Friday, March 31, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023: Tale of Mando “Mando, the horse whisperer” #EP10

Ramadan Karim 😀

We continue our tale for this year, the tale of Mando.

Before that the usual chitchat.

Anyhow, let’s go to our episode tonight but first, refresh your mind with last night’s episode.

Now to the tenth episode of our tale or the 472nd episode in Egyptian state radio’s One Thousand and One Nights show.

The synopsis in English

Mando grew up to become a fine and admirable lad. 

Though his father was a mere garbage collector, Mando possessed a beauty and grace that did not befit his humble origins.

Kodak Agfa Presents : A Defiant Cairo's Ramadan Market in time of economic Crisis "P.2"

Welcome to another exciting post in the Egyptian Chronicles' special Ramadan coverage! For those who are still with us, today we will be continuing a tour of the Ramadan market in El-Sadd El-Barani street through a series of captivating photos and important economic facts. 

 In case you do not know, Ramadan is our version of Christmas when it comes to festivities and the fanoos or the lantern is our Christmas tree. In case you do not know Egypt is currently living in one of its worst economic crises ever. 

Believe me, I am just getting started. 

At Cairo's Ramadan market in El-Seyada Zeinab
A vendor with a pack of change at the Ramadan market 

You should read the first part of the tour as well as its video and the attempt to find the reason behind holding the Ramadan market at El-Sadd El-Barani street that ended up finding instead the history behind the name itself, the name of  “El-Sadd El-Barani”.

Buying Ramadan lanterns at Cairo's El-Sayeda Zeinab Market
Inside Ramadan lanterns stand at the market 

According to the statements of the officials at the Toys division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, the production of lanterns in Egypt went down from 5 million lanterns in 2022 to 2 million lanterns in 2023.

It went down by 3 million lanterns.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023: Tale of Mando “The Garbage collector” #EP9

Ramadan Karim 😀

We continue our tale for this year, the tale of Mando.

Now there is a little change I must inform you about.

I told the Chat GPT to change the copyediting style from the extreme classical style of Sir Richard Francis Burton from the 19th century to a classical “One Thousand and One Nights” Book style only. The results as you will see down after the break are easier and simple yet classical tales book style.

I hope you enjoy it.

Anyhow before we go to the ninth episode in our tale for this year, you can refresh your memory with your last night’s episode

Now to the ninth episode of our tale or the 471st episode in Egyptian state radio’s One Thousand and One Nights show

From Nile Floods to Ramadan Celebrations: Exploring the History of Cairo's El-Sadd El-Barani Street

If you are a veteran Egyptian Chronicles blog reader who has not got bored of my rants, you will know that in Ramadan I got some traditions like fewer politics, more of 1001 posts and the usual as well as annual trip to the Ramadan lanterns market at Cairo’s El-Seyada Zeinab.

It is an annual tradition which I love, and I hope that insh Allah I continue doing it.

Now there has been something that puzzled me concerning that market. It was one question that I have not yet had a definite answer to.

When or how did the Ramadan market start in El-Sadd El-Barani Street!?

My online research led me to the history behind El-Sadd El-Barani Street and that is what I share in the video below.

While ranting about what I discovered, you can see how packed the Ramadan lanterns market was despite the economic crisis. I filmed this on 15 March. 

I believe that people especially from the working and middle classes want to celebrate Holy Month and its traditions despite the truly hard economic conditions.

At Cairo's Ramadan market in El-Seyada Zeinab
The Ramadan Market at El-Sadd El-Barani street 

Historically and officially, the name "El-Sadd El-Barani Street" first appeared in modern Egyptian official records in 1898 when the Cairo Municipal authorities decided to backfill the "Egyptian Gulf".

 This gulf was an artificial water canal utilized to link the Nile River with a lake that served as a means of preserving the Nile flood's excess.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023: Tale of Mando “The Midwife” #EP8

Ramadan Karim 😀

We continue our tale for this year, the tale of Mando.

Now a little confession, the illustrations you see here in the post starting from the second episode are AI-generated art. They were all made by Midjourney using the descriptions of characters and styles of different famous illustrators whom I love their 1001 depictions above Maxfield Parrish and Edmund Dulac.

