Saturday, December 31, 2022

Egyptian Chronicles’ Movers and Shakers of 2022

Welcome to the 2022 edition of Egyptian Chronicles' Movers and Shakers.

It is the time for our annual post
Here is my list of those I believe to be the shakers and movers of 2022 in Egypt, the Arab world and the world.

This is not the list of the top people but rather those who made an impact whether positive or negative based on my own views. The good, bad and ugly are here. The naughty and goody-goody are here too.

From Upper left to right: Mohamed Omda, Mohamed Maait and Mohamed Al-Amin 
From lower left to right: Ramy Fahim, Sherine, Sanaa Seif, Ahmed El-Tayab 

This list is without any order. You know me, I write what I remember.

Again, I started writing down this post at 2:04 AM, yet once again my epic procrastination and being burned out for the year rules.

From Egypt

  • Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, Ex-Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer and Current CBE governor Hassan Abdullah: Do I need to explain !? I mean we enter the new year with more fears than hopes about what we may face economically. 2022 is one of the most brutal economic years Egypt has ever witnessed and God knows how Egypt’s economy will survive its repercussions as external debts increase.
  •  Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb: El-Tayeb made a name for himself to stand out among all the previous Imams of Egypt and the world’s oldest and most Sunni Islamic institution. Aside from the successful coexistence dialogue he leads with Christian faith leaders around the globe like his best BBF in Rome Pope Francis, El-Tayeb is truly standing the moderate Sunni Muslims against attacks from left and right. This year he stood against endless attacks by radical seculars who believe that he is ultra-conservative and by religious fanatics who believe that he is ultra-progressive alike. El-Tayeb so far got very progressive views for real, but no one wants to listen truly to him. He also brought back the voice of Al-Azhar internationally to comment on and defend Muslim rights’ around the globe whether in India or in Afghanistan defending the right of Afghani girls to learn.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Thursday Rave and Rants: #EP7 “Mohamed Al-Amin and case 188/2022” (Part#2)

Here is the 7th episode from my podcast in Arabic. It is the second part of my post/podcast’s episode about the late media tycoon Mohamed Al-Amin who died earlier in December while serving a three-years-sentence in prison on charges related to human trafficking.

Al-Amin who was Egypt’s biggest media tycoon a couple of years ago suffered from Cancer in a late stage from a couple of months ago and was transferred to a Private hospital to receive treatment. He passed away earlier this month. You can listen to this post in Arabic in the podcast below.

You can check the first part of the episode/post here to refresh your memory.

We stopped at the arrest of Mohamed Al-Amin in January and how the media went mad.

It is expected honestly considering who he was and the severity of the accusations he was facing.

On 11 January, news websites began to publish his alleged statements in front of the prosecution denying all the charges and claiming that the three girls he was accused of molesting in his orphanage were sent to him by the Ministry of Social Solidarity’s officials despite they were older than the rest of the girls. 

On 5 February, Al-Amin was referred to the Criminal court by the Prosecutor General on charges of human trafficking over sexually abusing and threatening seven underage girls." Not only two".

Mohamed Al-Amin

The referral order was full of details like the prosecution depended upon the testimonies of 13 eyewitnesses including the confessions of the victims, the examination of the defendant’s mobile phone, the Forensic Authority’s reports, the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood and the physiological and social research department at the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Kodak Agfa Presents : A 2022 Shubra Christmas in Photos

Kodak Agfa is back to Cairo’s Shubra to check on the Christmas spirit and let me tell you one thing for sure: Christmas spirit is still there but it is trying to survive the economic crisis.

Shubra's Christmas tree in Egypt's Cairo
The big Christmas tree and lights are on full power at one street only 

Compared to last year's Christmas, the difference is evident to anyone.

Christmas lights in Cairo's Shubra
Very few Christmas lights are seen on the street 

Sunday, December 25, 2022

A teaser of a Merry Christmas “25th December Edition”

A very Merry Christmas from Egyptian Chronicles who are celebrating it tonight and happy holidays too.

Christmas tree and lights in Cairo's Shubra
The big Christmas tree is back in Cairo's Shubra 

This is from Shubra where we had a nice Kodak Agfa tour last year if you remember 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Thursday Rave and Rants: #EP6 “Mohamed Al-Amin and case 188/2022” (Part#1)

Here is the 6th episode from my podcast in Arabic and it is about the late media tycoon Mohamed Al-Amin.

Famous Egyptian businessman and former media tycoon Mohamed Al-Amin died last week while serving a three-years-prison for sexually assaulting underage girls in a case that shocked society less than a year ago.

Al-Amin who was spending his prison sentence at Wadi Al Natroun Centre for Correction and Rehabilitation was transferred to Private El-Salam hospital several months ago to be treated for cancer.

A Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Mohamed Al-Amin to three years and fined him LE 200,000 for sexually assaulting seven underage girls in May at an orphanage he established in Upper Egypt.

It was a first-degree sentence, and he was already challenging the first direct sentence.

Ironically, I wrote this post on a draft I made in May after his sentencing that for some reason I did not complete. This is what I wrote then “It is like the end of season one of his saga.”

I was writing that post then because I wanted to express how I and others believed that that was a light sentence for a grave crime.

As soon as the news of his death was announced, we found news websites and news groups following state-affiliated “United Media service” mourning him politely on its channels as well as social media accounts with no mention or regard whatsoever to his conviction.

UMS acquired Future Media Group which acquired CBC Network and Al-Watan under its umbrella in 2018 from Mohamed Al-Amin.

