Saturday, August 1, 2020

Kodak Agfa presents : A very short drive through tour of El-Sayida Zeinab area’s Mosques in one street

There are good reasons why UNESCO chose Historical Cairo as a World Heritage site.

One of those reasons I believe personally is that Cairo is one of those cities where you can see a long history, a long tale of man since the dawn of history till our modern time manifested in architecture; even if those buildings are tombs and cemeteries.

I can’t drag myself to write what is happening at Cairo’s City of the Dead because the whole thing depresses me and if I go deeper, I will be depressed more. “More about it from AP

Reading what happened to the cemetery of legendary Egyptian journalist and novelist Ihsan Abdel Kouddous by the pen of his grandson Sharif Abdel Kouddous made me feel helpless.

Cairo’s City of the Dead included some of Egypt’s greatest pioneers in the 19th and 20th century like Abdel Kouddous.

It shocked me how the Ministry of Archeology and Tourism officials from archaeologists justified this disrespect to the deceased and how they regarded those cemeteries as “modern”.

They should know better.

Some of those cemeteries were designed and constructed by the brightest architects Egypt and the Arab world have seen till this day like Hassan Fathy.

I knew that in the 1980s or the 1990s, a similar project was proposed and planned during Mubarak era but Dr Galila El-Kady, the first Egyptian woman to survey and write down the history of the Cairo's City of the Dead stood against the project and succeeded in stopping it but now another project is here and it seems Goliath is winning.

El-Kady made important books about the history of Cairo in English and French above them “Architecture for the Dead: Cairo’s Medieval Necropolis

Some people supported online the government in those highways plan to claim that those modern “Mamluks” useless places, a highway is much better.

Other claims that there is no history in those places, unfortunately, some regard that history in Egypt stops at the ancient Egyptian era as well as what the government renovates only.

“It is a 19th-century building, it is not historical,” They say or “It is just building”

Sometimes you are captured by the beauty of a villa or a cemetery entrance or a mosque and you ask more about it and its history to know that the owner of the cemetery was a famous Egyptian politician or a famous doctor or an industrialist who contributed a lot to the history of the industry in this country away from foreign control.

Back to the starting point, why UNESCO considered historical Cairo including Islamic Cairo a World Heritage Site.

An Exhibit below from very few photos can explain my point when it comes to Historical Islamic Cairo

Those are some of the mosques I found on the way from the Mosque of El-Sayida Zeinab to the Islamic Museum in Port Said street.

I took their photos while I was in the car and I returned to read more about them only to find names I have not known before.

Prince Tamraz Mosque from the Mamluk era

Prince Tamraz shrine and mosque in Islamic Cairo of Egypt
Prince Tamraz Mosque 

This is the Mosque of Mamluk Prince Tamraz built in the year 1471 during the era of Sultan Qaitbay.

What we know about late Prince Tamraz was that he was a Circassian slave boy that was purchased and enrolled in Egypt’s Mamluk system. Soon, he became a leading Mamluk from the ruling class that controlled Egypt and Levants in several centuries. There had been renovations that took place in the mosque in 18th and 19th century. 

You can find more in Egy.Com

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Eid Al-Adha week edition

First of all Happy and Blessed Eid to all Muslims around the globe celebrating Eid Al-Adha in time of coronavirus. This is the second Eid to celebrate under the coronavirus pandemic. We celebrated from a couple of months ago Eid El-Fitr. It is not a big secret that this will be an Eid Al-Adha to remember in a lifetime.

Only 10,000 Muslim pilgrims are currently performing Islam’s greatest lifetime pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Last year, there were over two million pilgrims from around the globe were in Mecca but this year and due to the global pandemic, the Saudi government decided to keep it small with only 10,000 selected pilgrims from living inside the Kingdom.

A historical scene from Mecca on Wednesday
Masjid Al Haram on Wednesday during the performance
of Tawaaf Al Qudum on the Day of Tarwiyah

There are native Saudis and foreign residents from 160 countries participating in that very unique experience in a very difficult time.

It is a strange scene to see the Holy land empty like that.

May Allah end this pandemic before next year’s Eid inshallah.

Back in Egypt, the decline in the infected daily tally I believe currently is encouraging the public to live their lives as if there is no coronavirus.

Egyptian officials are asking the public to follow the precautionary measures and social distancing policies but it seems all those requests go in vain.

Most of the people do not wear face masks anymore in the streets. They do not even care for the fines imposed by the Egyptian government.

I am worried just like many other people that after this decline in the infected daily tally, Egypt may witness another increase like in other countries, e.g the US and Spain.

Now second of all, I am sorry that the weekly posts in the past few days were not as they should be. I had once again a problem on my laptop and I used to work on iPad and iPhone in a very difficult time.

Thank God, I fixed my laptop and it is back.

Now to our weekly live coverage which I have started early to cover the Eid vacation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

#Metoo summer’s return in Egypt: It started on social media posts written in English

On Saturday, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church announced that it defrocked a priest who served abroad after receiving complaints there about his behaviour according to its investigation.

The news or the statement did not include too many details on why the Church defrocked Priest Reweiss Aziz Khalil and stripped him of his priestly rank, thereby he becomes once again Youssef Aziz Khalil.

The statement is considered as a notification to both civil authorities in Egypt or the United States where Khalil allegedly resides currently that he is no  longer a member of the church's clergy

He is said to allegedly live in Missouri. 

