My heart is torn between East and West. I live somewhere between the present and the past. I don't know who I am.

Just another human being biding their time on this earth. Passionate about current affairs, history, politics (particularly MENA region), religion, cute animals and food.

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Posts tagged "egypt"


On Tuesday (09/09/14) there were calls for large-scale protests across Egypt by DankEgy campaign on Twitter and Facebook. We have monitored the protest events and in this post we will summarize the day in this post. You can view and download our collected data in Arabic and English.

There were 51 protest events held in 16 governates. As usual, Dakahlia governate is in the lead in terms of the number of protests,  followed by Beheira and Kafr El-Sheikh. Interestingly, Cairo was not among the top three this time.

In terms of the types of events, the most popular event seems to be a rally, followed by human chains and stands. Other protest forms, namely vehicle rallies also exist. 

Since Dank Movement had originally called for the protests, most of the protests were organized by them. The rest of the events were organized by Anticoup alliance and other groups. Note that in some cases we were unable to identify the organizers of the events. In such cases we assumed that the organizers were Dank.

Our protest map will be updated with all of September’s protests towards the end of September. In the meantime, why not follow us on twitter to stay updated with our coverage of events?


We are currently experimenting ways to aggregate various sources of protest events together. Our main fear is ending up with duplicates after merging multiple sources. For now, we would rather have an underestimated figure than an overestimate with redundancy. With that said, we also know that Mubasher Misr Network is a reliable network with a large number of reporters all over Egypt. Bear in mind that we are still in an experimental phase so things are likely to change rapidly in the future.

Great initiative, you can find them on twitter too.


Egypt in a Week: A weekly round-up of news, reports, opinion pieces, blogs and various other tidbits concerning the latest developments in Egypt.

  • We’ll start off with Egypt’s power crisis which has caused a number of disturbances to metro lines, telecommunications and water supply systems throughout the country. This has prompted many Egyptians to take to twitter in order to vent their frustration at the continued blackouts.
  • Meanwhile, the Egyptian government has requested more than LE80 billion in loans (the equivalent of US$11.2 billion) from local banks to help it deal with increased inflation after the hike in fuel prices implemented earlier this year. The UAE has also continued to supply Egypt with aid, this time in the form of $8.7 billion in much-needed petroleum products to help the country meet its soaring energy demands. The alliance between the two countries grew after the ousting of former president, Mohamed Morsi, in a military coup last year. The two countries recently hit the headlines after secretly launching airstrikes on militant bases in Libya resulting in a flurry of condemnations.
  • Egypt’s tourism sector is continuing to falter after new reports reveal that revenues from Egypt’s tourism sector have fallen by 54% since 2011 whilst revenues from ancient monuments fell by 95%. One of these ancient monuments, the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser, sustained serious damage whilst being restored in what antiquity activists have described as a "a full-fledged crime."
  • Human rights have continued to take a hit this week as the Egyptian government kept up with its increasing crackdown on the opposition. In addition to 18 protesters receiving 3-year prison sentences, Mohamed Tareq, an academic who had featured in a Human Rights Watch report regarding the massacre of protesters in Rab’a Square in August of last year, was arrested alongside 5 other men at a protest and subsequently beaten and detained. Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch condemned Tareq’s arrest and described it as “a new low.”
  • The media focus has, once more, shifted to highlight the evergrowing number of hunger-striking activists in Egypt’s jails. Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) has called for two of these activists, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Abdel Rahman Nouby, to be transferred to an external hospital following a deterioration in their health. Douma and Nouby joined a number of activists in Egypt’s jails by announcing a hunger strike earlier this year to protest their imprisonment.

Also of Interest:

Photo: A taxi driver waits in line for fuel at a gas station, one of the businesses affected by a power outage in Giza, Cairo’s neighboring city, Egypt, Thursday, Sept. 4 2014. Egypt suffered a massive power outage that halted parts of the Cairo subway, took TV stations off the air and ground much of the country to a halt for several hours Thursday, as officials offered no clear explanation for how the country suddenly lost 50 percent of its power generation. (AP Photo/Eman Helal)


Hidden Camera Shows Haunting Stares Women Face on Egypt’s Streets

While once upon a time Egyptian men and women could walk carefree along the Nile River and on the bustling streets of Egypt, today women walking along the same paths often feel objectified: from the heavy eyes of men lingering around them and the misogynistic catcalls to the ‘accidental’ brushing of men’s hands on their bosoms.

