As you may have known, two Egyptian Churches were attacked earlier in two different cities during the Palm Sunday. At least 40 people killed and over 100 others were injured in both attack.
At 9.05 AM Tanta local time, the first explosion took place at St.George Cathedral in Tanta city.

According to early reports, the explosion took place at the first and front rows full of men during the Palm Sunday service.

Already the Palm Sunday service started at 6 AM and should have ended at 12 PM.
It never ended because of the explosion that killed over 29 people and injured not less 70 others.
Here is the moment when the explosion took place on the CCTV as aired on TV channels.

The victims include a judge, doctors, some members of the Church Choir, grandfathers and fathers.

From Tanta's Cathedral
The victims of Tanta bombing from
Tanta Cathedral 
The photos and video resurfaced online showed horrifying scenes. Reports also came speaking about a severe head that most probably belongs to the Suicide bomber.
The St. George Cathedral is considered the biggest church in the Nile Delta governorate.
Interestingly, from 12 days ago the Cathedral which hosts the bishopric of Tanta spoke about how security forces dealt with an unknown suspicious object found in front of it.


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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Egyptian X-Files : Who sent that SMS ?

I want to write about that war crime in Syria as well El-Sisi's historical visit to D.C
I also want to finish that report about the new media empires in Egypt and at the same time upload tons and tons of pictures and videos to share with you.

Yet suddenly something happens in Egypt to change all your plans.
The Mysterious SMS
The SMS 
On Tuesday evening, many Egyptians got on their mobile phones a strange news SMS that in other countries can turn things upside down.

At 9.41 PM Cairo local time, Subscribers of Al-Watan Daily Newspaper' Breaking News SMS service received a message claiming that Pro-Ahmed Shafik army commanders started a military coup.
Yes, the subscribers of the Pro-regime Daily Newspaper got that SMS puzzling them. The country was quiet and everything was normal on Wednesday. Yes, the President is abroad but things are calm.

Honestly, I was worried that something would happen at night.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is currently visiting Washington and he met with Trump on Monday.
Soon, Al-Watan newspaper said that its Breaking News SMS service was hacked and hacker sent that SMS.

The newspaper's publisher Mohamed Al-Amin is said to be currently in the United States as part of the media delegation covering El-Sisi's visit to D.C. I can imagine him after knowing what happened back in Cairo.
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Seen in Alexandria : The Naval unknown solider memorial

Location Al Gonday Al Maghool Sq., Al Mansheyah Al Kubra, Qesm Al Mansheyah, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
The Naval unknown soldier memorial of Alexandria

Seen in Alexandria : The Naval unknown Solider Memorial.
Originally built as memorial to Khedive Ismail by the Italian community in Alex , the memorial's status changed to become for Egypt 's fallen Naval soldiers after the 1952 coup/revolution exactly in 1964.
There used to be a statue for the Khedive in the middle. It was removed and transferred to Alexandria's faculty of art.
The Memorial is under the supervision and care of Egypt's Navy forces.
Alexandria hosts Egypt's main naval bases for its navy fleet.

From Instagram's Egyptian Chronicles 
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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Tiran and Sanafir isles : Back to the courts fight "Updated"

The Egyptian two red sea islands are back to the court on Sunday in Cairo as the Urgent matters said the Egypt's Supreme administrative court had no jurisdiction over the decision to hand Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia in a new episode of the Isles saga.

The urgent court's verdict does not say whether the isles are Egyptian or Saudi but it says that the Supreme Administrative court has no jurisdiction over the whole matter.
President Sisi and King Salman at the Dead sea last week
"SPA" 
Thus, it annuals accordingly the Supreme Administration Court's final Non-appealable verdict in January rejecting the government's appeal and upholding the original verdict to annual the Egyptian Saudi demarcation deal.
In case you forget from a year ago , in April 2016 the Egyptian and Saudi governments announced a new maritime demarcation deal, by which places the strategic Tiran and Sanafir Red Sea island under Saudi sovereignty.
In last December and against the court orders and public rejections, the Egyptian government sent the agreement to the Parliament to approve it.
In January, the Supreme administrative court issued its historical verdict annulling the agreement.
Despite the court orders, the government or rather the regime is insisting on going forward with the deal and decided to challenge the verdict in front of the court of urgent matter as well the Supreme Constitutional court directly and indirectly.