Youssef Khalil is accused of sexual harassment and molestation of minors.

In other words, he is an alleged paedophile.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Egypt passes the COVID-19 peak according to officials

Egypt has passed the COVID-19 peak according to health officials on Saturday following the drop in the daily infection rates and deaths, nevertheless, there are warnings that people should not give up their precautions.

Men wearing protective face masks walk in downtown Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egypt. (Reuters)
Men wearing protective face masks walk
in downtown Cairo"Reuters"

Doctors speak off the record about how the numbers truly decreased in the hospitals.

Yet health officials including minister of health Hala Zayed are asking the people to extra cautious 

Also, I can’t ignore the WHO EMRO health officials who warned that the countries of the region are still in danger.

Personally, when I went to buy our grocery and do some quick shopping I was shocked at how the majority of the people in the streets did not wear masks, some of them wore it only when they are inside big supermarket chains or big shops with strict mask policies.

Needless to say, Egypt is facing several challenges this week as coronavirus is still there. Aside from the GERD Dam talks which supposedly will be resumed on Tuesday, we are facing a possible Egyptian military intervention in Libya. It is a tough week and hopefully, coronavirus won’t make it tougher inshallah.

Here is our liveblogging widget.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Kodak Agfa presents : Fayoum’s Wadi El-Rayan waterfalls in photos

This is my attempt to revive Kodak Agfa, especially it seems that Coronavirus is still there.

This is the second post in a series of posts featuring my short visit in 2017 with my family to the amazing Fayoum governorate. "Warning: The photos may not be the best" 

The first post featured Lake Qaron aka Lake Moeries; which has been one of the most famous landmarks in the governorate for decades but it met a competition in a recent couple of decades.

This competition is represented in Wadi El-Rayan and Wadi El-Hitan protectorates.

Wadi El-Hitan is already part of Wadi El-Rayan as far as I know.

First waterfall in Egypt's Wadi El Rayan protectorate
Wadi El-Rayan waterfall in Fayoum in 2017

The valley of El-Rayan or Wadi El-Rayan in Arabic got a lot of interest places and lots of interesting tales.

Its first tale is related to its name “Wadi El-Rayan”.

I did not understand the meaning at first because El-Rayan in Arabic means “watered” and it is not a green valley per se.

Inside Egypts Wadi El-Rayan protectorate in Fayoum
Desert road leading to Wadi El-Rayan in 2017

If you think it is strange because it is a desert valley named “El-Rayan”, wait to know until you know the rest of the tale.

According to local history, the Arab tribes and nomad in that area “and they are many across the Western desert and present a considerable percentage in the local population in the area.” named a desert valley after the name of King El-Rayan Ibn El-Walid.

This king allegedly lived for a while in the region along with his army depending on wells as a source of water as there were no waterfalls in the past or vast lakes. “Yeah, you read it right and this is another tale here”

So who was that El-Rayan Ibn El-Walid or El-Rayan son El-Walid !? No, he was not an Arab ruler who came to Egypt during the Arabic conquest in the 7th century.

He was actually a famous ancient Egyptian King if not one of the most famous Egyptian rulers in the “alternative popular ancient Egyptian history.”

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Another week of all things COVID-19 in Egypt and Arab World

Another week under the Coronavirus spill in the mid of a hot summer.

The numbers are decreasing in Egypt but many people including myself are concerned that this decrease will be followed by another increase once again just like in other countries.

Preparing the vaccine in Egypt at Eva pharma labs  "Getty"
Preparing the vaccine in Egypt at Eva pharma labs 

The Egyptian government is speaking about the Egyptian citizen’s awareness and honestly, I believe government relying alone on the citizens’ awareness was a lost bet and the number of cases in the United States is a proof for that.

This is why I am concerned and worried.

As humans, we are fed up with this lockdown and it is summer. We will go out and many of us won’t follow the social distancing rules or wear masks because he or she is fed up.

Needless to say, we will pay because of this reckless behaviour. God knows I have heard a lot of examples of this reckless behaviour and it makes me worry. 

Unfortunately, we will be in this cycle till we find a cure or vaccine with affordable price. Please stay safe as much as you can. 

Here is our weekly COVID-19 live update.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : COVID-19 Status in Egypt During June 2020 in Graph

We are back with this monthly post about the freaking coronavirus status in Egypt during the month of June 2020.

The month of June 2020 a surge in the daily infection cases, deaths as well as full recovery.

Man selling freska in Cairo with a mask "Getty"
Man selling freska in Cairo with a mask "Getty"

Its last week also witnessed the start of the re-opening of the country by the government despite the number of cases due to economic reasons.

Here is the daily infection rate in June 2020.

It went ups and downs but not less than 1,000 per day.

Again I remember the minister of scientific research and high education Khaled Abdel Ghafer and his statement that the cases could be more than the government knowledge.

On Wednesday during a cabinet meeting, Minister of Health Hala Zayed stated that the number of coronavirus cases in Egypt declined from 10,518 from 23 to 29 June period to 8,404 cases from 30 June till 6 July due to “the government’s measures against coronavirus”

It is also worth to mention that recently many doctors began to treat any symptom of flu as a symptom of coronavirus without admitting the patients to hospitals except when their condition needs to.