What's at Stake

I S S U E 30 • W W W.CAI RO MAGAZ I N E.CO M • 3-9 N OVE M B E R 20 0 5 • L E 7







Breathing room
With the opposition massing, if not lining up, to take a collective swipe at the regime’s parliamentary powerbase, the upcoming elections will be interesting. And with businessmen increasingly looking to move into the driver’s seat, it could be that the engines of privatization are just beginning to rev up. This is good news for business generally, and music to the ears of neo-cons in Washington and London, the ones who spout that specious nonsense about how democracy, freedom and general happiness inevitably follow from free trade and privatization. Businesspeople are necessary. Somebody has to create employment, pay taxes and provide services. It is easy enough to identify a community of interests among businesspeople. They need a certain degree of freedom in which to operate—burden them with silly taxes and an unworkable regulatory system and either they or their money will simply go elsewhere. This is fair enough. However, democracy, freedom, social services, human rights, environmental controls, safety regulations, building codes and an education system that teaches anything other than job skills are not necessary items on the list. In fact, they are more often seen as impediments—expensive luxuries that might, or might not, be affordable once low wages, high unemployment, low taxes and a general absence of regulation have allowed the factory owners to build up a big enough surplus. Other countries balance the contradictory demands of capitalists versus the rest of us in different ways. In the West, the twentieth century was a century of protracted, and sometimes violent, struggle to define the balance of power between big business (as often as not in the uniform of the state), unions and civil rights groups. As a starting point, the balance of power in Egypt is not promising. Thanks to a decrepit education system, the workforce has little bargaining power on the world market, and thanks to a repressive government, there is no meaningful trade union system. Giving business its breathing space is a practical necessity, but we have to ensure that there’s enough air left over for the rest of us.


3-9 November


At Cairo University, students and faculty are demonstrating for a campus free of government interference.

6 News in brief
Catch up on recent headlines.

14 On the waterfront
Alexandrian dockworkers demand canceled bonus.

24-25 Not the whole picture
Liliane Karnouk’s useful new book ignores key artists.

7 Keeping the peace 8 The Birds

After deadly sectarian riots, everyone is pointing fingers.

15 Powerbrokers this Businessmen dominate
year’s parliamentary lists.

Egypt braces for bird flu.

8 Nukes and zibda 9 Tapping out

18 The ivory dungeon security Professors are resisting
incursions on campus.

Iran’s nuclear program may be making the neighbors jealous.

Editor: Matthew Carrington Managing Editors: Issandr El Amrani and Elijah Zarwan News Editor: Charles Levinson Culture Editor: Ursula Lindsey Contributing Editors: Steve Negus, Paul Schemm and Sameh Fawzy Copy Editors: Matt Hall and Luke Yarbrough Writers: Ahmad Aboul-Wafa and Eman Shaban Morsi Interns: Judith Boessenkool and Kristina Roic Design coordinator: Michael Keating Staff photographers: Ahmad Hosni and Tara Todras-Whitehill Cover Photo: Dana Smillie Published by AS & A Publishing Printed by Sahara Printing Company S.A.E. Designed by Fatiha Bouzidi For advertising contact: Cairo Media Services 39 Qasr Al Nil Street, Suite #24, Cairo, Egypt Telephone: 010 171 1408 memad@cairomagazine.com

Karam Gaber, Egypt’s Olympic golden boy, is emigrating.

16 Bullpen 16 From the driver’s seat 17 Press Review

10 Spirit of ‘84 11 High noon
These parliamentary elections will be the ones that count.

27 Arabic Literature 2.0 25-26 30
Union and website for Internet writers highlight new genre.

What taxi drivers have to say about the Alexandria riots.

Cartoons from the Arabic press.

A son looks to avenge his father’s defeat in Abbasiya.

13 Free shoes

out and about
22 Anatomy ofthese Ramadan a firecracker Though illegal,
traditions are hot items.

The battle for Bab Al Shaariya gets dirty.

Theater, music, workshops and exhibitions.


13 Dueling Islamists in Bulaq
The “religious vote” is up for grabs in Giza.

23 Malibu

New Doqqi eatery is no SoCal, but offers service with a smile.

Pagodas in Myanmar, this week in regional history and Golo’s turn to deal.

and finally...





news briefs
the week in review
King Tutankhamun was a red wine drinker, scientists announced on 26 October. Previously, the color of the pharaoh’s wine was unknown because it dried out over time, but a team of Spanish scientists pinpointed an acid left by compounds in red wine. On 26 October, US authorities deported Mohammad Abouhalima, an Egyptian citizen jailed for eight years in the United States for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Six people died in the bombing and more than 1,000 were injured. Abouhalima was convicted in May 1997 of trying to help his brother, Mahmoud, who had been involved in the bombing, escape to Saudi Arabia. President Hosni Mubarak appointed a new army chief of staff on 26 October. Lt. Gen. Sami Anan will replace Maj. Gen. Hamdi Wahiba, who has held the job for the past four years. Wahiba will now serve as the head of Egypt’s Arab Industrial Authority. President Hosni Mubarak said on 27 October that Israel’s demand for the disarmament of Palestinian militants before a resumption of peace talks could lead to civil war. He further urged Israel to take steps to strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ position. On 28 October, the electoral commission published the final list of 5,414 candidates who will compete for the 444 parliamentary seats in 222 constituencies in the coming elections. (see elections coverage p. 10) Attorney General Maher Abdel Wahid said on 29 October that he was dropping the bribery case against Ayman Nour for lack of evidence. But the Ghad leader still faces separate charges of forging documents in the process of registering his party. On 30 October, religious authorities at Al Azhar banned a book on Wahabism. Azhari scholars found that Wahabi Islam—From Revival and Reforms to Global Jihad was blasphemous and promoted hatred of Islam. The book is an analysis of Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab’s work. A medical source said on 30 October that two dead chickens from Kurdistan, suspected of carrying deadly avian flu, had been tested for the disease in a US Army laboratory in Cairo. Both birds were found to be infected with an avian virus, but not the H5N1 strain. (see story p. 8) Al Ahly football club extended its 50-game unbeaten streak Saturday in a 0-0 draw against ESS Tunisia in the first round of the African Champions League final. The tournament’s deciding match will be played in Cairo on 12 November. A World Trade Organization (WTO) working group brought Saudi Arabia a step closer to joining the WTO on 28 October by approving the terms that would allow the country to join. The WTO’s General Council is expected to approve Saudi Arabia’s entry into the organization on 11 November. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran “was not planning an attack against Israel” on 29 October. The remarks followed a diplomatic row and censure from the UN Security Council caused by the Iranian president’s earlier call for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” At least 30 people were killed in a car bomb in Howaider, a predominantly Shia city 35 miles north of Baghdad on 30 October.

1,000,000 Amount in Egyptian pounds that independent candidate for parliament Mohammed Kamel told Agence France-Presse it costs to secure a nomination for the NDP list. 10 Seats in the parliament filled by presidential decree. 2 Dead chickens from Kurdistan tested for bird flu in Cairo. 2,000 American soldiers killed in Iraq since fighting began in 2003. 80,000,000 The US dollar value of dates, nuts and other traditional iftar staples imported into Egypt this Ramadan.

After deadly sectarian riots, Copts and Muslims are pointing fingers

that the group is to blame for the politicization of religion in the country. “What would be the reaction to a political slogan like ‘Christianity is the solution?,’” asked Nahdet Misr columnist Ramzi Zaklama in a recent editorial. The ultra-secular left is also blaming the politicization of religion. Abdel Halim Qandil, the editor-in-chief of Nasserist weekly Al Arabi and a leader of the Kifaya movement, gestured to the increasingly political role of Pope Shenouda III: “Pope Shenouda III is not innocent, because he has transformed the church from a spiritual institution to a political one. The pope has given the impression that Copts are protected by the person of Hosni Mubarak rather than by their citizenship. Hence the confusion between religion and politics.” Mohammed Badrashin, an independent MP for a nearby district in Alexandria, suggested that paranoia about Copts’ political role escalated the crisis. “The US backing of minorities in the Middle East has given the Copts a different way of dealing with the majority—it’s given them confidence and power,” Badrashin said, adding that it was “a minority” of Copts who thought this way. The government’s worst fear, a crisis on the international level, could be looming. The UN Committee on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, Asma

Iraq’s electoral commission on 25 October announced that Iraqis had approved the country’s constitution ten days earlier. The 78.59 percent vote in favor of the draft obscured heavy opposition in predominantly Sunni provinces. Several explosions shook the Kurdish city of Suleimaniya in northeast Iraq on 25 October. In total, 9 people were killed and 6 injured. The city had previously been relatively peaceful. Two thousand US soldiers have been killed in Iraq, Pentagon officials acknowledged on 25 October. Iraqi Shia leader Moqtada Al Sadr’s faction said on 25 October that it backs the Arab League’s proposed conference on national reconciliation in Iraq, but not at the proposed location, Cairo. “We believe it should be held inside Iraq,” Sheikh Al Arji of Al Sadr’s Shia faction said. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed “wide-ranging and ceaseless” operations against Palestinian militants on 27 October following a suicide bombing the day before in Hadera—the first in two months. President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar Al Assad held surprise talks in Damascus on 28 October to discuss a UN report on the killing of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. On 28 October, members of the Sliba tribe in Kuwait occupied the offices of Al Rai TV. They were angry at televised remarks comedian Daoud Hessein calling Saddam Hussein a “dog of the Sliba tribe.”

Al Ahram reported on 28 October that the cost of this Ramadan’s Omra pilgrimage trips totaled $2 billion. Imports of yamish foodstuffs totaled US$80 million, Al Ahram reported. Orascom Construction Industry said on 26 October it would acquire a 30-percent stake in a $540 million investment to build Egypt’s first ammonia plant. Other companies include PSK Holdings, Amiral Group and the Egyptian General Petroleum Company. During his upcoming visit to Russia, scheduled for 12 November, Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry Rashid Mohammed Rashid will discuss a possible free trade agreement between Russia and Egypt. Emaar Misr, a subsidiary of Dubai’s real-estate development firm Emaar Properties, signed an agreement with the Egyptian government on 25 October for a $172 million project in the Smart Village outside Cairo. Emaar Properties will build an exhibition center, a hotel and apartments. State-owned insurance giant Misr Insurance Company will sell 80 percent of its real estate subsidiary, Misr Company for Real Estate and Tourism Investment, to a strategic investor. The company will accept acquisition bids until 1 December, 2005.

“The Brotherhood has abandoned districts to all the parties, to the Copts and to the Communists, but has refused to leave Bulaq to me.” —Montasser Al Zayat, lawyer for Al Gamaa Al Islamiya and a candidate for parliament in Boulaq al Dakrur, expressing his anger with the Muslim Brotherhood for challenging him in the district. “Big businessmen are participating in this election to a degree unprecedented in any previous election in Egypt.” —Abdel Ghafar Shokr, a member of the Tegammu Party’s policies committee, on the growing influence of businessmen in Egyptian politics. “I was later suspended from working at the Port for three months just because I brought in some yoghurt for the protesting workers so they could break their fast. Now that I have been denied access to my work and wages for three months, how am I supposed to feed my family and three children?” —Adel Al Hassri, a non-union employee at the Port of Alexandria who was suspended for helping fellow port employees protest the cancellation of their Eid bonuses. ISSANDR EL AMRANI
once (over two years ago), was distributed in the neighborhood to sabotage the candidacy of National Democratic Party Candidate Maher Khilla (one of only two Copts running for the party). Khilla announced that he would step s Friday prayers come to an end in down last week in protest at the violence, but was later told by the ruling party leadership not to run anyway. In a common variant of the story, one of his rivals in the race (which will be held on 20 November) distributed the CD to incite Muslims against Copts. Abdel Fattah says that security forces may have participated in the affair, with the goal of blaming the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has seized the opportunity presented by the sectarian riots to run a candidate in the district. “The Christians go to the state for protection, and then they both spit in our face,” says Abdel Fattah, who says he saw the play and found it insulting. But he says he wants to help repair sectarian relations and that the governor of Alexandria, Abdel Salem Al Mahgoub, had asked him to sit on a “Council of the Wise” composed of members of different religions and political tendencies. But for many others, the Muslim Brotherhood is part of the problem. Among the many rumors surrounding the riot’s cause is the story that a flyer was distributed in the neighborhood condemning the play on behalf of the Brotherhood. The flyer reportedly included the group’s slogan, “Islam is the solution.” Some commentators on the affair, even if they don’t think the Brotherhood is directly responsible for the incident, believe p State security massed outside Alexandria's Mar Girgis church—and the two mosques that flank it—on 28 October.

