Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Happy Eid Adha 2023 from Egyptian Chronicles to the world

I extend my heartfelt wishes for a joyous Eid Adha to all Muslims and people across the globe. May your devotion and sacrifices be blessed abundantly.

Happy Eid Al-Adha

At this moment, my thoughts are with the Sudanese people. This year, they have been thrust into a nightmarish situation due to the actions of two criminals who should be behind bars, not in positions of power.

May the coming year bring an Eid Adha where Sudan stands as one united nation, free from military dictatorships and militias forever, by the grace of God.

May the coming year bring an end to those challenging economic conditions Egypt and Egyptians are facing. This time shall pass inshallah.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Eid Al-Adha 2023: How the Economic Crisis is Impacting Meat Consumption in Egypt "Updated"

It is a well-known fact. Eid Al-Fitr is the fish and new clothes for children while Eid Al-Adha is the meat feast. The connection between meat and Eid Al-Adha is clear.

Samia Gamal buying a sheep for Eid Al-Adha in Cairo in early 1950s
Samia Gamal buying a sheep for Eid Al-Adha
in Cairo in the early 1950s

However, this year's Eid Al-Adha feels different for many Egyptians, as they are directly feeling the effects of the economic crisis, particularly when it comes to the consumption of food, especially meat.

Updated on Tuesday 4th July: 
Haitham Abdel Basset, the vice president of the Butchers Division said in statements from four days ago in Al-Masry Al-Youm that the demand on meat during the Eid Al-Adha season went down by 80%. Abdel Basset added that this was the worst year ever for the butchers

Official agencies in Egypt have released statistics in the past few weeks that shed light on this situation.
The prices of live red meat, including beef, lamb, and goat, have risen by 100%, while the prices of red meat after slaughter have increased by 105%.

In a nationwide survey conducted by the Egyptian Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) in mid-June, it was found that 68% of Egyptian citizens had no intention of buying sheep, cattle, or even sacrificial vouchers for charities this year. 

Only 19.9% of citizens expressed their intention to buy sheep while the remainder are still undecided.

What are sacrificial vouchers? 

According to the sacrifice voucher program that appeared in recent years, the donors give full authority to charities that provide the service to slaughter the sacrifice and distribute meat to needy people on their behalf during the feast.

Monday, June 26, 2023

The Richest Arabs in 2023: Egypt and Lebanon Still Have the Most Billionaires in the Region

It is not too late to share the list of the Forbes World's Richest Arabs and subsequently the Richest Egyptians. Inshallah, I am planning to make it an annual tradition for Egyptian Chronicles.

The Arabic edition of the famous magazine published this list in April, and I'd like to share it with you now.

I must mention that Forbes Middle East has not included Saudi billionaires on its list since 2018. The list is based on published information and assets.

Egypt's richest men
Egypt's richest men from left to right: Nassef Sawiris, Mohamed Mansour,
Naguib Sawiris, Mohamed El-Fayed, Youssef Mansour and Yasseen Mansour

As Arabs, we are aware that there is another unofficial list of the Richest Arabs whose fortunes remain secret and unknown. This secret list includes Arab rulers, except for the Lebanese ruling class because we have figures like Mikatis and Hariris who have their own business empires.

Now, let's turn our attention to this year's list. According to Forbes' World's Billionaires 2023 ranking, there are 2,640 people featured, down from 2,668 in 2022. Collectively, billionaires are now worth US $12.2 trillion—US $500 billion less than in March last year—and believe it or not, nearly half of them are poorer than they were in 2022.

In an interesting twist, for the second year in a row, Egypt and Lebanon have the highest number of billionaires in the region, with six entries each. It's worth noting that we have the same individuals as last year, but their rankings have changed.

According to Forbes, Nassef Sawiris of Egypt retains his position as the richest Arab and Egyptian in the world, with a net worth of US $7.4 billion. He also ranks as the fifth richest African. This year, his global rank is 305th, slightly lower than his position in 2022 when he was ranked 304th.

The drop in Nassef Sawiris' global ranking is due to a decrease of US $300 million in his wealth compared to 2022.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Supporting the future of Syria and region: Or not how to exhaust the traumas of the Syrians and Arabs as usual in endless talkathons

Last week, the EU organized the seventh Brussels conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”.

According to the EU’s official website, this conference is made to bring together “civil society from Syria and beyond, decision-makers, and operational partners to engage in dialogue on Syria and the region as well as on its humanitarian and resilience challenges.”

The EU says that the objective of the event is to “ensure continued support to the Syrian people, both in Syria and in the wider region, by mobilizing the international community in support of a comprehensive and credible political solution to the Syria conflict, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254.”

In other words, it is another bottomless talkathon by the EU to speak about Syria that has not yielded any change realistic that can stop the Syrian ongoing tragedy.

