Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas from Egyptian Chronicles

Merry Christmas from Egyptian Chronicles to all the people celebrating it all over the world
Here is a nice Christmas Tree in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement made by ABn’G art gallery for some real estate development company there.
Cairo's Christmas tree
ABn'G Christmas tree in 5th settlement suburb, East Cairo  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Media Empires of Egypt : The King is dead , Long live the Queen

In the past three years, Steel mogul Ahmed Abu-Hashima deserved the title “Egypt’s Robert Murdoch” as by far he was the king of a huge empire with over 16 companies working in all types of media in Egypt including a TV network in his early 40s to complete the saga and his mystery of fast speed rise.

The close to the regime businessman did not give any indication that he would leave that media realm in Egypt anytime soon but surprisingly he did it this week in the same way he entered it: suddenly.
With no introductions or previous announcements, a new financial investment company announced that it has acquired all the shares of Abu-Hashima in the Egyptian Media group this week.

In a very short statement that included too many surprises, the announcement came late Monday night.
“Eagle Capital for financial investment” has acquired the shares of businessman Ahmed Abu Hashima. The CEO of Eagle Capital Dalia Khorshid stated that the acquisition is the first business deal for the company.
She also said that the acquisition reflected her company’s interest in that strategic sector (media) that affects the citizen on a daily basis.
The short statement added the company appointed former head of Egyptian Radio and Television Union “ERTU” Osama El-Sheikh as the new CEO of Egyptian Media group replacing Abu-Hashima who resigned from the post.
The statement did not include any mention of how much Eagle Capital for investments bought the shares of Abu Hashima.
The young king of media left the realm and there was a new Queen with a veteran Sharif in town, hail the Queen.

Disclaimer: Now a big portion of that long post I have been working on for months in an attempt to decode the Egyptian Media map currently in an attempt to understand who is running the show and why.  Spoilers: If you are following Egyptian internal affairs very well, you already guessed.

Old faces, new roles

There has been no official website or Facebook page available online for Eagle Capital for Financial Investment whose headquarters are in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement.
It is not registered in the Egyptian stock market. There is nothing in the Egyptian news archives about it.
According to the Misr Al-Arabia website, Eagle Capital for Financial Investment was founded in 2016.
Now, we do not know who REALLY owns or founded this company.

News reports speak about two potential buyers: A group of Gulf investors owns 40% of Eagle Capital and the Egyptian General Intelligence service.
Dalia Khorshid
Dalia Khorshid in her official ministerial profile
Misr Al-Arabia and Mada Misr quoted veteran Egyptian veteran publisher Hisham Kassem saying that the Egyptian General intelligence service did not only stand behind Eagle Capital but stands behind the Egyptian Media group as well.

The veteran publisher even says that the acquisition of Egyptian Media group was only a way to change the management only. Mada Misr supports that claim according to its sources as you can see.

If you remember, Egyptian General Intelligence is allegedly associated with Private contractor Falcon Group which acquired Al-Hayat Network in September for LE  1.4 billion.

We do not know for sure how much Eagle paid to Abu-Hashima as for instance, Masrawy claims according to its sources that the company acquired 60% of its shares in the company for LE 600 Million as the businessman is still keeping his shares in “Presentation agency”.
On the other hand, Misr Al-Arabia claims according to its unnamed sources that Eagle Capital would pay LE 6.8 billion for the deal.

Interestingly, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar Newspaper spoke about the acquisition a month earlier.
Anyhow what can be sure of is the available data in front of us officially.
The CEO of Eagle Capital for financial investments is Dalia Khorshid, the former first woman minister of investment in Egypt “March 2016- February 2017”.

The 1993 American University in Cairo alumna disappeared from the media in March 2017 after her marriage to the current Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Tarek Amar. After becoming material for gossip for a couple of weeks, she truly disappeared.

As someone who joined Orascom Construction Industries “OCI” in 2005 till became its vice president and group treasurer, some thought that the Sawirises were behind the Eagle Capital.  The only other connection between Sawirises and the Egyptian Media group was the fact that Abu Hashima acquired Naguib Sawiris’ ONTV network in May 2016. Either way, the Sawirises do not stand behind the current deal.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Al-Rawda Mosque Massacre : Three weeks passed and No one claims responsibility officially

Three weeks have passed and no one has claimed officially the responsibility for the horrifying massacre of Al-Rawda Mosque

Yes, I can not move forward easily and forget what happened in Al-Rawda village of North Sinai. It is not easy after all as we are speaking about Egypt’s worst terrorist attack ever whether by the official numbers or non-official numbers. “Check the infograph I have done about it below”.

