Month: January 2010

Egypt vs Algeria يوم النصر العظيم

The Egypt vs Algeria match on Thursday night, January 28, 2010, was a sweet revenge for Egyptians. The win has been labeled by media as the Day of the Great Victory (and many more grandiose labels).

The Egyptian masses seem to agree. Immediately after the win, Egyptians amassed in the streets to celebrate. I’ve put together some pictures from that night in Pyramids Street.

All photo and video credits: Nadia El-Awady

And Egyptians chant, “Dance Hadary” referring to Goalie Esam Al-Hadary.

Egyptian team summits Kilimanjaro

On January 29, 2010 at 8:30am, a team of four Egyptian men successfully summited Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.

The team climbed Kilimanjaro using the Rongai route to reach the mountain’s summit,  Uhuru Peak. They are currently descending by means of the Marangu route. Total duration of their trip is seven days.

The four Egyptians are Mohamed Shokri, 34, Hazem Hashim, 42, Ahmed Azmy, 42, and Isam Ali, 44.

Media interested in contacting the team can get in touch with me.

Congratulations, friends! So happy you made it!!

An Ode to Egypt

Aswan Photo credits: Nadia El-Awady

On Sunday, January 24, 2010, Jordanian tweeps started the #Top50JO hashtag. I happened to catch them when they had just started. I was sitting in a bank waiting for my turn to come. My number was 394 and they were only at 320. I was bored and tweeting was a relief from watching the numbers slowly go by. So I started the #Top50EG hashtag that took off like wildfire!

#Top50EG got me remembering everything I love about Egypt. And here I share some of my own favorite #Top50EG tweets (plus a very few retweets…it would have been impossible to include everything I retweeted or everything I liked in the hashtag…there were so many!):

Zaranik Protectorate Photo credit: Nadia El-Awady

On top of Mt St Katherine, Sinai

• waking up to Um Kolthom on shop radios in the morning
• walking along the Nile corniche on a summer evening while eating tirmis
• joking around with the guy standing next to u at the bus stop as if he’s an old pal
• getting a punctured car tire, going to side of road and KNOWING some1 will stop to be your hero
• stuffed grape vine & cabbage leaves, basbosa and kunafa, macaroni with bachemel sauce
• the smile on an egyptian’s face & the joke on his tongue no matter how hard things get
• mountain climbing and sandbuggying in Sinai, sandboarding on dunes of Western desert
• taking a felucca for an hour down the nile with a loved one
• watching Michael Jackson’s This Is It in Cairo’s most expensive cinema with @arwasm being only ones dancin & clappin with ever song
• horseback riding behind the pyramids at sunset
• shay filkhamseena wi sandwich foul min awsakh wa7id bita3 foul filmanyal. Yah. Zaman wallah!
• Naguib Mahfouz Restaurant in Khan Elkhalili; best food ON EARTH!
• grown men & women singing old Egyptian songs whenever they’re together in other countries
• the typical Egyptian “give me your hand” whenever two ppl find something to be really hilarious
• hibiscus, tamarind, and licorice drinks. Mint tea, the smell of bun mi7awig
• Listening to BBC Arabic on the radio while going to work in the morning
• Laughing along with Safi on NileFM radio returning from work in the evening
• getting the latest rumors from friends @MohammedY @arwasm @marwame about our previous workplace ;-)
• bumping into friends EVERY time u go out and no matter where u go in the city of 18 million. We’re all eachothers peeps
• Going crazy on the streets with complete strangers when Egypt wins an important football match
• Listening to parents and grandparents bitch about things friends and family did 50 yrs ago
• eating bread and salt with someone makes u blood brothers till the day u die
• making tons of new Egyptian friends on twitter and bitching with them about things we DONT like about Egypt!
• Being able to depend on the doorman to run errands for you at any hour of the day or night
• ALWAYS finding a shop open at 2am when u just HAVE TO buy eggs to bake a cake
• yelling at the car in front of me becuz he left 2 cm of space (a lot) between him & car infront in a traffic jam
• How Egyptians will never stop singing the jingles to old TV ads
• Memories of friends & families gathering around Tv set in ramadan to watch fawazeer Nelly (a christian actress)
• the almost completely empty streets of normally bustling Cairo after maghrib call in Ramadan
• driving in cairo on a friday morning
• the way everyone runs to the windows and balconies to watch a good street fight
• The way Egyptian women will take off their shoe/slipper to hit anyone who offends her with it. Egyptian women rock!
• going to sakiat elsawy to watch Wist Albalad with hundreds of crazy young people
• Egyptian hand signs for such things as “be patient” and “you just wait till i catch you”
• Fiteer mshaltit! A VERY fatty layered pastry made in the countryside that melts in ur mouth!
• The typical answer when you ask the shop guy how much something is: its on me!
• Young women in long flowing colorful dresses swaying along irrigation canals with water jugs on their heads. Sad but beautiful
• Knowing how to sustain a family of six on 2 gallons of water when it and the electricity r out a full day
• That Egyptians call Egypt the Mother of the World
• LOVE IT RT @drnemovet the only nation with hashtag #A7A on twitter …. non-egyptians can’t get what it means :P
• RT @Molokhia_: Egypt: the only place where you can get your ironing done at midnight
• RT @YasserAhmad: #Top50EG homeless people makes money than most of other jobs!
• RT @YasserAhmad: #Top50EG we are the only nation on earth that calls the toilet “Relaxation Home”.
• RT @IbrahmAbdelghny: #Top50EG “the tea”,”the sweet” means give me a tip ,LOL
• When you tell someone you like what they’re wearing you’ll always get: “please take it”! It’s a lie, but an endearing one :-)
• تحيا الشطافة! RT @MohammedY TOTALLY AGREED THERE! RT @EngyG: #Top50EG El SHATTAFA forever! ¬/
• only country where women have the right to their own “special” line even though we are a people who have no comprehension of lines!
• we still call Cairo the city of 1000 Minarets even after our population – and thus minaret – explosion
• listening to all the neighborhood mosques calling to prayer at once in