What do I mean about "indirectly"?
Well, I mean lawsuits filed by concerned citizens against the Supreme Administrative Court's verdict  with no direct relation to the government just like our case here.
Suddenly, we found "concerned citizen" and lawyer Ashraf Farahat filling a lawsuit in front of Cairo Urgent Matters court claiming that the Supreme Administrative court has no jurisdiction over the Islands case.
Already it is a known game for the government since the time of Mubarak and his National Democratic Party "NDP", if the administrative court annuls the results of parliamentary elections, a concerned citizen goes to the court of urgent matters to stop this verdict.
Do not ask about the legality or constitutionality of this because the law and the constitution are the last things to be respected in this matter.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dead Man summit in the Dead sea

Earlier Wednesday, Jordan's Dead Sea witnessed the start of the 28th Arab summit and it was the perfect location for such annual farce.
It was really a Dead man's summit in the Dead Sea
Or like how Iyad El-Baghdadi described the summit
Dead men speaking in a dead summit of dead organization in the lowest place on this planet
Now here is a summary of the summit:
The  Prince of Kuwait slammed the Arab spring claiming that its revolutions brought terrorism and misery to the region
The old prince slept afterward during the speeches of other leaders.
Sleeping prince of Kuwait
The prince of Kuwait after attacking the Arab spring 
He was not alone as other leaders slept as usual in the summit.
Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansour El-Hady slept as if his country was suffering its worst crisis since the infamous Yemen wars in the 1960s.
Yemeni president
Yemeni President had a nap in the summit
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aka Abu Mazen whose presidential term was over many years ago also had a nap. 
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Seen in Alexandria : Once again Stanley bridge

Location Stanley Bridge, Fleming, Qism Sidi Gabir, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
Stanley Bridge

Seen in Alexandria: Once again the famous Stanley bridge at night.
It was built in the late 1990s over Stanley bay and became another landmark in the Mediterranean sea city after its inauguration in 2001
And a nice couple of photos for Stanley bridge after the break.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

She knows Why the caged bird sings very well now

On Thursday, Egypt's Cairo criminal court set April 20 to declare its final verdict in the trial of Beladi Foundation, which is known in the media as "the case of Aya Hegazy".
Originally, the court set March 23 for its final verdict but decided to adjourn it to April 20 as it was waiting for "the technical experts' " report about the case.
The 29-years old and her husband Mohamed Hassanein as well the rest of defendants in the trial are accused of who are accused of human trafficking, kidnapping, and the sexual exploitation and torture of street children in Beladi Foundation.
It is worth to mention that according to official forensic reports in the case, the children did not suffer from any sexual abuse.
Just like in their previous session on February 14, Aya Hegazy and her husband Mohamed Hassenein's photos together in the court room's cage went viral like fire throughout the weekend.
You can see why they had gone viral.
The hug between Hassenein and Hegazy inside the cage
"By Mostafa Bassim Adly
Hasseinein and Hegazy in the cage
Hasseinein and Hegazy in the cage
"By Mostafa Bassim Adly"
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Happy Mother Day Egyptian style

Happy Mother Day.
Today we celebrate the Mother Day in Egypt.
There is no better mother to remember on that special day than Isis.
The original and first mother of Egypt.
Ancient Egyptian Goddess Isis nursing Horus
A collection of Isis at the Egyptian museum in Cairo 

Happy mother day from Egyptian Chronicles to mothers around the globe and not only Egypt
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Psamtik "Not Ozymandias in Matareya