For many fortunate people, this is a reality they cannot imagine. Yet the ‘Creepers on the Bridge’ video by Tinne Van Loon and Colette Ghunim from one of Cairo’s busiest public streets accurately depicts the harsh realities that women in Egypt face each time they step out the door, no matter the colour of their skin, their religion, or what they are wearing.

To learn more about the video, which was paired by a popular song that tells the story of the sexual harassment epidemic in Egypt, Egyptian Streets spoke with both Tinne and Colette regarding their filming of the video and the experiences they faced.


Personal experience. After constantly hearing stories of both foreign and Egyptian women who face sexual harassment in Cairo, as well as walking on the street ourselves, we wanted to capture the persistent feeling of anxiety every time we walk alone.

The fact is that every time a woman walks outside, no matter what she’s wearing, a large majority of men stare, unabashedly. They scan her entire body as if she is a mere object, not  a valued human being. The high frequency of stares makes it the most common form of sexual harassment, violating women’s ability to feel safe while walking in the streets.

We are currently working on a half hour documentary about sexual harassment in Cairo, and we were looking to film the typical stares. After we secretly recorded the video and cut the parts together, we felt it was powerful enough as a stand-alone piece.


Colette walked down the Kasr El-Nil bridge, secretly recording with an iPhone. She held it by her mouth with headphones plugged in and pretended to talk on the phone. She pretended to be deep in conversation, looking straight ahead of her. Whenever she felt eyes on her, she turned the phone slightly towards them. The clip was filmed in a single 5 minute walk around sunset, as people often gather on the bridge after the temperature cools down.

We made sure to record Colette beforehand in order to show her appearance. Because she is of Arab descent, she fits in with Egyptian society more easily. She wore a long skirt, a t-shirt, and a cardigan to prevent any dismissals of the footage, such as having worn something to provoke them.

As groups of men often stare together, we decided to slow down the video for viewers to view all their intimidating expressions at once.

We also recorded catcalls while filming, but because Colette was pretending to be on the phone, we couldn’t include them without hearing her speak in Arabic. Instead, we decided to pair the footage with the song “A3akes Ah At7rash La2″ by Sadat & Fifty, translating to “Flirting, Yes, Harassment, No.” We thought it was particularly fitting since most young men listen to popular Electro Sh3abi music.


Before we went to film, we practised holding the phone to make it look as unsuspicious as possible. We know that in Egypt, filming in public is risky due to political conspiracy, and we did not want to face any accusations.


On that day, there was an especially large amount of men, because it was both Friday and the ending of an Ultras (football fans) gathering. All the young men were walking down the bridge in large groups, which made it even more intimidating to walk amongst them. While each of us took turns walking across the bridge alone, the groups of stares were so intimidating that we felt extremely defensive, ready to react if necessary. We both felt the same nervousness of receiving physical harassment.


Regarding our walk on the bridge, we didn’t necessarily learn anything new. We knew before we started that we would receive looks and comments, seeing as this is a daily occurrence for women on the street. The intimidation we felt reinforced the fact that harassment exists in a variety of forms. Unfortunately, unrelenting stares are only the beginning.

When we shared the video online, it rapidly gained popularity with over 1000 views in one day. It prompted Facebook users from around the world to engage in complex discussions on sexual harassment. This helped us confirm that the issue resonates beyond just Egypt, even though it is one of the countries most affected.


We are in the process of producing a half hour narrative documentary about sexual harassment in Cairo. We will weave together compelling stories, such as how one determined girl challenges her harasser, as well as how a lawyer prepares for a ground-breaking court case. Get updates about the film by liking our Facebook page!

This is unbelievably representative of what Cairo is like.


