Egyptian Chronicles: October 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Al-Wahat 135 km : The Carnage

For hours now , Egyptian security forces have been battling unknown militants at Egypt’s Western desert near El-Bahariya Oasis “350 km away from Cairo”.

At least 30 security personnel including 15 officers and 15 conscripts have been killed in an ambush according to security forces that spoke with media outlets including Reuters “The number is increasing by the minute”at Wahat Highway between Giza and El-Bahariya Oasis exactly at 135 km.
Updated at 1:20 PM , BBC is saying that the death toll reach 56 security personnel :( 

This is the biggest loss for the ministry of interior and the Egyptian government outside North Sinai.
Al-Wahat high is currently locked between Giza and Fayoum governorates according to security sources that spoke with Al-Ahram.

From what I have been reading online , we have technically a battle between security forces and those militants.
I have been trying to locate 135 km on Google Earth but I can not reach it. 
Sources speaking to Reuters said the following :
The security sources said authorities were following a lead to a hideout deep in the desert thought to house eight suspected members of Hasm, a group which has claimed several attacks around the capital targeting judges and police since last year.
A convoy of four SUVs and one interior ministry vehicle was ambushed from higher ground by militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and detonating explosive devices, a senior source in the Giza Security Office said.
At 10 PM Cairo local time , the ministry of interior published on its official Facebook page a very vague and short statement stating the following :
Intel came to the  National security “State security” sector at the ministry about a hideout of terrorists in the middle of the desert at 135 km of Al-Wahat Highway. A patrol was prepared to arrest those terrorists but when the patrol was close , the terrorists opened their fire which led to exchange of fire between them and the security forces. This resulted in the death of a number of police personnel as well those assailants. The security forces are sweeping the region.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Seen in Cairo : The Yacoubian box

Yacoubian box

Seen in Cairo: a very old card box keeping very beautiful and old glassware owned by my late grandma in our attic aka (sandara).
The box had the sticker of “N.Yacoubian” which according to my knowledge was located at the famous Yacoubian building in Downtown Cairo.
It was immortalized infamously in Alaa Al-Aswany’s best-selling novel of the same name.
Built in 1936, the Art Deco building was named after its owner, businessman and the head of the Armenian community in Egypt then, Hagop Yacoubian.
I love the Art Deco font used to write Yacoubian in Arabic as well in English. 
I do not know if the store, which was like Tiffany's in the old golden days is still there or was closed. I will check it.
Ironically I passed through that building hundreds of times and I never thought to see it. 
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Saturday, October 14, 2017

1973 War special : The Nubian Sergeant

For the first time in 44 years following the 1973 October war, a forgotten hero has been decorated Egypt’s highest military medal for his role that gave Egypt an edge over the Israelis.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi honored last Monday 1973 war veteran Ahmed Idris decorating him the Order of the Sinai star for his role in that war.

Ahmed Idris who was born in old Nubia, Aswan is the man behind the secret code which the Israelis could not break in 1973 war despite it was not a real or complex secret code.
Mr. Idris joined the Egyptian army in 1954 as a soldier in the Border guards.
Since the time of the Egyptian kingdom, most of Egyptian Nubians worked in the Border guards.He was stationed in Sinai till June 1967 war aka Six days war.
Ahmed Idris and El-SIsi
Idris with El-Sisi last week at The Egyptian armed forces'
lecture about 1973 war 
Now according to him, after the defeat late chief of staff Abdel Moneim Riad decided to reassign a group of the border guards officers and soldiers training them on various missions including driving tanks, special forces courses and signals aka military communications for 3 years.
During December 1970 our sergeant was reassigned as a driver for one of the army commanders. He recounted that he was driving that commander and his aide after one of the meetings that discussed very urgent and disturbing matter.
A week earlier the Egyptian intelligence knew that Israel managed to decode the signals of the Egyptian army which meant all the communications between Egyptian commanders and officers were known to Israelis.
A new code was needed urgently. As the two men talked about that, Idris interfered in the talk telling them that he got an idea for a code that the Israelis could not know.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Another New State of emergency in Egypt : It never ends

And President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree on Tuesday “10/10/2017” to declare a state of emergency in Egypt for three months starting from Friday “Tomorrow” 1 AM Cairo Local Time.


Egypt's official gazette October 2017
A copy of the decree in the official
gazette
The decree was published in Tuesday’s issue of the Egyptian State’s official gazette.

There is online and ongoing confusion about this declaration as some considered it as an extension of that state of emergency.
El-Sisi declared the state of emergency last April following the horrifying the Black Palm Sunday bombings in Cairo and Tanta. 

It is not an extension to that state of emergency which was extended in July subsequently. Sisi extended the state of emergency on 10 July 2017 for three months only in accordance with the Egyptian Constitution.

That 3 months period has ended on Tuesday 10 October 2017.