On Thursday, Egypt's minister of antiquities Khaled Al-Anany announced that the newly discovered parts of a colossus statue for an ancient Egyptian king in a North Cairo did not belong to King Ramses II as initially announced and believed.
The partial statue most probably belonged to 26-dynasty King Psamtik I, a less known pharaoh who actually did heroic things in his reign above them freeing Egypt from the Assyrian Empire and unifying it as well.
Prince Henrik of Denmark stands beside the colossus at Egyptian museum in Cairo "Reuters"
Prince Henrik of Denmark stands beside the colossus at Egyptian museum
in Cairo last Thursday "Reuters" 
The announcement puts an end of a very exciting Egyptian black comedy.
It started on 9 March when the ministry of antiquities announced that two newly discovered ancient Egyptian statues were unearthed by a joint Egyptian-German archaeological mission from a mud pit at a Cairo local market "Souq Al-Khamis".
"Souq Al-Khamis"  is located in populated working class Al-Matareya district, Ain Shams.
According to the first statement issued by the ministry, the two new "19th dynasty" royal statues were found in "parts" in the vicinity of King Ramses II temple dedicated to the God of the sun in ancient Heliopolis "Oun".
The statement described the first statue as an 80 cm tall bust of King Seti II carved in limestone with fine and clear facial features.
On the other hand, the second statue is actually a 8 meters long bust carved in the strong quartzite.
Lacking any engravings on that part bust identifying the statue's owner, the archeologists suggested it could be part of Ramses II's statue as it existed on what they believed to be Ramses II temple's entrance in the city of Oun. "Plus the late King loved having his statues everywhere"
The Egyptian team described the discovery as very important because it showed that the sun temple was enormous with many huge statues and obelisks.
The temple was damaged according to archeologists during the Greco-Roman and that many of its obelisks and colossi were transferred to Alexandria and Europe.
Also during the Islamic era, the blocks of the temple's remains were used in building Cairo in the tenth century.
The whole world went mad on that day and the foreign media spoke about the new discovery of "Ramses II statue " despite archeologists said that "it could be Ramses II" only and we found sensational headlines like "Ozymandias returns back in a Cairo slum".
Back in Cairo and its slums, it was something different because Egyptians were focusing on other things in that discovery for nearly four days other than the greatness of Ozymandias and how he ended up in ruins in a slum.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Seen in Cairo : El-Botroseya Church's bells still ring after all

Location 417 Ramses, El-Abaseya El-Bahareya, Al Waili, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
El-Botroseya Church in Cairo

Seen in Cairo: El-Botroseya Church aka St.Peter and St.Paul Church's renovation continues as its bell rings in one fine March afternoon. The church was a target of a cowardly terrorist bombing by Daesh that killed more than 26 people, mostly from old women and children in early December.  Built in 1911, the church is located in the vicinity of Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church, the seat of the Pope of the Orthodox Church.
Here is a video showing the church and its bells. 
Life goes on. 
May God bless the souls of the victims of the bombing and bring solace to their families and friends. May God have mercy on our souls. 
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

She is the first "woman governor in Egypt" but....

On Wednesday the world celebrated the International Women's Day worldwide and as the usual our Egyptian media reminded us with all women's achievements especially in the time of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in a silly cold cliché.
Governor Nadia Abdou 
One of those achievements was in February when Nadia Abdou was appointed as the governor of Behaira governorate.
Abdou is the first woman to be appointed as a governor in the history of modern Egypt.
It is important thing indeed and the media is cheering up for the historical milestone.
As much as I know this is a historical thing but I can not get past the fact that Nadia Abdou was a member of Mubarak's former National Democratic Party "NDP" and that she won a seat in the People's assembly in one of the most corrupted elections ever in 2010.
Abdou does not deny the fact that she was a member of the NDP. In fact she claims that "three-quarters of Egypt" was NDPian during the Mubarak's role.
Either ways, the NDPians are having a strong comeback whether in the parliament or government or media as we have seen lately.
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Friday, March 10, 2017