Al-Ahram English releases a slideshow of hunger striking prisoners in Egypt:





The number of political detainees on hunger strike in Egyptian prisons is on the rise. Activist Alaa Abdel Fatah, currently serving 15 years for protesting without permit, has started a hunger strike alongside a number of other detainees in the same case. Alaa was allowed temporarily out of jail to bury his father, and following the funeral, his youngest sister and activist, also imprisoned for breaking a protest law, joined the hunger strike.

Meanwhile, other political detainees have joined in to protest the circumstances of their arrest and treatment. One of the cases, Diaa el-Mahdi from Tanta started his hunger strike for being picked up from a cafe, beaten and accused of belonging to a terrorist group. In addition to those arrested at protests, many detainees were randomly nabbed, with no evidence of involvement in criminal activity. Egyptian-American citizen Mohamed Soltan, who was arrested instead of his father on the 25th of August last year, has been on hunger strike for over 200 days now. Soltan’s health is failing and he has been in and out of hospital on numerous occasions. Soltan had started his strike with Abdallah el-Shamy, an Al Jazeera journalist who was released after going four months without food, and was held with no accusations. Now a Facebook page called “We Are Fed Up” has been set up to monitor and announce the joining of prisoners to the strike. With no other field left to protest in, going on hunger strike has become the only tool in the hands of detained Egyptian activists who find themselves behind bars, with no official accusations and no end in sight to their plight. 

A majority of these people also happen to refer to themselves as “liberals”, because we take cuddly fascism in Egypt seriously.


Not For Sale: A vendor and his cat at the Khan al Khalili bazaar, Cairo, Egypt.

Picture by: JebbiePix

"What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
—Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them from prayers or bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,-
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of silent minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.”

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
Image Credit: Mosa’ab El Shamy

Ahmed Seif is a prominent Egyptian human rights activist and lawyer. His son Alaa Abdel-Fattah and daughter, Sanaa Abdel-Fattah have been imprisoned under farcical charges in Egypt by a military government intent on wiping out all voices of opposition.

Ahmed Seif has been a perpetual source of inspiration for me and many others. For as long as I can remember, Seif has tirelessly defend the rights of those who many were either too cowardly to represent or too corrupt to do so. He was there in every protest, actively speaking out for those who had been silenced. “His experience of torture as a political prisoner in Egypt inspired him to become a leading human rights lawyer defending leftists, Islamists, atheists and gays.”

On August 27, 2014 Ahmed Seif passed away. His children, both imprisoned, could not be beside him.



Despite his worsening health and dire condition, he kept asking for news about Gaza, hoping that no more blood would be shed. If this isn’t a testament to how selfless this man was, I don’t know what is. He fought for justice in a system that knew nothing but injustice. He practiced compassion and mercy in a society that was awash with violence and ruthlessness. He never stopped dreaming of a better tomorrow in a country full of nightmares and crushed hopes.

I wish I could say that this is an isolated case but incidents like this take place almost on a daily basis. Families are prevented from seeing their loved ones, torn apart by a regime that has no regard for rights of any kind. Ahmed Seif’s children have joined "a growing number of political prisoners on hunger strike from behind bars to protest their conditions in detention.", continuing in the footsteps of their father. Upon beginning his hunger strike, Alaa Abdel-Fattah wrote an open letter from prison detailing the conditions of his arrest and imprisonment and the reason for beginning his hunger strike. These are the words which end his letter:

"I ask for your prayers. I ask for your solidarity. I ask you to continue what I am no longer able to do: to struggle, to dream, to hope."

You don’t have to feel helpless. The best way in which we can honour the memory of Ahmed Seif is by continuing in his footsteps, by standing up for the truth and those unjustly treated, whether that be in Egypt or anywhere else in the world.

Egypt 2013: A year in review.

Egypt 2013: A year in review.

Punished for Winning: Egyptian Kung Fu Champion Humiliated for Displaying Rabaa Symbol

The photo on the left shows the winners of the 200 meters in the 1968 summer Olympics; Tommie Smith (Gold) & John Carlos (Bronze) giving the Black Power salute on the podium. They stood with their heads bowed and a black-gloved hand raised as the American National Anthem played during the victory ceremony. They were demonstrating against continuing racial discrimination of black people in the United States.

