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Mursi’s 3rd speech

July 2nd, 2012 Comments off
Did people notice that Muhammad Mursi, in his 3rd inaugural speech at Cairo University, borrowed from Nasser’s Philosophy of Revolution by talking about the 3 circles of Egyptian foreign policy?

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More on Ultras, the Embassy, and the Friday of Not-Exactly-Putting-the-Revolution-Back-on-Track

September 10th, 2011 Comments off

The only surprising thing about the breach of the Israeli embassy in Cairo is that it never happened any time before in the past 30 years. In a city that abounds in isolated walled desert compounds, someone decided to put the most often marched-upon facility in Egypt in a quite ordinary apartment building in the heart of the city, whose defenses basically consist of however much force the security services choose to deploy on the street that particular day. Throughout the 1990s, at least once a year, students from nearby Cairo University staged a half-hearted attempt to storm the place. The hardcore “Ultra” football club fans who seemed to be a major contingent of yesterday’s crowd may simply have been more persistant than your usual Cairo demonstrators — partially because the self-styled “commandos of the revolution” (whose subculture is described by Ursula below) are used to fighting with police, and partially because they claimed to have one of their own dead to avenge, supposedly killed on Tuesday night post-match battle between Ahly club fans and police on Saleh Salem Road.

So, rather than being satisfied with a few hours of melee with the police, they kept up the battle until late into the night,



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Links 2-3 April 2011

April 4th, 2011 Comments off

The dome of Cairo University after heavy rains, 2011-04-03.I’ve made some changes to the links. First, I am now using Pinboard as my bookmarking service — a complete history of my links is available here. Secondly, these links lists will now also include some Twitter links (favorite tweets, basically) since part of my linking has shifted over to my Twitter account.



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All of Mubarak’s Men

March 28th, 2011 Comments off

The above video, by the activist and video artist once known as Ahmed Sherif, takes Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, to task for the behavior of the military since it took over from Mubarak on February 10. If you’ve been following this blog and others you’ll know that activists have documented torture at the hands of military police at the Egyptian Museum, the violent breakup of protests at Cairo University, and a recent decision to ban protests and strikes.  Last night there was a demonstration at Tahrir Square against this decision, in which protestors called for the trial of Tantawi alongside Mubarak. According to various sources, Egyptian media have been given instructions against criticizing the army and its senior leaders — an indeed no Egyptian newspaper has mentioned the allegations of torture at the Egyptian Museum, despite reports by Human Rights Watch and local NGOs.



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Cairo U Law Faculty on How to Proceed

February 10th, 2011 Comments off

From the Liberty for Egypt blog, astatement from the Faculty of Law at Cairo University, a mainstay of the Egyptan legal profession, spelling out what they feel is necessary for the transition. The Arabic document is here, and the translation is from the blog (s0rry for the small print: I haven’t stripped out all their codes):

Statement from Cairo University- faculty of law

Issued from the discussion forum held on 7/2/2011 around legal and constitutional solutions to meet the needs of the Peoples revolution


On Monday the 7th of February 2011 the professors of the faculty of law at Cairo university met and after many fruitful discussions and thorough analysis of the parameters of constitutional thought and what is best for our country in order for it to correspond with the great leap & the revolution of the Youth of the Nation which has both been welcomed and backed by many communities within the nation , presented to the nation from a pure conscience and in reaction to the new developments that have affected the entire nation’s sentiments . Presented here to the great Egyptian nation are the results which the forum has reached in regards to what must be done for the good of the nation at this historical juncture in our beloved country
The forum has reached the following conclusions:

Firstly : To completely support and back The revolution of the 25th of January which was sparked by the pure and uncorrupted Youth of Egypt in which all the diverse communities of Egypt joined to demand freedom , democracy and the sovereignty of the law , the achievement of social justice and calling to account the corrupt and those who have hindered the fate of this nation and honoring the blood of the martyrs which was spilt in the cause of the nations freedom and upholding the dignity of the citizen.