Me and Ultras "Asmahan"

From Nine years ago, I was like millions of Egyptians who watched admirably the TV series " Asmahan" which was based on the short life of famous Syrian Singer "Asmahan".
Asmahan
Asmahan
Like any other talkative Egyptian who has an opinion about everything, I wrote a post about Asmahan and what I think about her based on the TV series and a couple of books as well articles I read.
Up till now I get comments, mostly angry comments with threats from Asmahan "Ultras" fans.
I used to comment back that this is my personal space and you can send back a post to defend your point of view so I can publish it.
I have received another angry comment calling me names in the past 48 hours and it made me think about what I wrote from 9 years ago.
I read the blog post on Friday and it is great to return back to read what I had written then and compared with what I think now.
I can admit easily that I was harsh in my first opinion about Asmahan which was based upon a couple of books and a TV series.
Asmahan's life was an enigma without a doubt.
Just like from 9 years ago, I would say that even if a young lady living in the West had a similar life, she would be a legend and a talk of the town till our day.
Just like from 9 years ago, I would say that she was a victim of a man's world starting from her father who abandoned her family in Cairo.
Even the books wrote about her either demonizing her or making her the Mother Teresa were written about men.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

And the people demanded bread at first

Despite everybody was expecting something like this to happen but strangely when it happened on Wednesday, many were surprised.
Hundreds of Egyptians in several governorates protested because of the lack of subsidized breads in bakeries.
It started Tuesday afternoon in Alexandria when hundreds of protesters protested the decision of the supply ministry to reduce the quantity of subsidized bread quota to bakeries.
The protests were in Eastern and Western parts of Alexandria in the working class areas. The protesters began to catch attention when they blocked the famous tram track
In Alexandria: Protesters chant we want bread
They also blocked the train track.
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Monday, March 6, 2017

Kodak Agfa Presents : Fatima Haider's Palace of Alexandria

Location AZ Zahiriyyah, Al Mahrousah, Qism El-Raml, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
There are lots of hidden gems in Egypt that even Egyptians do not know that they exist. Among those gems, a palace in a very quiet Upper-class Zezenia neighbor in Alexandria.
Not only that place is a hidden gem but it also hosts gems.
I paid it a visit last May while I was in Alexandria for a short visit. 
That place is Princess Fatima Haider's Palace that hosts a collection of the Mohamed Ali-Royal family's Jewelry.
Officially, that palace is called the Royal Jewelry Museum.
This post I am dedicated to the Palace itself and you will know why.
The Fatima Haider Palace seems just like any 1920s Neo-classical European style Palace from outside.
Fatima Haider's Palace' exterior
The Western wing of the Palace 
It is big as we are speaking about 4185 sq.m including the surrounding garden.
The Palace was originally commissioned by socialite Zeinab Fahmy, the wife of Prince Ali Haider in 1919 but she died leaving it to her daughter Fatima Al-Zahra Haider.
Princess Fatima Haider continued supervising the design and construction of that place adding her touch to the final design adding a Western wing to the original Palace.
The construction of that palace was finished in 1923 amazingly
According to some sources that the palace was designed by Mohamed Ali-Royal Family's favorite architect Antonio Lasciac while other sources say that famous architect Ali Pasha Fahmy whom I am going to speak about later.
I do not know which information is true.
The two-floor-palace is made of two wings, an Eastern and Western wing connected by a gallery of beautiful stained glass.
Fatima Haider's Palace's exterior
The gallery or the tunnel and its stained glass windows 
The kitchen and the Servants section are in the basement.
It was the summer residence for Princess Fatima Al-Zahra Haider who married Mohamed Bek Yaken in 1930.
Becoming a Museum
The re-inauguration plate from 2010 
The couple had two boys and one girl.
After the coup of 1952, Princess Fatima Al-Zahra's properties and possession were confiscated by the State aka nationalized.
Yet, She was allowed to live in that palace.
She lived there till 1964 when She gave it up to the Egyptian government.
Some sources say that the former Princess headed to Cairo where she lived until her death in 1983. while other sources say she lived in Marseilles, France until her death.
Since 1964 till 1986, the Palace joined the rest of the Royal palaces that became presidential palaces.
In 1986, ousted President Mubarak issued a presidential decree designating the Fatima Haider's Palace into a museum in Alexandria hosting a collection of Mohamed Ali-Royal Family jewelry in Alexandria.
The Palace was renovated twice in 1986 and 1994 in a horrible way.
 In late 2004, Egypt's ministry of antiquities started to renovate the palace in a proper way.
The cost of that renovation as well correcting the mistakes of previous renovations reached LE 10 Million.
The renovation finished and it was reopened once again in 2010.
But like a diamond in the rough, it has not caught enough attention.

