Thursday, July 30, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Eid Al-Adha week edition

First of all Happy and Blessed Eid to all Muslims around the globe celebrating Eid Al-Adha in time of coronavirus. This is the second Eid to celebrate under the coronavirus pandemic. We celebrated from a couple of months ago Eid El-Fitr. It is not a big secret that this will be an Eid Al-Adha to remember in a lifetime.

Only 10,000 Muslim pilgrims are currently performing Islam’s greatest lifetime pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Last year, there were over two million pilgrims from around the globe were in Mecca but this year and due to the global pandemic, the Saudi government decided to keep it small with only 10,000 selected pilgrims from living inside the Kingdom.

A historical scene from Mecca on Wednesday
Masjid Al Haram on Wednesday during the performance
of Tawaaf Al Qudum on the Day of Tarwiyah

There are native Saudis and foreign residents from 160 countries participating in that very unique experience in a very difficult time.

It is a strange scene to see the Holy land empty like that.

May Allah end this pandemic before next year’s Eid inshallah.

Back in Egypt, the decline in the infected daily tally I believe currently is encouraging the public to live their lives as if there is no coronavirus.

Egyptian officials are asking the public to follow the precautionary measures and social distancing policies but it seems all those requests go in vain.

Most of the people do not wear face masks anymore in the streets. They do not even care for the fines imposed by the Egyptian government.

I am worried just like many other people that after this decline in the infected daily tally, Egypt may witness another increase like in other countries, e.g the US and Spain.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

#Metoo summer’s return in Egypt: It started on social media posts written in English

On Saturday, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church announced that it defrocked a priest who served abroad after receiving complaints there about his behaviour according to its investigation.

The news or the statement did not include too many details on why the Church defrocked Priest Reweiss Aziz Khalil and stripped him of his priestly rank, thereby he becomes once again Youssef Aziz Khalil.

The statement is considered as a notification to both civil authorities in Egypt or the United States where Khalil allegedly resides currently that he is no  longer a member of the church's clergy

He is said to allegedly live in Missouri. 

Youssef Khalil is accused of sexual harassment and molestation of minors.

In other words, he is an alleged paedophile.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Egypt passes the COVID-19 peak according to officials

Egypt has passed the COVID-19 peak according to health officials on Saturday following the drop in the daily infection rates and deaths, nevertheless, there are warnings that people should not give up their precautions.

Men wearing protective face masks walk in downtown Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egypt. (Reuters)
Men wearing protective face masks walk
in downtown Cairo"Reuters"

Doctors speak off the record about how the numbers truly decreased in the hospitals.

Yet health officials including minister of health Hala Zayed are asking the people to extra cautious 

Also, I can’t ignore the WHO EMRO health officials who warned that the countries of the region are still in danger.

Personally, when I went to buy our grocery and do some quick shopping I was shocked at how the majority of the people in the streets did not wear masks, some of them wore it only when they are inside big supermarket chains or big shops with strict mask policies.

Needless to say, Egypt is facing several challenges this week as coronavirus is still there. Aside from the GERD Dam talks which supposedly will be resumed on Tuesday, we are facing a possible Egyptian military intervention in Libya. It is a tough week and hopefully, coronavirus won’t make it tougher inshallah.

Here is our liveblogging widget.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Kodak Agfa presents : Fayoum’s Wadi El-Rayan waterfalls in photos

This is my attempt to revive Kodak Agfa, especially it seems that Coronavirus is still there.

This is the second post in a series of posts featuring my short visit in 2017 with my family to the amazing Fayoum governorate. "Warning: The photos may not be the best" 

The first post featured Lake Qaron aka Lake Moeries; which has been one of the most famous landmarks in the governorate for decades but it met a competition in a recent couple of decades.

This competition is represented in Wadi El-Rayan and Wadi El-Hitan protectorates.

Wadi El-Hitan is already part of Wadi El-Rayan as far as I know.