I am more than amazed. It is not easy to get good results though when you ask for illustrations but thanks to dear Sherif Kozman who introduced me to a way to use Chat GPT to get better prompts. It is quite amazing to see the results but it takes a hell of a time to the level that I must say that real human illustrators should not be worried. 

Now to our episode tonight which is a little sad and shocking.

First, refresh your mind with last night’s episode.

Now to the eighth episode of our tale or the 470th episode in Egyptian state radio’s One Thousand and One Nights show.

The synopsis

Oh, most perfidious of Viziers! His wickedness knows no bounds, for he covets not only power but the throne itself! And yet again does he plot and scheme, with no heed for the lives he seeks to destroy in his mad quest for glory.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023: Tale of Mando “Prisoners of their fate” #EP7

Ramadan Karim😀

We continue our tale for this year, the tale of Mando.

But first I have to share something with you again.

I chose this year’s tale after listening to two other tales from the 1960s.

I think our tale could be recorded in the early 1960s.

At first, to be honest, I avoided the tales which were televised in the 1980s and 1990s because my generation still remembers them. 

I chose the tale of Mando because the other two tales were too politicalized. Unfortunately, Taher Abu Fasha could not escape the propaganda machine and yes we listened previously to Pro-Nasserite tales with metaphors of The Sauds and The Hashemites.

But those two tales were terrible. They were technically Pro-Soviet/Eastern Bloc against Pro-US/Western Bloc. I can say Abu Fasha was in his best imagination mood when he was not instructed to use his show as an instrument of propaganda.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023: Tale of Mando “A circle of fate” #EP6

Ramadan Karim 😀

We continue our tale for this year, the tale of Mando.

Before we go to the sixth episode of our tale, I want to reveal something this year.

The English synopsis of this year’s episode that I add after the audio episode in Arabic is actually copyedited by Chat-GPT according to the style of Sir Richard Francis Burton’s translation of the One Thousand and one nights book. "I know that Burton was a piece of work, an embodiment of colonialism"

The result is more than impressive 

I am thinking of trying other styles in upcoming episodes.

Anyhow, let’s go to our episode tonight but first, refresh your mind with last night’s episode.

Now to the sixth episode of our tale or the 468th episode in Egyptian state radio’s One Thousand and One Nights show.

The Synopsis

Concealing his ire behind a veil of deference, the Vizier Shahlan hastens to pay court to the King upon learning that the Queen is with child, and thus his scheme of betrothing his daughter to the royal majesty has been dashed. Nevertheless, a glimmer of hope remains.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023: Tale of Mando “The Darvish” #EP5

Ramadan Karim 😀

In tonight's episode, we are presented for the first time to a character of Eunuch in the famous radio show.

Needless to say, when I read the “Eunuch of the court” now, the character of Varys in Game of Thrones jumps into my mind. 

Interestingly, I thought the practice of “Eunuch” slaves originated in the Middle East. It turned out that historically there are historical records from Ancient Egypt that show the practice was older than we think and it was used to humiliate enemies.

In fact, the word “Eunuch” may have an ancient Egyptian origin. The practice was also known in other parts of ancient worlds including China. After all, what worse humiliation of a man could suffer than that. Eunuch slaves are mostly depicted in a negative way just like in the case of Varys.

In tonight's episode, we are presented with another interesting character who is the Dervish.

I will only say Taher Abu Fasha sends very interesting messages in the show.

Anyhow enough of the talk and let’s go to our episode tonight.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023: Tale of Mando “The Prisoner” #EP4

Ramadan Karim.

And we continue our tale for this, the tale of Mando from the Audio One Thousand and One nights show.

It is not related to other Mando

But first just as I share with a great Egyptian state radio show, I must mention that Egyptian and Arab radio lost one of its radio icons a couple of days ago.

Egypt’s Legendary radio host Fadila Tawfik or as commonly known for generations as “Abla Fadila” or Miss Fadila.

Abla Fadila was the first woman to have a show dedicated to children’s tales on Egyptian state radio since the mid-1950s.

Fadila Tawfik passed away at the age of 96.

She died in Canada while staying with her daughter who is living there.

Born in 1929 to an Egyptian Nubian father and Turkish mother, Abla Fadila was the sister of renowned late Egyptian actress and leftist activist Mohsena Tawfik.