Now, this museum contains a collection of Jewelry and other valuable possessions that once owned by the members of Mohamed Ali-Royal family that ruled Egypt from 1805 till 1952.
According to the official information, there are 11,500 pieces or artifacts owned by the former ruling royal family in the museum.
I will dedicate a separate post for the Jewelry of Mohamed Ali-Royal Family but I will just say that this collection at the museum represents a very small percentage of the true Jewelry and Jewels owned by the Egyptian Royal family.

The entrance is from the East wing that leads directly to one of the main halls where you start to see the amazing collection of Jewelry.
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Saturday, March 4, 2017

The expected final acquittal of Mubarak

On Thursday, Cairo court of Cassation officially acquitted ousted President Mubarak in the final stage of his retrial for killing the protesters during the 18 days of the January revolution.
The verdict of the cassation court can be appealed and thus the 88-years-old ousted president is off the hook when it comes to the killing of the protesters.
This case or rather trial since its start in 2011 seemed to be a farce as the prosecutor general gathered a very poor case to stand in the court especially in the retrial.
The court of cassation has not issued its reasoning on why it acquitted him but his defense team is saying that Habib El-Adly and his aides involved in the case were acquitted and thus it was logical for the court to acquit him.
Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak transferred to court from Maadi military hospital
 to court on Thursday by a helicopter (AP/Amr Nabil)
Now a quick timeline to Mubarak's trial involving the killing of the protesters in the 18 days of the January revolution aka the trial of the century.
In June 2012, the Criminal court sentenced Mubarak to a life sentence in jail for giving the orders to kill the protesters during the 18 days of the January revolution.
In January 2013, the Court of Cassation overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial for Mubarak and Adly as well the rest of the defendants.
In November 2014 the Criminal court acquitted Mubarak and the co-defendants in the retrial reasoning the prosecution initial decision to refer Mubarak to court in 2011 lacked the legal basis.
On Thursday, the court of Cassation rejected the appeal of prosecution and upheld the acquittal of Mubarak.
If you look carefully to the dates, you will know the stages of the January revolution itself.
According to journalists who covered the "trial of the century" that no one is following carefully as before, the prosecution's evidence presented to the court in retrial was weak, too weak to stand in any court.
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Seen in Alexandria : Old Bahary Buildings "3"

Location Qesm Al Gomrok, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
Buildings of Alexandria

Still with Alexandria's beautiful old buildings in Bahary quarter.
I am not an expert in architecture but I think that building is based upon the Art Deco style.
Anyhow it is beautiful and I hope it remains as much as it can. I wish there is more care for Bahary quarter old buildings in Downtown Cairo right now.
Check more photos of the famous city here. 
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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Seen in Alexandria : Old Bahary Buildings "2"

Location Qesm Al Gomrok, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
Alexandrian Buildings

