Thursday, October 29, 2020

Kodak Agfa Presents : The Moulid Sweets traditional stand on the Go

I wanted to go and to film as well to snap photos for the Moulid sweets aka Halwa El-Moulid traditional makeshift stands but I remember the wise Cardi B when she said “Coronavirus !!”

Buying and eating Moulid sweets and candies are the most famous traditional associated with celebrating Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” birthday anniversary in Egypt.

Since the Middle ages and specifically the time of the Fatimids, Egyptians had been celebrating it this way.

The sweets are made of sugar-coated nuts and stuff like hummus and sesame. There is also Turkish delight sweet aka Malban which is too sugary for me and sticks in your mouth.

But I am kind happy to find this small cheerful traditional Moulid makeshift in front of a local bakery in Downtown Cairo selling not only the traditional sweets.

The Moulid sweets stand 

It did not only sell the traditional sweets but sold the original sugary statuettes of Moulid aka “Moulid Maids" and “ Moulid horse” representing the beautiful maidens and knights. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Concerning the #Frenchproductboycott thing : Excuse my French for real this time

I write this post without arranging my thoughts concerning the latest controversy concerning France and the Muslim world aka the French Products boycott over publishing the infamous controversial cartoons mocking Islam’s Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” last week.

I will try to arrange my thoughts while I am angry.

Excuse my French for real this time but I know that shit would hit the fan when French President Emmanuel Macron went on with his historical speech about fighting “Islamist separatism” and how ‘” Islam was in a crisis”.

Macron in the famous Zaitouna Mosque in Tunisia in 2018 "AFP
Macron in the famous Zaitouna Mosque in Tunisia in
2018 "AFP"

I do not know much about Macron’s advisers but that speech was alarming. I do not know how a sane person in the position of Macron as a Western Non-Muslim speaks about the crisis a whole religion of nearly two billion currently lives so easily. 

I do not know how no one in the French administration thought for a moment that this speech is like an official endorsement to the dangerous growing Nazi right-wing political powers of Europe. 

Dear Ahmed Zaki put it perfectly “Islam as religion does not live a crisis, Muslims live in a crisis and not even all Muslims” and that the crisis of Muslims in the Middle East, for instance, is different than in Asia and even on nations level; the problems of Muslims in Malaysia are different than Egypt. This is one.

The French president ignores how his country and its support to corrupted regimes for decades were part of this long crisis. I do not want to get in France’s colonial history in the Muslim countries.

I know also first hand as a citizen of the Middle East how you can divert attention from things that matter in society. I know first hand that poverty and stigmatization play a role in making youth join terrorist organization too 

I believe it was easier to put the blame on Islam as a religion than to admit that the French republic failed miserably in integrating many French Muslims into its society by insisting that they give up some of their beliefs to become part of the French society.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Egypt’s parliamentary elections 2020 : Shake it to the beat

After a few hours from now, the House of Representatives elections' first stage will kick off in 10,240 polling stations will be operating in 14 governorates where 1,879 candidates are competing on the votes of nearly 33 million eligible voters.

In this stage, those candidates are fighting over 284 seats; half to the individual candidates and the other half to the party lists. 

This is the first elections after the new amendments of 2019 that brought the Upper House and Lower House to Egypt once again.

The Upper House elections aka were held in September and they recorded the lowest turnout in Egyptian elections since the March 2011 referendum “only 14.23% of the eligible voters participated in the 4 days of the Senate elections while in the runoffs attracted only 10.22%”.

We got nearly 66 million voters. The Senate elections were held when almost all Egyptians were taking vacations after months of a lockdown or simply they did not know unlike the House of Representatives’ elections.

I expect a higher turnout without a doubt but smashing turnout because we are speaking about pandemic time and less publicity and interactions with voters on the ground.

Now in the time of coronavirus, this could be the quietest elections I have seen with less noise on the ground from the usual elections campaigns.

You will know that there are elections only from the banner everywhere with the faces and names , mostly you only see once;  in the time of the elections.

The first stage's 14 governorates are Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assuit, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira and Marsa Matruh.

Giza is the second biggest governorate and the extension of the Egyptian capital Cairo is witnessing the clash of the titans of names from businessmen, public figures and media figures.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Schools are back officially in Egypt

Officially, the new academic year “2020-2021” in schools and university has kicked off in Egypt.

