Saturday, March 31, 2018

Voting girl 2018 : Notes about Egypt's Presidential Elections 2018

Another dispatch from Cairo, the land of pharaohs and elections.
Earlier Friday, Egypt’s National Elections Authority “NEA” announced that no one has presented any appeal or objection against the elections.
Thus on 2 April, the NEA will announce Current president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the winner of the 2018 presidential race in the non-surprising news.
According to the unofficial preliminary results leaked from the NEA and Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s official campaign, the current president comes in the first place by 92% of the votes, the spoilt votes in the second place by 5% and Moussa Moussa in the third place by 3%.
Estimations of the turn out speak about over 40% of eligible votes “59 million votes”
This is the second consecutive presidential elections in a row to have the spoilt vote in the second place.
In the 2014 Presidential elections between Sisi and Hamdeen Sabhi, also the spoiled votes came in the second place by 4.07%
Needless to say, the fact that we have spoiled votes more than El-Sisi’s opponent in the Presidential elections say a lot especially  with all the attempt to mobilize people to head to the polling stations
At 9 PM Wednesday, Egyptian Presidential elections 2018 concluded in a dramatic way as the NEA extended it for another hour whereas a huge sandstorm was hitting the country.
Snapping a photo for mom in Egypt's Presidential elections 2018
A lady snapping a photo of her old mother casting her vote in the presidential elections 2018
This post includes my testimony on the second day and third day as well a more detailed day one of the Egyptian presidential elections 2018.
The first post about the Egyptian presidential elections is brief as I was tired and God knows that I am still tired thanks to our dusty Egyptian spring and sinusitis.
You can see a very short summary of that election in the video here. It is too short and I mock how the mainstream media covered the elections. It is different as you can than previous reports about elections since 2011.

First of all, I did not vote in the Egyptian presidential elections 2018 because it is actually a referendum.
It is a setback to the old days and continuing old tradition of the 99.999% yes to the leader referendums that started in the days of Nasser.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Egypt's Presidential elections 2018 : Day 1 "Senior Citizens Day"

Elections ink at a polling station n Dokki , Egypt
Elections ink at a polling station n Dokki , Egypt 
The first day of presidential elections 2018 in Egypt is over as 13,706 polling stations in 26 governorates close their doors after 12 hours of voting.
Since 9 AM, the polling stations secured by Egyptian armed forces units opened the doors for nearly 56 million eligible voters hoping for a high turnout that would send a direct message to the world as well to inside that Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has still got popularity.
Scoring victory in elections with a high percentage is not enough proof especially that old Mubarak used to do that and no one bought it.

After the January revolution, Egyptians surprised the world somehow of standing long queues in different weather conditions in 2011 in a referendum followed by parliamentary elections then followed by the first multi-candidate democratic presidential elections with its two stages in 2012.
The true change was in the turnout. The turnout proves that the people trust you and trust your process.
Long queues give a good image in the foreign media. It is good for the foreign partners who will use it to prove that you are popular.
I have not seen those long queues the Pro-regime media whether mainstream or social are urging the people to show the world 

All that I saw in Cairo and Giza till 2.30 PM was a moderate turnout for senior citizens and some people in their late 40s.

I couple of young men under 30 in a Cairo polling station from the working class who were clueless on how to vote properly and three women in their early 30s from Middle Class in a Giza polling station.
One of those ladies, a housewife who voted for that “other guy” aka Moussa Mostafa Mossua because “she wanted the elections to appear nice in front of the world” !!!!!!

The main thing when I spoke with those people I found; they all complain about economy and prices. Sisi has to fix the economy in those four years, that what I was told.
This is for now. I saw and noticed other things but I am tired to write anything. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Egypt’s Presidential elections 2018 : The Quest of high turnout

After 12 hours from now Cairo local time, the polling stations will open its doors for more than 50 million eligible voters kicking off the 2018 Presidential elections inside Egypt which all the world knows its result in advance: an overwhelming victory for President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

The Egyptian armed forces units have been deployed the polling stations, mostly at schools around the country. The Egyptian army has been securing the Election process in Egypt since 2011.