First waterfall in Egypt's Wadi El Rayan protectorate
Wadi El-Rayan waterfall in Fayoum in 2017

The valley of El-Rayan or Wadi El-Rayan in Arabic got a lot of interest places and lots of interesting tales.

Its first tale is related to its name “Wadi El-Rayan”.

I did not understand the meaning at first because El-Rayan in Arabic means “watered” and it is not a green valley per se.

Inside Egypts Wadi El-Rayan protectorate in Fayoum
Desert road leading to Wadi El-Rayan in 2017

If you think it is strange because it is a desert valley named “El-Rayan”, wait to know until you know the rest of the tale.

According to local history, the Arab tribes and nomad in that area “and they are many across the Western desert and present a considerable percentage in the local population in the area.” named a desert valley after the name of King El-Rayan Ibn El-Walid.

This king allegedly lived for a while in the region along with his army depending on wells as a source of water as there were no waterfalls in the past or vast lakes. “Yeah, you read it right and this is another tale here”

So who was that El-Rayan Ibn El-Walid or El-Rayan son El-Walid !? No, he was not an Arab ruler who came to Egypt during the Arabic conquest in the 7th century.

He was actually a famous ancient Egyptian King if not one of the most famous Egyptian rulers in the “alternative popular ancient Egyptian history.”

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Another week of all things COVID-19 in Egypt and Arab World

Another week under the Coronavirus spill in the mid of a hot summer.

The numbers are decreasing in Egypt but many people including myself are concerned that this decrease will be followed by another increase once again just like in other countries.

Preparing the vaccine in Egypt at Eva pharma labs  "Getty"
Preparing the vaccine in Egypt at Eva pharma labs 

The Egyptian government is speaking about the Egyptian citizen’s awareness and honestly, I believe government relying alone on the citizens’ awareness was a lost bet and the number of cases in the United States is a proof for that.

This is why I am concerned and worried.

As humans, we are fed up with this lockdown and it is summer. We will go out and many of us won’t follow the social distancing rules or wear masks because he or she is fed up.

Needless to say, we will pay because of this reckless behaviour. God knows I have heard a lot of examples of this reckless behaviour and it makes me worry. 

Unfortunately, we will be in this cycle till we find a cure or vaccine with affordable price. Please stay safe as much as you can. 

Here is our weekly COVID-19 live update.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : COVID-19 Status in Egypt During June 2020 in Graph

We are back with this monthly post about the freaking coronavirus status in Egypt during the month of June 2020.

The month of June 2020 a surge in the daily infection cases, deaths as well as full recovery.

Man selling freska in Cairo with a mask "Getty"
Man selling freska in Cairo with a mask "Getty"

Its last week also witnessed the start of the re-opening of the country by the government despite the number of cases due to economic reasons.

Here is the daily infection rate in June 2020.

It went ups and downs but not less than 1,000 per day.

Again I remember the minister of scientific research and high education Khaled Abdel Ghafer and his statement that the cases could be more than the government knowledge.

On Wednesday during a cabinet meeting, Minister of Health Hala Zayed stated that the number of coronavirus cases in Egypt declined from 10,518 from 23 to 29 June period to 8,404 cases from 30 June till 6 July due to “the government’s measures against coronavirus”

It is also worth to mention that recently many doctors began to treat any symptom of flu as a symptom of coronavirus without admitting the patients to hospitals except when their condition needs to.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Live updates of Coping with Coronavirus in Egypt and MENA

It is a new month under coronavirus worldwide and in Egypt.

At the pyramids plateau of Giza after re-opening  "Reuters"
At the pyramids plateau of Giza after re-opening 

More and more people seem to care less about coronavirus now except for the masks but other than many people try to return back to the normal days.

More touristic places are open to visitors like the Great Pyramids. 

The numbers of daily infection rates have been stable in the past two weeks so far but we won’t see the impact of last week grand re-opening except in the coming weeks.

Please stay safe and stay home as much as you can.

Friday, July 3, 2020

The return of remains of Algerian resistance fighters “plus one Egyptian fighter” to home after 170 years : Good news of the day

Between sad news of having an alleged serial rapist in Egypt to the sad news of the bad economic conditions in Lebanon, I believe that this is the good news of the day.