Jahangir, has requested permission from the government to visit Egypt to investigate. Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer who recently completed a report dealing with issues of conversion and the religious rights of detainees, is highly regarded on the international stage. A few days earlier, Suleiman Gouda, a columnist for the independent daily Al Masri Al Youm, suggested that the government’s incompetence in handling the crisis would encourage foreign intervention. “Aside from the president’s declaration, there has been no reaction from the ministries that are concerned, or from the prime minister,” Gouda wrote, adding that this was tantamount to “an indirect invitation to Mr. Mehlis to come to Alexandria”—a reference to the UN envoy who is investigating Syria’s involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Coptic groups abroad had warned that another riot was scheduled for after Friday prayers on 28 October as well as 1 November, the last day of Ramadan. In a press release distributed based to US newspapers, Christian Mounir and Dawoud, the president of the New JerseyInternational Union American Coptic Association, said Muslims were planning “the death of Christians and the continued destruction of churches throughout Egypt.” Dawoud accuses security services of “giving the green light to the mob” to attack the church, while the release says it fears “impending ethnic cleansing of Christians in Egypt.” The organization will be holding a protest outside the United Nations in New York City next week. A French Coptic organization was also due to hold a protest in front of the Egyptian embassy in Paris on 31 October. h


the middle-class Moharram Bey district of Alexandria, hundreds of Central Security riot police cordon off streets in a four block radius around the two mosques that lie on either side of the church. They allow people to return to their homes in small groups, blocking every part of the normally busy thoroughfare in neatly aligned rows. They carry gas masks and cartridge guns in addition to the standardissue batons and shields. Others wield pumpaction shotguns. At major intersections and in front of the church, light armored vehicles with gun turrets serve as a nerve center for plainclothes commanders. There has been no repeat of the 21 October riot that left three dead and more than 150 injured. It was never clear what sparked the previous week’s riot, but the state seems intent on preventing such events from recurring. In Alexandria, political leaders and ordinary citizens give widely differing accounts of how protests over a play led to violence and death. For Ali Abdel Fattah, a spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood and one of the organization’s leaders in the Mediterranean port city, the violence was the result of political maneuvers ahead of the parliamentary elections. According to Abdel Fattah, the CD containing a filmed version of the play I Was Blind but Now I Can See, which was performed only







Egypt braces for bird flu



chicken farmers in Egypt. Ahmed Sayed, the owner of both a Zamalek fowl store, Tuyur Gomhorriya, and a chicken farm, estimates that business has dropped 35 percent. Should bird flu appear, Sayed says he’ll have no choice but to close shop. Health officials say the likelihood of wild birds contaminating Egypt’s domestic birds is highly t If avian flu strikes a poultry farm, the Ministry of Health plans to quarantine and decontaminate a three-mile radius. unlikely. “The country’s privately and publicly owned chicken, turkey and quail farms are all indoors,” said Abdelkhaliq Abbas, spokesman for the Animal Health Research Centre. At least one sector is reaping the benefits of the bird flu panic: the pharmaceutical industry may see an upswing in demand for vaccines and antiretroviral drugs. The Ministry of Health’s Al Sayed said the government is stockpiling antibiotics and antiretroviral drugs. The government had ordered a consignment of Tamiflu, the WHO-recommended vaccine for bird flu, from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche. The shipment is expected to arrive by 1 November. There is a worldwide shortage of Tamiflu, however. And the readily available equivalent, Amadine, “does not have any effect on the bird flu virus,” according to pharmacist Ahmed Montassir. While neither drug would cure influenza, they would reduce symptoms of the disease if detected early. Amadine treats influenza A, of which H5N1 is a strain. Amadine is available for LE5 in many pharmacies, whereas flu shots such as Vacciflu can be bought for

Egypt’s Olympic golden boy is emigrating


fter experiencing the elation of their first

gold medal since 1948—awarded to wrestler Karam Gaber—Egyptians were shocked by the announcement that Gaber is retiring from the sport and will go into business with his brothers after moving to the US. Gaber has come under heavy criticism as a result of the announcement, particularly after speculation that he is trying to obtain US citizenship to compete with the US team in the upcoming world championships and the 2008 Peking Olympics. Since the 2004 Games in Athens, Gaber has traveled to the US and Japan to participate in two unofficial championships for money, without the knowledge of the wrestling governing body in Egypt. In an interview with Al Bayt Baytak, the popular talk show on state television, Gaber objected to the attacks. “My love for my country p Karam Gaber (r), says he wasn't rewarded for helping the NDP take down its opponents. hasn’t resulted in any real reward,” he said. “I have not received the honor due an Olympic gold medal winner. With the passage of time, everyone forgot the gold medal, so I decided to travel to America to join the family business.” Gaber has been bringing in medals for Egypt in Arab, African and international championships since 1997. Throughout that period, Gaber said, which went to lightweight Ibrahim Shamis and featherweight Hamoud Fayyad. At that time, it was the royal anthem. Gaber won the 96 kilogram gold in 2004 by carrying a powerful performance through his Olympic matches. Gaber was born on 1 September 1979 in a working-class home on Nasser Street in the heart of Hai Manshiya, one of the oldest and most traditional residential areas of Alexandria. He completed his studies at the Technical Commercial Institute. He is the sixth of seven brothers and sisters. h


30,000 fowl died while impounded. The government has called off the hunting of wild birds, and 27 observation posts have been set up along Egypt’s borders to collect statistics about migratory birds, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Warnings have been issued to avoid contact with birds along the North Coast and Fayyoum, among other areas where hunting is prevalent. Ministry of Health officials say there is a national plan to guard against the spread of avian flu. Health Minister Mohammed Awad Tageddin told Akhbar Al Youm on 28 October that in the event bird flu hits Egypt, infected birds on poultry farms will be killed. Dr. Nasr Al Sayed, the Ministry of Health official responsible for preventative measures against bird flu, told Cairo that areas within three kilometers of an infection will be quarantined and decontaminated. Those infected will be quarantined immediately, and a vaccine will be prepared using the strain found in those carrying the virus. In the event of the feared pandemic where human-to-human transmission takes place, antiviral drugs will be administered by the government, though officials say that such a scenario is unlikely. But public awareness even at the highest levels of administration seems insufficient. Dr. Ayman Abdel Rahman at Al Salam International Hospital’s emergency ward in Maadi said that no direct information had been given to hospitals from government authorities regarding avian flu. Abdel Rahman said that he and his colleagues have had to educate themselves about the disease through World Health Organisation (WHO) press releases. The global buzz around bird flu is hurting

LE35. Vaccine shots (especially for the elderly) are recommended. h


ith the seasonal migration of birds

from Eastern Europe seeking more temperate climes, the threat of avian flu looms large in Egypt. Recent outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu have been confirmed in Turkey and Romania, and the much-feared virus is expected to hit Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa within weeks, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Association (FAO). In developing countries like Egypt, where contact with animals is especially frequent, there exists “an ideal breeding ground for the virus,” according to FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Joseph Domenech. Bird flu has killed 62 of the 120 people it has infected. Currently, the disease can spread only slowly among humans because it can only be contracted directly from birds. There is a widespread fear, however, that should bird flu become endemic in Africa, the virus could mutate into a form easily transmittable between humans. The result could be catastrophic, and experts are already drawing comparisons to the Spanish influenza which killed 25 to 50 million people from 1918-1919. The Egyptian government is taking note. In response to UN bird flu warnings, Egypt banned all live poultry imports on 18 October despite international import agreements. Egyptian authorities quarantined 12,000 turkeys imported from Germany in mid-October. These were released after testing negative for bird flu. A cargo of ducklings seized by Egyptian civil aviation authorities, however, weren’t so lucky. Half of the

Nukes and zibda
FREDERIK RICHTER If Iran succeeds in developing a nuclear weapon, Egypt may decide to follow suit. That’s the conclusion of a recent report by the Londonbased International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). In addition to Egypt, the report says, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are also closely monitoring Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program and could respond to such a program with similar efforts. IISS director John Chipman said on 25 October during the presentation of the IISS’ annual military balance report that if Iran developed a nuclear weapon, “at a very minimum, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia would have to reconsider their positions.” On 8 October, British daily The Guardian cited a report prepared by the British Secret Service MI5 and titled “Companies and Organizations of Proliferation Concern.” The report listed more then 360 organizations, companies, university departments and governmental organizations from eight countries in the Middle East and Asia that have allegedly obtained goods or technology for covert arms programs. The majority of the organizations cited are Iran and Pakistan, but the MI5 report also lists a private Egyptian chemical company “as having procured technology for use in a nuclear weapons programme.” The MI5 report, prepared two years ago, was meant to be a warning to British companies against dealing with the listed companies. The report became public the day after Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were awarded this year’s Nobel Peace prize on 7 October. In fall 2004, the French newspaper Liberation published speculations that ElBaradei had covered up an Egyptian nuclear program. This program was said to have links to the Libyan nuclear program that Egypt’s neighbor officially acknowledged and abandoned in 2004.

The accusations against ElBaradei were never substantiated, and were widely attributed to American diplomats who opposed a third term for ElBaradei as head of the IAEA. Most independent international analysts suggest that Egypt does not actively maintain a large-scale nuclear weapons program. Last February, however, ElBaradei’s IAEA criticized Egypt for failing to report experiments that lasted until 2003 at two research reactors at Inshas in the Delta. Following inspection tours of Egyptian laboratories, however, the IAEA dismissed speculation about an Egyptian weapons program. Egypt gave up its nuclear ambitions after its defeat by Israel in 1967. As a consequence, Egypt lost many of its nuclear experts due to a dearth of work opportunities at home. Some of the unemployed nuclear scientists joined the Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Egyptian expertise also contributed to Iraq’s chemical weapons program, according to a CIA report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program. “During the early years, Egyptian scientists provided consultation, technology and oversight allowing rapid advances and technological leaps in weaponization,” the report claims. The report also refers to Egyptian assistance in the Iran-Iraq war, during which chemical weapons were used. According to the report, Egypt enabled warheads to store chemical agents on a rocket launch system in 1983 and exported Grad rockets, designed to hold a chemical agent. Iraq also invited Egyptian chemical weapons experts to assist in producing the nerve gas Sarin. That Egypt was able to boost Iraq’s chemical weapon program suggests that its own program was quite advanced at that time. Egypt employed chemical weapons during its intervention in the Yemeni civil war in the 1960s. The Egyptian foreign ministry has denied all links to the Iraqi chemical weapons program. It remains to be seen whether Tehran’s nuclear ambitions could set in motion a renewed arms race in the Middle East.

he has planned his own nutritional regimen and spent a great deal of his own money on the sport. When he appeared on Egyptian television screens after news spread that he was thinking of leaving Egypt and emigrating to the US, he did not deny that he would compete for another country. He blamed his discontent on the Egyptian Wrestling Union. “The group has not paid sufficient attention to me and has spent too little money to allow me to maintain myself as an Olympic athlete,” he said. He also charged that the Union had refused to set up a training camp for him outside Egypt, which would allow him to focus on his training. “My principal reason for emigrating and retirement is the wrestling union’s mismanagement of me as an Olympic champion,” Gaber said. “Turmoil in the administration has forced me to shoulder the burden of maintaining this level of training.” Gaber participated in the publicity campaign for President Hosni Mubarak during the presidential elections. After the elections, he said, he did not receive the compensation he had expected. He is currently preparing to marry the Russian woman to whom he has been engaged to for a month. After the wedding, she will travel with him to the US. Gaber recently declined a tempting offer to play the leading role in an Egyptian film. When the Egyptian national anthem played at Gaber’s 2004 medal ceremony it was the first since Egypt’s two weightlifting golds in 1948,

Doping rumors
Karam Gaber’s withdrawal from last month’s Wrestling World Championships in Hungary may have been related to steroid use. The doping accusations are at the center of an imbroglio that has pitted the Egyptian Olympic Committee against the Egyptian Wrestling Union. The independent daily Al Masri Al Youm reported on 29 October that the committee had issued a sharp warning to the Wrestling Union after the latter disregarded the committee’s request to hand over the results of an investigation into allegations that Gaber had used performanceenhancing drugs. Olympic Committee Secretary General Khalid Zein said that “decisive steps” would be taken against the union if it refused to divulge the results of its investigation. These could include referring the matter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC has the authority to strip the union of its drug-testing oversight privileges. Zein also had harsh words of criticism for Gaber, who, according to the report, “lost the enthusiasm of his sympathizers after he became obsessed with amassing money.”





elections news

elections news

This year’s parliamentary elections will be the poll that really counts

is both too organized and too intertwined with state authority to cede its dominant place on the political landscape. But it has formed an opposition front that, warts and all, is the most impressive coalition built in years and has overcome ideological and personal differences among most parties. Making inroads in the People’s Assembly is essential to the opposition for one simple reason: come the next presidential election (at the latest 2011), only parties with at least 25 MPs will be able to field a candidate. Under current legislation, it will be practically impossible for an independent to run. Chances are that most parties will not make this quota. This will mean that only one or two opposition parties will be able to field a presidential candidate, or more likely that they will band together. Although Cairo has highlighted the many internal divisions in the current alliance, it remains that opposition parties have at least partly put aside their usual bickering and gone to some trouble to coordinate their campaigns. Even more important, though, would be to start reform at home. The emergence of the Kifaya movement, the heightened profile of party offshoots like the neo-Nasserist Karama and the neo-Islamist Al Wasat parties, and Ayman Nour’s rise in popularity through sheer charisma have shown what new blood can do to opposition politics. For the Muslim Brotherhood, which is part of the opposition front but is not coordinating its candidates with other parties, the next election could be the biggest boost to its political profile in two decades. For the first time since 1995, there are no Muslim Brotherhood members in jail only a week before polling starts. The Brotherhood is fielding three times as many candidates as it did in 2000 and is campaigning openly under its own name. Its leader, Mahdi Akef, says he expects as many as 70 seats in running one of its members against him in the Giza district of Bulaq Al Dakrour. This was all the more surprising as the Brotherhood is widely reported to have made deals with not only opposition parties but also the NDP not to run in certain districts. But the biggest challenge of the election, paradoxically, is for the NDP. While there is little doubt that it will achieve at least a two-thirds majority (compared to the current 89-percent majority it holds now), this is more than enough to control parliament and steer major political decisions. Two-thirds of parliament is all that is needed to renew the Emergency Law (should President Mubarak’s pledge to replace it with an anti-terror law not be fulfilled), grant full powers to the executive, secure the expulsion of an MP from parliament or pass a constitutional amendment. So the question for the NDP is not so much whether it will win, but rather which of its candidates will win and what that will mean for its muchvaunted reform process. One aspect of the NDP’s attempt to reform has already been a failure. In the 2000 elections, official NDP candidates won only about 38 percent of seats, while 51 percent of winning candidates were NDP members who ran as independents and later returned to the fold to form the current 89-percent majority. Despite constant threats from the party leadership, a very similar scenario is likely to unfold this time around. This will not threaten the hold of the party on parliament, but it will weaken the ideological grip that the NDP’s new leadership, headed by Gamal Mubarak, has tried to impose over the past few years. For now, the NDP remains mostly a party of opportunists, more interested in the access to the state apparatus that membership offers than in the fancy program dreamt up by the Policies Secretariat. As prominent Al Ahram commentator Salama Ahmed Salama noted in a recent column, should the NDP accept the return of its members who ran as independents against the will of the party leadership, it “will risk the credibility of the party.” A related question is whether the “old vs. new guard” disputes that have marked the last four years in the NDP will continue. Some NDP insiders are lamenting the fact that key old guard figures are still at the helm of electoral politics. Kamal Al Shazli, the party’s parliamentary powerbroker, is practically guaranteed re-election in his hometown of Bagour. It will mark his forty-second year in parliament. It’s not surprising to find Hossam Badrawi, an MP for the central Cairo district of Qasr Al Nil—who is facing a strong challenge from Hisham Mustafa Khalil, a fellow NDP member who is running as an independent—quoted in the 26 October edition of Al Masri Al Youm as saying that the party’s leadership was “sacrificing reform and reformists on the pretext of regime survival.” Badrawi later disavowed the remarks. If the NDP’s reformists are earnest, they have yet to prove that they are able to control the party. This in turn leads to the most important player in the election: the regime itself. Under assault for the slow pace of reforms from the domestic opposition at home and its most important ally, the United States, abroad, there is considerable pressure to show a real political opening while retaining as much power as possible. If the election is marred, as previous elections have been, by voter intimidation, Egypt could forfeit its claim to be one of the most progressive Arab states at a time when the United States is ideologically committed to the spread of democracy in the region. Even though there are question marks over the true extent of this commitment, a patently unfair election would likely perpetuate the instability of the past year—with its constant street protests and clashes with security forces—and make a mockery of parliament. Egypt’s main opposition forces, for the first time in quite a while, seem to have decided that parliament deserves to be more than a rubber stamp. Even the anarchic Kifaya movement is dedicated to entering the political mainstream rather than staying outside it. This is because the opposition should know that even if parliament’s field of action is limited, it can still have an impact from under the rotunda.

