Saturday, October 31, 2020

Days at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo : Halloween edition 2020

Happy Halloween.

I always wanted to do special Halloween posts to celebrate Egypt’s horror heritage and God knows we got a lot to share but it is 2020

Needless to say, the true Halloween night is not tonight but rather next Tuesday 3 November 2020 in the first place.

I mean the whole world is holding it breathe for real.

I wanted to write this post from a long time about the ancient Egyptian pieces that I felt to be a little scary at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.

A clay head from Pre-dynastic Egypt at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo
Yup, that smile !! 

By far, this could be the scariest thing for me at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo

When I saw this clay head at the EMC, it took me by surprise because for me it was too spooky with that sinister smile surviving all those years.

All that we know about that it was from the time of predynastic Egypt aka prehistoric Egypt, which means it is older than the Giza Pyramids.

It was found in Upper Egypt, I believe in El-Badari of Asuit governorate aka Badrian Culture which is kind unknown historical territory.

I thought that the lighting condition was not that great when I took that photograph in 2016 and it made the head sinister.

But I was wrong because in 2018, I took another photo for it and it looked more sinister to me.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Kodak Agfa Presents : The Moulid Sweets traditional stand on the Go

I wanted to go and to film as well to snap photos for the Moulid sweets aka Halwa El-Moulid traditional makeshift stands but I remember the wise Cardi B when she said “Coronavirus !!”

Buying and eating Moulid sweets and candies are the most famous traditional associated with celebrating Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” birthday anniversary in Egypt.

Since the Middle ages and specifically the time of the Fatimids, Egyptians had been celebrating it this way.

The sweets are made of sugar-coated nuts and stuff like hummus and sesame. There is also Turkish delight sweet aka Malban which is too sugary for me and sticks in your mouth.

But I am kind happy to find this small cheerful traditional Moulid makeshift in front of a local bakery in Downtown Cairo selling not only the traditional sweets.

The Moulid sweets stand 

It did not only sell the traditional sweets but sold the original sugary statuettes of Moulid aka “Moulid Maids" and “ Moulid horse” representing the beautiful maidens and knights. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Concerning the #Frenchproductboycott thing : Excuse my French for real this time

I write this post without arranging my thoughts concerning the latest controversy concerning France and the Muslim world aka the French Products boycott over publishing the infamous controversial cartoons mocking Islam’s Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” last week.

I will try to arrange my thoughts while I am angry.

Excuse my French for real this time but I know that shit would hit the fan when French President Emmanuel Macron went on with his historical speech about fighting “Islamist separatism” and how ‘” Islam was in a crisis”.

Macron in the famous Zaitouna Mosque in Tunisia in 2018 "AFP
Macron in the famous Zaitouna Mosque in Tunisia in
2018 "AFP"

I do not know much about Macron’s advisers but that speech was alarming. I do not know how a sane person in the position of Macron as a Western Non-Muslim speaks about the crisis a whole religion of nearly two billion currently lives so easily. 

I do not know how no one in the French administration thought for a moment that this speech is like an official endorsement to the dangerous growing Nazi right-wing political powers of Europe. 

Dear Ahmed Zaki put it perfectly “Islam as religion does not live a crisis, Muslims live in a crisis and not even all Muslims” and that the crisis of Muslims in the Middle East, for instance, is different than in Asia and even on nations level; the problems of Muslims in Malaysia are different than Egypt. This is one.

The French president ignores how his country and its support to corrupted regimes for decades were part of this long crisis. I do not want to get in France’s colonial history in the Muslim countries.

I know also first hand as a citizen of the Middle East how you can divert attention from things that matter in society. I know first hand that poverty and stigmatization play a role in making youth join terrorist organization too 

I believe it was easier to put the blame on Islam as a religion than to admit that the French republic failed miserably in integrating many French Muslims into its society by insisting that they give up some of their beliefs to become part of the French society.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Egypt’s parliamentary elections 2020 : Shake it to the beat

After a few hours from now, the House of Representatives elections' first stage will kick off in 10,240 polling stations will be operating in 14 governorates where 1,879 candidates are competing on the votes of nearly 33 million eligible voters.

In this stage, those candidates are fighting over 284 seats; half to the individual candidates and the other half to the party lists. 

This is the first elections after the new amendments of 2019 that brought the Upper House and Lower House to Egypt once again.

The Upper House elections aka were held in September and they recorded the lowest turnout in Egyptian elections since the March 2011 referendum “only 14.23% of the eligible voters participated in the 4 days of the Senate elections while in the runoffs attracted only 10.22%”.

We got nearly 66 million voters. The Senate elections were held when almost all Egyptians were taking vacations after months of a lockdown or simply they did not know unlike the House of Representatives’ elections.

I expect a higher turnout without a doubt but smashing turnout because we are speaking about pandemic time and less publicity and interactions with voters on the ground.

Now in the time of coronavirus, this could be the quietest elections I have seen with less noise on the ground from the usual elections campaigns.