The latest news I have read about Al-Radwa village was how the Egyptian government allocated nearly LE 70 million to the families of the victims. Cristiano Ronaldo’s BBF and steel/media mogul Ahmed Abu Hashima declared his charity would build new houses there as part of his initiative to help poor villages across the country.

The Egyptian mainstream media moved on with life quickly, the death of legendary star Shadia as well the dramatic return of presidential hopeful of Ahmed Shafik, Trump’s Jerusalem announcement and the victories of Mohamed Salah in Liverpool gave it a chance. The Egyptian social media is also busy in speaking about how TV-social dramas like “Seventh Neighbor” and “The flood” are threatening our social values.
Al-Rawda Mosque
Al-Rawda Mosque and the victims' slippers two weeks after 
the attack "Reuters"
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks officially so far.

The Egyptian prosecutor general said in his statement issued following the attack that it was a Daesh-affiliated group in North aka Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis “ABM”  according to the testimonies of the survivors and the injured as well eyewitnesses.

According to the testimonies, the 25-30 militants came carrying the black flag of Daesh.
The warnings issued to the Sufis in Al-Rawda since January as well face-to-face warnings in the village from three months ago point to “ABM” as a suspect.
An Islamist Anti-regime Facebook page and Telegram channel called “Mnabr Sinai” published an alleged audio recording for communications for ABM members claiming responsibility for the attack.
Some may think that it was the smoking gun but I have a big problem with “Mnabr Sinai”.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Days at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo : Some of its hidden jewels “Vol.1”

Egypt’s Museum of ancient Egyptian antiquities in Cairo aka the Egyptian Museum celebrated its 115th birthday in November and since then I wanted to share a new thing about it but what was happening in Egypt and the world since the last weekend in November did not give me a chance.
It is never too late to celebrate the oldest Museum in Egypt, the Middle East and Africa.
Here is a small video I have made about some of the hidden jewels of that beautiful Museum despite all its flaws.
Those hidden jewels are mostly overshadowed by the great Tutankhamun’s collection.
First of here is the video, I hope you like it and also you subscribe to my channel as I update it from time to time with nice as well serious things.

I know that I am a better photographer than a videographer but one is learning from her mistakes whether from photography or videography.
Now here are clearer views of those hidden jewels.

We got our golden boy with an amazing beautiful mask.I could not believe how beautiful it was or how it was full of details.
King Tutankhamen's mask at Cairo's Egyptian Museum
King Tut's Mask after saving his beard thanks to the German experts
I took that photo for the mask after recovering from the epoxy injury thing that happened and the Egyptian officials do not want to speak about.
Here are also a couple of photos of some of his amazing artifacts. Ironically, this is is a small pharaoh who was not that strong and ruled for a decade only.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Seen in Cairo : The Zamalek Obelisk

Zamalek Obelisk

Seen in Cairo: The underrated Zamalek Obelisk at Al-Horreya public Garden.
I do not know much about its ancient history or its true location before it was transferred to its current location in a public garden in the upscale Nile island.
I do not know which Pharaoh it has immortalizing his name all those years but one thing for sure , he did not imagine it would survive thousands of years keeping his name high in a public garden.

Here is how it looks from the Nile.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Egypt's Dabaa Nuclear Plant : Sidi Abdel Rahman is safe for now

A sidi Abdel Rahman beach

It is just safe for the time being !!!
The Sidi Abdel Rahman beaches and its crystal baby blue water and white sand have survived for the time being a nuclear apocalypse as Putin and Sisi did not sign the final agreement of Egypt’s Nuclear power plant in Dabaa, which is a couple kilometers away from Egypt's best North Coast beaches !!

They only witnessed the signing an agreement to launch work on Egypt's first nuclear plant between the Egyptian government and Russia Rosatom despite the final contract concerning the financial as well technical details have not been signed yet.

According to Mada Masr, the Egyptian government, security bodies and State council's legislative committee have got serious concerns about the Russian offer' financially and technically but President Sisi decided to ignore all those concerns !!

