Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Warraq islanders vs. government : Once again in front of courts

The island of Warraq in Giza is back to the spotlight and it is not in a good way as much the Egyptian government wants or hopes.
A group of Warraq islanders began to sue the government in front of the administrative court to stop the execution of a ministerial decree to expropriate their land and houses issued in November.
This is the newest legal confrontation between the Islanders and government over the 1,400 feddans island that goes back to 2001.
On 22 November 2018 , Egypt’s Prime minister Mostafa Madbouly issued a decree to expropriate effective immediately  100 metres of land along both sides of the Rod Al-Farrag Axis – which crosses 200 metres of the island – as well as 30 metres from the shoreline inland around the island to construct a cornice (waterside road) in total of 230 metres.

According to locals, there are not less than 5,000 people living and working on those 230 metres.
The government says that this is part of urbanizing the Nile island while the locals fear that this is just an attempt to empty the island from the people to re-sell its land for millions to millions as it was the plan since 2001. “They have not forgotten those days

The government says that the citizens will be compensated and offered alternative houses like the residents of Maspero triangle but the locals say they do not believe the government will compensate them fairly as it wants to expropriate their land first before compensation.
The locals do not want to leave the island in nutshell. They do not reject urbanization but want to stay while the island is being urbanized.

On Tuesday, I have read also that there is another collective lawsuit representing all those people affected by the decree against the government at the administrative court according to the Warraq Families council that has been representing the islanders publicly in their fight against the government.
Warraq protest
A photo from the angry protest by locals at the ferry dock on Tuesday
"Warraq island News FB page"
It is worth to mention that on 19 January 2019 the administrative court will look into the appeal presented by the islanders against the government’s decree in June to establish a new “urban community” on the majority of the island.

On Tuesday also, things were going to escalate badly when local Facebook pages covering the island’s news above the “ Families of Warraq council”  said that the government allegedly decided to stop one of the local ferries connecting the island with the mainland replacing it with a ferry owned and run by the River Transport authority.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Egypt’s hidden architectural gems : Dr.Salem El-Hendawy Palace

Cairo and Giza got beautiful architectural jewels that are hidden in the rough that we are losing them fast those days.
Those hidden jewels are the residential palaces, villas and residential buildings with private gardens in side streets that nobody pays attention except when they are demolished and replaced by ugly cement buildings or to be precise cement blocks.

In Giza’s old Dokki, there are many hidden villas and palaces with a very unique architectural style that stand in a race of time.

Some of those palaces and buildings got very interesting stories about their owners who were once famous people and played an important role in the modern history of Egypt.

One of those places is the magnificent Palace of late physician Dr. Salem “Bey” El-Hendawy in the heart of Dokki, Giza governorate.

The Palace of Salem Hendawy's Facade
The Salem El-Hendawy palace's beautiful entrance 
All that I know about that palace that was built in 1932 and some say that it was a gift from King Fouad I to the late famous Dr. El-Hendawy for his services. Already the palace is located in Abdullah El-Kateb street, which was used to be named El-Hendawy street after the late doctor.
The original name is still kept in Google Maps in some kind of irony.

Historically the area where the palace is located was packed with palaces owned by members of Mohamed Ali Royal Family as well the Pashas but that palace truly stands out with its distinguished Neo-Islamic style.

Not so big palace
The Palace and its garden occupies 1200 meter square 

I do not know its architect was but I think it could be legendary architect Mostafa Pasha Fahmy because he was fond of that Neo-Islamic style.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

France’s Yellow Vests and Arab Social Media Vol.2 : Let the misinformation begin

The reactions in our dear part of the world over what has been happening in France whether from protests or official reactions.
In the past 48 hours, Egypt made headlines internationally once again in an awkward way as it turned out that the Egyptian authorities did restrict quietly the sale of yellow vests for fear of copycat protests especially January 25 anniversary is a couple of weeks away.
On Tuesday, Alexandria prosecution ordered the detention of a leftist human rights lawyer for 15 days pending investigations for posting a photo online wearing a yellow vest !!
Local Alexandrian activists like Mahinour El-Masry say that lawyer Mohamed Ramadan was accused of inciting protests because he posted a photo while wearing a yellow vest on his Facebook profile in solidarity with French protesters.
I thought the officials got the memo in 2011 that the Egyptian people do not need yellow vests to protests or start a sit-in in a place like Tahrir square.
I do not understand this frenzy or phobia especially there are no calls for mass protests in Egypt in any kind.

Anyhow in the past few days there has been a lot of misinformation about the movement and the decisions taken by the French government.
I can’t ignore that video which was shared by hundreds of thousands of times across the Arab world social media with the wrong translation and synopsis to bash the Arab Spring.
First of all here is the original video from Agence LDC News with English translation. “Thanks to Matsdash News Fact checking Facebook page



Shared thousands of time on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,  the video titled “A French policewoman cries and tells the protesters to kill her and not to destroy Paris like Arabs have done with their nations” went viral and found its way to news websites like Youm7 and its sisters in Egypt as well in the Arab world.