She was also the aunt of renowned Egyptian leftist activist Wael Khalil. She graduated from Cairo University’s Faculty of Law before joining the Egyptian Radio service.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023: Tale of Mando “The forbidden fruit” #EP3

Ramadan Karim,

We continue our tale for this year, the tale of Mando.

Before we go to the third episode of our tale, I want to remind you to pay attention to the references mentioned in the original work of Taher Abu Fasha.

Abu Fasha was the main writer of the One Thousand and one-night radio show in Egypt in case you forgot or are a newcomer.

“Mando’s tale” is not an original “One Thousand and one nights” story. Taher Abu Fasha once again uses his imagination to write yet another fantasy story from Arabian nights and beyond. “I won’t spoil it”

In tonight’s episode, Abu Fasha mentions the famous forbidden fruit aka apple.

If you remember in the first episode, he also spoke about the two cities “Gamore and Samore” that shared a similar fate to the infamous Sodom and Gomorrah.

There is also a mention of “Ahl El-Khutwa” of the Sufi Muslim saints who got supernatural powers.

It is a term common in Egypt. The Djinn, the usual guest star is mentioned in tonight’s episode too.

In a way, Abu Fasha followed the same path as those who wrote the original One Thousand and One Nights Book centuries ago.

Already in the original book, you will find all that and more.

Anyhow enough talk and we go to the third episode in our audio tale.

Kodak Agfa Presents : A Defiant Cairo's Ramadan Market in time of economic Crisis "P.1"

At Cairo's Ramadan market in El-Seyada Zeinab
The market was totally packed two weeks ago 

When I went to the popular market located behind the famous El-Sayeda Zeinab Mosque and Shrine on the crowded El-Saad Street, I imagined I would see the impact of the economic crisis in action but I was totally wrong.

Buying Ramadan lanterns at Cairo's El-Sayeda Zeinab Market
People, mostly families led by women came to buy Ramadan decorations and lanterns 

If any foreigner walked in that street and saw how crowded it was last week, he or she would think that Egypt does not suffer from one of its worst economic crises but looks can be deceivable.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023: Tale of Mando “A King, a vizier and a water whisper in a garden” #EP2

Ramadan Karim.

Last episode I did not speak much about the televised version of our radio tale, the tale of Mando.

For this year, I chose yet another story that the 1980s generation knew very well because it was presented on TV in 1986 and was a hit show.

It was presented as a Fawzeer Ramadan TV show starring none other than Sherihan, the diva and legendary TV director Fahmy Abdel-Hamid.

It was a mixed hit of Fawzeer Ramadan TV show and One Thousand- and One-Nights show.

For those who do not know, “Fawzeer Ramadan” was an Egyptian state TV show that ran from the 1960s till 2000.

Simply, it involves riddles or “Fawzeer” in a musical form episode and the winners take a prize at the end of the month.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Ramadan Arabian Nights 2023 : The Tale of Mando “One sad Shahryar” EP.1

Ramadan Kareem to all Egyptian Chronicles readers.

It is our time of the year to meet our dear Scheherazade and listen to her tales.

We are back to the One Thousand and One Nights radio show in Arabic created by Egyptian Radio legend Mahmoud Shaaban aka Papa Sharo.

Shaherezade and Shahayer by Gamal Qotb 

Based originally on the famous book “One Thousand and One Nights” aka “The Arabian Nights”, it was the longest-running show in the history of Egyptian State Radio.

Papa Sharo could not have created the show without the continuing work of Egyptian writer and folksiest Taher Abu Fasha.

Egyptian Legendary actress Zouzou Nabil as Scheherazade and Theatre legend Abdel Rahim El-Zarakany as Shahryar are back again.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

On Mother’s Day : When will the US apologize to the Iraqi mothers !?

Today is Mother’s Day in the Arab world. Thanks to the Amin brothers of Egypt, the Arab world celebrates it on 21 March annually with the start of Spring.

Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers, aunts, and grandmothers all over the world especially in our sad part of the world aka the Middle East.

It is not easy to be a mother and actually, it can be hard too especially in the Arab World.

It is also the 20th anniversary of the United States-led invasion of Iraq. It is not commemorated in any way in the Arab World and the West deals with it like any other colonial war crime that it does not want to speak about it now.