In the famous Bahary quarter of Alexandria, the old European Neo-classical style buildings stand as an old memory of the once cosmopolitan nature of the famous city.
Take in May 2016
Check more photos of the famous city here. 
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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Escape From North Sinai : The Tip of the iceberg

As you may have known many Christian Egyptian families fled Al-Arish city after a terrorist killing spree targeting them in the city.
The families fled North Sinai's Al-Arish city leaving their homes, work and schools as in the past 4 weeks seven Christians were killed and slaughtered brutally in the biggest city in North Sinai by "militants.
Usually, the main suspect we have in North Sinai when it comes to militants is Anser Beit Al-Maqdis or what is commonly known as the "Sinai Province of Daesh".
The displaced families fled to Ismailia governorate, the nearest and most favorite place for Sinai locals to stay in away from the ongoing war on terrorism. They took a shelter at the Evangelical church in Ismailia at first.
Roger Anis- Christians fleeing North Sinai
This old man told journalists that he did not leave his house
during the Israeli occupation "Roger Anis" 
On Friday, the government began to act and the governor of Ismailia began to host some of the displaced families in Ismailia Youth hostel as well empty apartments. The Orthodox Church opened its doors and helped in hosting the families in apartments.
Donations are collected in bank accounts opened by the Orthodox Church to help the families who are mostly from the working class and low middle class.
Activists and journalists say we are dealing with more than 80 families and the number is increasing. The Orthodox Church said officially that there were 100 families from Al-Arish
The parliamentary affairs minister told the parliament that the government rehoused 118 families on Sunday.
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Sinai and that easy alternative for Israelis

On Thursday, the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu-Zaid said in a media statement that Sinai peninsula was an Egyptian territory and that no foreign official spoke with his Egyptian counterparts about establishing a Palestinian state there ever.
The statements of Abu-Zaid came two days after Israeli minister Ayoob Kara stunned the Egyptian social media with his tweet on Tuesday.

The first Druze-Israeli minister in the Israeli cabinet history said that Trump and Netanyahu should adopt El-Sisi's Plan to have a "Palestinian State in Sinai and Gaza instead of Judea and Samaria {West Bank} and that clears the way for peace with the Sunni coalition".

I know that it would be a matter of time after that the tweet that Egypt official deny that El-Sisi
Gaza and Sinai
The suggested so-called Palestinian state in Gaza and
part of Sinai from some Israeli website 
proposed such plan but instead two days later we find the MOFA spokesperson saying that Sinai is an Egyptian territory and that no foreign official spoke with his Egyptian counterparts about Sinai as substitute land for the West Bank.

First, it is untrue that no foreign official spoke with his or her Egyptian counterparts even historically.

In 1953 during the Eisenhower's administration, US ambassador Eric Johnston was sent to Egypt and to Jordan to discuss the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Jordan valley and in Sinai and it seems the plan failed as the Arab League rejected it along with the Palestinians.

Since then this easy alternative to solve the Palestinian refugees has been on the table for foreign diplomats as well Israelis who did not give up bringing it up in the 1960s and 1970s

In 2004, Israeli National security council chief major general Giora Eiland proposed a plan where Egypt to give 600 square kilometers to the Palestinians in Sinai whereas Israel to give Egypt 200 square kilometer in Negev desert. Needless to say, it was rejected.

In 2009, US envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross reportedly suggested this suggestion and was rejected as well.
In 2010, Israeli PM Netanyahu proposed that plan on Mubarak and the ousted president rejected it according to Mubarak's own audio leaks in 2011.

So it is untrue that resettling Palestinians was not discussed between Egyptian and foreign officials.