Son aims to avenge father’s Abbasiya defeat

Parliament may sometimes be a rubber stamp for policies hatched by the executive branch (or, lately, the NDP’s Policies Secretariat), but it can also be a pulpit from which politicians of all stripes can stand up and be counted. Ayman Nour used his position as an MP to increase his public profile before placing a distant second in the presidential election. Nour would never have gotten where he is today without the many scandals he raised under the rotunda and the occasional grandstanding—which is why the NDP is putting up a fierce fight in his Bab Al Shaariya district, where he is extremely popular. The coming election is in many ways reminiscent of the one that took place in 1984, at the dawn of the Mubarak era. Then, despite a proportional-representation system that engineered small parties out of the running, a Wafd-Muslim Brotherhood alliance managed to secure 58 seats, the highest number the opposition has ever gotten. It now seems plausible that the opposition could better that score. On 13 December, when parliament reopens for business, it could have its most diverse composition yet—and that is why naysayers are wrong to be as apathetic about this election as they were about the presidential one. h

of Party

n the streets of Deputy Fakhri

the poor Weili district Abassiya, Mounir Director of the Wafd Abdel Nour is fighting an intense battle to hold his seat against medical doctor and NDP candidate Ahmed Sherin. It’s an old family rivalry. In 1995, and again in 2000, Abdel Nour ran against Sherin’s father. Abdel Nour lost in 1995, but won in 2000. With sensitivities about Coptic-Muslim relations running high following the recent riots in Alexandria, the country is watching the Weili campaign closely. In both campaigns, local Coptic leaders allege, the elder Sherin unleashed a volley of sectarian propaganda against Abdel Nour. The combination of family rivalry and the specter of sectarian division make this race a sensitive contest. Abdel Nour was one of only three Copts elected to parliament in 2000. This time around, the NDP will run only one Coptic candidate, but the opposition National Front is running 13. Kamal Al Shazli, a senior member of the NDP’s Policy Committee who boasts of being the longest-

The election at a glance
Five thousand, four hundred and fourteen candidates will compete for 444 seats in the People’s Assembly in either the fiaat (professional) or umal (worker) category. This distinction is a holdover from the Nasserist era, when it was put in place to ensure more representation for the lower classes. Today, the lines are blurred and many umal candidates are wealthy businessmen. A call to abolish the current system was met with uproar earlier this year. In addition to the 444 seats that will be up for grabs, an additional 10 seats will be filled by presidential decree. Traditionally, these seats have gone to Copts and women—two groups that this election are again disappointed by their representation on official party lists. More than 1,600 candidates will stand in the first round of voting. Of these, 523 will be running in the greater Cairo area. Four hundred thirty-two of the candidates running for seats from Cairo are running as independents, but many of them are members of the NDP who were not selected as the party’s official candidates. Of the 1,600 competing in the first round, only 82 are registered with a legal opposition party.

Parliament after the 1995 elections:

serving MP in the world, has said during past campaigns that to put a Copt on the NDP list is to risk losing a seat. Ghad Party candidate Sameh Mahrous, also a Copt, is running a distant third. Some here speculate Al Ghad chose a Copt to run against Abdel Nour in an attempt to siphon votes away from the rival Wafd Party and to build on their success in Abassiya in the September presidential elections. Voters in the district returned roughly 1,000 votes for Ayman Nour in September, compared with just 168 for the Wafd’s Noman Goma. Sherin, the NDP challenger, says he is committed to the NDP program of reform laid out during the presidential election. He was elected to


p Young Turk Hossam Badrawi faces Hisham Mustafa Khalil in the race for Qasr Al Nil's seat in parliament.

the next parliament. That claim may be too ambitious, but unless massive arrests or fraud mar the elections, a group that has had many obstacles in previous races will find itself virtually unhindered—apart from the fact that it remains illegal. One of the most interesting aspects of the election, however, is that for the first time since the 1970s new Islamist movements are actually being allowed, if not encouraged, to run. The Muslim Brotherhood’s current domination of political Islam was not always so. From the 1930s through the 1970s, other groups competed with it for the “religious vote.” This year, candidates affiliated with Al Gamaa Al Islamiya, a popular Islamist movement that took up terrorism in the 1980s, are running as independents, in addition to moderate Islamists from the Al Wasat movement. The most prominent of these candidates, former Gamaa Islamiya member (and Ayman Zawahiri cellmate) Montasser Al Zayat, a lawyer who specializes in Islamist cases, has already blasted the Brotherhood for trying to “monopolize the Islamist scene” and


n NDP: 317 n Independents who joined NDP: 114 n Independents: 13

the local neighborhood council in 2003 and has a base of support in the district. He is working to undermine Abdel Nour’s credibility, portraying the Wafd Party businessman as an absentee parliamentarian who has neglected his district’s interests since elected to parliament for the first time in 2000.

hen the country’s first presidential

election took place on 7 September, the outcome was both simple and unsurprising. There could be only one winner and it was already quite clear that it would be Hosni Mubarak. Even though history was being made in that there had never been a multi-candidate election—or opposition campaigns in which other candidates took on the incumbent—the excitement was more in the process than in the outcome. The opposite is true for the three-round parliamentary election that will take place in November and December. While the campaigns currently underway have offered just a few surprises so far, this election could make a difference for the future of political reform in Egypt. The opposition is taking things seriously. There is little chance that it will defeat the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), which

Parliament after the 2000 elections:

The program appears to be working. “[Abdel Nour] always said ‘my door is open,’ but he was never there,” Abdel Tawab, an elderly Weili resident, told Cairo. Abdel Nour’s own political missteps haven’t helped his image. During a recent radio program he asked the residents of his district to “stop the noise.” According to his own account of the interview, Abdel Nour says he told the interviewer that “having worked for Weili and the parliament for the past five years, he would like to have five minutes rest with a ‘no noise’ sign on his office.” Abdel Nour admits that he has not always been visible in his electoral

n n n n n

NDP: 174 Independents who joined NDP: 216 Independents: 20 Muslim Brotherhood: 17 Legal opposition: 17

district. “If ‘presence in the district’ means that I sit with people in coffee shops playing backgammon, I apologize—that’s not my duty,” Abdel Nour told Cairo. “I think the role of a public official is solving the overall problems of the country, not giving private services to supporters.” Abdel Nour says that during his time in parliament he supported laws to encourage foreign investment by relaxing state control over economic policy. This program of economic liberalization, he said, would create jobs, which he sees as the greatest challenge facing Egypt today. h

Source: Egypt Almanac





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Battle for Bab Al Shaariya gets dirty as Ayman Nour takes on an ex-state security officer

young man who is going to do a lot for Bab Al Shaariya. Ayman Nour serves only those who follow him,” says Osama Al Toukhi a fatatri (Egyptian pastry maker). “Wahdan is from Bab Al Shaariya, while Nour is not.” Wahdan, the son of a former MP from the same district, was a state security officer until he resigned to run against Ayman Nour in 2000. He lost that race and returned to work as a public prosecutor until this year, when he resigned again to seek revenge for his 2000 defeat. Along Port Said Street, a banner for Wahdan reads: “Yehia Wahdan—Native Son.” Opposite, a Nour banner lies discarded on the pavement, footprints muddying the once glistening orange banner. Pointing at Nour’s banner, Wahdan campaign manager Emad Shami says, unprompted, “That was a result of natural causes.” “Ayman Nour is a successful media man, but he markets only himself, nothing else,” Shami says, but admits that, as the incumbent, Nour has a better chance in the elections. Shami pauses mid-sentence and calls out to a woman, a Wahdan supporter, passing by. He gives her a brand new pair of shoes from a stockpile, a token of appreciation, he says, for her support. New shoes or otherwise, petty political paybacks are quite commonplace in this district. “Nour spoiled many young men in Bab Al Shaariya by giving them a monthly salary just in exchange for supporting him,” Shami adds. He also showed Cairo a pile of job applications that the NDP candidate had collected from supporters. The applications had been passed on to the Minister of Finance, Youssef Boutros Ghali, and at the bottom of each was a written confirmation that the applicants had been hired in a tax agency. h


n old woman hurries into Ayman

Nour’s well-known headquarters in Midan Bab Al Shaariya howling: “Hey everyone, they’re pulling down Nour’s big banner next to the kebab place.” Hagga Hamida was on her way back from the hospital when she witnessed a young man taking down the banner. “I would have beaten him if I’d had the chance,” the Nour supporter says defiantly. In Nour’s parliamentary election campaign center, banners torn down in the streets are brought in regularly. “When we have objected, police officers have sided against us,” Mahmoud Al Nahas, the district director for Nour’s campaign, says. Nour’s campaign workers are full of stories about threats against them and an atmosphere of fear shadowing Nour supporters. “Every day I hear NDP supporters threatening me, saying I can be detained or fired from my job. I know they can do nothing to me,” says Tamer Abdel Wadoud, a physician and

Nour supporter. Others display injureis which they say are from encounters with thugs from their opponent’s campaign. Outside Nour’s campaign center and throughout Midan Bab Al Shaariya, the majority of banners bear the name of the district’s NDP candidate, Yehia Wahdan. “Wahdan is a nice

p Campaign banners have been casus belli in Bab Al Shaariya.

Dueling Islamists in Bulaq
MAGDY SAMAAN It’s predictable that the principal competition in the parliamentary elections will be between the National Democratic Party and the opposition. The district of Bulaq, however, is witnessing a different phenomenon entirely. In this sprawling district of illegal slums, the primary competition is between powerful opposition candidates. Bulaq Al Dakrour is a big district that includes parts of Al Haram, Al Omrani and the rural Kafr Al Tuhurmos. More than 50 candidates are competing for the votes of the district’s 130,000 low-income residents. In most electoral districts, the opposition alliance has agreed to run a single candidate. Not so in Bulaq. Opposition wrangling has left the district open to outsider Montassir Al Zayat, a lawyer for Al Gamaa Al Islamiya and a member of the Lawyers’ Syndicate leadership council. Al Zayat has lived in Bulaq for more than 20 years and, to the dismay of many, has received the endorsement of the liberal Wafd Party. The Wafd’s support will help Al Zayat gain the support of Coptic voters, and Al Zayat’s

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campaign is pitching him as a protector of national unity. At an Al Zayat press conference, a representative of the Wafd announced that “the Wafd supports national unity, and Montassir Al Zayat does not distinguish between Copts and Muslims.” Recent events, however, have belied these statements. Al Zayat has adopted the slogan “Yes, we want it Islamic.” He is stressing his commitment to Islamic sharia law, and his opposition to changing the second article of the constitution, which says that sharia is the principle source of legislation. He says Egypt needs a candidate committed to the idea of change and reform, and not a candidate co-opted by the government. Copts aside, Al Zayat will have to struggle for the Islamic vote as well. The Muslim Brotherhood’s decision to run a candidate against Al Zayat has rankled the Islamist lawyer, who reportedly worked tirelessly to convince the Brotherhood to leave the district to him. Despite his efforts, he Muslim Brotherhood is running Gamal Ashri, a powerful candidate who has worked in Bulaq for years, and who the Brotherhood says is capable of garnering a seat in parliament for the Brotherhood. “The Brotherhood does not want anyone but themselves to speak in the name of Islam, but Islam is for all the people,” Al Zayat said during a press conference on 27 October. “The Brotherhood has abandoned districts

to all the parties, to the Copts and to the Communists, but has refused to leave Bulaq to me.” The Muslim Brotherhood has organized a number of marches in the district so far, gathering thousands of supporters in the streets with banners reading “Islam is the solution,” the Brotherhood’s controversial election slogan. Running against the two sparring Islamists is Kamal Abu Attiya, the well-known leftist activist. Abu Attiya’s leftist credentials are solid. He is a member of the Karama Party, Kifaya, the Revolutionary Socialists and the National Front for Change. Often dubbed the muezzin of the revolution, Abu Attiya has long been a thorn in the government’s side. He has been at the helm of many demonstrations during the past 30 years, and has been imprisoned some 15 times. Abu Attiya is among the public figures whom the government would least like to see in parliament. This fact has raised questions about the Wafd’s decision to support Al Zayat over Abu Attiya. Some observers say the move reeks of Wafdist collusion with the government. The NDP candidate in Bulaq will be Ahmed Samih Galal Darwish, the current MP who, as an independent in 2000, beat the NDP’s candidate Mohammed Hassan. Samih, however, joined the NDP shortly after his victory.