During one of the event's discussion panels, focusing on "Justice and accountability for the Syrian people - current efforts by civil society, international organizations, and national jurisdictions, and the way forward," someone had the guts to speak their mind.

That someone is Wafa Mustafa, a Syrian activist, journalist, and Non-Resident Fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) and Refugees International.

Wafa Mustafa
Wafa Mustafa holding the photo of her detained father along with the photos of 
other Syrian detainees "Wafa Mustafa"

As the daughter of a Syrian detainee who has been forcibly disappeared since 2013, Mustafa had some strong words for the EU, especially in light of the Syrian government, led by Bashar El-Assad, returning to the League of Arab States and the warm reception he received at the Jeddah summit.

Watch her speaking in that clip shared by Egyptian activist and writer Abdel Rahman El-Gendy “Please read his Washington Post’s Op-ed on his detained friend Ayman Moussa”

Monday, June 19, 2023

Road to Egyptian presidential elections: Al-Wafd Party’s Yamama is joining the race

On Sunday, Al-Wafd Party made an important announcement.

Abdel Sanad Yamama, the current leader of the party, has been endorsed by the party's High Committee to run in the upcoming presidential elections.

Abdel Sanad Yamama
Current Al-Wafd Party leader Abdel Sanad Yamama 

According to the party, 90% of the High Committee voted to run for office, either in a few months or next winter. The party also announced that its Secretary-General, Yasser El-Hodaiby, has been appointed as the media spokesperson for Yamama's presidential campaign. El-Hodaiby is one of the party's 10 senators in the Senate.

Al-Wafd Party also has 26 members of parliament in the House of Representatives.

Yamama's platform has not been released yet because his party is still working on it. He says that his platform will focus on the economic crisis.

Last week, many Egyptians who follow local news in Egypt learned for the first time that Abdel Sanad Yamama is the leader of the Al-Wafd Party.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Pylos Boat: Hundreds of Migrants Dead in another Greek Tragedy

The Pylos boat tragedy made headlines around the world, especially in Europe. There were protests in Greece in solidarity with the migrants including children who crossed the sea to end up dead in the seabed in some Greek tragedy.

In case you do not know, on Tuesday, June 13th a fishing boat carrying an estimated 750 refugees and migrants capsized off the coast of Pylos, Greece.

Pylos ship
The ship was filmed by Greek authorities hours before it was capsized 

At least 78 people died while 104 people were rescued. Hundreds including over 100 children and minors are still missing. It is considered the deadliest migrant sunken boat incident in recent years in the Mediterranean. “It is the most polluted and deadliest sea for real."

The Greek Hellenic coastguard has not been accused only of failing to rescue the passengers promptly but also of deliberately ignoring the pleas of the ship and its SOS many hours before it capsized according to journalists and activists. It won’t be the first.

The boat was reportedly carrying people from Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Palestine. According to the survivors, there were at least 200 Egyptians on its board.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

George Ishak : A legacy not to be forgotten

Famous Egyptian politician George Ishak (1938-2023) passed away a couple of days ago after a struggle with illness for a couple of weeks. His death is a huge loss for Egypt.

Ishak played a fundamental role in the formation of the Kefaya opposition movement and the National Association of Change against former President Hosni Mubarak and the 25 January Revolution. 

Seeing what happened in those days seems to be like remembering an old memory that is turning into a legend in its own way.  

Ishak was also a co-founding member of the Constitution Party and a member of the quasi-official National Council for Human Rights. He was among the most outspoken voices in the council speaking for the detainees and prisoners regardless of their political affiliation. 

In the past days, I saw liberals, Islamists and leftists mourning him alike. I found out that the man was working in silence as much as he can. Now people share it loudly. It is his legacy. 

I won't speak about the silly voices that continue to spread lies about the man because they do not deserve attention. 

George Ishak
The last photo taken for George Ishak at a public event
during the inauguration of the National Dialogue 
last month by Ahmed Abdel Fattah 

I read something on Twitter that made me think a lot about what made George Ishak special.

The man from Port Said was like the first Egyptian Christian to have a loud secular voice outside the boundaries set by the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church and their officials.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Remembering Magda Saleh : Egypt bids Farewell to its first Prima Ballerina

Egypt lost on Sunday its first-ever prima ballerina, Magda Saleh.

Many people outside Egypt may be surprised to learn that Egypt has an active national ballet scene that dates back to the 1960s, and at its heart was Magda Saleh.

Born to an Egyptian academic father and a Scottish mother, Saleh enrolled in ballet academies in Cairo and Alexandria from a young age, attending schools operated by foreigners in the 1950s.

Egypt's First Prima Ballerina Magda Saleh in 1960s
Egypt's First Prima Ballerina Magda Saleh in the 1960s 

In the early 1960s, she was among the first students to enrol in the newly established ballet academy, which was part of the Academy of Arts.

Saleh was chosen among five other girls to be sent to study ballet professionally at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow for two years.