According to the Egyptian Constitution of 2014's article no.154, the State of emergency can be only extended for another three months only one time.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

And Egypt is heading to World Cup Russia 2018

Okay this is from the historical important moments that I love to post in my blog

Egypt has finally qualified for the World Cup Russia 2018

Yes, I need to say this again loud and clear that Egypt has been qualified for World Cup Russia 2018
After 28 years, Egyptian National Football/Soccer team succeeded reaching the World Cup since 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.
This is the third time for our National football team to be qualified for the World Cup.
The first time was in 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy. We were the first African and Arab country to play in the World Cup.
It took 56 years to be qualified again in 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy also.
This was the first football memory for me as a child. I remember that I cried a lot when Germany won the Cup and wondered why Egypt did not get it.
My family tried to explain the matter for me but I did not get it then.
Now after 28 years, Egypt is going yet again to the World Cup, this time in Russia next year.
I am now grown-up enough to know that we are not a candidate to win the World Cup itself but the honor is enough to reach the World Cup.

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah "AP" 
I think I am lucky enough along millions of Egyptians to witness being qualified to the World Cup twice.

Also, the young generation is lucky enough to see our squad going to the World Cup.

Yes, I am bit emotional because I witnessed the happiness of the people first hand and how they headed to Tahrir square automatically as soon as Mohamed Salah, our golden boy scored that penalty.
One night of happiness won’t change anything of the reality we know and live but it will just give hope.

Back to Mohamed Salah, well God bless him as he made a true history for real.
Mo Salah is now the most famous Egyptian abroad and he deserves it.

A side note: The AP photographer who took unforgotten shots from the football match with Congo is photographer Nariman El-Mufti, a woman photographer. 

Salah and the rest of the squad were born after 1990 ironically except El-Hadry, our goalkeeper.
If I am not mistaken, he is by far the oldest goalkeeper so far to participate in World Cup Russia 2018.
The best goalkeeper in Africa deserves to be despite his shitty political views.
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Celebrating World Cup Qualification in Tahrir square

Location El-Tahrir Square, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
The Egyptian authorities did not allow cars to enter Tahrir square allowing people only on foot to enter.
Yet this did not stop people in their cars to celebrate Egypt’s victory in its football/soccer game against Congo and being qualified to WorldCup in Russia "More to come here" 
via IFTTT
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Seen in Giza : Getting ready for the big game


Getting ready for the big game after less than three hours for now and flags sellers are in every major street in the country.
Egypt is going to #Russia for the World cup if it beats Congo in a match millions of  Egyptians are waiting for eagerly as the Egyptian national team got better chances for winning.

We will see if we make football history again after 28 years.
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Muchas gracias Spanish government and EU : Sincerely Mideast government

On Sunday, the people of Catalonia held an independence referendum in defiance to the Spanish government in Madrid and the current Spanish constitution.
Spanish police in Catalonia
Police arresting voters in Catalonia "AFP"
The referendum was held at the same time the Spanish police attacked voters at polling centers dragging them out as well taking the ballot boxes in a scene that shocked many people including myself.

According to Catalan authorities, not less than 900 people were injured including elderly.
It shocked me because that scene was too familiar for us in the Mideast, in Egypt in particular.
It reminded me with the violence of the Egyptian police during the 2010 parliamentary elections which considered by many as one of the trigger for the 25 January revolution.

It shocked me because that was happening in Europe. It shocked me because that was happening in Spain , a country that I and other Egyptians look to a successful example of democratic civilian transition.
Since the ouster of Mubarak in February 2011 and many Egyptians looked to the Spanish democratic civilian transition as an example to follow despite the difference between the two countries. Needless to say , I believe that one of the weakness of our Egyptian revolution is the lack of figures like  Adolfo Suarez.

Anyhow it seemed that the legacy of Franco is still deep-rooted in Madrid or at least in the Spanish police as the World has seen in the past two weeks.
Just as I and others felt sad to see that scene of Spanish police attacking Catalan voters and activists, others were happy in our sad miserable part of the world.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Seen in Giza : A Nile view with concerns

Location Americana Boat 26 Nile Street, Giza, Cairo, Al Nile, Giza, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Egypt's Nile River

This photo was one of my early attempts to snap a 180-degree photo using my old iPhone.
The amazing river Nile is majestic in perfect weather condition in Cairo and Giza.
By the way, this photo shows both banks, the Cairo and Giza Metropolis skyline of ugly buildings we love to hate.
I will seize this opportunity to speak again about the future of the Nile River in Egypt especially after constructing Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam "GERD".
Last week, an official in Egypt's ministry of irrigation and water resources announced that Egypt was officially suffering from "Water Poverty" and the era of "water abundance" in the country was over thanks to the increasing population. 
Now my concern is that if we are suffering from "Water poverty", why the hell does the state allow building new compounds as well a new administrative capital full of swimming pools and fountains !?

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