business news

business news
Port Workers’ Union Council went on hunger strike from 25-26 October to protest the deal. Port security forces forcibly ejected these four and a fifth, non-unionized worker from the Union Council’s headquarters in the Port on 25 October. Yousef, in Alexandria Port Authority Decree 1231/2005, temporarily barred the five from entering the Port and barred the four union members from participating in the union. Their names are posted at every entrance to the Port. Abdel Razeq, calling Yousef’s actions “dictatorial,” charged the new port chief with violating the terms of its international treaty commitments to freedom of assembly. “He has neither the authority nor the jurisdiction to prevent us from working or to freeze our membership in the union.” Adel Al Hassri, a non-unionized port employee, said, “At first I was relocated from the Port of Alexandria to the underdeveloped Port of Al Dekheila, which we port employees consider to be our Abu Ghraib, along with 15 other employees. These punitive relocations are Yousef’s attempts to bring the workers to heel. I was later suspended from working at the port for three months just because I brought in some yogurt for the protesting that I have been denied access to my work and

Thousands of Alexandrian dockworkers protest canceled Eid bonus

Businessmen dominate this year’s parliamentary candidate lists

date lists of the NDP, the Wafd and the Ghad Party are filled with millionaires.” Egypt’s emerging cadre of super-wealthy businessmen is beginning to seek formal political clout to match their informal influence. A parliament with more businessmen would shape the direction of economic reform and facilitate the government’s accelerating, but controversial, privatization program. For some in the opposition, it also raises the possibility of conflict of interest. Signs of big business’ growing political influence first emerged during the presidential election, when the Mubarak campaign was able to stretch the LE10 million spending limit thanks to massive volunteer spending on signs and advertising by businessmen throughout the country. Competition for the NDP’s nomination in the 2005 parliamentary elections has been hard fought. A whopping 2,700 people vied for only 444 candidate slots. Few know what criteria go into the selection process, which remains the purview of NDP powerbroker Kamal Al Shazli. Some on the outside believe that a simple cash donation is often the surest way to ensure the NDP nominates you to be their candidate in any given district. Mohammed Kamel, who is running as an independent against Al Shazli in Menoufiya, told Agence France Presse that it costs an average of LE1 million to be selected as a candidate for

The race in many districts has come down to a spending match between competing millionaires. In Maadi, NDP business tycoon Mohammed Al Murshidi faces independent but NDP-affiliated candidate Akmal Khourtem, who chairs an oil company. Hossam Badrawi is running in Downtown’s Qasr Al Nil district against Hisham Moustafa Khalil, nephew of former Prime Minister Moustafa Khalil. Badrawi owns a hospital and several healthcare businesses. He is a close associate of Gamal Mubarak. The construction and agricultural industries feature prominently in the coming races. Hani Sorour, Mostapha Saleb and Mohammed Abul Al Ainen, three ceramics magnates, are running. Of the three, Al Ainen is likely the most powerful: his company, Ceramica Cleopatra, maintains 12 factories and has expanded into agriculture, tourism and the production of “smart cards.” Youssef Wali, the former minister of agriculture and a major landowner, is running in Al Fayoum. The individual candidacy system has made candidates more dependent “on their own money or familial and tribal affiliations for success,” Al Ahram columnist Salama Ahmed Salama says. “The old list system put the funding pressure more on parties, and less on individuals.” Rich candidates can use their fortunes to pay for campaign posters, public conferences, flyers, presents for voters or simple cash bribes. “Many of these businessmen have been formed through corruption, not by producing for their countries,” says Ghafar Shokr. “They got their wealth illegally in most cases, in smuggling, on the black market or through currency speculation. They are not productive capitalists like those in Japan, Malaysia and Europe.” One suspects that Ghafar Shokr won’t be seeing many big contributions from the business elite in the coming elections. h

workers so they could break their fast. Now

wages for three months, how am I supposed to feed my family and three children? This is


p Kamal Al Shazli has a lot to do with who gets to run for parliament under the NDP banner.

the NDP. “The sum is in cash and to be paid to the party,” he told the wire service. Many businessmen are drawn to parliament by patriotism or a desire for prestige. Others might appreciate the legal immunity from prosecution that serving in parliament bestows. Still others might see benefits in influencing legislation that will affect their business interests. “The society is turning capitalist, so the role of the capitalists in politics is growing,” Ghafar Shokr said. “They are turning their wealth into political power. They are not merely individuals, they are a class that has joint interests.”


striking. “If any of us had gone on strike, we would have been arrested,” Abdel Razeq said. “It was Ibrahim Yousef, the new administrative chief of the Port, who ordered the cancellation of our Eid bonuses. It was also Yousef

p During a protest of off-duty workers on 23 October, it was business as usual for their onduty colleagues.

entirely unjust.” Faced with these allegations, Ibrahim Yousef responded, “I am the chief and the primary authority in this port. I know what’s best for the Port and for its well-being. If I let the workers do whatever they feel like doing, there will be chaos. I’m sick and tired of all this harmful unionism.” Abdel Razeq maintains union activity at the port need not be harmful. “We have three demands: recognition of our right to engage in unionism, payment in full of our Eid allowances... and the reversal of the decision to suspend all five employees from work. We sent an emergency appeal to President Mubarak requesting his intercession, but received no reply. We also sent a telegram requesting the intervention of our parent union—the Maritime Transport Workers’ Federation—but we were again let down. We have appealed to the general prosecutor and we are confident that we will prevail. families?” h But in the meantime, how are the suspended workers to feed their


early 3,000 of the 4,000 workers who

who fabricated and disseminated information regarding our so-called ‘strike’ and the resulting losses of LE2 million.” The leftist Al Tagammu was the only local newspaper to cover the protest. A spokeswoman for the Center for Trade Unions and Workers’ Services told Cairo, “The official media does not cover workers’ protests unless opposition papers bring the issue to light. If and when the official media does cover such issues, it almost always portrays workers in a negative light, describing them as troublemakers or lawbreakers.” On 24 October, the Ministry of Transportation intervened in the dispute, striking a deal whereby workers would receive two-thirds of their traditional Eid allowances in exchange for ending the demonstrations. Four out of the 10 men who sit on the Alexandria


ith the final candidate lists prepared

and a picture emerging of what Egypt’s next parliament could look like, the Left is declaring the dawn of the rule of big business in Egypt. “Big businessmen are participating in this election to a degree unprecedented in any previous election in Egypt,” said Abdel Ghafar Shokr, a Tegammu Party leader. “The candi-

keep the Port of Alexandria running congregated to protest the cancellation of their annual Eid bonus on 23 October. Contrary to reports aired on satellite stations, however, the workers did not go on strike. “There was no strike, but rather a large workers’ protest,” said Ibrahim Abdel Razeq, a suspended member of the Alexandria Port Workers’ Union Council. “The 3,000 workers who were protesting were not on duty—the nearly 1,000 workers who were continued with their work as usual. Tugboats moved ships into port, and workers continued loading and unloading goods. There wasn’t even a slowdown.” Unified Labor Law 12/2003 and Prime Ministerial Decree 1185/2003 forbid workers employed in “strategic enterprises” from


stocks for the week of 16 - 20 October


US Dollar Euro Pound Sterling Japanese Yen (100) Saudi Riyal Gold (oz.)
-2.13 15.20 142.91

5.79 6.92 10.24 5.00 1.54 2,709 5.80 6.99 10.28 5.01 1.55 2,744

EFG-Hermes Holding Arab Cotton Ginning Orascom Telecom Orascom Construction Ind. ALEzz Steel Rebars

WEEK % ∆
16.41 16.03 -6.26 -2.03 6.94

78.54 15.27 556.49 200.09 58.73 549.329 491.204 327.669 224.271 198.882 1 Week 90 Days 52 Weeks


Total Turnover LE3.11 bil.





opinion news

opinion news

D R I V E R ' S S E AT
The air in Alexandria has been charged with sectarian strife lately. After the riots, some blamed the Christians at the Mar Girgis church and Islamist leaders, while others suspect that shadowy political forces were at work. Cairo polled the city’s taxi drivers, asking for their opinion on the riots and whether the government could have done more to prevent them.
I don’t know what happened with all these fights and demonstrations. We are one people living in the same country. We have never believed in discrimination on a religious basis. I think that everyone is under pressure, and this is the reason for all the fights, in every field, not only religion. There are many fights in politics and even sports, all because people are stressed, not because of religion. Anwar, 24 Second job: Car electrician From Al Ahly Club (Nasr City) to Hurriya Mall, Al Ahram Street (Heliopolis), LE5 The car: Sahin with bobblehead dogs I don’t know what will happen to us after this. We have Christian neighbors, friends and brothers everywhere. I believe that all of this happened for reasons related to the next parliamentary election. I would bet that the two guys competing in that parliamentary district are a Muslim and a Christian. I think that the best thing the government can do is to ban both from the next election. Mahmoud, 43 From Al Abbasiya to Roxi (Heliopolis), LE2.50 The car: Citroen AX I think this is an extension to the tense situation between Muslims and Christians after the conflict that happened a few months ago in Abbasiya. Also, the newspapers are using the issue as a hot topic for their cover stories, to get people to buy them. Ahmed Mansour, 41 From Midan Salah Eddin (Heliopolis) to Hadaiq Al Qobba, LE4 The car: Mazda Everyone knows that the government can do more to end this sort of thing. Firstly, they can find out who exactly provoked people and helped to spread rumors. Then, they can punish him in a public court, as an example to anyone who might try to repeat such acts for political or personal reasons. Egyptians are a peaceful community and they don’t usually have these kinds of fights unless they are strongly provoked. Ahmed Abdel Salam, 25 From Sherif Street (Downtown) to Imbaba, LE6 The car: Peugeot 405 If the play [about a Christian who converts to Islam, staged in a Church in 2003] really insults the Prophet Mohammed, then we should do something about it. But if not, we should punish those who told people such lies. Sebai, 63 From Abbas Al Aqqad Street (Nasr City) to CityStars Mall, LE2.50 The car: Fiat 124 The government can do a lot on this issue. First, they can stop the discrimination between Muslims and Christians, especially in police stations. When there is a regular fight between a Muslim and a Christian, the Muslim stays in the station for a few days but the Christian leaves right away. Second, the government should find out who is telling people lies to incite them to violence. Sayyed, 37 Second job: teacher From Imbaba to Ramsis, LE6 I’ll tell you just one thing. If the government and the police hadn’t wanted it to happen, it wouldn’t have happened in the first place. Name withheld, 27 From Makram Ebeid Street (Nasr City) to St. Fatima Square (Heliopolis), LE6 The car: Renault Dacia that weaved frightfully AHMAD ABOUL-WAFA

How To Combat Extremism in Egypt


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Essam El-Eryan is a resolute man. He does not possess the charisma that would appeal naturally to millions, for he represents a movement that many repudiate instinctively. Yet he cannot be accused of hypocrisy or sycophancy, traits abundantly present in his opponents. He has done time in defence of his views and has never wavered. He is one of the leading figures in the infamous Muslim Brotherhood Organisation, touted as the most serious threat to Egypt’s future and brainwashing millions into the torpor of denouncing the mere mention of the word ‘democracy’. Muslim fundamentalism, or any extreme movement, is not a captivating path to walk in the quest for a better life. Little can be found to defend ideas based on bigoted ideology and the belief that religion must trespass into the political arena. No open-minded person is happy with the notion that people can be ruled by an antiquated set of rules intolerant to the norms and needs of modern society. Nonetheless, extreme Islam is making profound inroads in Egypt and appears to have swayed millions away from rational thinking and the practical way of coexisting with an increasingly competitive and hardy world. If we are left persuaded that we would be far better off without the likes of Mr. Eryan in our midst, we must calmly debate how to render him insignificant. To my mind, there are two ways. The first is to listen to our government and go after him tooth and nail. Our astute authorities would have us believe that tolerance of such dangerous men is a short cut to another Taliban Afghanistan. Allowing Mr. Eryan and his ilk access to the masses through open debate and healthy intellectual intercourse are methods depicted as suicidal by our learned regime. Indeed, the mere sign of showing weakness or any sign of capitulating is tantamount to opening the floodgates of hell. Or so our military rulers would like us to think. Before we deal with the second way, let us look at the first at a deeper level. In the search for arguments to defend an establishment that has done nothing but persistently pull Egypt down in every field, regime supporters have become desperate. Protecting the fortress from the insane onslaught of seventh century warriors seems to be the last straw. Simply by being party in this contentious matter of how Egypt is fit to be ruled disqualifies any regime member or supporter from the right to influence the outcome. It is a flagrant conflict-of-interest situation. As for the ‘Taliban’ apocalyptic scenario, it is up to the people of Egypt, relishing growing doses of media and political space, to determine whether a population of intelligent, educated individuals would yield to more tyranny and oppression. The second means of dealing with Mr. Eryan and his followers is through opening up the system and striving to make the masses absorb the gist of the extremists’ message. Democracy, and the freedom that comes with it, will go a long way in persuading millions of disenfranchised Egyptians that the way to a better life is not through Islamic extremists, and that the only reason they are there and growing is the absence of that very democracy. It is the way of stability and justice that will dilute extremism, not detention and torture. The very charges being levelled at Mr Eryan and his supporters -membership in an illegal organisation, “influencing public opinion against the regime” and organising illegal protests- add legitimacy to his cause through the brazen illegality in them. Mr. Eryan and his movement are welcome additions to the Egyptian political scene, not due to my belief in their ideas, but through my conviction that they add another dimension to the political picture and expose the dangerous ideas engendered by a moribund regime.