Algorna Algadeema, Luxor Photo credits: Nadia El-Awady

 different voices and tones
• RT @marwame: #Top50EG taxis with baby shoes hanging from the bottom of the car
• our agility in jumping from one rock to the other when sewage completely blocks the streets!
• we are absolutely convinced we r experts at anything we put our minds to – including other peoples’ business!
• vendors peddling produce on a cart in the neighborhood by calling out to residents in a completely incomprehensible language
• that we still wrap libb, termis and meat in torn out pages from old school books
• we laugh a hearty laugh ha3 ha3 ha333
• True! RT @2insana أيووون RT: @EmanHashim: #Top50EG any pair of sneakers is Cotshy, any cooking cubes is Magi, and any solvent is clor.
• Wives are called the government RT @2insana #Top50EG الزوجة اسمها الحكومة .. أيون .. انا الحكومة نيهاهاهاهاها
• RT @abdelrahman_gf: #Top50EG where u have ADSL internet connection and no water for a whole day!!
• RT @EmanHashim: #Top50EG girls get totally dressed up and put make up to go to the supermarket
• RT @EmanHashim: #Top50EG 5 guys standing around a car in front of a kosh is actually a real something to do!
• we pride ourselves as having the smartest kids in the world (until age 4 when lead poisoning starts to kick in)
• it’s not totally unacceptable to eat with your hands at some of our better restaurants
• our media will endlessly bitch about other countries but on the ground if we meet a foreigner on the street ur our brother/sister
• you’re only a “real” Egyptian if half your tea cup is filled with sugar
• we’ll bitch endlessly that cars slow down to watch an accident thus creating a bottleneck, but when we get there we slow down too
• within any 0.5km radius youll find a plumber, electrician, carpenter, tailor, curtain maker, a cotton mattress filler, shoe & suitcase fixer, butcher, poultry shop, fruit & veggie market
• RT @Molokhia_: where no one says: ‘I don’t know
• RT @EmanHashim: #Top50EG when saying about a lady she’s samra has to be followed by “bas 7elwa!”
• where green and yellow put together are moda
• RT @arwasm: Where your hospitality is measured by how much you shove food down your guest’s throat.
• watching Egyptian children laughing and singing ادي ظهرك للترعة while peeing directly into it
• feeling safe in knowing that Egyptians will NEVER forget the full lyrics to the Riri ad from 30 years ago
• the sound of running water in the late afternoon as shop owners hose down the streets
• the clink clank sound that signifies the gas cylinder guy is in the neighborhood
• I’ll say this again and again: Fawazeer Nelly, Fawazeer Nelly, Fawazeer Nelly!
• Sameer Ghanem’s Ibn fatouta; but second in line after Fawazeer Nelly
• being able to jump on a plane anytime to visit the awesome #Top50JO guys without needing a visa!!
• Egyptians can recite from memory every single line in plays that ran from the 60s – 80s.
• How the #Top50EG R all hilariously funny as would expect from Egyptians while the #Top50JO R actually songs in love of Jordan :)
• in the village you can leave the kids roam free because no matter where they go ppl will know whose kids they are
• RT @marwame: #Top50EG the stereotype of the govenment employees who read newspapers and shell peas in their in offices all day long.
• Busara, pickled eggplant, salty cheese with watermelon!
• What are your #Top50EG TV shows? Fawazeer Nelly comes to mind here!
• watching the late Mustafa Mahmoud’s show as a family and continuously saying Subhan Allah along with him
• RT @marwame: #Top50EG how some people pronounce the “t” as “ch”, ya ukhchi
• Molokhia_: @NadiaE 3ammo fouad! #top50EG tv shows
• on Egyptian women: huggable, tough, hard-headed, rulers of their household
• The question: would you like to drink your tea in a glass or a mug? LOOOOL!
• The general understanding between you and the police that you can park your car in the 2nd row as long as you give the police a tip
• women will tell you your baby is ugly so you don’t think they’re giving it the evil eye if they say something nice
• RT @AFakahany: #Top50EG The fact that all Egyptian store extra plastic bags under their bed mattress..
• RT @YasserAhmad: #Top50EG we don’t believe in the clock, our timing is always +13275498GMT
• arwasm: @NadiaE @rachidH and the bloody hand prints on walls
• How all Egyptian women I know have a crush on the whole male Lebanese population

Kilimanjaro interviews

I’ve been interviewed many times now by Egyptian media on my Kilimanjaro adventure. One day when I have more time I’ll try to scan some of the print interviews and upload them for you. I might also blog about this experience of getting so much media attention in Egypt. I actually have lots to say about that. For now, you can watch an interview with me by Rola Kharsa on Al-Hayat 2. Thanks to Osama Saber for taping and uploading! Enjoy.

