Sunday, June 30, 2013

Protests in Egypt

Just a few snapshots from the protests today, in Cairo and in Hurghada.

Image courtesy of N. Mobariz. Maadi, Cairo 30.06.2013

Image courtesy of N. Mobariz

Image courtesy of K. Mobariz. Hurghada 30.06.2013

Image courtesy of O.Sayed. Hurghada 30.06.2013

Pressure on Independent Media Outlets Mount

Unfortunately there have been more than a few reports circulating in the past few days of attempts to shut down a media outlets in Egypt, most prominently being OnTV which is notorious for providing live updates on protests around the country. One such media outlet that has fallen victim to the increased pressure is the Arab West Report, my former employer, whose website was hacked last week leaving their website inaccessible. To this day, an error message pops up when trying to access the site.

This is a great shame as AWR always tried their hardest to provide unbiased news reporting, and would often post investigative reports detailing the "hidden" side of stories related to Muslim-Christian sectarian tensions. The hacking of AWR's website is just one further indication of the worrying stifling of independent reporting in Egypt.

Tensions increasing;
our websites have been hacked

Protesters at Tahrir Square chanting anti-President Mohamed Mursi slogans, June 28, 2013.
(Photo by Asmaa Waguih/REUTERS, trough

AWR Cairo, June 29, 2013

Our websites have been hacked
On Thursday, June 27, our websites were hacked and can no longer be accessed by our IT staff. It seems like our dedicated server in Roubaix/France was hacked completely and the system and the data can no longer be accessed.
This also applies to our other websites (, and others, as they are running on the same system.
This means we will have to completely rebuild our website and copy all our data from our backup. This can take up to three days. 
Our IT-staff are working on this night and day.
We very much regret the inconvenience this has caused and hope to serve you again as soon as possible. 
Cornelis Hulsman,
Editor-in-chief Arab-West Report

Tips For Finding Pet-Friendly Accommodation in Egypt

On a lighter note for those in Egypt looking to find accommodation with pets, it can be an exceptionally difficult situation. The article below, submitted by Jenny Hart, provides a little insight for those of us in Egypt seeking pet-friendly accommodation. 

Finding Rental Accommodation Is a Struggle for Pet Owners
In Egypt we own around 178,000 pets, but perhaps one of the reasons why we don’t keep more cats and dogs is the difficulties faced by tenants in search of rental accommodation that welcomes animals. While it’s possible to see the situation from a landlord’s point of view, as potentially an untrained dog or cat could be destructive when in their property, it is frustrating for those of us who are responsible owners. Our pet would be unlikely to cause any more damage than a child might and rarely do landlords turn families away who have young children. So what are pet owners meant to do who are in the position that they need to rent their home?
Image source
Options for pet owners
While some renting property try to conceal their cats, dogs or other small animals, this is a risky step to take, as if found to be in breach of your contract the landlord is within their right to ask you to leave their property and with a bad reference the task of finding new accommodation becomes harder still. If it looks like you are going to struggle to find a landlord to take on both you and your pet, you may need to consider whether you could ask a willing member of family or a friend who owns their own home to keep them until you can find a more animal friendly rental. However, this option or the alternative of finding yourself without any accommodation is not appealing. Perhaps the key to securing a rental where you can openly keep your pet is to demonstrate to your landlord that your pet will be no trouble.
Demonstrating responsibility
While a landlord may have questions of their own they wish to ask to determine whether you and your cat or dog will be suitable tenants, in other cases you can cover the areas that will put their mind at ease. Highlighting that your pet is house trained, receives daily exercise, is not left for extended periods home alone and that you have taken all the steps to keep your companion in good health demonstrates your pet is less likely to be a risk to their property. Offering for your prospective landlord to meet your dog or cat is another good way to influence their decision in your favour, as seeing that your animal is indeed well behaved should help to convince them of your suitability.
Charges and expectations
When you find a landlord willing to accept you as a tenant with pets, it’s almost inevitable that you will pay more than if you were not renting with a dog or cat. This may mean that your refundable deposit is greater to cover potential repairs that may be needed or that you are required to pay a charge to offset professional cleaning costs when you vacate the property. In other instances, each month your rental payment could be higher, though some pet owners feel that this additional cost is worth it if they have found a pet friendly landlord. Especially if you are paying a premium for your accommodation, don’t be afraid to ask your landlord about reasonable issues that they should be prepared to deal with when renting to pet owners. For example, if the property has outside space with a fence that is in disrepair, they should be willing to fix this to prevent the escape of your dog. Equally, inside the property if they haven’t provided chair covers or a vacuum capable of dealing with pet hair, they should address this too to allow you to keep the property clean.
Benefits to landlords
Landlords would be wise to remember that by excluding pet owners they are missing out on the opportunity to rent to a greater audience, so they possibly may have periods where their property stands empty if they don’t cast their net wide enough for prospective tenants. Not only this, but landlords forget that when people find accommodation that welcomes their pets they will tend to stay for a longer period of time, so the cost and trouble of finding new tenants is reduced. Therefore it is not just tenants set to gain from the wider availability of pet friendly rentals, landlords are also in a better position, which may sway more of them to consider accepting pet owners.

Follow Egypt Protests Live

 For anyone wanting to keep a close eye on things as they unfold in Egypt today (and likely over the next few days) Cairoscene is providing live updates to keep an eye on the demonstrations around the country. From what I've been told, things in Hurghada are still quiet, but there are protests planned to start there around 5 pm. Will keep this updated, but in the meantime please check out Cairoscene's live updates here

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Egypt gears up for the 30th

Most blogs are awash with impending news of the June 30th protests; theories and suppositions on which way the anticipated planned "second revolution" will turn the tide in Egypt.