Anyhow now the Egyptian Pro-regime mainstream media and social media have been doing something hysterically in the past few days especially in the past 24 days: Encouraging people to vote at the polling station in order to have a high turnout.

Egyptians know very well that Sisi is going to win these elections so there is fear that they may not stand in queues like in past presidential elections.

TV hosts are calling people to go and to vote in order to prove to the world that they are behind Abdel Fattah El-Sisi despite logically and theoretically speaking a high turnout does not mean those people will choose Sisi because they can choose that other guy whom most of the public ignore and foreign media ridicules.

WhatsApp messages and Facebook pages and posts are shared that Abdel Fattah El-Sisi does not only have one rival or nemesis that he has to beat but he has got other nemeses like Israel “despite having officially and unofficially excellent relations with Israel” , United States of America “despite official statements that we are having eternal strategic relations with the US especially with Trump’s administration” , Qatar “because of course it should be there”, Turkey “because of Erdogan”, the Muslim Brotherhood “Naturally” and Iran “oh yeah !!”
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
A pro-Sisi billboard 
That post went viral in the past 48 hours.

Now some pro-government TV hosts and journalists are saying that there are too many polling stations and thus we won’t notice long queues like before.
Technically speaking queues are not expected in early Morning on Monday because it is a busy business day. People are expected to show up later in the afternoon or evening.

Needless to say, there is a new level of incentive to make people show up at the polling station.

RIP Rim Banna of Nazareth , the modern voice of Palestine

On Saturday the news came that 51-years-renowned Palestinian singer Rim Banna passed away after six years of struggling with cancer.

Banna, the daughter of Nazareth was Palestine’s most female famous singer in the past decade bringing traditional Palestinian folkloric songs to the modern times with her sweet voice.
A daughter of renowned Palestinian poetess and activist Zuhaira Sabbagh, Rim Banna was also an activist in her way supporting her people’s quest for survival, freedom and independent rightful state.

She was a leading icon of modern Palestinian resistance that used art to remind that cruel world that there are people called Palestinians and they won’t give up that right of having their independence.
Rim Banna
Late Rim Banna of Palestine 

Here is my favorite song by her, a Palestinian folk song called “On the top of the mountain”

Saturday, March 24, 2018

From a royal palace to a public school to a film studio : Sultana Melek’s Palace

Every time I pass by Heliopolis in Cairo, I must look around to see its remaining beautiful villas and palaces. One of my favorite palaces there is the Palace of Sultana Melek at Al-Oroba street which was turned in to a public school in the 1960s.
Sultana Melek's Palace
Sultana Meleks' palace with two strange banners
For decades the Heliopolis style building hosted Misr Gadida language school. In the time of elections, it turned in to a poll station, the President’s Polling station especially in the time of Mubarak.
From two weeks, I took a couple of photos of that beautiful building that was once the residence of Egypt’s only Sultana.
To my surprise, I found out that a big banner hanging on the building with the words “Qena police station” !!
What brought Qena police station of Upper Egypt to Cairo Heliopolis.
What was really strange to me was the fact that the Misr El-Gadida language school was still there !!!
I did not understand anything and I forgot to search what happened to the residence of that Turkish woman who became a Sultana for three years only.

A post shared by Zeinobia (@zeinobia) on

Only earlier Friday, I knew that the palace turned in to a public school has become a film studio recently and it is a location for popular actor Mohamed Ramadan’s TV series whose original setting is in Qena governorate, Upper Egypt.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

From Egyptian Chronicles : Happy Mother Day 2018

Happy fantastic Mother Day to all the fantastic and strong ladies in Egypt and around the globe. 