As they left the podium at the end of the ceremony they were booed by many in the crowd. In response to their actions, the International Olympic Committee president, Avery Brundage, ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the two athletes being expelled from the Olympic Village, and sent back home to America.

Upon returning home, Smith and Carlos were subject to severe criticism. Time magazine showed the five-ring Olympic logo with the words, “Angrier, Nastier, Uglier”, instead of “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. The Los Angeles Times went as far as describing the salute as a “Nazi-like support”!!

45 years from this incident, we witness a similar reaction in Egypt. This time the hero is Mohamed Youssef Ramadan, the Kung-Fu gold medalist, who raised his hand with the Rabaa gesture on the podium, (a gesture made in 
solidarity with those who were brutally massacred during the military assault and forceful dispersal of peaceful protesters on 14th August 2013) only to find the Egyptian Committee withdrawing him for the team, sending him straight back home, only to be stopped in the airport and be interrogated by security personnel for several hours!

Athletes that represent their countries and nations in elite tournaments, and win medals on their behalf are considered heroes and cheered for. Yet once they make the slightest gesture to highlight the discrimination, racism and injustice towards them or their communities, their achievements are forgotten and they’re treated as traitors, subjected to hate speech and interrogations.

This is all part of the challenge we’re subjected to in this life. As John Carlos describes it, when asked about his historic moment on the Podium:

“In life, there’s the beginning and the end. The beginning don’t matter. The end don’t matter. All that matters is what you do in between – whether you’re prepared to do what it takes to make change. There has to be physical and material sacrifice. When all the dust settles and we’re getting ready to play down for the ninth inning, the greatest reward is to know that you did your job when you were here on the planet.”

A French national has died in police custody in Cairo and two Canadians have begun a hunger strike to protest at their month-long, arbitrary detention without any charges or even a trial amid a rising tide of xenophobia and nationalist fervour in Egypt.

Elsewhere, a boat carrying hundreds of Syrian refugees who were fleeing persecution by authorities in Egypt was attacked by Egyptian Coast Guards. Three refugees were killed as a result and hundreds were arrested including many women and children. Meanwhile, a Swiss national has been arrested on suspicion of espionage after being caught in possession of a toy plane and three anti-coup protesters in Suez were sentenced to 3 years in prison for “chants likely to harm national interest”.


Viral Video of the day: Visiting Republicans Laud Egypt’s Force

Two months after the military ousted Egypt’s first elected president and began a bloody crackdown on his supporters, a delegation of House Republicans visited Cairo over the weekend to tell the new government to keep up the good work.

“We are here as members of Congress to say, ‘We are with you, and we encourage you,’ ” Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said in a remarkable news conference broadcast over a pro-government satellite network and eagerly reported on Sunday by Egyptian state news media.

Amplifying on the new government’s portrayal of its crackdown as a battle against terrorism, Mrs. Bachmann wrongly implied a link between the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

I don’t know know whether to laugh or cry guys. So apparently, the Muslim Brotherhood is now responsible for 9/11. Oh and Obama supports the group too. Besides, it doesn’t matter that the generals and the government officials that Michele and her cronies met with were the very same people that carried out the indiscriminate killings and arrests of thousands of pro-democracy protesters and activists, because those murderers were just sooo nice, and sooo welcoming. Not like those big, bad “Islamists” with their big, bad beards that terrorise everyone.

Stay classy Michele. Stay classy America.

