Monday, April 29, 2019

Happy belated Sham El-Nassim 2019

This is a very belated Happy Sham El-Nassim to all dear Egyptians from Egyptian Chronicles.
It is belated thanks to TEData or WE or whatever it calls itself’s bad internet connections.

Here is a small teaser of another short visit to Egypt’s annual Spring Flowers Fair 2019.
It was a short visit during the last day in the constitutional amendments referendum.

Inside Egypt's Spring Flowers Fair 2019
From the Spring Flowers Fair 2019 
And it is not officially the oldest spring day celebrated in Egypt except when you hear this song.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Happy Easter 2019 from Cairo

Happy Eastern Easter from Egyptian Chronicles to all those celebrating it.

On this occasion, I would like to share with you what I have seen recently in Cairo: The Armenian Orthodox Church with its unique style. It is officially known as "Patriarcat Armenien".

It is located in Cairo's historically and once cosmopolitan rich El-Zaher district. It took three years to build it from 1924 till 1927. It was officially inaugurated in 1928.

It was designed by architect Levon Navalian and was funded by famous Armenian Egyptian figures.

The Armenian Orthodox Church in Cairo follows the Armenian apostatic Church of Armenia.
From Instagram 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Egypt’s Constitutional amendments : The referendum results afterwards

On Wednesday, Egypt’s National Elections authority “NEA” declared the final results of the Constitutional amendments referendum.
I guess by now you know that the constitutional amendments passed by 88.83% of the votes whereas 11.17% of the votes were against the amendments.
The official numbers released by the NEA in a press conference says 27,193,593 voters out of 61 million eligible voters participated in the referendum.
Accordingly, The turnout of the referendum is 44.33%.
The valid votes counted 26,362,421 votes “96.94%” while the spoilt votes counted only 831,172 votes “3.06%”.
The “Yes for Constitutional amendments” got 23,416,741 votes “88.83%” while the “No for Constitutional amendments got 2,945,680 votes “11.17%”.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Earth Day : A beautiful Fayoum Hoopoe on Video

On the occasion of Earth Day, I share with you little video clip I captured in Fayoum governorate in February 2017. I had not seen that number hoopoes in a single place in Egypt like in Fayoum.

via Instagram @username
More photos of that beautiful creature after the break

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Voting Girl 2019 : Constitutional amendments referendum edition "Updated"

Pink finger
The pink finger is back
Your Voting girl is back with her pink finger: Constitutional amendments referendum 2019 edition. As a good Egyptian, I participated in the constitutional amendments referendum. 

I voted against the amendments and I guess I made my point here in that post. 

What have I seen? I was lucky enough to take a quick tour in the main Agouza and Downtown Cairo polling station.

I have seen it all and seen it first hand. I heard to first-hand accounts and second-hand accounts.

I have seen how working-class ladies wearing their black abayas bringing their kids and neighbors standing in queues to get those food supplies coupons for their vote in makeshift kiosks set up by MPs and members of Pro-regime parties like The future of Homeland.

Seeking "help" at a makeshift tent
One of those makeshift "help" tents in Downtown Cairo on Sunday

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Egypt’s Constitutional amendments : The final version

In less than 24 hours, Egyptians around the globe should be flocking to Egyptian embassies and consulate to kick off the Constitutional amendments referendum officially.
Here are the final version of the constitutional amendments as approved by the parliament and as originally published by Ahram Online in English.
Constitutional amendments
Pro-amendments banner in Heliopolis 

The articles involving the President of the Republic

The most controversial two amended articles from those controversial amendments.
In 70 days, the presidential term period changed according to Al-Manassa report.
The draft of the constitutional amendments which was presented to the House of Representatives on 9 February allowed current Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to stay in power and run for the office till the year 2034.

Then on 12 April, the amendment changed to allow Sisi to run for the office till the year 2026.
On 13 April, the amendment changed to allow him to run for the office till the year 2024.
A day later, on 14 April the amendment was changed to allow him to run till the year 2030.
Up till now, I do not fully understand why those changes took place.