It seems the paranoia is spreading to the highest levels of governance in Egypt, with the military rolling out military patrols through the capital Cairo, in alleged anticipation of violence following President Morsi's planned speech for later on today.

The photo below comes from the facebook page Egyptian Streets, one of many pages on the social media site that are rallying people for the 30th and providing updates and snippets of information on planned demonstrations and the government's subsequent response. Sitting watching this from afar, I have to wonder if this will end up like many of the other planned mass protests in Egypt, lots of smoke, one day of rage, and then things settle again. But in speaking to people on the ground there, I've been told that the Revolution from the 25th of January will look like a "warm-up" in comparison to what's coming.

K is in between the Red Sea and Cairo and will be providing updates and videos / photos over the next couple of days, so stay tuned. Until then, here's the recent update on military movement in the capital from Egyptian Streets.

Military vehicles and personnel have been popping up all over Egypt in anticipation of violence following President Morsi's speech scheduled for later today and in preparation of nationwide protests planned on June 28 and 30.

In Suez, the Military has deployed armoured vehicles and military commanders have met with local community leaders. 

In the Gharbiya governorate, military checkpoints havebeen installed and a military commander at the scene stated that this is to ensure the security of the state's institutions. Army helicopters were also witnessed flying over the cities of Tanta and Mahalla.

In Egypt's second largest city, Alexandria, Military forces have expanded onto the city's streets, taking over the city's security. Video (link at the end of this) shows Military trucks arriving in the city carrying armoured vehicles.

In Cairo, armoured vehicles were seen in several areas (including on October 6 Bridge as seen in the photograph above), and the Military has started raising barricades at the Itihadeya Presidential Palace in the Korba district. Streets surrounding the Presidential palace have been shut, but it is not yet clear whether the Military will install barbed wire and concrete blocks as it had done during Anti-Morsi protests in December.

Overall, there appears to be a sense of emergency and insecurity across Egypt, and many Egyptians feel that violence is bound to break out and are bracing for another 'revolution'. The U.S. embassy has also decided to close in anticipation of violence.

Video - Military vehicles in Alexandria:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Evacuation Orders

It's been an absolutely manic month for me and I have been so inundated that I jsut haven't had the time to post. But there is so much going on in Egypt at the moment that it almost seems a disservice to have not updated! I have a few posts raring to go, but in the meantime re-posted from Simply LeAnne, find below just one article on the upcoming mass demonstrations planned in Egypt for the 30th of this month.

In order to avoid spending costly amounts of funds on evacuating employees, many foreign companies in Egypt are forcing their staff to take summer holidays early. Some foreigners have received orders to book their trip out of the country prior to June 28 as rallies will begin that day with June 30 scheduled to be the largest gathering.

Demonstrations are planned throughout Cairo, including Maadi. I was invited to the Facebook page, June 30 in Maadi. The event was created on June 16 and thus far, does not seem to be productive in narrowing down an exact meeting time and place. It continues to be a brainstorming session without a clear leader or plan – much like the elections that saw the liberals dispersed into various directions instead of a united front.

One poster did say, “Hey guys, we should also think about security and how are we going to control security inspections. We do not want anybody to disturb us with weapons… Knives… etc.” He followed up by saying that Maadi police officers should handle this situation “out of uniform.”

One of my friends posted:

Dear all, I like your sense of patriotism and wanting to go to Tahrir or Etihadeya, however, think about that:
1- Are you willing to face some MB militias?
2- Are you up for a fight? tossing stones and all?
3- Can you see injuries and do not panic? Help?
4-Are you willing to pass through ( Dar el salam, Masr al Adeeme..etc?)
5- Will you STAY there for 4 days?

If you answer no to any of the above, then Maadi is a better option, you will be closer to home, safe, and you will definitely be heard! P.s. the event is called JUNE 30 IN MAADI :)

If you plan on going, just remember the video I posted regarding the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) supporters and their thoughts on Ethiopia. Diplomacy was not even an afterthought. These people, who echo the voices of those that will be protesting in favor of the MB-led government, immediately began throwing out suggestions that consisted of arming rebels. They have no regard for anyone that opposes their view point, including their own countrymen and women.

The question remains: can liberals finally unite under one voice instead of millions of individual screams?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

And in Today's Ridiculous News

In today's ridiculous news from Egypt comes this gem of a story. In reading through it, and having been to Giftun multiple times myself, I wonder if perhaps the navy got it confused with the skantilly clad bikini "vixens" that will crawl on all fours in the surf with their aspiring-photog friend snapping shots in search of that illustrious model perfect shot. I know I've seen a few that could border on pornography. ;)

Authorities detain tourists for allegedly shooting porn films


Sun, 02/06/2013 - 13:56
Naval forces in the city of Hurghada, in the governorate of the Red Sea, arrested on Saturday 10 Georgian tourists who were allegedly shooting pornographic movies off the coast near Giftun Island.
A navy patrol alerted the Tourism Police of the incident so that they could proceed to investigate. The police seized the tourists' equipment, while the suspects were transferred to the port of Hurghada for questioning.
A security source said that the tourists arrived in Hurghada a few days ago and took a boat from the resort at which they were staying.
Local media reports said that the tourists were released shortly after the prosecution of Hurghada interrogated them over charges of filming pornographic films near Giftun Island.
The Prosecution’s investigation showed that the camera contained non-pornographic pictures and video clips. The tourists were handed back their cameras and dismissed.