“Strange... I can’t find any news in the sports section about the Zamalek Club.” “It’s Mortada Mansour, God bless him... Ever since he got there, Zamalek’s news has been in the police blotter.” Al Destour, 31 October 2005

“What’s the penalty for stealing in Ramadan, while I’m fasting, good sir?” Rose Al Youssef, 31 October 2005

“To make sure that the elections are fair [naziha], we’re running Aunt Naziha!!”” The banner reads: “Elect your aunt Naziha as NDP candidate! Symbol: The club” Al Wafd, 31 October 2005

The soldier reads from the “Iraq Occupation Script” while rushing toward Syria. Al Osboa, 31 October 2005

Bird flu: “How’s it goin’ today, little duckling?” “Don’t call me duckling!” Al Akhbar, 30 October 2005

“Since you insist on naming the baby “Asfur” [bird], it’ll be necessary for you to bring me a certificate from two officials that they’re free of the bird flu virus.” The desk reads “Civil Records.” Al Arab, 30 October 2005

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news in-depth

news in-depth

Over the past decade, a security mentality has made inroads on campuses. Now, some professors are fighting back.
Inani demanded an investigation from the university president, but the administration dragged its feet. When Inani’s persistence finally got him an investigation, he learned that the officer would not be questioned because rof. Adil Inani is a tall, thin man with he was not a university employee, and was therefore not accountable to the university. And when the investigation began, according to Inani, “It turned out that I was the one who would be questioned and investigated. The lawyer was dealing with me as if I had committed some crime.” While few others have been exposed to such extreme violence, Inani and a growing number of his colleagues at different universities see his conflict with the security apparatus on campus as representative of the increasing interference of State Security with university affairs. On 22 October, 150 professors demonstrated on the steps of Cairo University’s administration building, calling for university independence. Many student groups have also taken up the cause, foremost among them the student branches of the Muslim Brotherhood. On 11 October, 15,000 students demonstrated at Cairo University, carrying banners that read “Together for Reform: Free University, Free Country.” “The university is actually being run by Security Interference In October 2003, a group of professors at Egyptian universities formed the University Independence Action Group, better know as the “9 March Group,” after the day in 1932 when Ahmed Lotfi Al Sayyed resigned as president of King Fouad University (now Cairo University) to protest the government’s transfer of Taha Hussein off campus. Since then, the 9 March Group has worked for greater university independence through occasional public demonstrations and, more frequently, letter-writing campaigns and behind-the-scenes negotiations with university administrators. The members of 9 March list various ways in which State Security interferes with university affairs, such as the selection of junior academic staff. According to university rules, junior staff members are selected by their departments and presented to the university president based solely on their grades. The best students get nominated. the police,” said Inani, explaining the growing interest in university independence. “The police have the upper hand, and the university administration merely listens to them and carries out their orders.” But in reality, these candidates must also be approved by State Security before their appointments can be finalized. According 9 March members, there are currently four cases at the University of Alexandria and one at the University of Al Minya in which the appointment of nominees has been blocked because of security concerns. Professors must also get security clearance if they wish to travel, conduct research or receive guest speakers on campus. In the past two years, security has rejected invitations to prominent media figure Hamdi Qandil, the American scholar Norman Finkelstein and novelist Baha Taher, among others. Members of 9 March complain that they cannot even invite professors from other universities to visit their classes without security clearance. “This is our work, our profession,” said Dr. Nadiha Dos, a professor of French Linguistics at Cairo University. “In any respectable university, you should have respectable people coming to give lectures. The good university is open to the world.” The result of this security interference, which the members of 9 March say is aimed at professors and students who participate in opposition political or religious activities, is a stifled academic environment, in which the Security vs. Administration According to Leila Soueif, an active 9 March member who has taught mathematics at Cairo University since 1977, State Security has always operated on campus, though its influence over matters not directly related to security has grown over the past decade. Soueif points out that the mere presence of State Security on campus is a violation of the University Law of 1979, which stipulates that each university is responsible for establishing its own security department, with guards that wear uniforms, carry badges and are accountable to the university administration. p The 9 March group protesting on the steps of the Cairo University administration building, on 22 October. subjects that can be studied and the opinions that can be expressed are tightly controlled. “We have grown to know that we must keep away from certain subjects,” said Adil Inani. “And the result is that most of the topics we research are worthless and the outcome is obviously worthless, too. It’s always better to study the there and then than the here and now. Other people’s systems, not ours. Other people’s rules, not ours. For example, if you want to look at the ruling system, you can look at Sadat and Nasser and say whatever you like. But you can’t do research on Mubarak, unless you plan to say he’s the best man there is.”


a salt-and-pepper goatee and a calm, confident voice that manages to both comfort and command attention. He graduated from the English department of Ain Shams University in 1975 and has been teaching in the same department ever since. As a result of his many years at the university, Inani feels an emotional attachment to it. He has many faculty friends and lots of memories associated with the campus, and considers the university “a place where I can serve the people I belong to.” His salary alone isn’t enough to keep him there—he teaches in Saudi Arabia when he needs money—but he stays because he feels a sense of duty and because, he says, he can’t picture himself anywhere else. Inani’s devotion to the university was tested last November when he was beaten up on campus by a police officer for driving

down a lane reserved for officers’ cars. He was punched, kicked, insulted, his shirt was torn and he suffered cuts on his face and legs.





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sity administrators are appointed ensures that their loyalties are to the government and its security apparatus, not to the professors and their academic concerns. University presidents are appointed directly by the state. They in turn appoint the deans of the various faculties, who are responsible for choosing the department heads. Traditionally, the oldest professor in the department was selected as department head. Now, the members of 9 March say that security concerns often intervene, keeping faculty members with divergent views, or those who participate in opposition political activities, out of power. This has not always been the case. Prior to 1994, the full professors of a given faculty elected that faculty’s dean. But in 1994, this procedure changed and the university president gained the power to appoint the deans. This meant the professors no longer had a say in choosing any of the administrators from whom they had to get permission before traveling abroad, doing research or inviting a guest speaker to campus. All the authorities had been put in place by, and were thus accountable to, the state-appointed university president. Accomplishments The Government Line Despite this top-down authority structure, university administrators deny that State Security plays any role in how they run their universities. According to Dr. Hamid Taher, the vice president for education and student affairs at Cairo University, the security presence on campus is for the sole purpose of protecting

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“But watch out, sometimes Baha Taher has some liberal ideas. And we have a problem here [in Egypt]. He’s too liberal. There’s the religious fundamentalist, and there’s the one who wants to permit everything. He’s a bit outside of the system. So those two are dangerous. But the moderates, they get in without any problem.” Taher did not specify who qualifies as a moderate. He then summed by saying that the administration has to control speech on campus because large numbers of students are difficult to control. “When you have a place with a large number of students, you have to protect it. And what if chaos breaks out? People don’t realize that. We have, for example, 3,500 seats in the hall downstairs. 3,500! And what if someone comes to talk to them and gets them all fired up? They’ll get up and break up the whole place. And we also have the issue at the cultural level. Is the student conscious enough to listen to someone else’s opinion and be quiet? Sometimes he listens to the other’s opinion and riots. We have to protect the university facilities.”







members of 9 March mention Hany Dweik, a former student of entomology. Dweik was a senior when he was arrested and detained for his participation in demonstrations against the 2003 Iraq war. Dweik then graduated from Cairo University in May 2004, with the highest grade of all the entomology students. The entomology department requested two assistants, so Dweik and the student with the second highest grades were nominated by the faculty. The president of the university signed off on their nominations, but when Dweik went to sign his contract in December, he found that his nomination had been held up because of “security concerns.” The members of 9 March started a campaign of letters and petitions to the university administration and published letters about Dweik’s case in opposition newspapers. This continued until August, when the president of the university announced that Dweik’s nomination had been accepted. While the members of 9 March consider Dweik’s appointment a success, they concede that it came during the final weeks before the presidential election and guess that someone from Mubarak’s campaign intervened to quiet a potential scandal. They also admit that this has been their only concrete achievement to date. “All the others are failures,” said Dr. ElHusseiny. “But our success is that everyone now, even the minister [of higher education], is talking about academic freedom and diminishing the security presence on campus. So the issues that were not present at all two years ago are now one of the main political subjects in the country. This is our success. We have brought this to the forefront. But to accomplish our goal will be very difficult. We need more political power than this. We need real political change.” h

university property. “This university is very big,” he said in his office in the administration building of Cairo University while members of the 9 March group “But the police officers on campus now are p Tens of thousands of Cairo University students are affected by security bans on speakers deemed "fundamentalist" or "too liberal." protested outside. “It has 180,000 students and has facilities, labs, computers and expensive devices worth millions of dollars. This requires university security.” Taher dismisses the 9 of March group, saying that it is small and doesn’t represent the majority of the faculty. “We now have 15,000 members in the teaching faculty. The 9 March group, how many are they? One hundred twenty out of 15,000?” When asked about the issue of security clearance for junior academic staff, he said its sole goal is to weed out criminals and religious extremists. “When a person is about to be appointed, he needs to be examined to see if he has committed a crime in the past. And in terms of our situation in Egypt, the most dangerous thing is to appoint a religious fundamentalist. Because if a professor becomes a religious fundamentalist, he’ll turn 1,000 students into religious fundamentalists.” On the issue of guest speakers, Taher first said that only fundamentalist speakers had to be kept out because their lectures could incite the destruction of university property. But when asked specifically about Baha Taher, the writer who had been invited to discuss one of his novels, Hamid Taher said that if the writer wanted to come now, the university would let him. Then he amended his comment.

not university officers as stipulated by the law,” she says. “They are not attached to Cairo University; they are attached to the Ministry of Interior. The situation now is completely illegal.” “The law is bad, but not very bad,” said Dr. Hany El-Husseiny, also of Cairo University’s mathematics department. “If we apply the law, things will go more or less well. But they don’t follow the law in any respect. The law says nothing about needing securing clearance for faculty appointments, only for protecting property.” The professors in 9 March also note that while they feel the presence of State Security on campus, the State Security officers rarely deal with them directly. Instead, State Security makes its decisions and the university administration carries them out. Indeed, many of the professors feel that the relationship between State Security and the administration has become so close that its hard to determine where one ends and the other begins. According to Arabic literature professor Dr. Sayyed Al-Bahrawy, “No person in a position of responsibility is appointed without the agreement of security. And those people can’t make any decisions without the permission of security.” The top-down manner in which univer-





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Anatomy of a firecracker
Eid has many blessings. The firecracker is not one. Firecrackers are illegal. But every year you can see the same scene: old women quicken their step as they pass packs of teenaged boys. Bawabs stare disapprovingly. Kids growing up in the dark days of socialism had to content themselves with small packs of gunpowder called, grandiloquently, “bombs.” Today, thanks to the Chinese occupation of the Egyptian market, kids have options. In all fairness, the Chinese did invent gunpowder and the firecracker. You can still buy the “bombs.” Bombs are comprised of a small envelope full of gunpowder and small stones, tightly closed with a thin metal wire. You throw it like a grenade and it makes a big sound when it hits the ground. Sound a like a fun toy? You can have a whole bucket of 50 for a mere LE4. Or perhaps you’d prefer one of the new Chinese toys? Young boys were thrilled a few years ago when little, yellow Chinese sticks hit the market. You light one end, and three seconds later it explodes. Sometimes. Or sometimes it explodes too early. Or not at all. What do you want? At LE0.10 a throw, you’re getting what you pay for. For a mere LE0.15, you can play with the “Red Rocket,” which arrived in Cairo soon after the yellow sticks. It’s basically the same thing, but for your extra five piasters (what’s five piasters, anyway? Not even a stick of gum), you get a louder explosion. If all this sounds like kid’s stuff, you might wish to try the “Spinning Rocket,” a circular band with a fuse that, when lit, hisses, spits sparks and spins around for 15 seconds. This is for older children or those with generous older brothers who can afford the LE.75 sticker price. And it’s in the LE.75 range that things start getting really interesting. The “Dirty” is a small, green rocket with eight or more small explosives that fire like a machine gun. The “American Rocket”—so called because it is decorated from tip to tail in the American flag, not because it was made in the United States—produces circular explosions before it flies 20 feet or so in whatever direction it’s pointed. Lucky rich kids, and those old enough to know better, might be able to spring for a quiver of colorless rockets. It doesn’t look like much for a full LE1: just a tube of yellowed newspaper. But, as one group of young guys playing with them reported, “You get what you pay for.” Colorless rockets fly high in the sky and make pretty explosions. “They may,” one reviewer mused happily, “be used by a lost warrior as a signal, or to announce victory at the end of the battle.”