An Iraqi mother and her children fleeing Basra in 2003
An Iraqi mother and her children fleeing Basra in 2003 "Getty images" 

The East aka Russia and China are using it to attack the United States and the West.

Now the only thing on my mind this Mother’s Day is when will the United States and its officials above them G.W. Bush and the rest of the cronies apologize for the Iraqi mothers!?

Monday, March 20, 2023

Exploring Egypt's Wadi El-Hitan and Fossils and Climate Change Museum: In video

I know. I promise you that this would be the finale of the posts series I dedicated to the visit I paid to Egypt’s Wadi El-Hitan or the Valley of the Whales in 2017.

Believe me, this obsession is worth it, the place is amazing and having this place in Egypt makes me so proud.

Now here are a couple of video clips I took at the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of the Fayoum desert which is 150 km away from Cairo. Warning: Extremely shaky, fast and short video. Turn on the captions, it got English captions and I am working on the Arabic captions as well.

I apologize for the bad filming; I was still a newbie. 

If you like it, please like, share and subscribe because I still record videos of places I visit. “You probably know that already if you are a regular here.”

Featured in the video are Wadi El-Rayan’s man-made waterfalls and the man-made magic lake.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

And Independent leftist Khaled El-Balshy becomes the head of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate

It was an unusual and surprising turn of events when an independent opposition journalist, Khaled El-Balshy, was elected as the head of Egypt's Journalists Syndicate in free elections.

Khaled El-Balshy
Khaled El-Balshy at the syndicate on Friday "Abdullah Ewies" 

This unexpected outcome made history, as El-Balshy won against his main rival Khaled Meiri, the editor-in-chief of the state-owned daily Al-Akhbar.

Typically, the head of the syndicate comes from a state-owned press institution, but in this case, the Egyptian journalists made history by electing an independent journalist as their leader.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Thursday Rants and Rave: #EP13 “Mrs Karima and surviving the death row”

This is what I ranted in Arabic about in tonight’s episode of “Thursday Rants and Rave” which I am posting on Frida.

I spoke about the case of Mrs Karima El-Sayed who was acquitted of her husband’s murder while waiting on death row.

Two weeks ago, the Court of Cassation in Egypt acquitted Mrs Karima El-Sayed of her husband’s murder in December 2017 cancelling the death sentence issued by the Mansoura Criminal court to her in September 2019.

It is the first verdict of its kind to be issued in similar cases of spousal murders since 1986 according to Mrs Karima El-Sayed’s lawyer Wahdan El-Baz.

Karima El-Sayed
Karima with her daughters after her release and return to her family

The story of Karima started when her husband Mohamed Abdou El-Sheribiny was found dead in some field near the railways rail in their Nile Delta village on 5 December 2017.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

IWD2023 : Let’s have high hopes like Amal Ismail and Zubaida Abdel Aal

Happy International Women's Day 2023.

It comes in a very hard economic time in Egypt with a lot of pressure and challenges facing women for real in society but instead, I will focus on two positive news that made headlines in Egypt in the past week.

Zubaida and Amal
Zubaida and Amal 

First of all, we got the news of Mrs Zubaida Abdel Aal of Mounfia governorate who took her literacy exam a couple of weeks ago at the age of 87 years old.

The photo and news of Haja Zubaida made it to Angelina Jolie’s Instagram stories and the internet in the Arab world went mad to see an old Egyptian peasant granny making it to Angelina Jolie’s Instagram.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Restoring back daylight saving time in Egypt: 1000 years of “apply” and “not apply”

On Wednesday, Egypt’s government announced that it was going to apply or rather to re-apply the daylight saving time again in Egypt after cancelling it in July 2016.

The daylight-saving time will be applied to start from the last Friday in April to the end of the last Thursday in October of the Gregorian year.

The aim of re-applying the system already applied in almost 40% of the countries in the world during summer is to rationalize energy and fuel which to exported to Europe. Already the plan was declared last August.

Alexandria's Stanley bridge
Lights of Alexandria Stanley Bridge in May 2016

It will be one hot summer indeed.

Now all I think about now is how daylight-saving time was one of the most cancelled and uncancelled decisions in the history of the Egyptian Republic.

Historically, Egypt knew the daylight-saving time in 1957 “The Nasser era” when it was introduced as a power-saving measure before it was cancelled in 1975 “Sadat era”.