Ahmed Maged

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Latest by Ahmed Maged


Workers wary of slump in Sharm tourism

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: A sharp slump in the posh Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh’s tourism sector has left industry professionals and workers living there with anxieties about the upcoming season that kicks off in April. “The November-January season hasn’t only witnessed a low turnout, said Arif, a Bedouin taxi driver, “it’s dead and anyone who …

Ahmed Maged

Does Egypt still need a 'just despot'?

CAIRO: Why has the prevalence of democratic rule staggered – if not failed – in the Arab world? It’s a question that continues to puzzle many analysts, some of whom attribute that kind of failure to the reluctance of successive regimes that had taken control of the region over the years to lay the true …

Ahmed Maged

Random settlers crowd out legal residents of Sharm's El-Rowaisat

SHARM El-SHEIKH: Essam Gamil, who has been operating a diving center in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh for 15 years, is now ready to sell off his house, pack up and move away. Gamil lives in El-Rowaisat, 4 km west of Sharm’s town center, surrounded by breathtaking mountains, but now finds it impossible …

Ahmed Maged

Read all about it with Mosky's own Om Tofaha

CAIRO: With her bulky rusty metal cart, Om Tofaha has been trudging around Mosky and Khan El-Khalili in Old Cairo for the past 23 years. But unlike other vendors in the capital’s historic bazaar, she’s not touting papyrus scrolls or Pharoanic figurines; Om Tofaha is in the business of selling newspapers – and she does …

Ahmed Maged

2008: the year of archaeological restorations

CAIRO: While stunning archaeological revelations are expected to make headlines by the beginning of 2009, archaeology-enthusiasts were let down by unfulfilled promises of exciting excavations made in 2008. What marked the year 2008, however, were the landmark restorations that highlighted archaeological events, especially in the field of Islamic architecture. Islamic architectureOn top of the restorations …

Ahmed Maged

Green valleys grace Cairo's rooftops

CAIRO: By hook or by crook, Egyptians always manage to slither out of adversity. Who would have thought that the greenery we lack in the heart of the stifling, dusty city, would flourish on the rooftops of some of its most destitute areas. Once again Cairo proves that nature always finds a way. Traditionally, Egyptian …

Ahmed Maged

A slice of Egypt's forgotten military history

CAIRO: Apart from a 1933 Arabic manuscript by Prince Omar Tosson “The Heroic Acts of the Sudanese-Egyptian Orta [Battalion] in the Mexico War and a novel published in 2004 by Egyptian author Salwa Bakr titled “Kuku Sudan Kabashi, very little is known about the Egyptian battalion that was deployed in the Mexican war from 1863-1867. …

Ahmed Maged

Honey, I'm homosexual

CAIRO: When Aida, 45 (not her real name), who has been happily married for 24 years found some red underwear in her husband’s drawer, she never imagined that it belonged to him. After following him like a private eye for days, she got the shock of her life. “I caught him in the red underwear …

Ahmed Maged

Biofuels should be on Egypt's agenda, say scientists

CAIRO: When Rudolf Diesel first invented the diesel engine, he used peanut oil to operate it, which was an unpopular choice at the time. While the world has since switched to using petroleum byproduct diesel to operate these types of engines throughout the past century, biofuels are making a comeback. Partially blamed for this year’s …

Ahmed Maged

Licensing a private weapon is not an option in Egypt

CAIRO: Adel Abdel Maguid, 27, an accountant at an oil company, never imagined that he would ever need a gun to defend himself. What had started off as a vehement dispute with his landlord who wanted to evict him, gradually evolved into a potentially violent situation when, upon returning from work one day, he was …

Ahmed Maged

Egypt's 40-year-old 'virgins' speak out

CAIRO: At 47 Amer Naeem, a civil engineer, has never been married. Although Naeem and a growing number of others his age can afford the increasingly exorbitant cost of marriage, they have chosen bachelorhood despite the societal pressures on both men and women to get married. “Don’t ignore the fact that we’re the generation that …

Ahmed Maged

Nubians still hold their breath for repatriation

CAIRO: The Nubian repatriation saga, which dates back to over one century when the inhabitants of what was then known as Nubia in Upper Egypt were first asked to leave their homes in 1889 with the building of the first Aswan Dam, continues to this very day. Today, promises to relocate thousands of Nubian families …

Ahmed Maged

Azbakia book vendors disgruntled about their relocation

CAIRO: In June 2008 the fate of the Azbakia second-hand book vendors was sealed when they were told to evacuate their decades-old stalls to make way for the Imbaba-Abassiya metro line. Their lives were going to change forever. Despite the fact that they were relocated to newly constructed stalls, Cairo’s Azbakia used book sellers remain …

Ahmed Maged

For your information, there's more than one Rosetta Stone, says Egyptologist

CAIRO: An Egyptology researcher has called for the display of another original version of the Rosetta Stone at the entrance of the Egyptian Antiquities Museum, dismissing the official request by Egypt to repatriate the stone from the UK as mere propaganda. Researcher Bassam El Shammaa, who also works as a tour guide, told Daily News …

Ahmed Maged

After Ramadan, sibha dealers look forward to the Hajj season

CAIRO: As the sale of prayer beads – known in Egypt as ‘sibha’ – reaches its first, albeit lesser, peak in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, dealers prepare for their big boom season in three months during the Hajj. The sibha, like the Christian rosary beads, helps worshippers keep count of the number the …

