Saturday, August 8, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Senate elections week edition

Another weekly live update post with all things coronavirus as much as I can from Egypt and the Arab world.

It is a very interesting week.

Egypt is already going to have its Senate Elections on 11 and 12 August 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Egypt has been witnessing officially a stable decline in the numbers

A file photo of Egyptians in the metro in March 2020 "Reuters" 

It won’t be a shock or a surprise considering that most people act as if there is not pandemic in the first place despite the official warnings. of daily infections and deaths but doctors, on the other hand, have been reporting last week a return to an increase.

Once again people are ignoring the social distancing policies and the masks.

Very few are still wearing the masks while the majority act as if there is nothing at all.

I am afraid we may have to pay a price for this behaviour like the price the public is paying in Europe and the United States.

Anyhow, here is our weekly live updates widget.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Kodak Agfa Presents : A full Moon , Jupiter and Saturn in the city

It is not every night you can see Jupiter and Saturn by the naked eye.

It is not every night you can see Jupiter and Saturn by the naked eye in the city with all the streets lights.

It is not every night you can see Jupiter and Saturn by the naked eye just besides a very bright full moon.

So last Sunday , it was very special night to see Jupiter and Saturn appear to the naked eye like that in a city like Giza with lights are everywhere clear.
Full Moon , Jupiter and Saturn

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Beirut Blast : Welcome to post-apocalyptic Beirut

First of all, this how you can help Lebanon as a person if you can.

You can donate to Lebanese NGOs through this link.

You can donate to buy food items directly through this link

You can donate to the Lebanese Red Cross directly through this link

It is nearly 24 hours following the huge blast in Beirut port that is changing the fate of a whole country in the saddest way ever.

Last night Beirut was on another date with misery with those series of explosions that made it trend for all the wrong reasons once again, a city of disaster.

An old Lebanese lady spending the night at the street due to the explosion  "Twitter"
An old Lebanese lady spending the night at the street due to the explosion 

What makes me sad for real is that Beirut is a synonym for happiness and bon vivant for us, the Arabs but for the west Beirut is only in the centre of news for this kind of disasters and civil wars.

The photos and videos showing post-apocalyptic Beirut in a very sad way. 

Victims numbers are increasing

In the past few hours the Lebanese health officials announced that the number, we are speaking about at least 150 dead and over 5,000 injuries according in addition to hundreds of missing people.

On social media, you will find sisters searching for brothers and nephews searching for uncles.

According to the Lebanese officials, 300,000 Lebanese people spent their night in the street because they could not spend their night at their homes due to the huge damages the buildings suffered.

All the journalists living in Beirut I know or I follow online reported that some kind of damages in their homes.No one was spared.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Beirut Port Explosion : The Cost of negligence “or Warehouse 12 of hell ”

2020 won’t be an easy or unforgettable year by all measures as it seems

In case you do not know the news yet, the Lebanese capital Beirut was rocked by huge multiple explosions at the Port of Beirut. The explosions that shocked the city to the core killed at least 78 people and injured over 4,000 people.

The explosions happened at 6.30 PM Beirut Local Time when multiple explosions took place at a warehouse in the port. At first, it was reported that it took place at a fireworks warehouse but it was soon debunked.

According to the Lebanese Prime Minister Hasan Diab, the explosion happened at a warehouse that stored explosives and chemicals specifically Ammonium Nitrate.

After the explosions in Beirut Port by AFP
After the explosions in Beirut Port by AFP 

The Lebanese officials say that the warehouse stored 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which is equivalent to 600 tonnes of TNT for nearly 6 years !!

It is unclear yet what caused the first explosion or fire that led to multiple fires.

The Lebanese High Council of Defense declared a state of emergency for two weeks as well as Beirut as “Disaster City”.

The situation is more than horrible according to citizens and reporters online.

Warehouse 12 in the Port of Beirut or the bloody cargo of m/v Rhosus

The story of Black Tuesday’s explosions started on 23/9/2013 when M/V Rhosus flying a Moldavian flag sailed from Batumi Port, Georgia heading to Beira port in Mozambique carrying a cargo of 2,750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate.

Due to technical problems, the Rhosus stopped at Beirut Port and upon inspection by the Lebanese authority, it was forbidden to continue its voyage because of its highly explosive cargo.

The cargo was transported later to warehouse 12.

Nobody understands why the Lebanese officials let a highly explosive material like that for 6 years in a civilian port in a civilian area.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

#Hajj2020 to remember indeed : Hajj in time of coronavirus

There are millions of Muslims worldwide who envy those lucky few who enjoyed very unique and organized Hajj this year for the most unexpected reasons.

Earlier Saudi Arabia decided to downsize the Hajj or Islamic pilgrimage from 2.5 million pilgrims from around the globe to 10,000 pilgrims from residents and Saudis living in the Kingdom.

Saudi authorities had to downsize the Hajj due to Coronavirus outbreak.

They could have cancelled it as they did with Umra pilgrimage and the decision would have been supported religiously but because we are speaking about Hajj pilgrimage; one of the original pillars of Islam, I think it was kind of huge challenge. 

One can say that the Saudi authorities succeeded in arranging unforgettable Hajj Season for Hijri year 1441/2020.

The photos were amazing like every year but this time they were unique. This post is to memorize Hajj in time of coronavirus. 

The pilgrims around the Kaaba in Masjid Al-Haram
The pilgrims around the Kaaba in Masjid Al-Haram  "CGG Saudi government"

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.