Needless to say, I am totally against any extension of any kind to any president even if he were the man that transferred Egypt into a total liberal constitutional parliamentary country. There is also a constitutional debate that this amendment itself is unconstitutional and contradicts with Constitution 2014 and its articles that stipulates any amendments to the presidential powers related articles must be accompanied with more guarantees in political freedoms 

Amended Article No.140 :

The president of the Republic shall be elected for six (instead of four) years, beginning on the day after the end of his predecessor's term, and he/she cannot remain in office for more than two consecutive terms.

New transitional article 214 :

The term of the current sitting president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is to end after six years following the date of his election as president in 2018, and he can be re-elected for another six-year term.

The articles involving the vice president’s position
That position was originally abolished in Constitution 2014 for no apparent reason but it is back.
The word says that there current minister of transportation Kamel El-Wazir and current head of General intelligence service Abbas Kamel.

New article 150 :

The president of the Republic may appoint one or more deputies and shall determine their duties. The president may delegate his deputies to perform some of his duties and he has the authority to relieve them from their posts and accept their resignation.
The vice president of the Republic shall take the oath as stipulated in Article 144 of the constitution before the president of the republic.
The provisions of the constitution shall apply to the vice president of the republic in articles 141, 145 and 173.

New Article 160 :

If a temporary obstacle makes the elected president unable to perform his duties, he will be replaced by a vice president or prime minister if there is no vice president.
If a caretaker president takes office, he shall not be entitled to amend the constitution, dissolve the House of Representatives or Senate, or dismiss the government. The caretaker president will also not be allowed to run for president.

Article Involving House of Representatives
The number of the elected MPs is reduced as according to those amendments we are going to have an upper chamber in the parliament.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Egypt’s Constitutional amendments : Passed in the parliament , get ready for referendum starting from Friday

And two –third of Egypt’s parliament passed expectedly on Tuesday those controversial constitutional amendments including one to extend president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s presidential term to the year 2030 in Cairo on Wednesday and another one that would give the armed forces the right to interfere in political life to protect the civility of the State.

In numbers: 531 members voted in favor of the new amendments while 22 members voted it against and one member abstained from voting out of 554 MP who came on Tuesday.
The parliament and its MPs 
Here are the names of the 22 members : MP Ehab Mansour , MP Ahmed Tantawy , MP Haitham El-Hariri, MP Faiza Mahmoud , MP Mohamed Abdel Ghani, MP Samir Ghatas , MP Gamal El-Sherif , MP Reda El-Beltagy , MP Mohamed Atta Salim  ,MP Talaat Khalil , MP Abdel Hamid Kamel, MP Mostafa Kamal El-Din Hussein “Yes , the son of the famous Free officer” , MP Salah Abdel Badie ,MP Salah Abdel Bahie, MP Ahmed El-Sharkawy , MP Elhami Againa “since when is he opposing the regime ?” , MP Mohamed El-Atamani, MP Diaa El-Din Dawood, MP Shadeed Abou Hendiya, MP Abu El-Matai Mostafa, MP Akmal Qortam, MP Ahmed El-Bardissi and MP Mohamed Fouad “From New Wafd Party”.

This list is shorter than the list of the 104 MPs that rejected the demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in June 2017.

Already except for at least three names, 19 MPs are opposed the demarcation agreement.
There are already 596 seats so there are 42 MPs who did not attend the session like MP Khaled Youssef who opposes the constitution and has been in Paris for at least month and a half following his sex scandal.

Now those constitutional amendments will be put to a referendum next week for both Egyptians and Egyptians abroad.
The referendum will be held on 19,20 and 21 April in Egyptian embassies and consulates around the globe for Egyptian expats and 21,22 and 23 April for Egyptians in Egypt.

It will be interesting to see the turnout in the polls because as we have seen that since the Constitution 2014 referendum, there has been a decline in the turnouts in the elections.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Seen in Cairo : Saad Pasha surrounded by Constitutional amendments banners

Saad Zaghlol's state

Egyptian leader of 1919 revolution Saad Zaghlol’s statue in Cairo surrounded by pro-constitutional amendments banners encouraging the public to vote for them “indirectly” using the slogan "Do it right ✅

The 1919 revolution’s centennial started in #March but it is overshadowed by the constitutional amendments.