Despite its name, perhaps the only thing the new Doqqi restaurant Malibu has in common with the California city is its eclecticism: a menu featuring Italian cuisine, vaguely African decorations and lighting fixtures constructed from elements of chandeliers. It is easy to find a private corner in the spacious venue and, as the official opening is not until after Ramadan, the restaurant is not yet busy. Overall, the restaurant emanates an air of quiet elegance. The red-walled interiors are softened by an abundance of plants, natural wood furnishings and brown-cushioned seats. Silver crescent bits of blue glass dangle from lamps over the tables. Soft lounge music blends easily into muted conversations. There is a good variety of entrees, though some appetizers were unavailable the night Cairo visited. The head chef, who goes by the moniker “Silla,” came by the table, however,

to discuss options, and in minutes produced a personalized dinner. The mushroom salad includes watercress (billed on the menu as Arugula), cheese and a generous dressing that tasted deliciously of lemon. The scallope di pollo (chicken breast) with mushroom sauce arrives in modish (read tiny) portions, garnished simply with halves of green and red pepper. My company forgives the price (discovered later), which would be moderate for a larger portion, as the meal tastes every bit as satisfying, and the plate is returned clean. The penne quatro fromage comes in generous portions and with the same personal attentions from Chef Silla, who came by for a lengthy chat

after the food arrived. Malibu, while it does not serve alcohol, does have a range of drinks that are fruity and oddly named. The “blue angel” is not really blue, though ostensibly made of blueberries. Other fruit cocktails bear names like “red sombrero” and the closer-to-home yet equally inventively named “smile on the Nile,” which had an unmistakeable guava juice base. Cairo sipped on a “t-shirt” (a mix of citrus juices, pineapple and grenadine), and found it a tasty little concoction. When asked why the cocktail is named after an item of clothing, however, the waiter smiled politely and shrugged.

Malibu’s official opening coincides with Eid Al Fitr, when the restaurant will be open both from the morning late into the night. Appetizers range from LE11-25 and main courses from LE20-40, while drinks are around LE10.

Malibu 50 Thawra Street Doqqi

Al Kahk: Ingredients: 1. 1 kilo flour, 2. 1/2 kilo clarified butter (semna), 3. 5 grams yeast, 4. 1/2 teaspoon salt, 5. 11/2 glasses of water. • Add the semna to the flour and mix into an even dough. Use your hands, never use a spoon! It’s important to feel the texture of the dough. • Add the yeast to a glass of water. Stir. Slowly add both to the dough and mix well. • Dilute the salt in half a glass of water and add to the dough. Mix well. • After the dough is mixed evenly, cut it into medium-sized round pieces. Insert dates or jam to taste. Arrange pieces on a flat metal baking tray. Let them rise for four hours. Begin preheating the oven an hour before the kahk have risen. • Put the tray in the center of the oven. Check the bottoms of the kahk every 30 minutes until golden-brown. • Sprinkle powdered sugar over the tops of the cookies before serving if desired.

Al Ghourayeba: Ingredients: 1. 1 kilo flour, 2. 1 kilo clarified butter (ghee), 3. 1/2 kilo powdered sugar, 4. 1 large bag of nuts. • Blend the sugar and the ghee with an egg whisk. • Mix in one cup of flour and blend. Then add a second cup of flower and blend again. Repeat the process till all the flour is mixed into a soft dough. • Cut the dough into small round pieces and arrange them on a thin, metal, baking tray and put one piece of any type of nuts on top for ornament. • Preheat oven till nice and hot. • Put the tray in the oven for roughly 10 minutes, when the dough turns yellow take the tray out. • Don’t move the Ghourayeba from the tray until it cools down or it will crumble. • Don’t add too much sugar or the Ghourayeba will come out hard.

Tried-and-true Eid sweets


It’s Eid once again, and along with the firecrackers, the festivities demand piles of sweets. Cairo’s research team, after a series of harrowing expeditions into the kitchens of the city, has come up with the absolute best of the best of holiday recipes and gained 10 kilos.





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uAl Sawy Cultural Center 26 July St., Zamalek (736-6178) Tuesday 8 November, 8:15pm The Story of the Creation of Mankind, seminar by the Islamic preacher Fadel Soliman, member of the Islamic Group for Quran and Sunna Research uBibliotheca Alexandrina Al Geish St. (Corniche), Al Shatbi Saturdays 5-7pm Lectures on Modern Trends in Developing Education and Environmental Sustainability by the Center for Special Studies and Programs at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, for ages 14-19 Sunday 6-Wednesday 9 November, 6pm Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning, lecture, meeting and workshop by 40 information literacy and lifelong learning experts from all over the world to discuss development in economic and social problems such as poverty, unemployment and disease using international literacy and lifelong learning. The activities are organized by UNESCO, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the National Forum on Information Literacy (NFIL). Egyptian actor and producer Omar Sharif will address participants. uStudio 206 Villa 14, Road 200, Degla, Maadi (519-5713) Tuesday 8 November 6:30pm, Beginner Ceramic, four classes to learn how to make handmade pottery. Fee:
In the fourth chapter, “Designing for a New Egypt,” the author moves on to a discussion of architecture. She looks at the growth of Heliopolis and Hassan Fathi’s Nubian-influenced work—two architectural phenomena that bear little or no relation to one other. Karnouk concludes the chapter without mentioning a single contemporary Egyptian architect by name. None of the first four chapters appeared in Karnouk’s previous work, Contemporary Egyptian Art. Chapters five to eleven, however, did. Chapter five is a superficial account of “The Revolutionary Years 1952-1967” that manages to ignore a number of important artists practicing “resistance art,” such as William Ishaq, Hassan Fouad and Dawoud Aziz. Chapters six to eleven deal with the following subjects: “Modernism and Art Appropriations,” “Internationalism and Abstraction,” “Premodernism or Postmodernism?,” “Islamic Art Revival,” “Pluralism in Styles” and “The Kitsch Wave: A Transition or an End?.” These chapters have been lifted wholesale from her previous book, paying no regard to the development of featured artists in the intervening ten years. In her twelfth chapter Karnouk talks about the 1990s, but her treatment of the annual Youth Salon (which was started in 1989 and has become an important event in the artistic calendar, displaying hundreds of new artists each year) is far too brief. Ignoring a number of important artists, she chooses to write about Ahmed Nabil and his painstakingly traditional canvases. Ayman Al Samri, Emad Abu Zein and other artists who have come out of the Youth Salon are absent. Karnouk makes no real attempt to explore the political and social reasons behind the Salon’s foundation, and she seems unaware that the majority of the artists who rose to prominence in this period were either students or teachers at the College of Art. In chapter thirteen, “The Body,” Karnouk includes a profile of her own work written by Ron Walkey, a professor of architecture at the University of British Columbia. Even stranger, in chapter fifteen (“History, Words and Books”), Karnouk includes the French photographer and painter Bernard Guillot ahead of a long list of Egyptian artists, despite the fact that Guillot’s work is a product of French culture and tradition, and is not part of the modern Egyptian art movement. This is not to take away from the quality of his beautiful pictures of Egypt, but if Karnouk wants to talk about Egyptian art she should stick to Egyptian artists. Foreign artists who have lived and worked in Egypt deserve a separate book all of their own. This could include many figures, from the first generation of teachers at the School of Fine Arts, to artists such as French illustrator Golo or painter Mago Veillon, who died two years ago after almost 70 years in Egypt. The book ends with its slimmest and weakest chapter: a discussion of photography and video work. Focusing on just four individuals (and featuring only one entry for video), Karnouk ignores many important artists working in the field. She also writes as if photography were an entirely new phenomenon in Egypt. That’s not the case; the first time photography was exhibited in Egypt was in 1923 at the House of Egyptian Arts and Crafts, 21 Al Bulaq Street, Cairo. The Association of Fine Art Lovers held its first photography exhibitions in January 1933. This exhibition contained 598 pictures by 131 photographers (67 Egyptians and 64 foreigners). Karnouk says nothing of pioneering Armenian studio photographers such as Van Leo, Alban, Cavouk and Arman, or the generation of Egyptian artists that followed. Although Hala Al Koussi, Nermine Hammam and Youssef Nabil are talented artists, they are hardly the only or the best representatives of photography in Egypt. Though it references more than 160 sources, Karnouk’s book cannot be considered a comprehensive account of the Egyptian art movement and its history. It ignores many important artists (and entire fields—there isn’t a single reference to ceramics). It groups artists according to arbitrary categories and z The 1937 painting Banat Bahari (Coast Girls) by seminal artist Mahmoud Said. themes. Nor does the book contain images of some of the works that, by Karnouk’s own assessment, are the most important in certain artists’ careers. Several pictures appear to be low-quality, almost blurry reproductions. Karnouk writes engagingly, and strikes a nice middle ground between criticism and biography. Her book is clearly intended for a general readership, and best serves as an introduction to Egyptian modern art for a reader who knows very little about the subject. The danger is that because this book is virtually unique, it will be taken for an accurate and comprehensive survey. But the author is not entirely to blame here. The problems of Modern Egyptian Art afflict a number of books on the subject. The fault is ours as Egyptians; we have not produced a single book that includes a comprehensive bibliography of our artists or the various schools and periods of Egypt’s art movements. Likewise, the Museum of Egyptian Modern Art, having recently reopened its exhibition on the history of modern art after a four-year closure, disappointed us all with its inaccurate and inadequate portrayal of this history. h Mahmoud Said,

Though useful, Liliane Karnouk’s new book ignores a number of key artists

LE200 per person. 7pm, Beadwork, four classes to learn how to use beads, string and wire to create necklaces and decorations for the home. Fee: LE200 per person. uSwiss Club Villa Pax, Al Gihad St., off Sudan St., Midan Kit-Kat (314- 2811, 315-1455, 010-300-9695) www.swiss-club-cairo.com Every Monday and Thursday, 10-11am Yoga workshop for adults Every Saturday 11am-12pm Ballet course for children Every Saturday 10-11am and Sunday 2-3pm Sport & Play for kids 3-5 years old uTownhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art Nabrawi St., off Champollion St., Downtown (576-8086, 012-735-8635) Tuesday 8 November 2 pm and Wednesday 9 November 10:30am Workshop as part of an Egyptian-Swiss Art Project on Topography and Identity in Egypt in November 2005 and in Switzerland in 2006. Egyptian and Swiss artists and curators will participate in the workshops as well as special Egyptian guests (artists, curators, art critics, architects, writers, etc.) Artists Mahmoud Khaled, Hildegard Spielhofer, Bassam al Baroni, Gertrud Genhart, Basma Al Husseini, Christof Rösch, Alaa Khaled, Ralph Hauswirth and others will discuss their working conditions, production potentials and artistic strategies.


Egyptian Art, released by AUC Press in 1995. In a small section at the beginning of her first chapter, “Egyptian Awakening,” Karnouk discusses the British occupation of Egypt in 1882 and the flowering of both the fine arts and Sheikh Mohammed Abdu’s ideas on how to renew and reform Islam. She catalogues attempts by Egyptian intellectuals to retrieve, revive and reinterpret Pharaonic art, but never mentions the desire to escape the remnants of Ottoman colonial culture that motivated such attempts. Instead, she erroneously associates it with the Egyptomania that was sweeping Europe at the time

Artistic insight at the Townhouse Gallery


p (top) The Time Machine, installation by Liliane Karnouk, author of Modern

Karnouk’s profiles of pioneering artists Mahmoud Mokhtar, Mohammed Nagi and Raghib Eyyad are good introductions for readers who know little about them. The profiles contain interesting biographical information, but add little to our understanding of the artists’ work. Her next chapter, “The Cosmopolitans,” looks at artists from the movement’s second generation, such as Ramses Younan, Kamil Al Tilmasani and Fouad Kamil. She discusses their revolt against the prevalent techniques of the time and their move toward abstraction, and touches on their communications with their European contemporaries. In her third chapter, “The Folk Realists,” Abdel Hadi Al Gazzar and Hamid Nada are chosen as representatives of the third generation of modern Egyptian artists. Both are extremely important artists, but instead of examining their most interesting works, Karnouk is content to talk about events in their lives and the influence of popular culture on their output. She makes no mention of Effat Nagi’s use of popular art or her early and important attempts to move beyond traditional understandings of the picture, which produced collage-like works.


iliane Karnouk’s book Modern Egyptian

Egyptian Art. The book's cover illustration is Hamed Nada's 1989 Eve of the Henna.