The news was like copied through the news websites in an automated way.
Many websites including Youm 7 cited the Arabic version of Russia Today “RT” as the source of the video and one can’t be surprised. I do not know what the Russian government wants but RT Arabic is a hub of misinformation in the Middle East and nobody is doing anything about it.

Friday, December 7, 2018

It seems that we are going to have constitutional amendments in Egypt : Voters be ready in 2019 !!

Earlier Friday, we found out that Egypt’s Urgent Matter Court scheduled a hearing 23 December 2018 to demand the parliament to look into a lawsuit demanding constitutional amendments that will cancel the presidential terms limits officially.

A ballot box at a polling station in Egypt's Giza
A ballot box at a polling station in Giza during the
Constitution referendum in 2012
The news was originally published by Egypt’s Official State-owned News agency MENA and according to it, a bunch of concerned citizens from lawyers “they are always good citizens” want to amend article No.140 of Current Egyptian Constitution that limit the presidential terms to two four-years-terms in the office.

Those citizens want to change the article because they want to re-elect current president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi from here to eternity as long as “the public wants it”.
Article No. 140 stipulates the following :
The President of the Republic shall be elected for a period of four calendar years, commencing from the day following the termination of the term of his predecessor. The President may only be reelected once.
I did not support or vote even for that constitution as I was so sick during its referendum but I have to say that this was one of its best articles.
According to article No.226, the articles of the constitution can be amended by the request of the president or one-fifth of the MPs in the House of the Representatives and that request must be discussed within 30 days.
The amendment of one or more of the Constitution articles may be requested by the President of the Republic or one-fifth of the members of the House of Representatives. The request specifies the articles to be amended and the reasons for the amendments. In all cases, the House of Representatives will debate the request within 30 days from the date of its receipt. The House issues its decision to accept the request in whole or in part by a majority of its members. If the request is rejected, the same amendments may not be requested again before the next legislative term. If the amendment request is approved by the House, it discusses the text of the articles to be amended within 60 days from the date of approval. If approved by a two-thirds majority of the House’s members, the amendment is put to public referendum within 30 days from the date of approval. The amendment is effective from the date on which the referendum’s result and the approval of a valid majority of the participants in the referendum are announced.
The argument of those who want to amend it and to change to infinity and beyond is that Presidents like El-Sisi don’t have enough presidential terms in hard times “that never ends in our place in the worlds”.
Some say that we must have it like the French “5 years” but ironically the French presidents also have only two concessive presidential terms.
I do not need to remind them the President of the United States aka, the leader of the Free world and the West only has got two presidential terms.

This is not the first time we got calls in Egypt to “unlimit” the presidential terms constitutionally if you remember last year but this time it seems really serious especially with that lawsuit and media campaigns as well the parliamentarians leading for public campaigns as well.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

France's Yellow Vests and Arab Social media Media Vol.1 : Trump , MB and glue sniffers

From two weeks ago or something when the “Gilets Jaunes” or Yellow Vests movement began to gain attention worldwide with their protests rocking France , I received a WhatsApp message from a Pro-regime TV host and journalist saying that the protests were sponsored by the CIA and Trump as an answer for the French President Emmanuel Macron call’s for a European army.

I laughed and did not pay attention then to the message as he is used to sharing those wild anti-Arab spring pro-conspiracy theories all the time.
Tonight I found non-politicized friends on Facebook sharing the same post copied from each other, unfortunately, which means it began to spread.
Yellow vests in Paris "AFP"
Yellow vests in Paris "AFP"
For the regime supporters, the CIA and Trump “whom they actually like” are not the only usual suspect to blame in that “violence” threatening the French republic.

The Islamists or to be specific the Muslim Brotherhood are blamed also for the Yellow vests movement.
Nabil Naim, the former leading figure in Islamic Jihad the so-called expert in the Islamists affairs told Al-Masry Al-Youm “AMAY” Daily that the Muslim Brotherhood members from Algerians, Tunisians and Moroccans who live in the shanty towns of France were participating in the violent protests.
“The way that those protests are being managed show the Muslim Brother is behind them without a doubt !!!!” He said with all confidence.
He also added that the CIA and Trump were behind those protests but they let the MB do their dirty work for them because Macron spoke about that European army.
It is always the MB.

Dubai former police chief Dhahi Khalfan also wondered if the Gilet Jaunes protests had to do with the arrest of Tarek Ramadan, the grandson of MB’s founder on charges of rapes and that the MB made up those protests !!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Seen in Giza : The Phoenix laundry service

Phoenix Laundry Service

Seen in Giza: The phoenix laundry service and I do not know why it’s owner named it that iconic name.
I do not know why or how the owner thought of naming his laundry service after a mystical bird the old Arabs spoke about in their old literature.
In the old Arab literature, the Phoenix or the "Anka" was the hugest bird the earth had seen living away from humans and it had magical characteristics.
Historically speaking, the Phoenix' first appearance was in ancient Egyptian mythology then spread in the rest of the ancient world. 
The Phoenix or the Anka is commonly known in Arab Culture as one of the three impossibles or myths.
It is mentioned in a very famous poem verse from the Pre-Islam days in Arabia saying that there are impossibles in the world: The ghoul, the Phoenix and the honest good friend.