The 1919 revolution led Egypt to its independence from the UK in 1922.

Speaking about Saad Zaghlol, I can't ignore the fact that the New Wafd Party which was the so-called original Wafd Party declared its endorsement to the constitutional amendments.

On 11 April 2019, the current leader Wafd Party and head of the legislative affairs committee MP Bahaa Abu Shoka declared that the party members agreed on the constitutional amendment by 93 %.

It is worth to mention that there was an opposition inside the party to the constitutional amendments but now I guess that 7% of the members-only oppose the amendments. It is worth to mention also technically Al-Wafd Party is no longer considered an opposition party.

The original and old Wafd party of Saad Zaghlol pasha led the political battle to restore Egypt's Constitution 1923 when it was replaced by Constitution 1930.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

#Sudanrevolts and Omar al-Bashir is ousted at last “Updated”

Updated :
Sudanese Professional Association “SPA” issued an important statement rejecting the armed forces statement issued Thursday afternoon calling the protesters to complete their sit-in and protesting movement as well Sudanese army officers and soldiers to join them.

“We are the powers of freedoms and change reject what was mentioned in the statement of those regime coup officers and call the great Sudanese people to continue their sit-ins,” The SPA said adding that “the authorities of the regime” made a coup to reproduce the same regime the people revolt against.

The Sudanese protesters demand a civilian interim government.
Protesters began to chant against the military.

Sudanese Minister of defense Awad Ibn Ouf declared on Thursday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was ousted and currently detained in a safe secret place announcing the same time the formation of a military transitional council to rule Sudan for interim period of two years.
In those two years, fair elections and a new constitution will be prepared.

Ibn Ouf declared also the emergency status in the country for 3 months and a curfew from 10 PM to 4 AM for a month.
The air space is closed for 24 hours.

The once first-vice-president of al-Bashir also declared that the interim constitution 2005 was dissolved. The states’ government, the national and state parliaments and the cabinet are all dissolved.
The political detainees arrested in the past three months will be released according to that announcement.
Here is the statement in video in Arabic

That army’s declaration came after at least four months of ongoing protesting and rallies by Sudanese citizens in almost all Sudanese states following the announcement of al-Bashir that he would amend the constitution to allow him to run for another presidential term.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A black hole to remember

I think I am among millions of bloggers who shared one of the most important photos in the history of mankind.
Black Hole image
The Blackhole 
This is the first ever black hole image released online by astronomers in a far .. faraway galaxy. (Sorry I could not keep myself).

That galaxy is called M87. It is 500 million trillion km and so those people who have hopes that the world ends soon by getting sucked by a black hole will have to wait for a little longer.

According to scientists, it is a monster black hole with a measure of 40 billion km (three million times the size of the earth) according to the calculations of the scientists.
According to scientists, the blackhole confirms Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. “Sorry to all the Egyptian students from Mounfia who prove it was theoretically every year, Egyptians will know what I mean”

The photo of a black hole was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which is a network of eight linked telescopes around the globe.

It is produced by a new algorithm made by 31-years-old Katie Bouman.

I do not know if EHT was named after that horror sci-fi film “Event Horizon” or not but it is interesting name indeed especially when you know that there is a black hole in it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