Ancient Egyptian woman giving birth aided by goddess Tefnut
Egyptian woman giving birth with the help of Tefnut 

Here is a beautiful depiction showing a pregnant woman from ancient Egypt giving birth with the help of ancient Egyptian goddess Tefnut at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 joins Egypt’s Blocked sites : Even Showbiz is not spared

Earlier Tuesday , many Egyptians were shocked to know that popular entertainment and showbiz website “” has been blocked in Egypt joining a long list of blocked websites that has been getting longer since May 2017.

Interestingly is owned and ran by digital publishing Sarmady , which is a Vodafone subsidiary.
Yes, is officially Egypt’s first website to be owned by a major ISP to be blocked in that wave.
There is no official explanation on why the famous non-political website has been blocked and Sarmday has not issued anything so far.

A better guess that Vodafone is working to lift that sudden block that hit its popular website.
People are referring to a small news that it published on Monday abut how Egyptian singer Amal Maher allegedly reported the head of General Sports Authority  in Saudi Arabia Turki al-Sheikh to the police in Cairo for assaulting her in front of her house in Maadi earlier that day. 
Allegedly al-Sheikh was Maher’s ex-fiancé an they had some sort of fight.
Turki Al-Sheikh
Turki Al-Sheikh 
The Saudi official who is officially Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman “MBS” ‘s special adviser for sports issues as well childhood friend has been causing controversy in Egypt for the past two weeks mostly in the world of sports.
Earlier Tuesday , the famous singer issued a statement denying that she had a fight with him or that he had assaulted.
Few hours later, was completely blocked.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Seen in Giza : Mo Salah Christ appeared in Spring Flowers Show 2018

Liverpool Jesus aka Mo Salah at Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2018
Mo Salah at Spring Flowers Show 

  Egyptian Liverpool FC football player Mohamed Salah aka Mo Salah appeared on Saturday in Egypt's Spring Flowers Show 2018 as a Christ figure made of grass.

Later that evening he made football history when he scored four goals in the Liverpool Vs. Walford game in England's Primer League. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Where have Mohamed Ali Royal Family’s treasures gone ? or the curious case of King Farouk's bedroom

And as Egyptians were watching the current Presidential elections race in early January to see who is going to the king for the next four years whom they know very well, they got busy unexpectedly with something from the bygone true Royal era.

In early January, someone shared on Twitter photos which Flickr user Islam Taha uploaded to his photostream in April 2011 showing a bedroom reportedly owned by King Farouk of Egypt. That bedroom is up for sale at a famous U.S based antiquities gallery.(12, 34,5, 6 )

King Farouk's bed and the two night stands "Rau antiquities"
The bed and the two night stands "Rau antiquities" 
A group of friends who launched #MasrZaman’s active hashtag about Egypt’s history and heritage began to discuss that tweet and photos remembering how the furniture and jewels of Mohamed Ali Royal were smuggled outside Egypt illegally.

That discussion brought to the attention that news from September 2013 about how King Farouk’s bedroom at his Royal Rest house in Giza zoo disappeared and was replaced by a cheap bedroom.

On 15 January, Cairo-based Al-Molid website published a news report reporting about that royal bedroom that appeared in the United States concluding that it was the same bedroom that disappeared in 2013.

In no time, the story went viral online and shared across the Egyptian social media universe to the level that the U.S antiquities company had to remove its King Farouk’s bedroom website page from its official website and its special video from its official YouTube Channel.

It was the talk of the town that soon faded like any other thing despite it opened a file that pop-ups in 2018: Where have Mohamed Ali Royal Family’s treasures gone?

A King in exile reminds the government of its role

The matter reached that former King Ahmed Fouad II of Egypt and Sudan issued a short official statement about the bedroom suite that hit hard in January

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Happy International Women’s Day 2018 From Egypt

Happy International women’s Day From Egypt to the fabulous and strong women around the globe especially in Africa, the Arab world, Muslim world and  Mideast ... not to mention Egypt itself.

