Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Kodak Agfa Presents: Moulid El-Nabi Dollies and Horses at El-Sayeda Zeinab 2023

Happy Moulid El-Nabi to all Muslims around the globe

Tonight, nearly one billion and a half Muslims around the world celebrate the birthday anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This holiday is commonly known in Arabic as "El-Moulid El-Nabawy" and in Egyptian Arabic colloquial as "Moulid El-Nabi."

El-Moulid El-Nabawy is observed on the 12th of Rabi Al-Awwal in the Islamic calendar, which falls on September 27th this year. In Egypt, we will not have Wednesday off because the government declared Thursday a day off since 2020 whenever a public holiday falls on a weekday, exempting Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha, and Coptic Christmas.

El-Moulid sweets boxes and dollies at Cairo's El-Sayeda Zeinab
Moulid Sweet's empty cartoon boxes 

To celebrate Moulid El-Nabi, I visited a makeshift market in El-Sayeda Zeinab, a popular neighbourhood in Cairo. I was originally planning to visit Bab El-Bahr, the centre point of making El-Moulid sweets, to see how the centuries-old authentic Egyptian sweets are still handmade today. However, due to work pressure, I found El-Sayeda Zeinab's market to be a quick refuge, and I am glad that I did.

I found a whole stand dedicated to the original Egyptian sugary Arouset and Housan, also known as sugary dollie and horse in Arabic.

Sugary Moulid horse and dollie at El-Sayeda Zeinab's El-Moulid El-Nabawy Market in Cairo
The Moulid dollies and horses stand at El-Sayeda Zeinab

It is widely accepted among historians that the origins of the current Moulid sweets in Egypt, especially Arouset El-Moulid (the "dollie") and Housan El-Moulid (the "horse"), can be traced back to the Fatimid era.

According to legend, in commemoration of the Prophet Mohamed's (PBUH) birthday, the Fatimid Sultan would lead a procession through the streets atop his horse, accompanied by one of his wives dressed in a white gown and adorned with an intricately decorated crown.

Sugary Moulid horse and dollie at El-Sayeda Zeinab's El-Moulid El-Nabawy Market in Cairo
The Moulid Housan or Horse with all its decoration

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Egyptian Presidential Race: Let the games begin

We are now on the road to the Presidential race, as Egypt’s National Elections Authority “NEA” announced the roadmap for the Egyptian Presidential elections on Monday.

According to the NEA, the presidential election race will kick off officially on 5 October and will end on 18 December, in case there are no runoffs.

Here is the roadmap for the 2023 Egyptian presidential election, as announced by (NEA):

September 25-October 4: Presidential hopefuls must secure endorsements from 20 MPs or 25,000 proxies from registered voters across at least 15 governorates, with a minimum of 1,000 proxies from each governorate.

October 5-14: The NEA will receive requests for candidacy from the presidential hopefuls.

October 16: The NEA will announce the official initial list of presidential candidates.

October 22: The NEA will announce the reason for any disqualifications.

November 9: The NEA will issue the final list of presidential candidates.

November 29: Electoral silence will begin abroad.

December 1-3: Egyptians abroad will vote outside Egypt.

December 8: Electoral silence will begin in Egypt.

Monday, September 25, 2023

New iOS Critical iPhone Update Sponsored by Egypt’s Presidential Race

If you are an iPhone user, you probably received a notification in the past few hours that you must update your iOS. In fact, if you have an iPhone, iPad, or iWatch, you must update your OS immediately with an important critical security update.

This critical security update is related to the Egyptian Presidential race, and the world owes its thanks to Egyptian Presidential hopeful Ahmed El-Tantawy for this update.

Ahmed El-Tantawy
Ahmed El-Tantawy

That's right.

Apple owes its thanks to El-Tantawy, the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, and Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) for discovering a zero-day exploit chain for the iPhone.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Bibi and his new Middle East Map: No Place for a Palestinian State

There is a lot happening in Egypt and the world right now.

On Wednesday, two respectable veteran politicians declared their intention to run for the Egyptian presidency, surprising everyone considering that we all know the results in advance.

On Friday, Egypt was back in the US media for all the wrong reasons, with the story of Bob Menendez's "Hala Gate."

The day wasn't over before we found out that millions of iPhone users must update their iOS due to a security breach discovered by Citizen Lab, which found out that someone hacked presidential hopeful Ahmed Tantawy's iPhone!

There is too much to discuss and think about, but then I found Benjamin Netanyahu giving another speech at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, and I couldn't let it go.

I am already so tired and exhausted from covering the boring UNGA, the biggest annual international talking marathon, but...

Carrying a map to a semi-empty UNGA hall, Bibi presented the new Middle East he wishes to see, in which Israel and Saudi Arabia have official relations. As you can see, there is no mention of the Palestinian territories on the map.

