Sunday, April 28, 2013

Women Only Buses To Launch

Say what you want about this move, whether it shows a lack of moral ethics or what have you in the society, I think this is actually a positive change in Egypt to at least give women the opportunity to travel with the worry of being groped - one major reason I avoid microbuses (well that and their erratic driving :p)


Egypt's moderate Islamist party has introduced a transportation facility only for women to curb sexual harassment.

Still in the experimental phase, the idea has been implemented in two areas in the city, Gulf News reports.

The microbus called 'transportation that respects women' picks up female students from in front of Cairo University and women from the corner of Abbas Al Aqqad Street, in the upper-middle class neighbourhood of Nasr City.

The strong Egypt party founder Fatma Badr who has taken the initiative of launching a safe transportation means for women, said that female commuters find it very difficult to travel safely, while making way into the crowd to find vacant seats, adding that the microbus will provide for a respectable and safe transportation service for women.

A government study at Cairo and Monufiya universities have shown that about 68 percent of the women have been subjected to physical and verbal harassment.

According to the report, while Egypt's first women-only taxi service that had started in July 2011 was welcomed by some, others said that this service encouraged more discrimination against women and proved them to be 'second-class citizens'.

The report further said that some women activists and university students have accepted and appreciated the female taxi service, where the taxi is driven by female drivers and caters to only the female commuters, who would otherwise find it very difficult to travel by a traditional private taxi.

While the female taxi service has proved to be a success in a number of Arab countries such as Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Lebanon, some women's groups, feel that the idea of women-only transport would bring about gender segregation.

The head of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, Nehad Aboul Komsan has strongly criticized the women-only transport service concept, stating that the 'moving cages for women' would marginalize women in the patriarchal society and would prove to be detrimental to Egyptian women's progress so far in the position they have been striving to achieve, the report added.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Born of the Pyramids, Rocky's Story

As followers of my blog are already well aware, I was heavily invested in animal and equine charities throughout much of my time in Egypt. While in Hurghada I was privileged enough to meet one of the most incredible horses that I have ever met. His courage was completely unparalleled, and he touched the lives of many people. 

Unfortunately Rocky fell victim to gravely unfortunate circumstances and human neglect. His passing impacted me more than I realised at the time, and I immediately made the decision last summer to immortalize his story. In doing so, I hoped to be able to effect change in the equine community in Egypt. Although there are a great deal of animal charities that are working in the area, so few are able to actually tell the situation as it really is for many animals, as it's impossible to try and document that for everyone. 

I took the liberty myself, and in doing so "Born of the Pyramids, Rocky's Story" was born. Told through the perspective of Rocky, I delve into the hidden aspects of the life of working equines in Egypt, both the good and the bad. A common misunderstanding is that it is sheer cruelty and neglect that cause much of the suffering caused by the equines, but this could not be further from the truth for certain individuals. I leave no stone un-turned in my attempt to expose just this, all told through the eyes of the incredible Rocky. 

For every copy of the book that is sold, I will be donating a percentage of the proceeds towards animal charities that strive to make a difference in the life of working animals in Egypt. I am hoping that the book really takes off and that Rocky's legacy will end up helping other equines in unfortunate situations in the country. 

Available online through Kindle and Smashwords, share this story far and wide and give the equines of Egypt a voice that can finally be heard! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Authorities to Consider Ending Inhumane Animal Control Practices

If only this were the first time they were to say this. I believe since I started actively paying attention, this must be the third time that putting an end to the shooting and poisoning campaigns have been 'mulled over,' with the Government saying they will initiate TNR programmes. The end result is activists get really excited, then there's a mass poisoning campaign, which is blamed on "individuals" and not the government, and so the cycle continues. One can hope however, no animal deserves to die the inhumane and cruel death that ingesting strychinine causes.


The General Authority for Veterinary Services is considering putting an end to its practice of poisoning and shooting stray dogs, and instead adopting sterilization as a method of reducing their rate of reproduction, as recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health.

The Agriculture Ministry has so far impeded efforts to adopt castration as a form of population control, as it claims it is too expensive to implement, with a cost of over LE200 per dog, ministry officials said.