Art 1910-2003 is interesting and well-written, and fills a void in the literature on the subject. In her preface, Karnouk writes, “In time, I hope, others will assess the importance of the artists presented here and add forgotten and new names to this selection.” This is indeed to be hoped, for the book has serious lacunae. Karnouk—a Canadian citizen who was born in Egypt to Armenian parents—begins her book with a seven-page preface in which she talks about the trouble she had collecting material for the book. Due perhaps to these difficulties, the book is essentially a list of selected artists that reflects the author’s personal taste. There seems to be no scholarly basis for the criteria Karnouk uses to include certain schools and movements and exclude others. The book’s value as a scholarly work and documentary record is inevitably affected by this. The book consists of sixteen chapters, seven of which already appeared in Contemporary





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Music and Dance Venues: uAfter 8 6 Qasr Al Nil St., Downtown (010-339-8000) Shows start at 10pm unless otherwise noted uAl Sawy Cultural Center 26 July St., Zamalek (736-6178) uAmerican University in Cairo Main Campus, Sheikh Rihan St., Downtown (797-6373) uCairo Opera House Gezira, Zamalek (739-8132, 739-8144) Shows start at 8pm unless otherwise noted uFrench Cultural Center, Heliopolis 5 Shafiq Al Dib St., Ard El Golf (417-4824, 419-3857) uFrench Cultural Center, Mounira 1 Madrassat Al Hoquq Al Faransia St., Mounira (794-7679, 794-4095) uGeneina Theater Salah Salem Road, Al Azhar Park (346-7601, 010-575-5191) Shows start at 9pm uGezira Art Center 1 Al Marsafi St., Zamalek (737-3298) uGomhouriya Theater Gomhouriya St., Abdeen (390-7707) Shows start at 8pm uJazz-Up Nile Hilton, 1113 Corniche Al Nil, Downtown (578-0444, 578-0666) Shows start at 10:30pm uTownhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art Nabrawi St., off Champollion St., Downtown (576-8086, 012-735-8635) Shows start at 9pm

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Thursday 3 November uAfter 8 Wust El Balad, modern Egyptian songs uAl Sawy Cultural Center River Hall, 8pm, Farah Al Masri and Magdi Batta, Nubian folklore uJazz-Up Riff, swing and jazz Friday 4 November uAfter 8 Wust El Balad, modern Egyptian songs uAl Sawy Cultural Center River Hall, 8pm, Wust El Balad, modern Egyptian songs uJazz-Up Salsa night with Rami and Suzi Saturday 5 November uAfter 8 Screwdriver, rock and roll uAl Sawy Cultural Center River Hall, 8pm, Wama, pop music uCairo Opera House Small Hall, Sunshine, led by Hamada Nour, English and Spanish pop music Sunday 6 November uAfter 8 Wust El Balad, modern Egyptian songs uAl Sawy Cultural Center River Hall, 7pm, From The People, To The People, Nubian concert by Beshir uGezira Art Center 7:30pm, concert by Mexican singer María Elena García Rivera, with Uruguayan pianist Ignacio Pilone uJazz-Up Salsa night with Rami and Suzi Monday 7 November uAl Sawy Cultural Center Wisdom Hall, 8pm, Arabic music and lute night with Oud Stars and Atef Abdel Hamid Tuesday 8 November uAfter 8 Sahari, rai music uAl Sawy Cultural Center Bostan Al Nil Hall, 7pm, nai concert by Ali Aboul Fadl Wednesday 9 November uAfter 8 Riff, swing and jazz uAl Sawy Cultural Center Word Hall, 7pm, Madad Ya Kul Al Fannaneen (Long Live All Artists), poetry and singing by Gemmeiza, led by Nasser Al Noubi Wisdom Hall, 8pm, Dieski, rock music uCairo Opera House Main Hall, Opera Butterfly performed by Cairo Opera Choir and Cairo Opera Orchestra , led by Nader Abassi Thursday 10 November uCairo Opera House Main Hall, Opera Butterfly performed by Cairo Opera Choir and Cairo Opera Orchestra , led by Nader Abassi uFrench Cultural Center, Mounira 8:30pm, musical dinner with Valery and Wassillev on piano and contrabass

Culture in Brief
Archaeologists have found a treasure trove of Asian and Islamic art from the tenth century in a sunken boat off the coast of Indonesia. An international team of divers recovered 250,000 artifacts over the last 18 months. The objects include perfume flasks, vases, porcelain dishes and glassware from the Fatimid dynasty that once ruled Egypt. The divers also found objects from China’s Five Dynasties period (907-960 AD), as well as 14,000 pearls, 4,000 rubies, 400 dark red sapphires and more than 2,200 garnets. This ancient treasure has led to modern-day greed. Cosmix, a secretive Dubai-based corporation, funded the €5 million (about LE35 million) salvage operation. The divers have also had to defend their booty from the Indonesian Navy and other treasure hunters. The artifacts will be offered at auction in 2006 and 2007, and Indonesia will receive 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale. Egyptian actor Omar Sharif has just been sued for allegedly attacking and hurling racial slurs at a US parking attendant in June 2005. Guatemalan-born Juan Anderson, a valet at a chic Los Angeles restaurant, claims Sherif punched him in the side of the head and called him a “stupid Mexican.” Sharif was reportedly angry when the valet refused to accept a tip in euros rather than dollars. In 2001, the hotheaded Sharif was given a one-month suspended prison sentence for head-butting a police officer in a casino near Paris. Daily images of the pyramids are now available to people around the world, thanks to a new website: http://www.pyramidcam. com. PyramidCam.com is a collaborative effort. Heading the project is Jim Sorenson, an American businessman who has lived and worked in Egypt for 30 years. Local partner Siag Hotel and Travel furnishes the vantage point for viewing: the top of the Siag Hotel in Giza. The high-definition network camera used at PyramidCam.com is from StarDot Technologies, a California company known for its cameras on the Yosemite and Yellowstone National Park websites. As Ramadan ended, a vague consensus emerged about this year’s most popular soap operas. Hits included Hanan Turk’s Sara on Dubai channel, in which Turk played a woman stuck at the developmental stage of a 12-year-old by a childhood trauma and set upon by villainous relatives and acquaintances. The Satellite channel MBC had two popular shows as well. Raya and Sekina was a high-quality retelling of the crimes of the Alexandria murderesses, while the Syrian show Al Hur Al Ein tackled terrorism, recounting the 2003 bombing of a Riyadh apartment complex from the point of view of the Arab families living there.



Union and website for Internet writers provide publishing opportunity and highlight new genre
Sherbini is confident that soon interactive, digital literature will replace the traditional, printed kind. “Literature develops along with society. We started with the myth and the epic, and now we are moving towards digital realism—but of course, it will take people some time to accept the change.” Many of the union’s own members, however, are far from accepting such changes. “Digital literature will never replace printed literature,” insists Mohammed Ateiya, a young writer who recently joined the union. “Reading a novel takes hours and to spend such a long time in front of the computer screen, with all the concentration involved in the process of reading, is not something that many can do—it hurts one’s eyes.” Ateiya sees the union and its website mainly as a chance to publish. “Getting your work published on the Internet will provide you with a better chance of being read and consequently known,” he says. “Thanks to the union, I now have readers and friends not only from my governorate [Alexandria], but also from all around Egypt and the Arab world. Publishing online is also faster and less complex than publishing on paper.” Ateiya also says that publishing online provides writers with valuable feedback from readers. “I like the fact that you get more space in terms of story length and freedom of expression,” adds Ateiya. Online publications in Egypt are generally uncensored. “We are not censored at all,” says Shabloul. “Our focus is on culture and literature, not politics or pornography. We are just a group of intellectuals, with no political aims, writing about a new creative genre, so we have no trouble with the government and won’t have in the future.” Overall, the website looks promising, as do its future plans to release an e-magazine and establish an electronic publishing house and an electronic library. h





he Arab Internet Writers’ Union is trying, with

mixed results, to pull Arabic literature into the 21st century. Founded in 2004, the union launched a test website last April (www.arab-ewriters.com). The union has members from many different Arab countries, including well-known figures such as Moroccan critic Mohammed Motassem, Egyptian writer Ahmed Al Khamisi and Kuwaiti writer Hayat Al Yaqout. The union says it aims to spread awareness of “digital culture” among the Arab public. Its website publishes a great number of articles on information technology and digital literacy in the Arab world. The website also publishes short stories, poems, novels, and critical essays under the heading Al Nashr Al Electroni (Electronic Publishing). Though its archive is comparatively small, it is regularly updated and within a short time should rival other Arabic literature websites such as www.kotbarabia.com. Short stories include Boqa Sawda (Black Spot) by Gawaher Al Refaiya, and Habibat Al E-mail (The E-mail Beloved) by Abdel Nur Edriss. It has also published book-length works of criticism, such as Qiraat Fi Adab Al Mara Al Khalijiya (An Assessment of Gulf Women’s Literature). Besides publishing a great number of literary works produced by union members, the website also contains samples of what has come to be known as adab al waqeiya al raqamiya, or “digital realism literature.” It is for this new form of literary production—which includes sound tracks, visual effects and hyperlinks—that the website was mainly created. Ahmed Fadl Shabloul, vice president of the union, says, “We are working on a theory of ‘digital realism literature,’ that will make literature more interactive through the use of available Internet tools such as multimedia and hypertext. It will be a more interactive literature—one in which the reader helps create the text.” In one of the stories featured on the website, the reader gets to choose what events will come next by clicking on one of the numerous hypertext phrases at the end of each chapter, thus creating his or her own version of the story. Union member Mohammed Al Sherbini shares Shabloul’s enthusiasm for the new literary genre. “The Internet is the future,” he says. “On the web you have more options, you can have three dimensional images, background music and many other special effects.” Al



María Elena García Rivera

uAl Sawy Cultural Center 26 July St., Zamalek (736-6178) Open daily 9am-9pm Earth Hall Artwork using various materials by Hossam Eddin Ahmed Word Hall Woodwork exhibition by Mohammed Youssef All exhibitions through 9 November. Daily 6-11pm uBibliotheca Alexandrina Al Geish St., (Corniche), Al Shatbi, Alexandria 100 days—100 Imachinations, live projection by German artist Tim Otto Roth. The series of changing projected images will be shown on the BA Conference Center’s triangular wall facing the Corniche, enabling the public to watch the light show from the Corniche. Through 6 December.

uCordoba Gallery 3A Degla St., Mohandiseen (012-110-4699) www.cordobatalgibaly.com Open daily 11am-8pm, Fridays off Masriyat, painting, photography and pottery by Yasser Nabayel, Hatem Al Toudi, Ali Azzam, Khalaf Tayea, Mohammed Al Nasser, Abdel Hakim Sayed and Mohammed Mandour, through 15 November uFonoun Art Gallery 14 Jedda St., Doqqi (338-0298) Open daily, 10am-10pm Portraits by Gamal Kamel and sculpture by Mohammed Al Fayoumi, through 4 November uFrench Cultural Center, Mounira 1 Madrassat Al Hoquq Al Faransiya St., Mounira (794-7679, 794-4095) Daily 10am-11pm Par la Forêt Obscure (Through the Dark Forest), photography by French artist Aurélia Frey, through 6 November

uKarim Francis Contemporary Art Gallery 157 26 July St., third floor, Zamalek (736-2183, 010-667-4823) www.karimfrancis.com Open daily 4-11pm, Mondays off Story Teller, paintings by Christian Voigt, through 9 November uMashrabiya Gallery 8 Champollion St., Downtown (578-4494) Open daily 11am-8pm, Fridays off Photo exhibition by French artist Aurélia Frey, through 9 November uPicasso Gallery 30 Hassan Assem St., off Brazil St., Zamalek (736-7544) www.picassoartgallery-egypt.com During Ramadan open daily 10am-9pm, Sundays off Various works by Sudanese artists: black and white drawings by Ibrahim Al Sayed, oil paintings by Hasan Ali, drawings on pumpkin by Adel Kebeida and portraits by Mervat Al Shazli, through 4 November uRare Books and Special Collections Library 22 Mansour St., Downtown (797-6243) Open daily, 8:30am-5pm, Saturdays 12-5pm, Fridays off Cairo and Its People, selections from the Rare Books & Special Collections Library’s Van Leo and Creswell collections, through 31 January 2006 uSafar Khan Gallery 6 Brazil St., Zamalek (735-3314) www.safarkhan.com Open daily, 10am-2pm & 5-9pm, Sundays off Exhibition by Mahmoud Afi , works 1920-1984, through 5 November uSalama Gallery 36 Ahmed Orabi St., Mohandiseen (346-3242) Open daily 10am-2:30pm & 5-9pm Ramadaniyat, oil paintings and sculpture by George Bahgouri, Omar Al Nagdi, Ammar Shiha and Mohammed Ibrahim Youssef, through 15 November uToot Gallery 80 Mohieddin Aboul Ezz St., Doqqi (335-0248) Open daily 11am-7pm, Fridays off Colors from Egypt by Sri Lankan artist Padmini Serasinghe, through 4 November uTownhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art Nabrawi St., off Champollion St., Downtown (576-8086, 012-735-8635)

Open daily 10am-2pm & 6-9pm, Thursdays & Fridays 6-9pm only Selection of new drawings by Ahmed Nossier, through 9 November uZamalek Art Gallery 11 Brazil St., Zamalek (735-1240, 012-224-1062) www.zamalekartgallery.com Open daily 10:30am-9pm, Fridays off Paintings by Abdel Rahman Al Nachar, through 10 November

EMAN SHABAN MORSI It’s not a book. Is it a novel? A website? Entertainment? Literature? None of the above? All of the above? Perhaps the best indication that Mohammed Sanajleh has done something truly innovative with Chat is that it so stubbornly resists categorization. Sanajleh, the head of the Arab Union for Internet Writers, says he’s written a novel. He’s even got a name for the genre: “digital realism.” Chat was released 23 October, on the Arab Union’s website. Chat tells the story of Mohammed, a young Jordanian engineer who works for a multinational company in an isolated seaside town in Oman. Driven by boredom and chance, the protagonist turns to cyberspace, which he finds more fulfilling than his everyday existence. Both the narrator and the author are Jordanian. Both are named Mohammed. At some points, the protagonist drifts into long passages of metaphysical meditation that seem improbable coming from a math-nerd engineer. Sanajleh used a mixture of Flash and HTML to create backgrounds and add special effects. The first chapter, Al Adam Al Ramly (The Sandy Vacuum), begins with a short clip of wind blowing through an empty desert. Every time the protagonist receives an SMS, an icon of a mobile phone appears in the text. Clicking on the icon allows the reader to hear the message tone and read the

uAmerican University in Cairo Falaki Building, Falaki St., Bab Al Louq (797-6373) Open daily12-9pm, Fridays off Shows starting Sunday 6 November. Opening reception Sunday 13 November, 6pm. Second floor, a site-specific installation by Malak Helmi and Tarek Al Shazli Fifth floor, A Journey: From Iran to Central Asia, photography by Bernard O’Kane, professor of Islamic Art and Architecture All exhibitions through 24 November. uDoroub Gallery 4 Latin America St., Garden City (794-7951) Open daily 10am-10pm, Fridays off Thursday 3 November Collection, paintings by Mohammed Sabri, Abdel Wahab Morsi, Galal Al Husseini, Mervat Refaat and Gihan Raouf; sculpture by Halim Yacoub and Ammar Shiha; jewellery by Ahmed Badawi, Lama Horani and Sarah Abdel Azim; calligraphy by Mounib Obradovich, through 12 November uFrench Cultural Center, Mounira 1 Madrassat Al Hoquq Al Faransiya St., Mounira (794-7679, 794-4095) Daily 10am-11pm Wednesday 9 November, 7pm Lignes de Paix (Lines of Peace), caricatures, drawings and sculpture by French artist Plantu and Mustafa Hussein, in cooperation with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, through 30 November

message text gliding across the image of a mobile phone screen. Whenever Mohammed turns to chat services on the Web, Yahoo! or Maktoob icons appear on screen. This really is literature for today’s Arabic youth. Background music plays during certain passages. If that’s not enough to suggest the mood of the protagonist, cartoon thought balloons appear as the reader glides the mouse over certain words, to explain what the narrator was thinking while he wrote them: literary meta-text and computer hypertext. When characters make reference to American Beauty and The Matrix, links to clips from the films appear. On the union’s website, Sanajleh writes that “In the digital realism novel, words will be just one part of a larger whole. For, in addition to words, we should write with pictures, sounds and animation.” But does all this focus on technological tricks merely disguise bad writing? Lengthy passages in Chat, in which the narrator describes his feelings for a Lebanese girl, contain such a long and complex array of symbols and images that they are almost incomprehensible. Though Chat’s multimedia effects give the reading experience a new flavor, the novelty quickly wears off. In the end, these effects accomplish no more than what readers’ imaginations have long done: visualize elements in the story. Thus, one wonders if the pyrotechnics are merely a means of compensating for writing that fails to evoke a scene or capture the imagination. Chat may be the first novel of its kind in Arabic literature. A new path has been opened. Let’s hope many more gifted writers travel down it. Otherwise, it risks being no more than another forgettable experiment.














listings news











An asbestos worker poses for the camera in 6 October City, July 2005.