Bibi's Middle East Map
Bibi's New Middle East map at the UNGA 78 in New York 

There is no place in the new Middle East for a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 borders. Bibi is sending a direct message that he rejects the two-state solution.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Road to Egypt’s Presidential Elections: Who was Sadat's Presidential Candidate-X? Open the Post to Find Out – It's Egypt-Level Crazy!

Do you remember that Presidential candidate who Mohamed Sadat spoke about several months ago!?

Do you remember how he said that this presidential candidate is from a military background and the civilian political powers as well as the Civil Democratic Movement had talks about him?

Mohamed Sadat stated that this presidential candidate X was having a thought about whether to run in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections in 2024 or in 2023 according to Bloomberg.

People guessed names but he refused to confirm or deny. There was one single name floating around, but people did not believe it because it is unbelievable when you think about it. Belal Fadl said the name on his hit YouTube show on his popular YT channel, but I could not believe it because it was crazy.

Hisham Kassem , Emad Gad and Candidate X 

Prominent Egyptian political Emad Gad published on his official Facebook account on Thursday a post calling President Abdel El-Fattah El-Sisi not to run for another presidential period thanking him for what he has done in the past year.

"The upcoming president will be a transitional leader, followed by a civilian president after opening up the public sphere, allowing freedom for political parties, and abolishing parties based on religious grounds according to the constitution. Then, the trust between civilian political leaders and state institutions and their agencies will be built.” Gad said.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Death in Derna: After the 9/11 Deluge

If you think there is a disaster in Derna, think again. This is not just a disaster, it is a catastrophe. A deluge has wiped out nearly 25% of the city, making the rest uninhabitable.

This is a deluge of biblical proportions, and it happened on September 11, marking the day that Libya will forever remember as its worst natural disaster in modern history.

Derna after storm Daniel
A photo from Derna on Tuesday after Storm Daniel by PIX 

Photos from Planet Live Satellite show the before and after of Derna City, and they speak for themselves about the scale of the catastrophe that Libyans have had to endure alone so far.

Derna on 2/9 and on 12/9 
Benjanim Strick and Planet 

According to the latest official numbers from Libya, over 3,000 people have died while 10,000 are missing.

Egyptians Lost in the Floods

The first batch of bodies of Egyptians who died in Derna began to cross the borders and return home on Tuesday.

The first batch was 150 Egyptians who were identified and transferred to the Tobruk Health Center's morgue in food trucks, as the morgues in Derna's hospitals had no space.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Pray for Libya: Storm Daniel Strikes Derna, Killing Thousands

Libya Needs Our Prayers, Thoughts, and Aid

Storm Daniel hit the eastern parts of Libya on Sunday, bringing heavy rains and flooding. The results were horrifying.

The heaviest rainfall occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning, with some areas receiving up to 250 mm (10 inches) of rain in just a few hours. There were two dams protecting the city. The two dams were the Wadi Derna Dam and the Al-Gharbi Dam. 

Both dams collapsed as a result of the heavy rains and flooding caused by Storm Daniel Medicane. The collapse of the dams released a massive amount of water into the city, which caused widespread damage and loss of life.

The Wadi Derna Dam is located on the Wadi Derna River, which is a major waterway that runs through the city. The dam was built in the 1970s to control flooding and provide water for irrigation. The Al-Gharbi Dam is located on the Al-Gharbi River, which is a smaller river that flows through the city. The dam was built in the 1980s to provide water for drinking and industrial use.

Both of them could not stand against the heavy rain that turned into floods. The floodwaters swept away homes, businesses, and vehicles.

The storm also caused mudslides, which further damaged infrastructure and made it difficult for rescue workers to reach affected areas. There are rescue workers who died while saving the people.

The power grid was knocked out in many areas, leaving people without electricity. The water supply was also disrupted, making it difficult for people to get clean water.

At first, it was reported that 150 people had been killed. By Monday afternoon, that number had jumped to 2,000 in the city of Derna alone. The Libyan government says that over 5,000 people are still missing.

Derna after storm denial
Derna survived ISIS and civil war but did not survive Storm Daniel 

The death toll in Derna is higher than the number of victims of the recent earthquake in Morocco. That earthquake, which was the worst in over a century, killed over 2,800 people nationwide according to the latest official numbers on Monday

In Derna, whole neighbourhoods have been wiped out by the floods. One Libyan official called it the worst natural disaster to hit the country since 1963.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Happy New Ancient Egyptian Year 6265 from Thoth

Today, on 9/11, we're kicking off the New Ancient Egyptian Year 6265 as per the Gregorian calendar. It's also the start of the Thout month.

The Ancient Egyptian calendar had a close connection to agriculture and the changing seasons.

That's why Thout marked the beginning of the Season of Akhet or flood season a crucial time for farming.

But, there's something else happening as Thout begins. Ethiopia just announced that the government finished filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) reservoir on Sunday. This news has left many Egyptians feeling uncertain about what the future holds. The Egyptian government has been vocal in expressing concerns about this, but they haven't shared a clear plan with the public.

