Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Says It All

Media have been disappointed in the past days; they were hoping the president would use the marathon TV-interview to tell if he intends to run for another term but believe their wishes weren’t granted. Is that so? He said he like to look at every side of every issue; that he wouldn’t be disappointed with a 60 percent vote and, as the sharp AP reporter noted, he also gave away the clue that says it all: “"I don't want this experiment to yield results today ... I am looking at the long term."

That’s it Suzi, you don’t have to worry about moving out from your lovely palace!

Men in Black

Well, most women featured in this story feel they have good reason to wear black as well. Another disturbing in-depth report by Knight-Ridder; this time about hundreds of women in El-Arish who desperately wants to know what has happened to their husbands and sons who were detained after the Oct. 7 Taaba bombing. Money quote: “Terrified residents at first thought the armed men dressed all in black were from Israel, which is not far away.” In their own country. I know you too cry with them, Suzi.

Protests Throughout Egypt

Suzi dear, I said it before and I am saying it again: It’s getting worse for every week. Now we hear about a thousand people demonstrating against emergency laws and your husband’s presidency even in Luxor, Suez and Benha – to mention a few of the places where protests were organized yesterday. God Bless.

Challenger II

Reuters: “Khaled Mohieddin, one of the Free Officers group that overthrew the Egyptian monarchy in 1952, will run for the presidency this year if conditions are right, his party said on Wednesday.”

Kefaya On-Line

Ambitious site; not working very well and not providing all the information many of us would have wanted, but still an effort worth noting.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Restored Baron

Well done Suzi; your call to save Baron Palace from further rot has finally been heard. I always wondered how to accurately describe the architecture. This article provides an answer: Neo-Hindu. When the workers have cleared away the bats, call me if you need a hand with the decoration.

Presidential Pretender Persist

I don’t know why Nawal’s claim to the presidency bothers me so much; maybe it’s just her hair? As I said before, I can’t find any reason to disagree with her so I guess it’s just the bold way she’s challenging you that is a thorn in my bum. I ought to back off; she deserves a fair chance like everybody else.

Personal Sides Presented

Suzi dear, I slept early last evening and missed the first episode of your husband’s marathon interview. I hear it went well. Congratulations. Still think you should have been sitting by his side though.

Dina Defends Husband Porn Producer

Not that she’s an intimate friend of yours but I still wonder why on earth she allowed him to film her in the first place. She’s not exactly a debutant so the fame gained would never do the same for her career as it did for Paris Hilton. Then again, showing off is her trade. We just never expected so much of it!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Marathon Surprise

Suzi love! I just learned that His Excellency will appear in a seven-hour TV interview. Fab, isn’t it? At least for those of us who doesn’t see too much of him these days. If I were in your shoes (still Gucci by default, isn’t it?) though, I’m not so sure I’d like to see my old man peeping out of the telly for more than a few minutes at time. You’ll manage, you always do.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Thunder & Prophets

Hu! It’s been raining in my part of Cairo all morning. On the prophet’s birthday, isn't that a shame? El-Hussein will be full of pious – and not so pious – folks who deserve some sunshine for saying a prayer for the rest of us. Me myself: a picnic for a few selected members of society (I did send an invitation if you remember). Your husband is the president; can’t you just tell him to turn off the rain? Cheers for now, dear.

R2-D2 Races Camel

Good Morning, Suzi. You must be working on your public hair-do right now but I cannot resist sharing this story with you: Robots are replacing starved boy-jockeys. It must have cost a queen’s ransom. Gambling is gambling. The Sheik will spray R2-D2 with the boys’ perfume. Now, if the rumours about extraordinary (cruel) affairs with these young jocks are indeed true, let’s pray the robot comes equipped with a lot of grease as well.
XX -(I can't believe I said that).

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Academic Insurgence

What now Suzi, even the professors are demonstrating; first in Minya on Tuesday -- your hometown! -- then on Wednesday a hundred of Cairo’s learned men and women walked around campus with signs as well. Where will this end? Will the police in Monefeya riot? First the Khafeya liberals, then the students, then the judges, now the professors… To me it seems so uncouth to take to the streets, so dreadfully European! Then again, maybe I’m becoming outdated. You never feared you are as well? Of course not, darling. There’s no reason too, fresh as a lily as always (be sure my magnifier is over your portraits in the papers every morning to find a crow mark). Still, I am worried (not about our age) because my younger friends keeps telling me I have no idea how fed up people in this country are. True, I absolutely don’t. Do you?

On Another Throne

Miss Egypt 2005 has been crowned! Soon she will convince the whole world that Egyptian girls are the most adorable in the whole Universe. Thank God it’s not so long ago I myself played in the same division as the courageous girls who took part in the pageant. Money Quote: “Human rights activists defended the event.”

Monday, April 18, 2005

Tragedy of a Student Bomber II

The only good news in this Khan-blast tragedy is that the mother of the poor soul who blew himself and others up has now been released; are the other 29 who was arrested still in custody? According to the authorities, Hassan didn’t act alone but was actually tricked into detonating the bomb. Three has been arrested and a fourth, who apparently told Hassan he would have five minutes to escape before detonation, is still at large. They look just like any young men in the city. I’m, frightened Suzi: If they could, more can.