  1. Popular support for a bloody military coup does not legitimise the coup, it de-legitimises those who support it.
  2. This is no longer an issue of individuals or groups, it’s an issue of basic freedoms and democratic principles being hijacked by a military junta that commits crimes against humanity every single day against its own people in Egypt.
  3. Political performances are not crimes and they certainly don’t justify military coups.
  4. Democracy is not only about winning at the ballot box, absolutely, but it can only survive and prosper through a democratic process and elected democratic institutions i.e. through the ballot box.
  5. When you dehumanise the pro-democracy movement as “sheep”, you justify their slaughter as we have seen and continue to see.
  6. When you use the word “Islamist” to describe anything or anyone, you’ve pretty much lost all your credibility. 
  7. You can’t claim that the Muslim Brotherhood has been “dismantled” and that it has lost its ability to organise, mobilise and lead and then in the same breath, claim that all anti-coup protests in Egypt today are organised, mobilised and led by the Muslim Brotherhood. It doesn’t really make sense, does it? Make your mind up and decide on one narrative otherwise, you just sound like a fool.
  8. You cannot hail yourself or your country as a beacon of democracy and then sit back and watch whilst democracy and its supporters are being killed, tortured and imprisoned every single day in Egypt.
  9. The media love to describe the violence taking place in Egypt as “clashes”. These are not “clashes”. The word “clashes” suggests that there is equal force on both sides when the fact of the matter is that the military and security forces are using unjustified and excessive force against anyone who dares speak out against their tyranny and oppression.
  10. Finally: when you try to tout yourself as “neutral” and then say something like: “I am absolutely horrified/appalled/saddened/shocked by the death of people at Rabaa, but… [ensue a load of bull crap about how people there were armed and how they deserved it because they’re trying to victimise themselves]. Yeah, you’re not fooling anyone. Have some respect for those that were killed. You have no right to speak in their name. When you see your family and friends being killed in front of your very eyes, when you live in constant fear, every single minute of every single day because you know that you, your family and friends could be arrested or killed at any moment, when you know that security forces can break into your house in the middle of the night and drag your parents and siblings away to be tortured in Sissi’s prisons then, and only then do you have the right to speak in their name. Otherwise, kindly shut the hell up.

Letter from Dr Mohamed Beltaji to his martyred, 17 year old daughter, Asmaa Beltaji. Asmaa was killed by security forces in the Rabaa Massacre that took place on the 14th August, 2013 against peaceful protesters. Her father has been detained and tortured by Egyptian security forces.

Below is a translation of the original letter:

My beloved daughter and dignified teacher Asma al-Beltaji; I do not say goodbye to you; I say tomorrow we shall meet again.

You have lived with your head held high, rebellious against tyranny and shackles and loving freedom. You have lived as a silent seeker of new horizons to rebuild this nation to assume its place among civilizations.

You never occupied yourself with what preoccupies those of your age. Even though traditional studies failed to fulfil your aspirations and interest; you have always been the first in your class.

I have not had enough of your precious company in this short life, especially that my time did not allow me to enjoy your companionship. The last time we sat together at Rabaa Al Adawiya square you asked me “even when you are with us you are busy” and I told you “it seems that this life will not be enough to enjoy each other’s company so I pray to God that we enjoy our companionship in paradise.”

Two nights before you were murdered I saw you in my dream in a white wedding dress and you were an icon of beauty. When you lay next to me I asked you “Is it your wedding night?” You answered, “It is in the noon not the evening”. When they told me you were murdered on Wednesday afternoon I understood what you meant and I knew God had accepted your soul as a martyr. You strengthened my belief that we are on the truth and our enemy is on falsehood.

It caused me severe pain not to be at your last farewell and see you for the last time; not to kiss your forehead; and not be honoured to lead your funeral prayer. I swear to God, my darling I was not afraid for my life or from an unjust prison, but I wanted to carry the message you scarified your soul for; to complete the revolution, to win and achieve its objectives.

Your soul has been elevated with your head held high resisting the tyrants. The treacherous bullets have hit you in the chest. What spectacularly determined and pure soul. I am confident that you were honest to God and He has chosen you among us to honour you with sacrifice.

Finally, my beloved daughter and dignified teacher:

I do not say goodbye, but I say farewell. We shall meet soon with our beloved Prophet and his companions in Heaven where our wish to enjoy each other’s company and our loved ones’ company will come true.

NOTE: Upon hearing the letter during a live TV broadcast, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan broke down in to tears. See his response here.

This photo was taken at today’s protest in London outside 10 Downing Street in support of democracy and justice in Egypt.

Speak up for those who have been silenced.