Secondly – Withdrawing all legitimacy from the current regime

Thirdly – Calling upon the President of the Republic to comply with the will of the nation as expressed by the public

Fourth – The Necessity of the instant dissolution of both Parliament and the Shura Council due to the impossibility of their meeting as a result of final sentences issued from the High Constitutional court which nullify the results of the elections in many constituencies

Fifth- A call for the creation of a founding committee devoted to the creation of a new constitution that is in accordance with the current phase, with the condition that all political ideologies are represented in this committee as well as civil society organizations and all Egyptian communities

Sixth – The delegation of all presidential powers to the vice president, as permitted by Articles 82 and 139 of the constitution in accordance with their correct interpretation

Seventh – The expansion of the current structure of the government in order for it to be an interim government dedicated to the nations recovery

Eighth- The issuance of decrees from the republic which would create laws that launch the right to create political parties and allowing citizens the rights of election and nomination for public office

Ninth- The swift restructuring of the state authorities in accordance with the new constitution

Tenth – The immediate termination of the enforcement of the Emergency law

Signed on behalf of the attendees
Dr Ahmed Awad Belal
Dean of the Faculty of Law


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THE INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR ARABIC FICTION 2010

December 16th, 2009 1 comment

THE INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR

ARABIC FICTION 2010

Shortlist Announced

www.arabicfiction.org

MUHAMMAD AL-MANSI QINDEEL, MANSOURA EZ ELDIN, RABEE JABIR, ABDO KHAL, RABA’I MADHOUN and JAMAL NAJI are today, Tuesday 15 December, named as the six finalists shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2010 (IPAF), the prestigious literary award celebrating the very best of contemporary Arabic fiction.

The shortlist of finalists was announced by Taleb Alrefai, Chair of Judges for the 2010 prize, at a press conference at the Beirut International Book Fair in Lebanon.

The six books, selected from a longlist of 16, are (in alphabetical order):

Author Title Publisher Nationality
Al-Mansi Qindeel, Muhammad A Cloudy Day on the West Side Dar Al-Shorouk Egyptian
Ez Eldin, Mansoura Beyond Paradise Dar Al-Ain Egyptian
Jabir, Rabee America Al-Markaz al-Thaqafi al-Arabi (Arab Cultural Centre) Lebanese
Khal, Abdo She Throws Sparks Al-Jamal Publications Saudi Arabian
Madhoun, Raba’i The Lady from Tel Aviv Arab Institute for Publishing and Studies Palestinian
Naji, Jamal When the Wolves Grow Old Ministry of Culture Publications Jordanian

Chair of Judges Taleb Alrefai commented on the shortlist of finalists: “A democratic, objective discussion was held, the most important target of which was to reach a list approved by the judging panel. The selected books represent the opinion of the panel, with due respect to and appreciation of all the longlisted novels.”

The panel of five judges were also revealed today. All specialists in the field of Arabic literature, they come from Kuwait, Egypt, Tunisia, France and Oman. They are: Taleb Alrefai (Chair of Judges), Kuwaiti novelist and short story writer; Shereen Abu El Naga, Egyptian lecturer of English and comparative literature at Cairo University; Raja’ Ben Salamah, Tunisian lecturer from the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Humanities at Manouba University, Tunisia; Frédéric LaGrange, French academic, translator and Head of the Arabic and Hebraic Department at the Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV); Saif al-Rahbi, Omani writer and poet.

The prestigious literary prize, now in its third year, aims to recognise and reward excellence in contemporary Arabic creative writing and to encourage wider readership of such Arabic literature internationally through translation. It is run with the support of the Emirates Foundation and the Booker Prize Foundation.

At today’s press conference Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “IPAF is increasingly regarded as the leading prize in the Arab literary world. Its impact is indisputable, with its winners and shortlisted writers recognised as some of the most significant voices in contemporary Arabic literature – many of whom are now available to a wider world in translation thanks to the prize.”

Salwa Mikdadi, Head of the Arts and Culture Programme at the Emirates Foundation, added: “The Foundation is proud of its association with this increasingly influential prize. In three short years, the intellectual strength and operational independence of both the board of trustees and the judging panels have made it into the major fiction prize in the Arab World.

The 2010 prize received 115 eligible submissions from 17 Arab countries – Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia and Algeria – and the longlist of 16 titles was announced this November.

Joumana Haddad, the Prize Administrator, commented: “We are proud that the IPAF is contributing in increasing the interest in contemporary Arabic literature, whether reading or translating wise. No other Arab literary prize has ever enjoyed this much attention and influence, which proves that the IPAF came to fill an urgent need in our cultural life”.