Rouge Minority for Reform

Taaba, I’ve said it myself; with their track record of corruption it’s hard to take Egypt’s judges seriously. But these guys appear to be another fruit on the tree. More than a thousand judges have met in Alexandria. They demand independence to supervise the elections. Horror-stories of police blocking voters from entering the ballot hall are told from the last election. Why am I telling you these are the good guys? Because they’ve been branded “a rouge minority” by a government branch that always get it wrong.

Desperate Despair

Suzi love,
What can I say… five days without a word from me? Of course you’ve worried. Don’t despair. I’m back!

Being sincere isn’t always flattering to a lady, of course you agree, but in this instance I have to admit that it was he who kept me away. Hmm... a tasty dish that one! Anyway, the butterflies spinning around my head are beginning to clear out and I think my capacities are returning to a state where I am capable of thinking of something (or somebody) else, at least in brief intervals.

More tomorrow, I have some frightening news. I love you too. Kisses.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Escalating Voices of Dissent

In Upper Egypt, 2,000 students demonstrated at the University of Assuit. At the same time, about 1,000 people staged a quiet demonstration in a street, since gatherings of more than five people are not allowed. In Cairo, 1,200 students demonstrated at Ain-Shams University. At the same time, a similar protest was held at Cairo University with 1,500 participants. In the Delta area, students at Mansoura University chanted “Mr President, our country is a republic, not a monarchy.” All this in one day.

More is to come. On Friday, 1,000 judges are expected to meet in Alexandria; they are threatening to disrupt supervision of presidential and parliamental elections later this year if the president doesn’t approve of greater separation between the judicial and executive powers.

Yani… how good in theory that is; too bad that professions track record of corruption is making me question if we really want more power in their hands!

Meanwhile, our highly regarded and incredibly handsome prime minister, Dr. Ahmed Nazif (I Love You!) promises fair play in the presidential elections, including equal shares of air-time on state TV. “Peaceful dissent” will be allowed but preferably in allocated areas. International election observers are not welcome. The state of emergency will not be terminated, as it helps fighting terrorism and drugs.

Always managing to accommodate everyone while at the same time moving the agenda forward, if only so slowly, that remarkable man!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Neighbours Baffled, Family Detained

Hassan’s neighbours are supportive:
-- "Why do they call every pious person a terrorist? They (the family) only pray and read the Quran”. CNN
-- "Nobody can believe something like that. They were born here. It may be someone else who did this." "They never talked about politics and he didn't have a beard." Reuters
-- “Hassan “could never do that.'” Guardian

Police have detained up to 30 people in connection with the blast, including Hassan’s widowed mother and two brothers and other friends and relatives.

Suzi, I do support the effort of tracking the links that led Hassan wrong but please order the Ministry of Interior to make sure the police are easy handed on these people. The uniformed rouges criticized recently are part of the structural problem that made Hassan embittered.

Tragedy of a Student Bomber

Days after the bombing in Khan El-Khalili, the police were still searching around Al Musky street for the perpetrator’s hands to find a way to identify the killer. At the same time, the uncle of Hassan, 17, watched the news and thought pictures of the blasted corpse resembled his nephew, missing since 24 hours before the explosion. He called the authorities. Today Hassan is world news.

In his apartment, police found CD’s about raging holy wars and making bombs. In his aunt’s home, 43 fireworks were found, from which gunpowder had been extracted.

Difficulties in dealing with his father’s death in August led Hassan to extreme ways of interpreting religion. Outwardly, he was just pious. Inwardly, he was so hurt he had to find answers to all injustices done to him -- and someone to blame.

This is what scares me, Suzi. Again we hear the story about how disenchanted young Egyptian men seek comfort in religion, but find justification for revenge.

Monday, April 11, 2005

From the Other Side

I couldn’t resist looking at how they’re reporting the Khan bombing in Jerusalem. In that city, they’re used to this kind of stuff. Their impression is right on the spot: “Egyptians Baffled by Bombing”.

“No Egyptian could have done this.” Each time something bad happens, we stick our heads in the sand. When it is proved, as in the 9/11 case, everybody goes to the edge to cloud the truth. Why? To avoid loosing our faces. It would be better if we dared facing the facts.

“This will never happen again,” is another typical comment. To find comfort, we hold on to the belief that this was only an isolated act. It wasn’t: it happened before and it will happen again.

I’m scared Suzi, how about you? God Bless.

Without Gloves

“In Egyptian police stations suspects are given electric shocks, hung by their arms or legs from the ceiling or from doors, sprayed with cold water, made to stand naked in cold weather for many hours, or beaten with sticks, belts, electric cables, whips or rifle butts.”

“It was normal investigative practice to arrest everyone around the scene of a crime and torture them to obtain information. Instruments of torture are usually readily available in police stations.”

"Arbitrary detentions took place in north Sinai, where many detainees and their relatives were subjected to torture." “Some 2500 people were arrested ... more than 2000 remain in detention without charge.”