 Second, I wished that the denial of such outrageous claim would come from the Egyptian presidency and not from the Egyptian foreign ministry because in the end El-Sisi is involved and it is not the first time.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

It is a matter of time to see MP Sadat outside the Parliament for real

It is only matter of time to see MP Mohamed Anwar El- Sadat expelled from Egypt's House of Representatives "HOR".
On Sunday, the Egyptian House of Representatives' Ethic committee recommended that MP Anwar El-Sadat should be stripped of his parliamentary membership in what can be the latest escalation between the Parliament and the veteran MP.
The leader of the Development and reform party is officially found guilty by the Ethics committee of allegedly sending secret state information to the Inter-parliamentary union , leaking the draft NGO law to foreign embassies and faking the signature of 15 MPs.
This saga started last August and you can see this coming following the decision of Sadat to resign as head of the Parliament's human rights committee.
Things escalated between him and parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal.
MP Anwar El-Sadat and Parliament speaker Abdel Aal 
In January, MP El-Sadat questioned the parliament speaker on why the parliament spent LE 18 million from the House of Representatives' budget to buy three cars for three members including Abdel Aal himself.
El-Sadat revealed that those three cars were not included in the original HOR's annual budget for the year 2015/2016 but they were added later as a 'loan' from the National investment bank.
The outspoken MP stated that the three cars were bought in February 2016 slamming the decision to purchase those cars when the Parliament owns too many cars in a time of an economic crisis.
It turned out that the parliament purchased one of the most expensive armored cars for its speaker.

This was the last straw when it comes to the confrontation between the two men in January.
Some say that El-Sadat intended to expose this matter publicly knowing that he may get expelled eventually.

Angry like hell, Abdel Aal vowed to hold those who leaked the parliament's budget to the media "!!!" accountable and that leaking that budget was a "national security" matter.
Sooner photos of Ali Abdel Aal's parliamentary cars found their ways to the media and the speaker warned us that those who took photos of his cars were actually making it easier for terrorists to assassinate him !!
According to Bitawqit Masr TV show on Al-Araby TV, the Parliament allocates six Mercedes-Bens cars to Ali Abdel Aal alone !!
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Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Full moon in a cold night

Many parts of the world saw an ice/cold/snow Moon on Friday. I missed taking a photo of that cold/snow/ice moon on Friday due to technical reasons but I did not miss taking a photo of another full bright moon on Saturday in Egypt.

A full moon in a cold night

I do not know if it is still considered cold moon or not but it was really cold when I took the photo and actually hours later we had thunder and rains reportedly in Cairo and Northern Delta !!
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Friday, February 10, 2017

Shutting Down El-Nadeem Center : The end of one hell of a week "Updated"

Earlier Thursday, Egyptian security forces shut down by force El-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of victims of torture in Downtown Cairo.
El-Nadeem Center
The door of the center sealed with red wax
"El-Nadeem Center"

According to its co-founder Aida Seif El-Dawla, the security forces went and shut down the center with red wax on the staff's off-day.

It is worth to mention that Seif El-Dawla who is a renowned human rights activist has been barred from travel in November.
The Egyptian authorities tried to close the center before last year at the same time !!

Since 1993, El-Nadeem provided help to victims of torture and abuse. I do not know what to say for real.

On Friday, the Center issued a statement about what happened to reveal that El-Nadeem staff appealed against the decision of the health ministry to close the center and its clinic in front of the Administrative council and up till now the court has not issued its verdict on the appeal.

It is interesting that center added in its statement that the Government's lawyer did not present a single paper to court against their appeal.

The EU commented on the closure of El-Nadeem Center later Thursday stating that "It is a development of particular concern".
I do not expect the US Department of State or White House to comment as they used to do before for an obvious well-known reason.

Amnesty international slammed the decision of the Egyptian security.
Needless to say, Egyptian political activists are supporting El-Nadeem center.

Most activists look to what happened as another crackdown on the NGOs especially human rights NGOs.

The news of El-Nadeem came in the end of a week that witnessed frustrating developments when it comes to torture cases.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Egypt's Internet trolls :The fake Twitter accounts syndrome

This is the second post in a series I dedicate to Egypt's internet trolls mainly from Pro-regime trolls and their fake news machine.
This post is short compared to the first post in the series
In the past few weeks, there was a huge campaign against former vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei whether in the Pro-regime mainstream media or the social media.

