Saturday, February 16, 2019

Egypt’s Constitutional amendments 2019 : The Parliament approves preliminarily too quickly

On Thursday, Egypt’s House of Representatives passed in Cairo preliminary the constitutional amendments preliminarily that will allow current President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to run for more presidential terms.

The amendments which were presented to the parliament by one-fifth of its members, were approved by 485 members out of the 596-seat parliament after two days of discussion only "In a total of ten hours only".

During that preliminary discussion, it was agreed to keep the two constitutional articles related to the National Press Council and the National Media Council after it was originally suggested in the amendments their cancellation.
Egyptian parliament 

Only 17 MPs rejected the amendments and their names are : MP Talaat Khalil , MP Nadia Henry , MP Faiza Mahmoud , MP Samir Ghattas , MP Reda El-Beltagy, MP Gamal El-Sherif , MP Haitham El-Hariri , MP Siyad Abd El-Aal , MP Mohamed El-Attmany , MP Mostafa Kamel El-Din, MP Ahmed El-Sharkawy, MP Mohamed Abdel El-Ghanny , MP Salah Abdel Badie , MP Ahmed El-Bredesy and MP Akmal Kourtam.

I believe it is important to mention their names.

It is worth to mention MP Faiza Mahmoud is a member of the Support Egypt Bloc and yet she voted against the amendments.
She is the only MP from that bloc to do so considering the fact that Support Egypt bloc was the one that represented the petition to amend the constitution in the first place.

Interestingly the leader of Conservatives Party MP Akmal Kourtam was among the MPs who said a big NO in the parliament when the rest of the MPs in his party’s parliamentary bloc said “Yes”.
Kourtam, a former NDP figure had his moment during the discussion of the amendments on Thursday that unfortunately is not recorded officially in the Parliament’s logs.
During his word during the assembly, he had had a nearly verbal fight with other MPs because they were angry of what he said before he left the session.
The constitutional amendments are aggression,” He said adding those amendments were also a crime against the people and the state institution in Egypt.
Akmal Kourtam led a party known to its support to the army and the regime in general in Egypt since its official and legal launch after the January 2011 revolution.
Since announcing his rejection to the amendments from two weeks, the man has been attacked by Pro-regime media madly.

Still, Kourtam was not the star of the opposition in the parliament during that fast discussion, the new star of the opposition was MP Ahmed Tantawy and his short word in front of the assembly.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day : From ancient Egypt with love

Happy Valentine’s Day
Here is a beautiful small statue feature an ancient Egyptian and his lady at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.
Ancient Egyptian Couple at the Egyptian museum of Cairo
Egyptian common couple 

I do not remember the names of that beautiful couple but I know that they were regular commoners from ancient Egypt’s old kingdom.

The husband was working as an official as far as I remember. Even though they were not royal, they had a beautiful statue featuring them as a young couple.

The statue was found in the husband’s tomb.
I feel a lot of love in that small statue.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Demolishing the perfumers agency in Islamic Cairo : What History Do We brag about in Egypt !!?

As Egyptians , we like to brag all the time about we are the oldest nation with a recorded civilization in the globe with 3000 B.C history or even 7000 B.C history and yet all that we are currently doing in Egypt now is watching how our history, our heritage is being demolished in front of our eyes for the sake of so-called modernism.

On Monday, I was hit by the news that the ancient “Perfumers agency” which was built originally from 900 years ago by the orders of Middle Cairo district because it allegedly imposes a danger on the public.
Perfumers agency now
The Perfumers agency after it was demolished "Facebook"
Shamefully Egypt’s ministry of antiquities said that it was not a monument and was not registered as one and that Cairo governorate issued a demolishment order due to safety reasons.

The ministry's officials now say that the only thing ancient in the place was the facade !!

 The former head of Islamic antiquities authority says on the other hand that the building should have been renovated adding that the facade and parts of the building were all part of the ancient building of the agency that disappeared by time. 
The perfumers agency in the old days
The entrance of the agency before it was demolished 
Amazingly from four days ago, Egypt’s Administrative prosecution announced that investigated in the matter as citizens presented filed a complaint against that demolishment order and it recommended that it should be registered as a monumental building due to its history.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Egypt’s Constitutional Amendments 2019 : Too Fast but too quiet in the Media

I am back in town and I can’t believe how to speed the Egyptian House of Representatives is moving when it comes to the upcoming constitutional amendments.
I am trying to catch up what has been happening so fast in the past week.

On Tuesday, the Parliament’s general committee approved the proposed Constitutional amendments presented by one-fifth of the MPs on Sunday.

The amendments if passed by the House of Representatives then approved by the majority of eligible voters in a referendum will not only enable the president to stay in power for another two decades but also enable him to have more control over judiciary as well as enable the army to interfere in the political life constitutionally.
The Egyptian parliament
The Egyptian parliament 

I believe any constitutional amendments will take more time for discussions in any parliament’s general committee in the world on any planet in any solar system but we are speaking about Egypt’s current House of Representatives.

Now the House of Representatives will have a final vote on 17 February 2018 and if approved by 2/3 of the MPs then there will be a referendum within 60 days.

The parliament’s biggest bloc “Support Egypt” supports the amendments along with pro-regime parties like “Future of Homeland Party” and “Free Egyptians Party”
Again things are moving fast to the level that I can’t comprehend naively considering we are speaking about alarming constitution amendments.

In the Parliament, 25-30 Bloc is still insisting on its position to reject the Constitutional amendments and I guess some of its prominent members may not stay long in the parliament as I explain later in the post.

Interestingly, the Conservatives Party seems to have a split over the amendments as its leader declared his rejection to the amendments whereas its MPs and other leading figures in the party declared their support.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Egyptian Constitutional amendments 2019 : Let the games begin

And the Egyptian parliament began to pave the away for the upcoming Constitutional amendments.

Without waiting for the Urgent matters court to say its word, more than one fifth of the MPs in the House of Representatives presented a written petition to the Speaker of the House Ali Abdel Aal on Saturday to amend Constitution 2014.

On Sunday , the general committee of the parliament issued a statement about the main issues involving the proposed amendments officially.

So far the 15 major articles that are going to be amended are related to Presidential terms “6 years for two presidential terms instead of four” , creating a parliamentary quota for women and Christians, the procedures to appoint the minister of defense , the military courts for civilians.

There are going to be at least 10 new articles to be added including creating a vice-president position , a Shura council , special quotas for women,a judiciary coordinating committee headed by the President.

The general committee of the parliament will continue discussing the proposed amendments on Tuesday.

Most of those MPs that presented the petition, if not all of them are members of Pro-regime “Support Egypt” bloc

Interestingly , I can’t find any serious article enforcing the freedoms or guarantees that it would be turned in to one man show constitutionally in the proposed articles as article 226 of the current constitution stipulates.

The article is crystal clear.

“In all cases, texts pertaining to the re-election of the president of the republic or the principles of freedom and equality stipulated in this Constitution may not be amended, unless the amendment brings more guarantees.”

I knew about that move since last week but I did not imagine that the process would be so fast.

I will be out of town with limited access online this week.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Seen in Cairo : Bajocchi jewelry shop


Seen in Downtown Cairo: Founded in 1900, Bajocchi jewelry shop is considered Downtown Cairo’s oldest jewelry open business. Some say it is the oldest in the Middle East.

An original Italian family business that started in Egypt in the late 19th century, it has not stopped working nor it did change its old looks in its famous shop at the famous Abdel Halek Tharwat street for 118 years.