The shortlisted finalists for the prize will each receive $10,000, with the winner receiving an additional $50,000. They can look forward to reaching wider audiences and potentially securing publishing deals – both within the Arab World and internationally. The previous two winners for the prize – Bahaa Taher (Sunset Oasis) and Youssef Ziedan (Azazel) – have not only secured English publications of their novels in the UK, through Sceptre (Hodder & Stoughton) and Atlantic Books respectively, but also a number of international deals as a result of the prize.

The winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2010 will be announced at an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 2 March 2010, the first day of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

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A Cloudy Day on the West Side Muhammad Al-Mansi Qindeel

Dar Al-Shorouk, Cairo, 2009

In his novel A Cloudy Day on the West Side, Muhammad Al-Mansi Qindeel evokes the period of great archeological discovery and nationalist struggle in Egypt. The novel tells the story of a young girl taken from home by her mother when she is forced to flee her abusive husband. After changing her name and fastening a crucifix around her tiny arm, the mother leaves her daughter at a village in Asyut. The fate of the girl, who grows up to become a translator, intersects with that of a number of historical figures from the period, including Howard Carter, Lord Cromer and Abdulrahman al-Rifa’i. This thrilling tale is brought to life by the author’s detailed and vivid descriptions of real historical events and places.

Egyptian novelist Muhammad Al-Mansi Qindeel was born in 1946 in the Egyptian delta city of al-Mahalla al-Kubra, where his father was a worker. His first novel, Breaking of the Spirit, was inspired by events surrounding workers’ unrest in the city. A medical school graduate, he worked as a doctor in the countryside before dedicating himself to writing. He currently lives in Kuwait, where he works as an editor for monthly magazine Al-Arabi. He has won two awards for his writing, the State Incentive Award in 1988 and the Sawiris Foundation Award in 2006. He has published several novels, short story collections and children’s books and his novel Moon over Samarkand has been published in English by the American University in Cairo Press.

Beyond Paradise Mansoura Ez Eldin

Al-Ain Publishing, Egypt, 2009

In Beyond Paradise, Mansoura Ez Eldin engages with Egypt’s rural middle class through the character of Salma. The editor of a literary magazine, Salma is trying to dispose of her negative self-image by liberating herself from a past loaded with painful memories. The process encourages her to write a novel in which she tells her family history: a history of love, a history of the body, a history of movement across the social classes within her village, a history of madness, and a history of writing.  Through this process Salma’s identity is split into two. On the one hand she observes and narrates in the present, whilst on the other she delves frantically into the hidden depths of her memory.

Egyptian novelist and journalist Mansoura Ez Eldin was born in Delta Egypt in 1976. She studied journalism at the Faculty of Media, Cairo University and has since published short stories in various newspapers and magazines: she published her first collection of short stories, Shaken Light, in 2001. This was followed by two novels, Maryam’s Maze in 2004 and Beyond Paradise in 2009. Her work has been translated into a number of languages, including an English translation of Maryam’s Maze by the American University in Cairo (AUC) Press. This year, she was selected for the Beirut39, as one of the 39 best Arab authors below the age of 40. She was also a participant of the inaugural nadwa (writers’ workshop) held by the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in Abu Dhabi this November.

America – Rabee Jabir

Al-Markaz al-Thaqafi al-Arabi (Arab Cultural Centre), Morocco and Lebanon, 2009

America evokes the story of the Syrians who left their homeland in the early twentieth century to try their luck in the young America.  Spurred on by a sense of adventure and the desire to escape poverty, they made the epic journey. Leaving their homeland with only a few belongings, their journey takes in everything from their travels across mountains and plains, to their gradual integration into American society, later becoming citizens of America and fighting its wars. In particular, the novel focuses on the character of Marta, who travels alone to New York in search of her husband, with whom she has lost contact. America is a tribute to those who left Syria in search of a new life from those who remained behind.

