Thursday, September 29, 2022

Seen from our balcony: Supposedly Jupiter

Monday evening till early Tuesday morning, Planet Jupiter was at its closest point to Earth in so many years.

Some websites say in some 100 years, others say in some 59 years either way the solar system’s biggest planet was in its closest position to us.

Some websites said that you could see by the naked eye as a point in our night sky and if you were so lucky then you could see three of its moons besides.

I tried my luck last Monday to capture it because what are the odds to see again up close and personal like that.

I do not have a telescope or magnification binoculars plus I live in a busy city that does not sleep actually so technically I was not expecting to see Jupiter or take good photos of it.

Here is the best I got or rather the best photo of the allegedly planet that was once idolized in our world.

Supposedly Jupiter from Egypt

To be honest I do not know if it is Jupiter or not but that was the brightest body in Cairo and Giza’s sky then.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Repatriating the stone: Return back Rosetta stone to Egypt

Egypt celebrates on Tuesday the 200th anniversary of deciphering Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and the creation of Egyptology.

Yes, 200 years ago in France, French Jean-François Champollion announced that he succeeded that deciphering the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. That moment created officially Egyptology and archaeology would never become the same.

A replica of Rosetta stone at Egypt's Egyptian Museum of Cairo
A replica of the Rosetta stone at Egypt's Egyptian Museum of Cairo

Champollion would not have done it if it were not for the Rosetta stone or Rashid stone. Found in 1799 by a French officer during Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt at the city of Rashid aka Rosetta, the stone actually contained a decree issued during the Ptolemaic dynasty in three ancient languages: Ancient Greek, ancient hieroglyphs and ancient Demotic language.

Rosetta stone was made from granodiorite in 196 BC, and it is believed that it was displayed at a temple in Sais “in Sharkia governorate” in Nile Delta. It is believed that the stone was transferred during the Mamluk era to be used in the construction of Fort Julien or as commonly known in Egypt as Fort Rashid or Citadel Qaitbey “Not to be confused with the other Citadel Qaitbey in Alexandra”.

It was wide to use ancient stones from ancient Egypt in the construction of buildings like Mosques, schools and forts in the time of the Mamluk era and the examples are many.

The decree inscribed on the stone was issued by a council of priests confirmed the royal cult of Ptolemy V. Egypt is truly the birthplace of the presidential cult

Fast forward to the 19th century and 1801, the English invasion came. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Egypt’s lost boys in the Mediterranean: Cyril and his brothers

Spanish sea rescue NGO Open Arms had a busy weekend. It rescued over 400 migrants stranded in the Mediterranean in smugglers’ boats

The biggest rescue of the weekend was on 19 September Sunday when Open Arms picked up after a search for more than 24 hours 294 migrants mostly Egyptians from an overcrowded barge south of Malta.

Migrants boat
The migrants' boat was found by the open arms "Open Arms"

The 294 migrants were at the sea for 5 days including 2 days without water asking for help. They included 49 women and 60 children.

On Saturday, the Open Arms picked up 59 migrants including 10 minors from Syria, Egypt, Sudan, and Eritrea, from an oil platform in international waters off Tunisia. A dead body of a migrant who was shot on the shore by the smugglers was discovered.

A Syrian mother and her son were found at the oil platform 

Last week, the Italian authorities arrested three Egyptians in Sicily’s Catania (which is a hotspot for migrants) on charges of smuggling a boat with 285 migrants on board that arrived in Italy on 31 August.

From three weeks ago, the security directorate in Libya’s Tobruk announced that it raided a warehouse used by some human trafficking gang where they kept over 200 illegal migrants from Egypt.

According to the official statement released on 9 September by the security directorate in the Eastern Libyan city near the borders with Egypt, 287 illegal Egyptian migrants were found in the warehouse. The Libyan authorities deported them to Egypt.

Many of those 287 illegal Egyptian migrants were not only underaged teens but rather children, real children.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Sabra we know very well: 40 years on a massacre (Warning : Extreme Graphic)

Last week, many Marvel fans in the Arab World were shocked to know that one of the Comics giant’s upcoming films will feature an Israeli superhero called Sabra who is originally a Mossad agent fighting none other than Arab terrorists.

We know firsthand in real life how Arab terrorists span to include every Palestinian in the occupied territories. We know also that for decades how Arabs and Muslims were depicted in comics but still, it is amazing how Marvel and DC got fans in the Arab and Muslim world in the first place, we are not that closed-minded.

We know how we have been depicted for decades in Western media.

The news about Sabra was like a slap because it was not only about glamourizing a superhero that works for a government that has no problem killing civilians as well as occupying other countries’ territories disrespecting international laws and ignoring security council resolutions.

But it was also about the name of that superhero: Sabra.

Aside from meaning patient in Arabic in its feminine form, Sabra is associated in the collective Arab memory, especially in the Levant with one of the worst and darkest moments in its modern history: The Sabra and Shatila massacre.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre
Remembering Sabra and Shatila's victims in 1999 
"Getty Images" 

In case you do not know my dear reader, from 16 to 18 September 1982 radical Lebanese Christian Lebanese Forces Militias killed between 850 to 1500 Palestinians and Shia Lebanese in Sabra neighbourhood and Shatila refugees camp by the orders of the Israeli forces. “Some say that the victims real number reached 3500 people”

"Warning: extreme graphic photos after the break" 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II and Egypt : In photos

Queen Elizabeth II is dead, Long Live King Charles III

And the day has come and the modern world’s longest-serving monarch Queen Elizabeth II has passed away.