Foreigners protesting in my country

For the past few days, foreigners have been protesting in my country. Activists, mostly from the US and Europe, are on a march to enter Gaza and the Egyptian government is preventing most of them from passing through our borders.

For some background, read this BBC story dated Dec 28 

Gaza marchers on hunger strike in Egypt

Since I started following these protests, I’ve gone through a rather wide range of feelings. I summarized those feelings in some tweets today:

NadiaE: Let me find a way to say what I want to say in short 140 character tweets about current foreign protests in Cairo…

NadiaE: My initial feeling was “how cute”. It was rather endearing to see foreigners camping out on 1 of Cairo’s important intersections in protest

NadiaE: It was also a bit funny learning that our police weren’t quite sure how to deal with it all, while they normally know exactly what to do

NadiaE: I continued to follow tweets and tweeps and some traditional media. The foreign protestors were getting more bold.

NadiaE: I understood yesterday (or was that the day before?) that they were in Tahrir Sq and at the Cairo Museum

NadiaE: Let me stop here for a sec: I am one of the ppl old enough to vividly remember our spate of terroristic attacks in the 90s

NadiaE: Although I do not condone the general prohibition of peaceful protests and gatherings in my country..

NadiaE: I do understand why such gatherings should not happen anywhere near tourist spots. Our police are OBLIGATED to protect our tourists

NadiaE: And it is much more difficult to protect tourists when there is chaos and large gatherings of protestors

NadiaE: And when the police started physically moving protestors from these hot spots (remember they left them sleep in the street b4)…

NadiaE: …the protestors whine about police brutality!

NadiaE: Back to my feelings. I like talking about feelings. I’m a feelings kinda person…

NadiaE: Yesterday I wasn’t really sure how to feel about these protestors. There were foreigners protesting in my country and causing trouble

NadiaE: And I wasn’t happy with some of the attitude I was seeing from them. One protestor tweeted this yesterday morning:…

NadiaE: Protestor tweet: :”Alright,up and ready to go. Let’s show Cairo what we’re made of.” Am I the only one that finds that insulting??

NadiaE: And then, in that same protestor’s blog, I read this today: “At the end of the protest, myself and other internationals decided..

NadiaE: “it would be best to escort the Egyptian citizens who bravely took part in the march, out of the area by holding on to their hands.”

NadiaE: “If the Egyptians were left alone then the riot police would attack them mercilessly so as we filed out,”

NadiaE: “we did so while holding on to one another until we were a bit away from the police.”

NadiaE: Please tell me that I’m not the only one who finds this statement just wrong and demeaning

NadiaE: But you know how I really feel today? I went back to thinking about the intentions of these protestors

NadiaE: These are not Arabs, or Muslims, or Palestinians, or Egyptians. These are ppl who have gone out of their way because they see injustice..

NadiaE: They have left their homes, warm beds, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and children..

NadiaE: They come knowing that this region of the world can be brutal, oppressive, abusive..

NadiaE: They come knowing that they are more unwelcome than welcome..

NadiaE: And they do come with an attitude problem…but if we try to look beyond that…

NadiaE: these are people who believe in something so much that they are willing to risk everything precious to stand up for it

NadiaE: Now…I thought that was US! I thought WE were all willing to die for Palestine. We say so ALL THE TIME

NadiaE: I thought WE were willing to stand up to dictators and get our butts kicked for Palestine. We say so ALL THE TIME

NadiaE: How many years have we been saying so? Someone remind me?

NadiaE: So after going through the feelings of “how cute” and “they have an attitude problem”, today I simply feel ASHAMED

NadiaE: I know first-hand the hurt Palestinians feel towards their Arab bretheren for leaving them without help for so long

NadiaE: And our excuses have been: its our governments; we have no armies; dont go to Palestine cuz that’s normalization with Israel

NadiaE: And then here come the foreigners..not even armies. Just normal ppl like you and me. And no matter how silly they seem theyr doing something

NadiaE: So that’s the short story of how I feel today. Not impressed by foreign protestors attitude but impressed with their resolve…

NadiaE: and utterly ASHAMED by Arab impotence (for the most part) for the past 62 years. Utterly ashamed

NadiaE: And let me tell you, in our part of the world, impotence for men is one of the most shameful states a man can ever be in

NadiaE: So let me say this loud and clear: Arab men have been impotent about Palestine for too long!

NadiaE: *gets down off her soapbox*