Algeria restored back the remains of 24 resistance fighters who fought the French invasion from 170 years ago in an official majestic reception.

Algerian soldiers carrying the remains of the resistance figures in caskets covered by Algerian flag
Algerian soldiers carrying the remains of the resistance figures
in caskets covered by Algerian flag "Reuters"

Algerian President Abdel Magid Tabboune led the official military reception the remains which were put in caskets with the Algerian flag.

Algerian President Abdel Magid Tabboune paying respect  to the resistance icons
Algerian President Abdel Magid Tabboune paying respect 
to the resistance icons "Algerian TV"

The scene gave me goosebumps. To see those resistance men returning back home after 170 years in this way was one of the best scenes this year.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Ethiopia's GERD on the Nile : Some facts about Egypt and why we are concerned about GERD since day one

It has been a very long time since I have posted something really political or something related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam especially recently but I guess I can’t ignore anymore.

Egypt has already taken the matter to the United Nations Security Council following the Ethiopian officials that GERD will be filled in early July whether there is an agreement or not.

Nile boats in Cairo
The Nile in Cairo 

On Monday, Egypt’s Foreign minister Sameh Shoukry addressed the security council with a very important speech about Egypt as well as Sudan’s concerns about GERD and impact.

Shoukry warned that any unliteral action aka Ethiopia fills the dam without an agreement

It was one of the best speeches I have heard from a governmental official in the past ten years. You can read Shoukry’s word here in English from Ahram Online.

Sudan’s UN permanent representative gave a balanced statement asking for a fair agreement supporting Egypt in rejecting any unliteral action from Ethiopia’s side will cause higher tensions in the regime; which is true.

Ethiopia fired back to Shoukry and Egypt with a speech read by its permanent representative to the UN full of inaccurate information with my all due respect.

Ethiopia stated that GERD was not a matter for the UNSC.

In the open session, the member states of the UNSC urged Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to continue talks in order to reach for an agreement. Most of the member states warned of any unilateral action in their short statements except China.

In case you do not know Chinese banks participate in the financing of the huge project with lots of investments in the country. Needless to say, I need to warn the Ethiopians from the Neo-Chinese colonialism in Africa. 

A Nile boat in Egypt's Nile river
The Nile in Cairo 

Now there are some important points I would like to clarify here in my post concerning GERD and some points I would like to clarify :

General points and facts 

  • Egypt depends on the River Nile for 95% of its water needs.
  • Egyptians live only 7% of Egypt’s land around the Nile valley because simply we are a dry desert country.
  • a water share of around 570 cubic metres per person annually, well below the water scarcity level of 1,000 cubic metres per person per year
  • Egypt has very low rainfall with about 18.1 mm of rainfall /year comparting to Ethiopia which has annually 848 mm/year according to the United Nations’ Food and Organization “FAO”.
  • The agriculture in Egypt depends mainly on irrigation from the Nile whereas Ethiopia depends on rainfall.
  • Egypt’s annual water share from the Nile is 55.5 billion cubic meters of water according to the 1959 treaty.
  • Egypt is already committed to this share when according to irrigation experts, we need now actually not less than 80 billion cubic meters to satisfy the true need in the country.
    • Egypt does not have enough groundwater to sustain or meet its water demands.
    • Professor Farouk El-Baz’ western desert groundwater’s theory and his the ill-fated project were never more than talk in the media because scientists and geologists in Egypt proved him wrong. “Ethiopian media brought it up”
    • Yes, we are still using our old agriculture and irrigation techniques but we are trying our best.
    • Egypt is already suffering from water poverty and is preparing for the worse because of global warming.
      • Desalination won’t meet our Egyptian growing population’s demand alone, not to mention it needs nuclear power project and yes, Egypt has already planned to open a nuclear power plant in Marsa Matrouh to desalinate seawater already but its construction has started yet. “I am against the use of nuclear power in the first place and worried about it”.