This Suzi, is from state-backed Egyptian Supreme Council for Human Rights, headed by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former deputy PM and UN secretary-general.

Alas, they were not able to make investigations on their own but they have corroborated what has been reported elsewhere and their criticism, harsh for coming from a body that is affiliated with the government, took many by surprise.

I suspect the report hasn’t reached your husband, Suzi. Make sure he gets a copy!

Danger to the Babies

Suzi love,
I thought my darling computer was dying yesterday, although this baby is less than six months old. Even the best machines can cough and sneeze if you insist on stuffing them full with updates without reading the compability notes carefully. Puh! Couldn’t Windows control Windows’ updates automatically?

Thus my report from Alexandria is delayed. I know you want the details and I will give you as much as I can. Most urgently though: the Royal Jewellery Museum is “closed for restoration” since last year and nobody is expecting the gems back on display until next year. According to locals, closed for restoration means that person’s with authority are robbing the museum – just as they did when they repaired the basement of the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo. – I didn’t say that, locals did, in such convinced manners I found no reason to argue.

(Then again, most of the monarchy’s crown jewels hasn’t been found since they were confiscated by the government after the revolution, have they? Pity, they would have fitted you perfectly).

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Heaven for Everyone

Same God and same conservatism: Pope John Paul II and Sheikh Muhammad Sayid al-Tantawi, head of the al-Azhar institution in Cairo. Coupling only happens between the bed sheets of married (man/woman) couples. No need to discuss birth control, sexual health or abortions. Simple as that – if you limit the world to what you want it to be instead of what it is. That Egypt, for example, in time will become like India due to overpopulation doesn’t seem to matter; nor does young people’s ignorance of how to protect themselves from HIV/Aids. Suzi, your voice is as important as ever.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Eat Cake Instead

Never could I imagine that we’re importing LE 7.8 billion worth of wheat every year to subsidise 270 million pieces of bread for those who largely cannot afford to eat anything else. Suzi, is it true that the government has failed to import enough flour? I remember a famous quote from the French Revolution. Farmers were protesting and the royal scratched her head and asked: If they don’t have bread, why don’t they eat cake instead?


I’m back, Suzi love! Each day we found a new reason to postpone our return to Cairo. He had invited some European friends (adorable, all of them, you must meet!) Under their influence we did the oddest things – they even dared us to mix with the public. My holiday was a blast – I will tell you everything about it tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’ve just learned that I’m not the only one who is blasted. Terrible news, dear friend. Bye bye for now, my head will not be with me for much longer this evening. Love. Kisses.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

To the Med

Vacation, Suzi. If you care to join me, you still have time to pack your bags. I'm off to Alex. (You're welcome to stay in his residence too - his mother is away!) Back in a few days. Ta ta.

Shaking Away

Suzi my sweetest friend: you really must come to the aid of the belly-dancers. We used to gaze at the marvels of physical control and sensibility. Today the state of this art is reflecting so much else in the country: no one can simply get anything right any longer. Unbearable! Call Nagwa!

(Please, do something, for me. Remember I used to be a star too...)

Kisses from Kerala

Suzi, I must share with you some news travelling home to us all the way from Kerala, India. A Hungarian couple were attacked in Khan El-Khalili. Some lunatic, not the Mufti, pulled a knife instead of looking the other way when they were kissing.

Friday, April 01, 2005

First Ladies Online

Look Suzi what a fabulous site: Egypt’s First Ladies -- about 12 women who in varying degrees influenced Egypt's destiny.

Lovely picture but where is your tiara? Hurry your sweet fanny down to the Royal Jewellery Museum in Alexandria and choose some queenly glitter. Adorable!

Ladies are a serious subject here. Look: “Consorts of Monogamous Egyptian Heads of State…” My italics since I’ve just learned that earlier rulers were typically not Monogamous (can hardly spell that word myself)! Instead, the ruler’s mother was the most powerful woman in the state.

Remember my letter the other day; how Nour allegedly said you were squeezing your [unmarried] son to run for office? You don’t think he was insinuating that you wanted to reinforce your own position, do you? A slap would be well served!

My maid, who never understand anything, is provoking me by saying that perhaps Gamal didn’t marry because he want to roll back the royal satin-and-silk harem, ending the office of the First Lady. Outrageous! A slap will be served.

Tough Ride

Sweet Suzi,
there is this statement from a bus-driver in the paper and I never quite realized how bad-off the poor souls are. I promise never to curse them again when a public bus forces my MB off direction – without breaks they can’t halt the vehicle! 10 years of active duty and his LE 150/month salary hasn’t increased with a single piaster! I never dreamt of using public transportation in Cairo myself, but what can be done for all these people who don’t have a choice? Sweet darling, the public demand our attention!

Sabre Gamil, ya Gamal!

Patience is beautiful, Gamal!
"I am not a candidate and the constitutional amendment has not made me change my mind." [Al Ahram Weekly, this weeks ed.] Well done, I sense a mother's concern behind his words. You have embraced your son with your protective Isis-wings, my dear Suzi. Who knows what the fanatics would do to him (and you) if he said anything else.