#SudanRevolts : Revolution is She

I could not let this beautiful stunning photo from Khartoum at the Sudanese army Commandership HQ sit-in on Monday pass away like that.
It is a Sudanese chronicle in its own way.
A Sudanese lady addressing protesters in the sit-in
A Sudanese lady addressing protesters in the sit-in
A magnificent shot was taken by Lana Hago that summarizes a lot of words and says a lot of words at that the same time.
The first thing that came to my mind is that this lady standing giving a speech in her Sudanese white Thawab or Toob was a true example of famous Nubian Queens aka “Kandakas."
Sudanese Tweep Hind Makki explained in a threat of tweets why this shot of that lady was too special.
She's wearing a white tobe (outer garment) and gold moon earrings. The white tobe is worn by working women in offices and can be linked w/cotton (a major export of Sudan), so it represents women working as professionals in cities or in the agricultural sector in rural areas.Her earrings are the gold moons of traditional bridal jewelry (Sudanese, like many Arabic speakers, often use moon-based metaphors to describe feminine beauty).Her entire outfit is also a callback to the clothing worn by our mothers & grandmothers in the 60s, 70s, & 80s who dressed like this during while they marched the streets demonstrating against previous military dictatorships.Sudanese everywhere are referring to female protestors as "Kandaka," which is the title given to the Nubian queens of ancient Sudan whose gift to their descendants is a legacy of empowered women who fight hard for their country and their rights
And that girl rocks in making the crowd go wild for the right reasons.

On 2 March 2019  women across Sudan organized rallies against Omar El-Bashir while wearing that famous white Thawab saying “Just fall, that’s all”.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

#SudanRevolts : April 6 Sit-in of Khartoum or Why you should keep your eyes on Sudan now “Updated”

At 3:13 Am Monday Cairo local time, reports about attempts of security forces “police” to disperse the sit-in but armed forces are reportedly protecting the protesters.

April 6th is a special political date in Sudan, it marks the anniversary of ousting Sudanese dictator Gaafar Nimery by a military coup following huge protests in 1985.

That military coup was and is regarded as the perfect bloodless coup and his leader, General Abdel Rahman Swar El-Dahab is like a legendary character. After all, he is the first and last Arab/African military not to stay for more than an interim year and was not power greed.

April 6th, 2019 has also become a very special date too for those younger generations.
It is the day that thousands of Sudanese people, mostly from youth started a sit-in in front of the Sudanese armed forces Headquarter in Khartoum.

This is the biggest escalation so far in the uprising that started months ago aiming to put an end for El-Bashir's dictatorship.

The sit-in has been untouched as the protesters demand the armed forces to oust the current president and internationally convicted war criminal Omar El-Bashir.
The photos and videos coming from there are more than impressive, especially at night.
This is not a rock concert in Khartoum, it is a political sit-in against a dictatorship " Ola Al-Sheikh

Sunday evening that video was captured there and it gave me goosebumps with those lights and how people chanted “The people want to topple the regime”.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Seen in Cairo : Ramadan Lanterns began to show up

Ramadan Lanterns are here 

Ramadan scenes began to show up on the streets of Cairo. After 30 days, the holy month of Ramadan will kick off in the Muslim world with its joyful traditions and decorations. That makeshift Ramadan lanterns shop is located in front of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Saint Marks Cathedral in Cairo.

Via Instagram 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Horreyati Magazine’s Cover : It does not shame Abu Naga or Waked or Sherine , it shames Dar El-Tahrir

On Thursday, Egypt’s National Press Authority “NPA” issued a warning to state-owned Horryati for its offensive cover slamming actors Khaled Abou El-Naga and Amr Waked and Singer Sherine.

The authority that supervises the state-owned press said it was pulling the issue of the weekly
The cover of the magazine
The cover of the magazine 
magazine from the market saying that it held a meeting with the CEO of the publishing house and the editor-in-chief of the magazine to make sure that they would avoid it in the future.

This week’s issue of Horryati magazine had on its cover actors and political dissidents Khaled Abou El-Naga and Amr Waked in a photoshopped photo as a couple hugging each other in a pool while popular singer Sherine in the back. “Agents and more”, said the cover slamming the two political activists and the popular singers.

The cover created an uproar for its cheap attack on Abou El-Naga and Waked in an attempt to defame them.
The Egyptian society is homophobic, it is a fact that no one can dispute and the magazine attempted to defame Abou El-Naga and Waked by showing them as gays aka “faggots”, not men …etc.

The magazine thought that it could send a punch to the two award-winning actors especially Khaled Abu El-Naga who is known for its public support to the LBGTQ rights.
It is the cheapest and disgusting thing I have seen recently.

Cheap photoshop along with the cheap message.