96-years-old Queen Elizabeth, the Queen of the United Kingdom passed away earlier Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle in Scotland ending a true era.

Queen Elizabeth II and King Tutankhamun
Queen Elizabeth in front of King Tutankhamun's mask at his special exhibit 
in London in 1972 at the British Museum  "Getty"

It is unclear what the old monarch suffered from.

Her eldest son-73-years-old Charles has become King Charles III and his wife in some irony of fate became Queen consort, Camilla. She had the last laugh as it seems against all odds somehow after decades of being scorned globally.

It is almost the end of the era for real but not the end of that era because Henry Kissinger is still alive and kicking and honestly, he has been more dangerous than Queen Elizabeth II with all that she represented from British colonialism and Monarchy to the end of that talk.

The Second Elizabethan era ended as the UK itself is facing a lot of challenges whether economically or politically in a very critical time in the world.

According to an irony of fate, that era started in a challenging way for young Elizabeth too as the Sun began to set on the British Colonial Empire.

Now after this quick intro, here is a quick look at Queen Elizabeth II and Egypt aside from the long, complicated and ugly then friendly relations between the British governments and Egyptian administrations.

Contrary to my knowledge and the knowledge of millions of Egypt, Queen Elizabeth actually visited Egypt somehow.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Happy New Egyptian Year 6264

Happy New Ancient Egyptian Year 6264.

Today is the first ancient Egyptian Month “Thout” or as we call it in Arabic “Tut”.

Hieroglyphs on a sarcophagus at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo
Details on a granite sarcophagus At the Egyptian Museum of Cairo 

As you may have known or not actually, the New Ancient Egyptian year/Coptic Orthodox year starts on 11 September from the Georgian Year.

There is an Egyptian Proverb about that month in Arabic “Tut, come and kill the heat”. This is in reference to the end of summer in September aka the fall.

Happy new year and I hope it brings better news

FYI, the oldest calendar in the world was discovered in Scotland and this was a brand new fact for me. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Egypt’s Femicide epidemic continues: her name was Amany El-Gazzar and she was 19 years old

Her name was Amany El-Gazzar and she was only 19 years old. She was a junior studying at the Faculty of Physical Education. She and her family lived in a small village called Tukh Tanbisha in Mounfia governorate’s Birket El-Sab.

Amany El-Gazzar
Late Amany El-Gazzar

Amany El-Gazzar was standing in front of her house on her way back when she was shot down from her back by a young man Saturday evening.

El-Gazzar was reportedly shot down by 29-years-old Ahmed Fathy Emira who fled the scene according to the eyewitnesses. She was shot down by a shotgun pistol.

Security authorities said that it found the dead of Emira on Sunday after he committed suicide. 

Amany El-Gazzar was transferred to a hospital in a nearby city but all attempts to save her failed. She was already gone.

Her last Facebook public post was at 11:24 PM on Friday and it read. 

Friday, September 2, 2022

New Central Bank of Egypt’s acting governor, old faces in a time of crisis (Part-2 : Amer vs Abdallah)

Appointing Hassan Abdallah as the acting governor of the Central Bank of Egypt “CBE” was by all measures a very interesting one for several reasons. Mostly, it means that to fix or undo what Tarek Amar had done, you must bring one of his old nemeses in his place.

Hassan Abdallah has not wasted any time in undoing what his processor had done already and took a couple of decisions earning the praise of many despite what his decisions so far are of short-term medicine than a long-term solution.

Now, it is time for some juicy summer economic and financial gossip and our post tonight is about Amer vs Abdallah and that fight between them that ended somehow so far in the favor of the latter.

Please pay attention to the names because they are too many in our post. 

They all play the musical chairs game but in the adult real world of finance.

Amer Vs banks chairmen

In March 2016, Amer as the governor of CBE issued a decision to place a-9-years-limit on the tenures of CEOs of commercial banks in Egypt. The CBE said in its statement about the decision that it was taken to “Help to modernize the sector and inject new blood”.

Hassan Abdallah and Tarek Amer
Abdallah on the left and Amer on right

In essence, you would think it was a good decision but during then it was said that Amer wanted to get rid of some former rival Egyptian banks’ CEOs who did not like his policies above them two: Commercial International Bank “CIB”'s Hisham Ezz al-Arab and AAIB’s Hassan Abdallah.

There were 8 CEOs including Abdallah and Ezz al-Arab to be affected by that decision and they would not leave without a fight in front of the courts even if they let others go on their behalf to the court

In June 2019, Cairo’s Administrative court nullified the decision after a lawsuit and during then the CBE decided not to appeal the decision. The veteran CEOs seemed to win that round, but it was not over.

In September 2018, the CBE appointed Abdallah as the first assistant to the CBE governor and a new CEO was appointed for AAIB.

In May 2019, suddenly leaked reports based on anonymous sources surfaced on a couple of websites like Cairo 24 speaking about the real reason for dismissing Abdallah from his position in the AAIB, claiming his involvement in huge financial violations discovered by the CBE’s supervisory body.

If a person is accused of corruption, why would he be given a position like CBE governor’s assistant as a punishment!?