When they returned, they made history, establishing the first generations of Egyptian dancers in the Cairo Opera Ballet Company.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Road to Egyptian elections 2024: Sadat’s Presidential Candidate

The first person to bring up the issue of the upcoming presidential elections in the mainstream media was not former MP Ahmed Tantawy.

It was former MP and leader of the Reform and Development Party Mohamed Anwar Sadat Jr., also known as Mohamed Sadat.

In February, Sadat Jr. issued a statement wondering if the Egyptian political and popular powers, including the intelligentsia, could agree on one or two presidential candidates and put together a plan and platform for them in order to see fair and democratic presidential elections in 2024, like the ones we had in 2012.

Mohamed El-Sadat
Former MP Mohamed El-Sadat 

It is interesting to note that he mentioned the 2012 presidential elections. His call was not taken seriously and was ignored.

A month later, he released another statement saying that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi had unofficially started his presidential campaign earlier with his tours of the governorates.

The former MP then asked questions about whether the political parties and powers, as well as the intelligentsia, were ready for the 2024 presidential elections with capable candidates. He also wondered if the United Nations and other international organizations would be invited to observe and follow up on the elections.

Monday, June 5, 2023

The other Mo Salah : The pride of Ain Shams "Updated"

The identity of the Egyptian policeman who reportedly killed three Israeli soldiers in his pursuit of smugglers has been revealed and confirmed unofficially.

His name is Mohamed Salah Ibrahim. His identity was revealed by Israeli media on Sunday and was confirmed on Monday by his relatives and friends, as well as his colleagues from his conscript unit.

Mohamed Salah and the pyramids in his back
Mohamed Salah and the pyramids in his back 
May 2021

Before we tell you what happened in the past 24 hours, we would like to share with you this small piece of news that took place earlier.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Mohamed al-Tamimi of the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh died on Monday after being shot in the head four days earlier. 

Mohamed El-Tamimi in hospital
Little Mo was in a coma for four days 

Mohamed and his father, activist Bilal al-Tamimi, were shot by Israeli soldiers while they were in a car. The Israeli soldiers were pursuing alleged militiamen. Mohamed's father survived, but his toddler did not.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Unknown Egyptian policeman, killed IDF soldiers and disappearing smugglers: Notes on That incident on the Egyptian-Israeli borders

On Saturday morning, an unknown Egyptian policeman killed three Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and injured at least one other.

This is what we know for certain.

Beyond that, the truth seems to be lost, despite two official statements issued by Egypt and Israel following the incident.

This is what the IDF said in English.

Three IDF soldiers were killed today. Two soldiers were killed by live fire adjacent to the Egyptian border, and the third during an exchange of fire with an assailant in the area of the Paran Regional Brigade. An IDF NCO was also lightly injured.

The assailant is an Egyptian policeman. An investigation is being conducted in full cooperation with the Egyptian army. IDF soldiers continue searching the area to rule out the presence of any additional assailants.

The Egyptian Armed Forces finally broke their radio silence several hours after the Israeli official announcement.

At dawn on Saturday, June 3, 2023, a security personnel assigned to secure the international border line engaged in a pursuit of drug smugglers. During the pursuit, the security personnel breached the security barrier and exchanged gunfire, resulting in the death of three Israeli security personnel and the injury of two others. Additionally, the Egyptian security personnel was killed during the exchange of fire. 

All necessary searches, inspection, and security measures are being taken in the area, along with the implementation of legal procedures regarding the incident.

Our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased, and we wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

The use of the term "security personnel" to refer to the deceased Egyptian that he was a policeman, not a member of the military.

It is noteworthy that the Egyptian Armed Forces issued the statement about the incident, even though the Ministry of Interior is the agency responsible for civilian law enforcement in Egypt.

As you can see, there is a significant discrepancy between the official Israeli and Egyptian versions of events.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

A belated Khamsin storm to remember in Egypt

Thursday afternoon Egypt was on a date with one of those Sandstorms that remind Egyptians that there is something called Khamsin storms Egypt is famous for in spring.

I was in the street, and I saw firsthand the results of removing trees. In a couple of hours, we had in Great Cairo extremely hot weather, rain, and sandstorm.

Giza's Khamsin sandstorm
What I saw firsthand Thursday afternoon, minutes earlier it was raining 

We saw great Cairo under the ‘Mexican filter’ afternoon as some like to call it online.

We paid the price of removing hundreds if not thousands of trees across the country for real today. It has been ages since we saw a similar storm.

I believe the officials especially in the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture know that but fear to say it in public.

We need a green belt around Greater Cairo today before tomorrow. We need to regrow trees again.

This is a typical and original Khamsin Egypt is famous for, but it is a very belated Khamsin. Khamsin storms usually do not happen on 1st June or June at all. Summer should start after 20 days officially.