The state currently either shoots stray dogs or poisons them with strychnine, a drug that has been banned internationally. Human organizations have long objected to these practices, as well as the government’s failure to control the amount of garbage in the streets, which also leads to a higher presence of street animals.
Official sources estimate that there are more than 1 million stray dogs in Egypt, concentrated in the informal areas of Cairo and Giza as well as the areas around the Manzala, Burullos, Edco and Mariot lakes

The cost of poison to kill the animals as well as anti-rabies vaccines for humans represents a state expenditure of over LE100 million per year, sources say.

Dina Zulfikar, an animal rights activist, said that the General Authority for Veterinary Services has held three meetings to discuss adopting the sterilization method of population control, which they hope to launch in May of next year in Cairo and Giza with the help of around 100 veterinarians, activists and authority staff.

Egypt court orders release of Mubarak in killing protesters case

Words fail me. The only possible positive that may come out of this, and I say this extremely sardonically, is that Mubarak can come back to "save" Egypt. Probably his plan all along. From Ahram Online.

A court has ordered the release without bail of former president Hosni Mubarak over charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during Egypt's revolution.

The decision came after defence lawyer Fareed El-Dib submitted a memorandum stating his client had already spent two years in provisional detention, which is the maximum allowed under Article 143 of the criminal procedures law.

The prosecution agreed with El-Dib's argument, saying there is no need to keep Mubarak in detention.

The judge said Mubarak could go home so long as he is not wanted for other crimes. However, he will remain in prison pending investigations into separate corruption cases.

Last June, Mubarak received a life sentence for failing to protect peaceful protesters during the January 25 Revolution, but in January was granted a retrial due to procedural irregularities in the initial trial.

Hosni Mubarak was arrested on 12 April 2011.

On 7 April, Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah announced Mubarak would be detained for an additional 15 days pending investigations into new charges related to the illegal use of state funds.

The judge overseeing the retrial recused himself on Saturday and referred the case to the Cairo Appeal Court. The new date of the retrial is still unknown.

Also facing retrial for their role in the killing of protesters during the revolution are former interior minister Habib El-Adly, and six of his aides.

Since his detention in April 2011, the ousted president has complained of health problems and has been moved back and forth from the hospital at Tora Prison to Maadi Military Hospital.

On Saturday, Prosecutor-General Abdullah requested that Maadi Military Hospital transfer Mubarak back to Tora Prison hospital if his health permits.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Egypt Unbound the Book!

A while back I was contacted by about the possibility of turning Egypt Unbound into a book. To begin with I was quite hesitant, as I wasn't sure if it was something that would pique people's interest, or even where to begin! Fortunately I received a great deal of support from my editor Adrian in helping me pick and choose what to compile into the book, and the final process of creating the manuscript.

The end result, after many months of back and forth and fine-tuning is Egypt Unbound, the book version! It presents a compilation of a variety of different blogs from over the years, never before seen pictures and stories, all compiled into 5 neat chapters. It ranges from recipes (of course) to my experiences in the Egypt Revolution, and offers an unparalleled look into my life and experiences in Egypt. I'm so happy to be able to have reached this stage, and cannot wait to hold the physical book in my hand :D

So check out Egypt Unbound, the book version, available now through More Books and pick up your copy today!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Jon Stewart on Bassem Youssef

I know, I'm late to the party, but I haven't had time to stop all week. Most everyone in Egypt has heard of  Bassem Youssef, I remember telling K's family he's the "Egyptian Jon Stewart" when I first saw his show a few months ago. In the past week this comparison has been splashed all over the media as the MB have once again made the world go "wtf" when issuing an arrest warrant for Youssef on charges of "offending Islam and the president." Welcome to Egypt's interpretation of Democratic freedom of speech :p

One of the best things that came out of this debacle was Jon Stewart's defense of Bassem Youssef, and his scathing critique of Mr. Morsi. Find the video below, as I know a lot of sites that had it in Egypt had the link removed. So here you go :)

Even better was the Egyptian government's response to Jon Stewart's show. I wonder does Jon know they've issued an arrest warrant for him?