As this year’s theme according to the United Nations is the rural woman  “which actually is the true mother of human civilization if you think about it”, I would like to share with this beautiful photo I took for a beautiful statue at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo depicting an ancient Egyptian lady graining some grains.
A statue of an ancient Egyptian woman gaining some grains at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo
A beautiful statue indeed 
It was not a statue of a royal figure or public figure.
I do know if it was made based on a real model that lived from thousands of years ago on the banks of the Nile or not but I know that we should celebrate her and her granddaughters from rural women whom we should help in many ways especially economically in those hard days in Egypt.

Women farmers at the field in Egypt's Sharkia
Egyptian women farmers in the harvest of wheat in Sharkia, Nile Delta 

Here I am not speaking the rural areas in Nile Delta and Upper Egypt countryside but also rural border areas especially in North Sinai which witnesses currently a big scale military operation to purge terrorism.
The military operation is causing a huge shortage in supplies in North Sinai’s towns like Al-Arish and Sheikh Zowaid yet our ladies are standing there as much as they can with all force and strength as they have always down in those hard times.

I also cannot forget Egyptian video journalist Mai El-Sabbagh who found herself accused of many charges and detained 15 days pending investigation for doing a simple video report about newly renovated tram in Alexandria as well other journalists currently behind bars.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tiran and Sanafir Saga : The end of a chapter in a long tale

MBS is in Cairo right now and we are reading on Monday that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have agreed to create a $10 billion joint fund to develop a 1000 square-kilometers mega-city in South Sinai governorate as part of MBS’ futuristic NEOM project.

The new deal comes 48 hours following Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional court rule’s on Saturday to void all previous court orders of Red Sea islands deal.

The court also stated that it recognized the Parliament’s decision to pass the deal as a law “despite the parliament depended on the Court for urgent matter’s rule to go on with the so-quick vote in June 2017”.

In other simple words, the deal is on legally “as if they need a court order”. We lost, those who believe that the islands are true and genuine part of Egypt.

Egyptian Tiran
An Egyptian flag overlooking
Tiran island "Instagram
Now according to law and constitution experts, this verdict is considered the end of the road for that path in that particular case but it is not the end for the legal path for Tiran and Sanafir island.

This lawsuit was about the other lawsuits in front of the different courts but not about the deal itself and whether the islands are Egyptian or Saudi or whether the law issued by the parliament in June 2017 is constitutional or not.
Now the legal procedures say that a group of brave lawyers should file a lawsuit in front of the High Administrative court regarding the constitutionality of that deal and the High Administrative court should transfer it to the Supreme Constitutional court. I do not if there are any brave lawyers in this country or not.

Needless to say that there is a complete silence at the front of Khaled Ali and co.
Khaled Ali has not commented a single comment about the verdict to explain its legal meaning to his followers and supporters.
I know that he has been busy with the presidential elections which we all knew how it ended as well that #MeToo scandal that shattered his leftist party.
He also got his own finger trial on Tuesday or Wednesday.

That Tiran and Sanafir issue created a judicial mess like no other besides the political and strategic mess it created for Egypt.
I know that officially Egypt and Saudi Arabia presented to the United Nations the new borders deal which means it will be very hard now to restore the two islands but it is not impossible.
It is just an end of a sad chapter in a long tale in the life of Egypt and its Sinai.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Seen in Cairo : Ancient Mosque needs better care

Sultan Abu Ela Mosque in Cairo
Sultan Abu Ela Mosque in Cairo 

 It seems that there is some negative water effect on the ancient mosque and shrine of Sufi Sheikh Sultan Abu Ela in Cairo and noonday is paying attention.

The Mamluk-era Mosque is already neglected according to heritage activists for reasons beyond me. Already I do not understand how to ignore such beautiful old mosque when it is behind the headquarter of Egypt's Ministry of foreign affairs "You can see it in the back".

It is also near the Royal carriages Museum !!