Ahmed Maged

The Nile Bride sacrifice is a big myth, says Egyptologist

CAIRO: The ancient Egyptian custom of offering a virgin as a sacrifice to the river Nile every year to instigate a flood is a big historical error, Egyptology researcher Bassam El Shammaa told Daily News Egypt. “The myth of Arous El Nil (Bride of the Nile) has tarnished the image of ancient Egyptians who by …

Ahmed Maged

A helping hand to the children of female prisoners

CAIRO: Twenty years ago journalist Nawal Mostafa set a goal for herself after visiting Egypt’s Qanater prison for women: to do everything in her power to help the children of inmates who were not only born behind bars, but grew up in confinement through no fault of their own. Mostafa set up the Prison Inmates’ …

Ahmed Maged

A charismatic street spirit

As throngs of visitors invaded El Hussein Square, opposite the shrine of the reputed Imam, one would have expected to run into a piper, a lute player, a munshid (a religious vocalist) or other oriental musicians these Islamic areas are known for – especially during the holy month of Ramadan. To the visitors’ surprise, four …

Ahmed Maged

Special Series: Ramadan: The challenge of Ramadan for new Muslims

CAIRO: For the majority of new converts to Islam, abstention from food and drink in the Muslim fashion is one of their biggest challenges as they set out to observe the five pillars of Islam. According to Yahia Maqurerran, a Dubai-based Serbian convert, 47, “The different forms of worship could be seen and reported by …

Ahmed Maged

Debating political Sufism

CAIRO: Bringing together an estimated 11 million followers in Egypt, Sufism today is undergoing a transformation: the ages old religious practice which has thus far remained apolitical is fast-delving into the political equation. Despite the fact that Sufism is still associated with an ascetic and spiritual approach to life, today’s Sufis are no longer the …

Ahmed Maged

Animals fast too, say experts

CAIRO: Though few people know it, abstention from eating and drinking is not restricted to humans. Vets and wildlife experts say that animals, trees and many other creatures fast. But unlike the deliberate human act of fasting, animals do it instinctively, which proves that all living creatures abstain from food to rejuvenate their cells and …

Ahmed Maged

Early Ramadan shifts vacation map

CAIRO: Since water sports are not generally included on the Holy Month’s roster of activities, the remaining highlights of the summer season seem to be shifting back to Cairo which attracts hoards of local and foreign tourists to its Ramadan festivities. And with Ramadan’s encroachment on summer vacations this year, beach resorts are already braced …

Ahmed Maged

Egypt's West-side Bedouin face the challenge of urbanization

BORG EL ARAB: As the winds of urbanization sweep through the great expanse of land on Egypt’s North Coast, the Bedouin inhabiting the area between Borg El Arab and Marsah Matrouh face the trepidation of being uprooted, with their cultural identity jeopardized as the land of their forefathers is literally pulled from under their feet. …

Ahmed Maged

Much ado about sex selection

CAIRO: Is the issue of sex selection that has recently captured public attention simply a media flash in the pan, or does it warrant serious debate because the science meant to determine sex in the conception stage is likely to disturb social balance in years to come?According to Egyptian myth, the female-carrying sperm is stored …

Ahmed Maged

Are non-stop Quran recitations an expression of religiosity?

ALEXANDRIA/CAIRO: Essam, an Alexandria-based mechanic, runs a workshop that’s always abuzz with clients’ boisterous questions, the hammering and thrashing of tools and the noise of cars moving in and out. But in spite of the clamorous surroundings, Essam insists to tune the radio to recitations of the Holy Quran. “We’re working in a kind of …

Ahmed Maged

Human trafficking: the case of Egypt

CAIRO: Egypt is taking strict measures to curb human trafficking on both the local and international platforms, amid severe US criticism for the inadequacy of its efforts to combat a phenomenon that is spreading fast in today’s globalized world of free markets.The dark side of globalization, human trafficking, is the third biggest illegal trade after …

Ahmed Maged

Is it a bob cut or a Pharaonic hairdo?

CAIRO: When Sahar Abdel Rahman decided to write her thesis about ancient Egyptian hairstyles, she was faced with a wave of sarcasm and objection from colleagues and professors. But the young archeologist, who finished her master s degree earlier this year, proved that her choice of topic could be a step forward to better identifying …

Ahmed Maged

Rashid: Egypt's second estuary in transition

RASHID: Although it lies a mere 65 km east of Alexandria, few tourists venture out to its neighboring city of Rosetta, known in Egypt as Rashid. As the historic city makes the transition from a mostly agricultural society to a tourist destination, Rashid’s residents are skeptical about how tourism will shape their future, especially as …

Ahmed Maged

Lifting the veil of silence on hijab

CAIRO: Twenty-five-year-old Reem is mustering all her courage to make a move she had been contemplating for months. Years ago, Reem had taken on the hijab (Islamic headscarf) but now she was about to remove it once and for all. Like many girls her age, Reem represents a growing trend in Egyptian society of women …

Ahmed Maged

Does size really matter?

CAIRO: As Hany counts down the final days before his wedding, the 26-year-old slowly slips into depression. But his are no typical pre wedding-night fears. The young man is convinced that the small size of his male organ may be detrimental to his sex life after marriage. In Egypt, Hany is not alone in suffering …

Ahmed Maged