In an effort to keep things light and informative, I'll do my best to strike that balance in this post.

Anyhow, on this special occasion, I'd like to share a photo of a statue surrounded by small statuettes

This is the statue of the ancient Egyptian deity Thoth as a sitting ibis.

Statue of ancient Egyptian deity Thoth as an Ibis
Thoth statue at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo

I found the statue in 2016 at Gallery No.19 on the Upper Floor of the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. Gallery No.19 is dedicated to the ancient Egyptian deities 

Saturday, September 9, 2023

How Can We help Morocco Now after the deadly quake ?

Morocco was hit with a deadly 6.8 degrees earthquake on Friday killing in a few moments 2000 according to the latest death toll officially released by Moroccan State TV.

According to scientists, it is the worst earthquake the North African country has seen in 120 years. Yes, it is worse than the deadly 5.8 degrees Agadir earthquake in 1960. One only can pray that the number of victims would be less “inshallah it will be less” than in 1960.

Morocco's earthquake
In the High Atlas Mountain range earlier on Saturday
after the earthquake by Mosaab El-Shamy for AP

The quake struck Morocco on Friday, September 8, 2023, at 11:11 p.m. local time (18:11 UTC). The epicentre was located in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountain range, about 72 kilometres (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech.

Thursday Rants and Rave: #S02EP02 Summer follow ups of Ramy Fahim, the Tates brothers and Saad Lamjard

Hello and welcome back to the Thursday Rants and Rave Podcast.

For some reason, the Thursday Rants and Rave Podcast is back for a second season, inshallah. I hope it will be even better than the first season of the podcast.

There was a delay because of procrastination, as well as working on recording as many episodes as I could. It was more of procrastination than anything, especially with the weather we've had in Egypt, which doesn't encourage you to do anything.

Anyway, my audio rants focusing on crimes, in Arabic, are here.

Tonight, this is what I ranted about in Arabic in the podcast as it is having a comeback.

First, this episode is more of a follow-up episode. It is about the latest updates on the usual suspects in the past few months: Ramy Fahim, the Tates, and Saad Lamjard.

Starting with Ramy Fahim and his trial in California.

If you are just tuning in, let me introduce you to the story of Ramy Mounir Fahim. He was a young Egyptian resident of Irving, California, who found himself facing charges in April 2022 in connection with a murder case involving special circumstances. The charges were related to the fatal stabbing of his co-worker, 23-year-old Griffin Cuomo, and Griffin's roommate, 23-year-old Jonathan Bahm, in their Anaheim apartment.

It's worth noting that Fahim is the eldest son of former Minister of Immigration, Nabila Makram.

In summary, Ramy Fahim is currently confronting eight counts associated with murder, specifically with special circumstances, which could potentially result in a death sentence in California.

It's important to note that Fahim has pleaded not guilty to these charges. He remains in detention, but his summer has been eventful.

In early June, his attorney, the prosecution, and the judge convened a pretrial session to prepare for the upcoming trial and address any outstanding issues.

In August, Ramy Fahim had two preliminary hearings.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Mohamed Al-Fayed's Loud Controversial Life Ends in a Quiet Death

When Egyptian media outlets announced that Alexandria-born billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed had passed away and his funeral was held in London on Friday, I was sceptical at first.

Mohamed Al-Fayed (1929-2023)

The Egyptian websites had published the news, but the British media was silent.

Photos of the funeral held at Regent's Park Mosque in London show a computer-printed sheet hung on one of the mosque's pillars announcing that the funeral service for businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed would be held after Friday prayers. The photos went viral, and many people saw them as evidence of his death.

I couldn't believe that Al-Fayed's funeral would be like that. The announcement of his death and funeral on a poorly typed black-and-white piece of paper was a complete contradiction to the loud and controversial life of Mohamed Al-Fayed.

The announcement at the Mosque

For hours, I didn't believe it and thought it was a case of mistaken identity, especially since all the news came from Cairo and not London. Members of the Egyptian community in London said that they learned of the news from the mosque and attended the funeral, but it seems that there is no direct connection between Al-Fayeds’ younger generations and the community, unlike their late father.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Zambia's T7WSS Private Jet Mystery: Five Egyptians Freed Through Nolle Prosequi

In another even more interesting turn of events in Lusaka, five Egyptian and one Zambian detainees in the infamous Gold Gate case, who were formally accused of espionage in less than a week, were released on Friday after the Zambian Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) entered a “nolle prosequi”.

According to the DPP, the five Egyptian citizens are Walid Refaat Fahim Botros, Mounir Shaker Gerges Awad, Mohamed Abdel Hak Mohamed Gouda, Yasser Mokhtar Abdel Ghafor and Michael Adel Micheal Batros while the Zambian citizen is Mulungu Osward Diangamo.

However, two of the Egyptians were re-arrested on lesser charges and granted bail, according to the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), which suffered a significant blow to its reputation on Friday.

The four crew members have also been released.