You will know that there are elections only from the banner everywhere with the faces and names , mostly you only see once;  in the time of the elections.

The first stage's 14 governorates are Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assuit, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira and Marsa Matruh.

Giza is the second biggest governorate and the extension of the Egyptian capital Cairo is witnessing the clash of the titans of names from businessmen, public figures and media figures.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Schools are back officially in Egypt

Officially, the new academic year “2020-2021” in schools and university has kicked off in Egypt.

It is the challenging year of the pandemic where many parents, teachers and ministry alike waiting to see what will happen in this semester.

Egypt has 23 million school students classified into four stages: from kindergarten to secondary education according to Minister of Education Tarek Shawky.

To solve the huge challenge of the overcrowdedness in schools, especially in public schools and to achieve social distancing, the ministry adopted a system where the students do not go school all the days of the weeks.

Each stage has a limited number of days to attend school. The youngest would go most of the days because they need more human teacher-student interaction according to Shawky. 

The Ministry has adopted an ambitious plan to combine both homeschooling, e-learning and in-school teaching but now Egypt’s internet speed woes, I do not know if this plan will reach its goals successfully.

A photo from a class in an Egyptian class on Saturday by  Mohamed El-Raai
A photo from a class in an Egyptian class on Saturday by 
Mohamed El-Raai 

The ministry also made a plan if a school witnesses an outbreak in one class or more.

International schools have already started their academic earlier but here we are speaking about the Egyptian educational system.

I really hope that the Education Ministry in Egypt follows the steps of its counterpart in Tunisia and issues updates about the number of cases if any because transparency is the only way to deal with such matter.

Egypt will witness within days its House of Representatives’ elections.

It will be another challenge. So far the official numbers show a stable situation when it comes to coronavirus but officials worry about a new wave in the fall and the winter.

Anyhow here is our live blog following all things coronavirus in Egypt and the Arab world in for another 14 days inshallah.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile: Eight months of COVID-19 in Egypt in graph

Another monthly post as part of the COVID-19.

This time it is a quick look into COVID-19 numbers in Egypt after seven months.

I started doing those posts when we hit the six months benchmark and actually, I found them useful.

Sensitizing the Giza plateau "Reuters"
Sensitizing the Giza plateau "Reuters"

They are all based on official numbers released by the Egyptian Health Ministry.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile: Egypt’s COVID-19 September numbers in Graph

This is the time of our monthly post about the coronavirus pandemic and its numbers in graphs.

Here is our August post based on the official numbers released daily by the Egyptian Health Ministry.

First of all, this month witnessed the beginning of not only autumn but also the beginning of the ordinary of the seasonal flu and cold despite the weather was hot.

Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed "SIS"
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed "SIS"

Second of all, I have been away for a week in the North Coast and the message I got that nobody followed the face mask and social distancing rules.

The same thing when I returned to Cairo and to work at the office, it was like that we are back to February 2020.

It seems that very few that still cares.

I believe that people began to neglect those basic rules because the official numbers of coronavirus infection patients in Egypt released by the Health Ministry continue to be stable not exceeding 200 per day.

On the other hand, you still hear about people dying because of coronavirus including doctors.

Here are September’s daily infection numbers in the graph.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Egyptian Faces : Remembering Ragaa

I have a confession.

When I first wrote about how Egyptian veteran actress Ragaa El-Gedawy was admitted to hospital and sent a voice message to her fans because she contracted coronavirus in the Daily COVID-19 Updates on the Blog, I felt that I was writing her obituary.

"The Kasr Al-Nil Model Ragaa El-Gedawy strikes a pose
"The Kasr Al-Nil Model Ragaa El-Gedawy
strikes a pose

This made so worried hoping that my feeling was wrong and the 81-years-old actress was going to make it but she did.

Miss Egypt or rather the Egyptian Province 1958 “Egypt was part of the United Arab Republic with Syria and there were two provinces then” lost her battle and passed away on 5 July 2020 after nearly a month or more in the country’s top coronavirus Abu Khalifa Hospital in Ismailia.

El-Gidawy was admitted to Abu Khalifa hospital on 24 May 2020 after her daughter Amira Mokhtar reached out to officials including the health minister when her mother’s health deteriorated and it turned out that she was coronavirus positive.

There is not clear when or how Ragaa El-Gedawy contracted coronavirus but days before she fell very ill, the veteran supporting actor wrapped filming a TV series in the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Despite the warnings, studios continued filming claiming that they could not delay or suspending shooting the TV series.

Photos from the last day of filming emerged online and even shared on Instagram by the popular actress, showing no masks nor social distancing.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Egypt’s Fallen Healthcare workers in Graphs

From two weeks, Egyptian Chronicles published a small attempt to commemorate the fallen victims of Egypt’s healthcare sector since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Egypt till half September.

Thanks to aspiring journalist Moataz Weza, me and others are able to know in more details as much as we can the sacrifices of those doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians and workers in those 8 months.