It turned out the Russians made a loose ambiguous contract that did not detail for example the ways to dispose of nuclear wastes !!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Al-Rawda Mosque Carnage : Two weeks later

Last Friday, head of Al-Azhar Sheikh Mohamed El-Tayeb led Friday prayers at North Sinai’s El-Rawda Mosque just one week after the horrifying massacre it witnessed where not less than 311 people were killed according to official statements in Egypt's worst terrorist attack.

The week before President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi renewed his orders to the Egyptian armed forces and police force during the official celebration of Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” to use “brute force” or “utmost force” to restore order within three months in the Egyptian Northern East governorate.

The Egyptian Mainstream Media passed over that horrifying massacre as you know life goes on and we should not ask too many questions as terrorism is having its last days in North Sinai.

I had too many questions and I could not find them in the mainstream media as usual.
I can not travel to North Sinai except if I have security permits and unfortunately I could not travel to Ismailia to meet with the injured either as I have been battling flu. Yet, thank God for telephones despite it is not perfect.

In the past week, I managed to speak with locals from both Bir Al-Abd city as well Al-Rawda village through telephone calls.
Their answers and information did not only reveal something I did not know then about the worst massacre in the history of Egypt but also about the situation in general in North Sinai governorate after nearly four years of war against terrorism.
The Black Friday
On Friday 24 November, the People of Bir Al-Abd began to feel that there was something wrong with that 35 km away small village as news came that militants cut the International highway between their city and Al-Rawda.
The news came that afternoon about how there was a bombing inside the village’s mosque during Friday prayers and the injured were transferred to the Bir Al-Abd hospital as there is no medical facility in there.
Al-Rawda Mosque on Google maps
Al-Rawda Mosque on Google maps
Mohamed Khalil, a resident of Bir Al-Abd remembered what happened next very well as he rushed to the hospital to donate blood like others.
“We saw urgent cases of badly injured people flooding into the hospital and found out that it was bigger than the usual militant attacks.” He said describing how a huge number of corpses coming in an unstoppable wave of cars.
Injured rushed in to Bir Al-Abd hospital by Mohamed Ibrahim
Injured rushed in to Bir Al-Abd hospital by Mohamed Ibrahim 
The small Bir Al-Abd hospital turned in to a field hospital with more corpses in the upcoming hours in a horrifying scene before the ministry of health would send over 20 ambulances from Ismailia and Cairo governorates to transfer the injured.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

#Jerusalem _Capital_of_Palestine : We Will fight with Hashtags or How we enter wars with words only “Updated”

Updated on 6 December 2017

And in a miserable reckless move to achieve a fake internal victory among his radical right wing supporters, U.S president Donald Trump recognized the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel giving his orders to transfer the U.S embassy from Tel Aviv to the officially occupied city.
I do not need to say that this man made my blood boil while listening to his crappy speech showing how much he is braver and smarter than other former U.S president who had actually brains not to take that step.
Donald Trump just gave a kiss of life to all radical groups in the region above them Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
I must say that with his so-called historical decision earlier , the 45th President of the United States broke at least three UN security council resolutions :
  • UN security council resolution No.242/1967 which stipulates the complete Israeli military withdrawal from the territories it occupied in June 1967 including East Jerusalem.
  • UN security council resolution No.478/1980  which rejects the Israeli government’s decision then to annex East Jerusalem and declare Jerusalem as its official capital.
  • UN security council resolution No.2334/2016 which states that the council does not officially recognize changes changes made to Israel's borders post-1967, other than those agreed by the two sides through negotiations.
The official Arab reaction above the Egyptian reaction came as expected : condemnation and we refuse the decision …bla, bla, bla !!
Unfortunately , Egyptians cannot protest such decision like in the old days due to the Protest law.

With the next few hours, the Middle East is waiting anxiously U.S President Donald Trump’s official announcement to transfer the U.S embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as an official capital of Israel in a complete defiance to all the warning he received from world leaders.
After the telephone call between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Trump Wednesday afternoon, it was clear that the man in the Oval won’t change his mind.
What are we going then?
Well, the assistant of the League of Arab States “LAS” secretary general Hossam Zaki has got a nice idea: We should write more on social media using #Jerusalem_Capital_of_Palestine “Extensively” !!