This post will be updated throughout the month of March
Saudi Prince Salman visited Egypt. During this visit, Sisi apparently gave him 1000 sq. kms of South Sinai for ‘investment’. It is a project called Neom which is part in Saudi Arabia and now will be part Egypt and Southern Sinai. Egypt signed the $10bn deal to support the Neom project.
Egypt also gave it special legal status and created an independent judiciary system for it. This was all done without parliamentary approval or notification and without any Egyptian knowing anything about it. Social media was obviously in an uproar. International media said that Egypt had given up part of its land to Saudi Arabia. One day before the Prince’s arrival, the constitutional court annuls all previous court decisions against the Tiran and Sanafeer agreement and states that it was a ‘sovereign’ decision, thereby confirming Sisi’s right to give away the islands.
The Prince and the Pope
While in Egypt, Salman visited the Cathedral and Pope Tawadros.
It should be noted that at the airport, Sisi by-passed protocols and hurried to the airplane stairs to greet the Prince. Continue reading
Mother and daughter
BBC’s Orla Guerlin filmed and wrote a scathing report about Egypt’s crackdown on human rights and civil society. She also posted this video of the mother of a forcibly disappeared girl called Zubayda who claims that her daughter has been raped and tortured in prison. The Ministry of Information’s Diaa Rashwan denied claims in the report in a statement, after which activist Mona Seif, Alaa Seif’s sister, responded with another scathing statement.
TV host Amr Adeeb interviewed the alleged disappeared victim Zubayda who said she had escaped from her family and is now married and has a child. She said what her mother said was untrue and that her mother knew nothing about her. Social media pro Sisi accounts as well as TV hosts began attacking the BBC and Guerlin, claiming that there were no ‘forcible disappearances’ in Egypt. The foreign media, such as El Araby channel with Liliane Daoud questioned the whereabouts of Zubayda and questioned the issue of enforced disappearances. Continue reading
This week, this blog is celebrating two ordinary yet extraordinary women:
- Rania Fahmy, an ordinary veiled Egyptian young woman from the province of Naga Hamadi, has done something extraordinary: she filed a lawsuit against a man who harassed her on the street and won. In a video she is shown beating the man when he grabbed her from the back, and she stated later that the people took his side and helped him escape.
- Marwa Hassan, aى 11 year old from Aswan who sold handkerchiefs on the street to help her ailing, widowed father, insisted on joining a competition for running even though she had no shoes and no gym clothes. She won first place.
Worthy of mention also are the following women: Continue reading
Although it is elections time, and everyone is focused on the sham elections, there have been other things going on in Egypt.
- US’s General Tillerson was in Cairo meeting with Sisi. During the joint press conference in Egypt with Minister Sameh Shoukry, Secretary Tillerson stated: “The U.S.-Egyptian relationship is growing stronger every day as we work together to build a more secure, more prosperous region!”.
- For several days Egypt was on high alert, mobilizing the army in Northern Sinai, issuing orders to hospitals to prevent staff vacations and closing schools, claiming there is a massive operation that will take place in Northern Sinai to fight terrorism. No known threats have been identified and people are in the dark as to what is happening. The military has only shown stock images of mobilization and some recent images and videos that do not show combat or engagement. A general stated that 2.5% of Egypt’s military has been mobilized.
Parliamentary spokesperson said that “we are at war and need to stand behind our army.” This immediately followed the NYT article and perhaps it was a response to it to show that the army is capable. It also may be because of the upcoming sham elections and wanting people to support Sisi.
Update from Mada Masr: The city of Arish is beginning to show signs of a food crisis, 13 days into the Armed Forces Operation Sinai 2018. Main markets have been devoid of fresh produce and supermarket shelves have been scarcely stocked with food products since February 11.