They were not only numbers and thanks to Weza, we know more about them with their names and faces.

May Allah bless their souls and bring patience to their families.

The documentation of Weza had also huge raw data that gives us a very interesting insight when it comes to this pandemic that is reshaping the world currently.

An Egyptian doctor checking an x-Ray "AP"
An Egyptian doctor checking an x-Ray "AP"

We know the locations, the dates and the specializations of those victims on the front line. In a very modest attempt, I looked to this raw data to know more information about how coronavirus hit Egypt’s first medical defence line.

I know that the world is still in a tough battle with coronavirus and the more accurate information we have, we will win more ground and more lives can be saved.

Now after this attempt to have a decent and appropriate introduction, here is what I found. 

Again this information is based upon the official statements of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, the doctors syndicates, pharmacists syndicates, news websites and victims' families on social media.

This is from the period from March where the first case of Egyptian doctor to die due to coronavirus till 15 September. 

General Information

The list documented nearly 280 healthcare workers' fatalities in Egypt. 

On 8 October 2020, Egypt has officially recorded in total 6,017 fatalities since the outbreak of the virus in the country so we are speaking about 4.65% of the fatalities here or rather 5%. 

When I checked online, I found that it is a global issue to find an accurate number of victims among healthcare workers there are official attempts thanks to unions and human rights organizations. 

According to tot the Nurses Union in the United States, more 1,700 healthcare worker passed away due to coronavirus since the outbreak of the virus till September. 

Amnesty International published an analysis in early September saying that the world recorded over 7,000 deaths among the Healthcare workers globally. It considered Egypt among the countries with the highest estimated numbers of health workers who have died from COVID-19 despite it only counted the Doctors only. 

Now to our data. 

According to the information available online, 71% of the victims are doctors followed by the pharmacists then nurses then technicians and other workers.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Happy 6th October war anniversary

 Happy 6th October war anniversary from Egyptian Chronicles to all Egyptians as well as Arabs who remember this day and respect the sacrifices to our heroes who died for the sake of our land and dignity. 

October 73 Yom Kippur Newspapers headlines in Egypt
"Our forces control completely the front" and "The exchange of POWs and injured starts"
said Al-Akhbar in October 1973

This is the issue of Al-Akhbar Daily was speaking about how Saudi Arabia stopped exporting oil declaring the famous oil embargo. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Kodak Agfa Presents in photos : A small red dot

Do you see that that small red dot in the night sky this weekend !?

This small red dot appearing in the night sky is Planet Mars and you can see it by the naked eye currently at least in the Middle East at night.

A small red dot known as Mars
A small red dot known as Mars

You can see it right above the moon, a red shining dot without any telescope.

A Full moon and above it a full planet
A Full moon and above it a full planet

Here is another photo for Mars right above a very shinning full moon.

It was not the brightest idea but it was so tempting.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Coronavirus on the Nile : Early October COVID-19 Live updates

A new month while living under the coronavirus pandemic that killed one million people around the globe.

October has one hell of a start with the news of how the current US President Donald Trump whose policies during coronavirus pandemic were not the best, test positive along with his wife for COVID-19.

It is like 2020 has still somethings up in its sleeves.

Some countries in the Arab world are witnessing a re-surge in the cases of the coronavirus by the end of September.

So far the situation is stable in Egypt but it is a huge challenge as public schools and universities are going to open their doors officially in Mid October.

Sensitizing the Giza zoo during coronavirus pandemic
Sensitizing Giza zoo by Mohamed Raai 

Egypt is also going to have parliamentary in the second half of October which means those two weeks will witness parliamentary elections campaigns.

Judging the recent numbers which released daily by the Egyptian health ministry last week, Egypt has had a stable infection daily rate and a declining recovery rate.

The government is telling the people that they should follow the precautionary measures especially social distancing and wearing masks.

But again realistically speaking, neither the social distancing is followed nor the masks are worn.

Example: That celebration held on Friday to commemorate the 1973 and to show support to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi by a bunch of political parties where hundreds of people gathered at Nasr city without masks and no social distancing.

Friday celebration and there is no proper comment 
to describe this

Anyhow; here is our live daily update for the upcoming two weeks. Please stay safe.

Friday, October 2, 2020

When Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to play at Roland Garros

2020 is the year to remember without a doubt and one of those moments many Egyptians remember happily and proudly was this week.

It is the moment when 24-years-old-Egyptian Mayar Sherif was the first Egyptian woman to play at Roland Garros and to win a grand slam match after beating Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone in the final round of Roland Garros qualifying games.

A moment to remember and to blog about.

Mayar Sherif played her first game in Roland Garros last Tuesday against World No.4 Karolina Pliskova and it is one hell of a game that many Egyptians watched admirably.

Egyptian tennis player Mayar Sherif
Egyptian tennis player Mayar Sherif

Sherif may have lost the game but she made history in a way and made achievements I consider history-making.

I will repeat again that she is the first Egyptian woman to play in Roland Garros.