New Movies for the Eid: (call venues to check which movie will be shown) Orido Kholaan (I Want a Divorce), written and directed by Ahmed Awad, starring Ashraf Abdel Baqi and Hala Shiha Banat Wust Al Balad (Downtown Girls), directed by Mohammed Khan, starring Hind Sabri, Menna Shalabi and Mohammed Nagati Gai fil Sariaa (Coming Quickly), directed by Gamal Qasem, starring Magid Al Kadawani and Riham Abdel Ghafour Ghawi Hob (Hopeless Romantic), directed by Ahmed Al Badri, starring Mohammed Foad and Hala Shiha Dars Khosousi (Khosousi’s Lesson), directed by Sameh Abdel Aziz, starring Mohammed Attiya and Hana Shiha



Tuesday 8 November, 7pm Al Madina (The City), directed by Youssri Nasralla, 2000 (Arabic with English subtitles) uFrench Cultural Center, Heliopolis 5 Shafiq Al Dib St., Ard El Golf (417-4824, 419-3857) Tuesday 8 November, 8pm Buena Vista Social Club documentary movie directed by Wim Wenders, 1999, 100min., starring Compay Segundo (English and Spanish with French subtitles) uFrench Cultural Center, Mounira 1 Madrassat Al Hoquq Al Faransiya St., Mounira (794-7679, 794-4095) Wednesday 9 November, 8:30pm Sahar Al Layali (Sleepless Nights), directed by Hani Khalifa, starring Sherif Mounir, Mona Zaki, Hanan Turk, Fathi Abdel Wahab and Jihan Fadel, 2003, 130 min. (Arabic with French subtitles) In cooperation with the National Center for Egyptian Cinema uGoethe-Institute Cairo 5 Al Bustan St., Downtown (575-9877) Tuesday 8 November, 7pm Schultze Gets the Blues, directed by Michael Schorr, 2003, 114min (English and German) Wednesday 9 November, 7pm Aus Liebe zum Volklove(Love for the People), directed by Eyal Sivan and Audry Maurion, 2004 (German) THEATER q

uAmerican University in Cairo Greek Campus, Youssef Guindi St., Downtown, Jameel Center Auditorium, (797-6373)

uAl Arayes Midan Ataba, next to Al Taliaa Theater,

Downtown (591-0954) Starting Friday 4 November Daily 11am & 8pm, except Tuesdays Al Moghamerun Al Khamsa (The Five Adventurers), puppet show directed by Mohammed Abdel Salam, through 10 November uAl Baloon Al Nil Street, Agouza (347-1718) Thursday 3 November-Saturday 5 November, 9:30 pm Shows by Reda Ensemble for Shaabi Arts and by Shaabi Music ensemble uAl Fan 22 Ramses St., Downtown (578-2444) Daily 10pm Starting Thursday 3 November Barhouma Waklah Al Barouma (Barhouma Decayed), directed by Galal Al Sharqawi, starring Ahmed Adam, Mahmoud Al Guindi and Hanan Atteya, through the winter season uAl Ghad Theater 26 July St., Agouza (304-3187) Daily 10:30pm, except Mondays Starting Saturday 4 November Ragel Al Alaa (The Man of the Citadel), directed by Nasr Abdel Moneim, starring Tawfiq Abdel Hamid, Zeinab Ismail and others, through 20 November uAl Hanager Arts Center Opera House grounds, Zamalek (735-6861) Daily 9:30 p.m., except Mondays Starting Saturday 5 November

u6 October Cinema Al Hay Al Sabea St., behind 6 of October University (835-7569) Daily 10:30am, 12:50, 3:50, 6:50 & 9:50pm, Thursday and Friday also 12:45am uCairo Mall Cinema Al Haram St., in front of Central Al Haram (584-9721) Daily 10:30am, 1:30, 4, 7 & 10pm, Thursday and Friday also 1am uCairo Sheraton Cinema Midan Al Galaa, Al Dokki (760-6081) Daily 1, 4, 7 & 10pm, Thursday and Friday also 12:30am uCity Center Cinema 3 Makram Ebeid St., Nasr City (010-667-5096) Daily 11:30am, 1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 10:15pm & 1am uConcorde Hotel Cinema Next to Al Shams Club, Abdel Hamid Badawy St., Heliopolis (622-4000, 622-6000) Daily 11am, 1:15, 4, 7, 10pm & 1am uDiana Cinema Al Alfy St., off 26th of July St., Downtown (592-4727, 786-9949) Daily 11am, 1:30, 3:30, 6:30 & 9:30pm uDream Cinema 6 October, Dream Land, Dream Mall, 6th of October City (840-1252) Daily 10:30am, 1, 4, 7, 10pm, Thursday also 12:30am uFamily Cinema 11 Othman Towers, Maadi (524-8100, 524-8120) Daily 11am, 1, 4, 7, 10pm, Thursday &

Friday also 1am uFlorida Cinema 1 & 2 Masakin Sheraton, Heliopolis (268-5005) Daily 11am, 1:30, 4, 7, 10pm & 12:30am uGalaxy Cinema 67 Abdel Aziz Abdel Saoud St., Manial (532-5745, 532-5746) Daily 10:30am, 1:30, 4, 7, 10pm & 1am uGeneina Mall Cinema 4 Al Battrawy St., Nasr City (263-0745) Daily 11am, 1:30, 4, 7, 10pm & 1am uGood News Cinema Grand Hyatt, Garden City (365-1234) Daily 10:20am, 1, 4, 7, 10pm & 1am uHeliopolis Cinema Off Damask St., Korba, Heliopolis (258-0647) Daily 11am, 1:15, 4, 7, 10pm & 1am uKarim Cinema 1 & 2 15 Emad Eddin St., Downtown (592-4830) Daily 10:30am, 1:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30pm & 12:30am uMaadi Al Bandar Mall Cinema 1 Palestine St., Maadi (519-0770) Daily 10am, 1, 4, 7 & 10pm, Thursday and Friday also 1am uMetro Cairo Cinema 35 Talaat Harb St., Downtown (393-7061) Daily 11am, 1, 4, 7, 10pm & 1am uMiami Cinema 38 Talaat Harb St., Downtown (574-5656) Daily 10:30am, 1:30, 3:30, 6:30,

9:30pm & 12:30am uNormandy Cinema 32 Al Ahram St., Heliopolis (257-9195) Daily 10:30am, 1, 3:30, 6:30 & 9:30pm, Thursday and Friday also 1am uRamses Hotel Cinema Al Tahrir Sq. Downtown (574-7435, 574-7436) Daily 11am, 1:30, 4, 7, 10pm & 1am uRenaissance Nile City Corniche Al Nil, Northern Tower, Nile City, before Arkadia mall, Downtown (461-9102, 461-9103) Daily 11am, 1, 4, 7 & 10pm & 1am uRivoli Cinema 26 July St., in front of Dar Al Kadaa Al Aali, Downtown (5755-053) 11am, 1:15, 3:45, 6:45, 9:45pm and 12:30am uStars Cinema City Stars Center, Nasr City (414-2488, 480-3013/14) Daily 10:50am, 1:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30pm & 12:30am uTeeba Mall Cinema Al Nasr St., Nasr City (262-1084) Daily 10:45am, 1:15, 4:15, 7:15 & 10:15pm, Thursday and Friday also 1:15am uWonder Land Cinema 3 Mashrou Winder St., Nasr City (401-2354) Daily 10:30am, 1:30, 4:30, 7:15 & 10pm, Thursday and Friday also 1am

Al Edana (The Condemnation), directed by Hany Al Banna and starring Tayssir Fahmi, through 20 November uAl Haram 174 Al Haram St. (386-3952) Daily 10:30pm, Tuesdays off Starting Thursday 3 November Bodyguard, directed by Rami Imam, starring Adel Imam and Sherin Seif Al Nasr, through the winter season uAl Rihani 17 Emad Eddin St., Downtown (591-3697) Daily 10:30pm, except Wednesdays Starting Thursday 3 November Do Re Mi Fasolia, directed by Mahmoud Abu Geleila, starring Samir Ghanem and Shaaban Abdel Rahim, through the winter season uAl Salam 101 Qasr Al Aini St., Garden City (795-2484) Daily 10pm, except Tuesdays Starting Thursday 3 November Al Nas Al Nos Nos (The Average People), written by Kamel Hanafi, directed by Fouad Abdel Hai, starring Sherine, Nihal Anbar and Ahmed Rateb, through the winter season uAl Sawy Cultural Center 26 July St., Zamalek (736-6178) Saturday 5 November, 8:30pm Barra Al Gornal (Off the Newspaper), written by Yasser Aallam directed by Sobhi Al Haggar Sunday 6 November, 8:30 Al Wad Ghorab wa Al Qamar (The Boy Ghorab and the Moon), written by Ashraf Azzab, directed by Ibrahim Al Sheikh uAl Taliaa Midan Ataba, behind Al Ataba Parking, Downtown (593-7948) Daily 9pm, except Tuesdays Starting Friday 4 November Al Moharregun (The Clowns), written by Mohammed Al Moghawat, directed by Maher Selim, through 20 November uFeissal Nada 22 Qasr Al Aini St., Garden City (532-1112) Daily 9pm, except Thursday 3 and Friday 4 November at 10pm Starting Thursday 3 November In Kibir Ibnak (If Your Son Grew Up), directed by Fouad Abdel Hai, starring Sami Al Adl, Mohammed Nagati, Heba Al Sisi and Gihan Salama, through the winter season

Don’t ruin the film for yourself and other people


Cairo periodically publishes photographs of moments captured in the city. To submit photographs for publication, email copy@cairomagazine.com.





and news finally...


75 years ago Tensions ran high following the Wafd and Liberal Constitution parties’ 6 November 1930 announcement that they would boycott the elections to protest the constitution approved by Ismail Sidqi’s government. Dozens of people were injured as students rioted on university campuses in Alexandria and Cairo. 50 years ago On 3 November 1955, President Gamal Abdel Nasser rejected David Ben-Gurion’s request for a meeting to settle “the Palestinian problem,” citing clashes between Israeli and Egyptian troops in the northern Sinai region of Al Auja that left more than 50 Egyptian soldiers dead. 30 years ago Three hundred thousand unarmed Moroccans walked across the border into the northeast portion of Western Sahara, then Spanish Sahara, on 6 November 1975, in a push to lay claim to the area. Morocco’s King Hassan called the event the “Green March.” The International Court of Justice, whose decisions are not binding, had previously rejected Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara, supporting the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination. The influx of Moroccans, especially government soldiers, forced thousands of indigenous Sahrawi into refugee camps in Algeria. 10 years ago On 4 November 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Jewish law student Yigal Amir. Amir later told a judge that the assassination was an attempt to derail the peace process, since, he said, Rabin was intent on “giving our country to the Arabs.” He pointed to Halacha, the Jewish legal code, as the source of ideas that had led him to commit the murder.


yanmar means “the golden land” in Burmese, and after being there I understood why. It is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited. It felt like a moving picture. Yet even though it is a visually stunning country, there are many problems. The country is run by a military dictatorship, and human rights organizations claim that ethnic cleansings take place in areas tourists aren’t allowed to visit. Activist Aung San Suu Kyi is being held under house arrest in the capital Yangon and many people are too afraid of government retribution to even mention her name. The government controls its people by severely limiting access to international news and to the Internet. It is impossible to check a hotmail account in Myanmar, something I couldn’t believe until I saw it with my own eyes.

Yet knowing all of these things, my family and I still decided to go because we knew we could avoid patronizing government-run businesses. We knew our money would go into the pockets of the people of Myanmar. Pagodas are religiously significant in Buddhism, the main religion of Myanmar. Shewedagon Pagoda, located in Yagon, is the religious epicenter of the country and the magnificent structure is covered with 40 tons of gold. Bagan, another city in Burma, is also famous for its pagodas. It is overflowing with very old (non-gilded) pagodas, and the best way to see them is by hot air balloon. There are literally hundreds of them on just a few acres. We decided to get up before dawn to watch the sunrise while we floated above the pagodas. It was incredible, and I can only hope this photo shows a tenth of the beauty of the place. —Tara Todras-Whitehill

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