Lebanese novelist and journalist born Rabee Jabir was born in Beirut in 1972. He has been editor of Afaq, the weekly cultural supplement of Al-Hayat newspaper, since 2001. His first novel, Master of Darkness, won the Critics Choice Prize in 1992. He has since written 16 novels, including: Black Tea; The Last House; Yousif Al-Inglizi; The Journey of the Granadan (published in German in 2005) and Berytus: A City Beneath the Earth (published in French by Gallimard in 2009).

She Throws Sparks ­– Abdo Khal

Al-Jamal Publications, Baghdad/Beirut, 2009

A painfully satirical novel, She Throws Sparks depicts the destructive impact that power and limitless wealth has on life and the environment. It captures the seductive powers of the palace and tells the agonising story of those who have become enslaved by it, drawn by its promise of glamour.  She Throws Sparks exposes the inner world of the palace and of those who have chosen to become its puppets, from whom it has stolen everything.

Abdo Khal is a Saudi novelist born in al-Majanah, southern Saudi Arabia, in 1962. He studied political science at King Abdel Al Aziz University in Jeddah before starting writing in 1980. He is the author of several works, including: A dialogue at the Gates of the Earth, There’s Nothing to be Happy About, and Cities Eating the Grass. Some of his works have been translated into English, French and German. In addition to his writing, he is a member of the board of directors of the Jeddah Literary Club and the editor-in-chief of the Ukaz newspaper, for which he writes a daily column.

The Lady from Tel Aviv – Raba’i Madhoun

Arab Institute for Publishing and Studies, Beirut, 2009

In The Lady from Tel Aviv, Raba’i Madhoun tackles the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli issue, focusing on a pivotal time of anxiety and suspicion, with tensions on the point of boiling over. The novel’s protagonists are Palestinian exile Walid Dahman, who is returning home to Gaza after many years in Europe, and Israeli Dana Ahuva, who happens to be sitting next to him on their flight into Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport. Their dialogue takes the reader into the far realms of memory, history and the self. The Lady from Tel Aviv is a novel that, in its complexity, intricacy and ambiguity, avoids the dogma of ready-made ideology.

Palestinian writer Raba’i Madhoun was born in al-Majdal, Ashkelon, Israel, in 1945. Along with his parents, he was uprooted from his homeland during the 1948 Nakba exodus and as a consequence his childhood was spent in the Khan Younis Palestinian refugee camp situated in the Gaza Strip. He studied at Alexandria University, Egypt, and since 1973 has worked as a journalist. His written works include the short story collection, The Idiot of Khan Younis, an academic study (The Palestinian Intifada) and his autobiography, The Taste of Separation. He currently works as an editor for Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper in London.

When the Wolves Grow Old – Jamal Naji

Ministry of Culture Publications, Amman, 2009

When the Wolves Grow Old reveals the secret lives of the social climbers who have travelled from Amman’s poor quarters to positions of wealth and power, providing an insight into the world of the city’s preachers, politicians and charitable institutions. The book is told by a succession of characters who narrate incidents and scenes that repeat, conflict and develop from one character to the next. However the protagonist, ‘Azmi al-Wajih, remains silent and shrouded in mystery throughout the novel:  is he the only one of these wolves that does not grow old? When the Wolves Grow Old is a story of human frailty and the complex interaction between sex, religion and politics.

Jamal Naji is a Jordanian writer of Palestinian descent, born in the ‘Aqbat Jaber refugee camp, Jericho (Ariha) in 1954. He began writing in 1975 and his published works include: The Road to Balharith, Time, The Remnants of the Last Storms, Life on the Edge of Death, The Night of the Feathers, What Happened Thursday and The Target.  He was president of the Jordanian Writers Association from 2001-2003 and he currently works as head of the Intelligentsia Centre for Research and Survey in Amman, Jordan.

Ah, the Radicalism of the Young: I Guess it’s Not the Sixties Anymore

October 16th, 2009 Comments off

Okay, we old Boomers who remember the sixties are glad to see student agitators still exist, but something seems a tad different somehow. Cases in point: a) the other day, Kuwait University’s student elections saw a solid victory for the Islamist movement, while the Al-Wasat al-Dimuqrati group (“The Democratic Center”) ran well behind; b) while in Egypt, women and other protestors at Cairo University have staged a sit-in over the recent ban on the niqab or full face veil in classrooms. Oh, come on, at least call it a veil-in or something.

I feel old.


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