It started days before the end of 2016 when London-based Al-Araby TV channel announced that it was going to air a 5-part interview with ElBaradei starting 7 January on a weekly basis.
This is his first TV interview ever since the resignation from his position as the Vice-president of Egypt in August 2013 over the forcible Pro-Morsi sits-in dispersal.

The interview is covering his life and his views starting from the 1960s until our current time.
As soon as the channel released the promo of the TV interview and the Pro-regime supporters as well mainstream media went mad.
It was madness especially it was only a promo but the Nobel peace prize winner said in it that the "a fortress commander" aka a military commander could be great as a military but would fail as education minister.

Since then and days before the interview, one would see on daily and weekly basis anti-ElBaradei hashtags reaching to Egypt's top trends sometimes.

At first, I did not pay attention but then I used to get engage especially when you see a stupid hashtag like "ElBaradei destroyed Iraq !!" and it was the start.

A hashtag launched on 1 January by the self-claimed "Twitter leader" Hamada caught my attention

Hamada claims to have the ability to launch top trending hashtags every day.
He launched "#ElBaradei_destroyed_Iraq" spreading the Pro-regime lie that the former head of the IAEA was the reason behind the invasion of Iraq which is untrue historically.
A tweep made me pay attention to those retweeting the tweet and how many of them were fake accounts.
Out of 106 retweets, you can see that there are fake accounts sharing the same bios with similar twitter handles if not the same retweeted that tweet spreading false information.
Those fake accounts were the start of an online trail to me specifically "abdo" aka "@3pr7man" and twin brothers as well the "V4Vendetta" twitter accounts sharing the same bio and the same second half of their handle "x1e".

The retweets and who made them
It is like they are generated by the same bot.
I traced "3pr7man" accounts and it turned out that they go back to 18-years old high school student called Abdel Rahman who just like 'Hamada" above is known allegedly for making top trends. He is also the founder of some hashtag called "#Cabinet_Team" where teenagers follow each other and increase their fellowship on twitter.
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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Seen in Alexandria : Old Bahary Buildings "1"

Location Alexandria, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
Egypt's Alexandria old buildings



And Alexandria has got its share from beautiful old European style buildings that are trying to survive against time, greed and modernity after all.
Here is a beautiful building I noticed on my way in the famous Bahary quarter in Alexandria during that short spring break in 2016.  
Source: Instagram 
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What we know about Trump's Companies in Egypt

As US President Donald Trump issued his infamous executive order to ban nationals of seven Muslim countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days, people around the global why those seven countries in particular.
The executive order that has been turning the world upside down literality bars all people coming from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen whether refugees or immigrants or just visitors for at least 90 days.

Many people asked a very good question on why those countries specifically were chosen out of 50 Muslim-majority countries especially in the executive order Trump mentions 9/11 attacks.
The 9/11 attacks hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. None of those countries are on the ban list.
Trump's executive order
Trump signing one of his executive orders last week "AP 
Some again asked why he did not include those countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the list. It is a legitimate question*.
According to the White House secretary Sean Spicer those seven countries on the travel ban list were initially identified as "countries of concern" under the Obama administration.

That answer was not convincing for some who raised very serious accusation that Trump got business interest in three countries of the 9/11 attackers origin countries: Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt.
It turns out that Trump got companies in Egypt "2", Saudi Arabia "4" and UAE  "at least 2".
Yes, the business tycoon president is said to own two companies in Egypt and this was a surprise for me !!

I have not known before that the American business tycoon has business in Egypt or even has visited it publicly before.

According to an early Bloomberg report, Trump owns "possibly" in Egypt according to his files in the Federal Election Commission: Trump Marks Egypt and Trump Marks Egypt LLC
I have not heard about them before. No one had heard of them already in Egypt. There is more

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