It is the challenging year of the pandemic where many parents, teachers and ministry alike waiting to see what will happen in this semester.

Egypt has 23 million school students classified into four stages: from kindergarten to secondary education according to Minister of Education Tarek Shawky.

To solve the huge challenge of the overcrowdedness in schools, especially in public schools and to achieve social distancing, the ministry adopted a system where the students do not go school all the days of the weeks.

Each stage has a limited number of days to attend school. The youngest would go most of the days because they need more human teacher-student interaction according to Shawky. 

The Ministry has adopted an ambitious plan to combine both homeschooling, e-learning and in-school teaching but now Egypt’s internet speed woes, I do not know if this plan will reach its goals successfully.

A photo from a class in an Egyptian class on Saturday by  Mohamed El-Raai
A photo from a class in an Egyptian class on Saturday by 
Mohamed El-Raai 

The ministry also made a plan if a school witnesses an outbreak in one class or more.

International schools have already started their academic earlier but here we are speaking about the Egyptian educational system.

I really hope that the Education Ministry in Egypt follows the steps of its counterpart in Tunisia and issues updates about the number of cases if any because transparency is the only way to deal with such matter.

Egypt will witness within days its House of Representatives’ elections.

It will be another challenge. So far the official numbers show a stable situation when it comes to coronavirus but officials worry about a new wave in the fall and the winter.

Anyhow here is our live blog following all things coronavirus in Egypt and the Arab world in for another 14 days inshallah.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile: Eight months of COVID-19 in Egypt in graph

Another monthly post as part of the COVID-19.

This time it is a quick look into COVID-19 numbers in Egypt after seven months.

I started doing those posts when we hit the six months benchmark and actually, I found them useful.

Sensitizing the Giza plateau "Reuters"
Sensitizing the Giza plateau "Reuters"

They are all based on official numbers released by the Egyptian Health Ministry.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile: Egypt’s COVID-19 September numbers in Graph

This is the time of our monthly post about the coronavirus pandemic and its numbers in graphs.

Here is our August post based on the official numbers released daily by the Egyptian Health Ministry.

First of all, this month witnessed the beginning of not only autumn but also the beginning of the ordinary of the seasonal flu and cold despite the weather was hot.

Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed "SIS"
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed "SIS"

Second of all, I have been away for a week in the North Coast and the message I got that nobody followed the face mask and social distancing rules.

The same thing when I returned to Cairo and to work at the office, it was like that we are back to February 2020.

It seems that very few that still cares.

I believe that people began to neglect those basic rules because the official numbers of coronavirus infection patients in Egypt released by the Health Ministry continue to be stable not exceeding 200 per day.

On the other hand, you still hear about people dying because of coronavirus including doctors.

Here are September’s daily infection numbers in the graph.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Egyptian Faces : Remembering Ragaa

I have a confession.

When I first wrote about how Egyptian veteran actress Ragaa El-Gedawy was admitted to hospital and sent a voice message to her fans because she contracted coronavirus in the Daily COVID-19 Updates on the Blog, I felt that I was writing her obituary.

"The Kasr Al-Nil Model Ragaa El-Gedawy strikes a pose
"The Kasr Al-Nil Model Ragaa El-Gedawy
strikes a pose

This made so worried hoping that my feeling was wrong and the 81-years-old actress was going to make it but she did.

Miss Egypt or rather the Egyptian Province 1958 “Egypt was part of the United Arab Republic with Syria and there were two provinces then” lost her battle and passed away on 5 July 2020 after nearly a month or more in the country’s top coronavirus Abu Khalifa Hospital in Ismailia.

El-Gidawy was admitted to Abu Khalifa hospital on 24 May 2020 after her daughter Amira Mokhtar reached out to officials including the health minister when her mother’s health deteriorated and it turned out that she was coronavirus positive.

There is not clear when or how Ragaa El-Gedawy contracted coronavirus but days before she fell very ill, the veteran supporting actor wrapped filming a TV series in the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Despite the warnings, studios continued filming claiming that they could not delay or suspending shooting the TV series.

Photos from the last day of filming emerged online and even shared on Instagram by the popular actress, showing no masks nor social distancing.