Those were the same channels and websites that shared the news of his arrest and his trial as an example no one is above the law.

Now to the main question about who Mohamed Al-Amin was.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Seen in Cairo: Adly synagogue aka Sha’ar Hashamayim synagogue

Seen in Cairo on two busy and buzzy two different afternoons weeks apart including Tuesday afternoon, Adly synagogue aka Sha’ar Hashamayim synagogue standing high during the Hanukkah in the Egyptian Capital’s Downtown during Hanukkah.

Sha’ar Hashamayim synagogue
Adly synagogue reminds us of a bygone era 

Designed by Jewish Maurice Joseph Cattaui and was built by Catholic architect Eduard Matasek. The project started in 1899 and was funded by wealthy Egyptian and foreign Jewish families living in the country above them the Cattaui family and Mosseri family.

It was inaugurated in 1908 serving Sephardic Jews

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Thursday Rave and Rants: #EP5 “Charlie in Imbaba” or “Insidious: Imbaba school

Here is the latest episode of my Podcast in Arabic “Thursday rave and rants” and yet I publish it on Friday instead of Thursday.

I am sorry for the delay, but I think that if you follow this blog, you will know that I was not idle.

Between work, covering COP27 then procrastination then World Cup 2022, I could not find time to record episodes on time.

I was not idle also when it comes to completing the story of that Egypt’s Upper-Class girl called Safsaf that turned out to be the country’s most famous spiritual healer in the 20th century and the wife of the red Djinn king according to YouTubers in the 21st century.

Ms Safsaf took me down the rabbit hole for real transferring me to the uncharted world of Egypt’s Western spirituality that still thrives to this day and moment.

I planned initially two episodes but after research I found a huge subculture that needs to be brought to light, at least to stop the myth from spreading. The names I met in that research from presidents “you read it right”, artists and highly esteemed academics were a surprise to me, and they will be a surprise to you when you hear and read that story.

Anyhow here is tonight’s episode and it is about what happened last Thursday in an Imbaba school when a group of girls decided to play a Tiktok challenge called “Charlie”.

Here is the episode

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Qatar World Cup 2022 : Morocco goes to the World Cup Semi-Final ( And we are happy)

And after a game that wrecked the nerves of millions of Arabs and Africans around the globe, Morocco made history in the Qatar World Cup 2022 and I can’t ignore it.

Morocco won the match between it and Portugal on Saturday in Doha’s Al-Thumama stadium making history as the first African and Arab country ever to reach the world cup semi-finals.

We never ever imagined in our lives as Arabs and Africans thought that would see this see but it happened. World Cup’s semi-finals were more of the European/South American zone but the Moroccan national team in this world cup changed this rule as it seems.

This is a World Cup to remember without a doubt.

Needless to say, there is true joy and happiness in the Arab world I can speak about whether in Egypt, my country or other countries.

It is an honest joy that we need for real in those hard times.

This joy shows you that between the Arab people there is no real boundary or tension created by political regimes.

Anyhow this post is an excuse to share those beautiful moments from the after-the-game.

Boufal and his mom by Mahmoud Khaled
Boufal and his mom by Mahmoud Khaled 
The most epic moment is when Sofiane Boufal brought his mom to join him dancing in the field and it was like the best moment ever.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Dear Yahia Abu El-Gheit, your father was a noble man

Dear Yahia Abu El-Gheit,

I do not know if you are going to read this post one day or not, but I hope you stumble upon it when you search more about your late father Mohamed Abu El-Gheit.

I did not know your father personally, but we share many things it turned out that we read the same young adult fiction writers as teens and young adults also.

Mohamed Abu El-Ghait (1988-2022)

We also did not study media or mass communication officially, but we turned our passion into our profession with all its ups and downs, all triumphs and defeats in the most difficult of times in the most difficult places in the world to share the truth or to express an opinion.

I have to say your father is the kind of journalist I wish to be one day, but he was one of a kind.

I did not know your father personally, but we had many common friends who all shared a common opinion about him: he was a noble name.

He was an honourable honest young man in time terms like honour and honesty became a rarity in this big vast world especially in the world of media in the Arab world.

I am writing this on the day that your father was buried in London. “I hope one day that he would be buried in his home country Egypt which he truly adored and hoped the best for”

Aside from the London funeral, there was an online uncoordinated natural virtual vigil made of pure love. Many strange people virtually expressed their sorrow and condolences for the early departure of your father after a battle with a cursed disease that I hate more and more now as it takes our best.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Watch this: Shafika , Egypt’s underground folk music Queen

First time I knew that there was a very famous Egyptian folk singer that most people in Cairo never heard before was through social media.

Yes, you may be surprised but social media opened a door for us the people of Great Cairo province who got no roots in the Nile Delta or Upper Egypt to know and listen to different styles or genres of Egyptian folk music.

The social media presented Shafika to me after 2011 when some tweeps began to speak about her and their memories with her cassette albums in Nile Delta while they were teens. When I searched online for her name, I found a photo of a heavily make-upped woman with 1980s style-blonde dyed hair.

Shafika in the 1980s
Shafika in the 1980s 

To be honest, I do not remember if I listened to her, but all I knew about her was that she was a famous underground folk music singer whose luck and talent did not lead her to be recognized in the mainstream in Cairo.

Time passes and this week, I was properly introduced to Shafika as Egyptian underground folk music Queen and I was reminded again that Egypt is too big and diverse to be constrained by the borders of Great Cairo.

The introduction was through that simple and short documentary about her: Shafika.