Saad Salim CEO of Tahrir publishing house which issues the magazine defended the cover saying that the cover represented “ a point of view” just like Op-eds but at the same time he said that it would not happen again.

Needless to say, that cover does not shame Abou Naga or Waked or Sherine but rather shames the magazine which is actually struggling with its sales like any printed publication in Egypt as well as its publishing house.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Arab Spring strikes back in Algeria : Bouteflika joins the old Arab ex-despots Club

It was a long night in Algiers last night in a long week full of action.

In case you missed the news from the Middle East and North Africa Tuesday evening, Algeria’s ailing president Abdel Aziz Bouteflika resigned from his position as the President after nearly 20 years of rule.
Bouteflika presenting his resignation to the Constitutional council
That scene of Bouteflika presenting his resignation to the Constitutional Council 
His first Presidential term as the President of Algeria was on 27 April 1999 at the end of the Algerian civil war and he resigned from the position on 2 April 2019 after nearly a month and half of protesting demanding him not to run for another fifth time.

Algerian Newspaper
Al-Balad Newspaper's Frontpage
"The people end the gang's rule"
Bouteflika’s resignation came hours following an announcement by the Algerian People’s National army “that’s long name” Chief of staff Ahmed Gaid Saleh and the rest of the army that he should step down immediately.

Sunday, the former Algerian president who suffered from a brain stroke in 2013 announced that he would resign before the 28th of April.
Things accelerated in the past four days as the businessmen class close to Bouteflika’s brothers who truly run the show began to fall down.

The Algerians called those businessmen “Le pouvoir” which in French means those in power as well as “العصابة” which means in Arabic the gang.

Some of those businessmen began to face arrests. Ironically Gaid Saleh was considered one of the Bouteflikas’ closed circle but in the end, he sold them and chose the people.
Anyhow on Tuesday evening, Bouteflika appeared wearing the traditional Algerian Kaftan on a wheelchair while he was presenting his resignation to the Constitutional Council of Algeria.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Ahmed Khaled Tawfik's death One year later : He made us read

I can’t believe that I have not written in Egyptian Chronicles a proper obituary to my generation’s Pop Culture Godfather sci-fi and horror author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik when he passed last year on that day.

I can’t believe it and I feel mad and angry but it is never too late because the legacy he left for us and for Egyptian and Arabic literature is still living on.

Tuesday marks one year following his departure from this world after a very interesting trip.
Ahmed Khaled Tawfik
Ahmed Khaled Tawfik "I want my epitaph to say: He made the youth read"
On 2 April 2018, Ahmed Khaled Tawfik passed after a long struggle with illness.
The former professor of medicine at the University of Tanta was a chain smoker and his heart suffered from this.

His small family made of his wife as well as his son and daughter could not believe how popular he was among young Egyptians.
Till this day in 2019, there are always new flowers on his tomb in his hometown in Tanta and flocks of visitors who live notes to that author whose imagination was an escape gateway from reality.

Died at the age of 55, Tawfik reached huge success as Sci-Fi and horror fiction author to the level that he is considered true Godfather of horror and sci-fi authors in the Arab world.

He made us read

His career started as the best selling author when he started his series of “Metaphysics” as part the Modern Arab Association’s Egyptian Pocket Novels and enter the saga of the cynical cardiologist Refaat Ismail and his out of the world adventures with vampires, aliens, ghosts, curses… you name it.

Ahmed Khaled Tawfik
Tawfik with the famous illustration of his hero
Dr. Refaat Ismail, made by a fan 
I was a teenager girl when I started to read “Metaphysics” and at the same time I was devoted reader to Nabil Farouk’s Impossible Man aka Egypt’s Man of Steel James Bond  and amazingly I was attracted to Ismail, the bald heart sick cardiologist more than Adham Sabri, the godlike hero of Egyptian intelligence service.

Simply, I found myself in the horror world of Refaat Ismail than the Ultra-Nationalist world of Adham Sabri as I grew older.

Ahmed Khaled Tawfik managed to reach out to teens from early 1980s till mid-1990s through creepy single weak doctor because he presented him as a human, a true human not as a superman intelligence officer.