Deena Douara

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Latest by Deena Douara


Draw, cut, action, click and let the magic begin

Animation today is associated with expensive box office productions, computerization, and Disney/Pixar morality tales with threads of simple love stories. Easy to watch, yes, for about LE 20 at the cinema, but to make? Lay people don t simply make animation films. Students though, are another matter. Animation creation will soon be accessible to Egyptian …

Deena Douara

Guess what, we're number one

CAIRO: It’s true: Egypt is number one. Sometimes number two, sometimes number three. Should we be beaming with pride and spreading the word? Well, before you do, you should know what rankings you are talking about. There are, of course, a few possible sources of pride, though few are as glorious as having the only …

Deena Douara

Middle East expert Robert Springborg talks protest in Egypt

CAIRO: Renowned academic and director of the London Middle East Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Robert Springborg gave the keynote address at the American University in Cairo’s symposium on 30 years of political and social protest in Egypt. He described Egypt as hybrid state, straddling both hard power and some …

Deena Douara

Experts discuss women in the Arab Human Development Report

CAIRO: Experts on women’s issues gathered at the Arab League Thursday to discuss the 2005 Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) focused on the “Empowerment of Arab Women. The results were grim. “There is no disputing the fact that [we require] amendments to laws . and first amendments to cultural attitudes, said Arab League Secretary-General Amr …

Deena Douara

Al-Ahram orfi marriage rates may be fabricated

CAIRO: The Ministry of Social Affairs has denied reporting statistics or conducting research on orfi marriages, as Al-Ahram newspaper’s April 16 edition had claimed. The article said that the ministry’s sessions with students across Egyptian universities revealed a “horrifying 355,000 students, or 17 percent of the student body are involved in orfi marriages – a …

Deena Douara

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin passes

CAIRO: Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin has died at the age of 76, the Kremlin confirmed yesterday. The cause of death has not been announced but Yeltsin was a notoriously heavy drinker and suffered five heart attacks while in office. Yeltsin was a controversial figure throughout his two terms as the first president of the …

Deena Douara

Modest endorsements stretch a long way for residents of Old Cairo

CAIRO: Not long back, Ranana Saad and her three children had to walk four homes down her street to use a toilet. Today, she proudly shows off her own latrine to visitors. Another resident of the small Batn El-Baqara (which, if literally translated, means stomach of the cow) neighborhood has a new sink and kitchen …

Deena Douara

CD-ROMs teach Arab women about their rights

CAIRO: “I feel so safe knowing that no one can tell me anymore in the name of society or religion that these are my rights. I can now tell them I know my rights, says one beneficiary of a new program being rolled out across the Arab region. Arab women, many of whom are illiterate …

Deena Douara

Monument X: just try to fill in the blanks

CAIRO: According to the American Heritage Dictionary, monuments are “a building or sculpture, erected as a memorial. Another definition is “any building, megalith, etc., surviving from a past age, and regarded as of historical or archaeological importance. Monument X, however, is not meant to be or do any of the above. Instead, the installation by …

Deena Douara

Unstable weather strikes Cairo

CAIRO: A strong dust wave struck Cairo at 5 pm on Thursday sending pedestrians and street vendors scrambling for cover. “We were just walking to the store when we had sand, papers and garbage blown in our faces . we immediately ran home, said one disgruntled Dokki resident. By 6 pm heavy rain began to …

Deena Douara

Portraits of Cairo's young street artists

Lined along the gallery walls are bold, vibrant portraits by various artists not confined by convention. Noses are variably represented as triangles, rectangles, lines, ‘u’s, dots, and 7s. Mouths, of any color you please, reveal a wide range of emotions. Some images evoke the styles of prominent artists, like Chagall’s floating bodies, and Picasso’s misogynistic …

Deena Douara

Sweet tooth + net cravings = Konafa online

CAIRO: One of Cairo’s rather significant perks is its excessive catering to the lazy. In few other places in the world can dry-cleaning, five-star restaurants, and toothbrushes be delivered straight to your door. In a tiny kitchen in Nasr City, Maha Shaarawy is making konafas that will also be delivered to homes across Cairo. But …

Deena Douara

UN Goodwill Ambassador Youssra visits Coptic Orphans

CAIRO: If it hadn’t been for the cameras and bunches of flowers, you wouldn’t have known there was a celebrity in the room. Otherwise, last week’s visit by actress and newly-appointed UN Goodwill Ambassador Youssra to the youth gathered at Coptic Orphans was conducted as a casual, comfortable group discussion. The event gathered youth from …

Deena Douara

Notable Egyptians make a statement by boycotting

CAIRO: Political figures and social commentators largely boycotted yesterday’s referendum on Egypt’s controversial constitutional amendments, passed by the People’s Assembly early last week. “Yes I will sawat [a word meaning both ‘to vote’ and ‘to scream’]; I will sawat out of disgust, renowned writer of “The Yacoubian Building Alaa Al-Aswany told The Daily Star Egypt. …

Deena Douara

Fire victims struggle to find answers and aid

CAIRO: Victims of the Qalet Al Kabsh fire that consumed 300 makeshift homes and dislocated a reported 350 families on Tuesday are livid about the way the government has been treating them, and about reports in state run newspapers which they say are incorrect. “Please just write what is really going on. What has been …

Deena Douara

Security forces fire tear gas at Kalaat el-Kabsh residents

CAIRO: Tear gas canisters were reportedly fired indiscriminately into the homes of residents of Qalet Al-Kabsh in Sayyeda Zeinab district yesterday after a reported melee between squatters and security forces, eyewitnesses have told The Daily Star Egypt. The Ministry of Interior’s website said that residents had thrown stones at a government official visiting the site …

Deena Douara

Innerscapes: Portraits of women inside out

One often wonders what the bright palette, ambiguous landscape, or certain brushstroke express in a work of art. Egyptian artist Nazli Madkour provides a simple answer. They express nothing more than her changing moods. “Humans are not linear, she says. Her personality as an artist is made up of “different facets, some austere, and some …

Deena Douara

Education minister to address illiteracy using university students

DOHA: Education Minister Yousry El Gamal hopes to bring illiteracy levels in Egypt down from 29 percent to the “single digits within four years, he told The Daily Star Egypt during the three-day literacy conference in Qatar which ended yesterday. El Gamal will implement a new program to be decreed this year which obliges university …

Deena Douara

First Ladies and top officials address illiteracy in the region

DOHA: The need for innovation in tackling the problem of high illiteracy in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, with a special focus on reducing the gap between male and female literacy, was the focus of the opening ceremony of the first Literacy Challenges in the Arab Region conference which started Monday. The …

Deena Douara

Zooming in on British Muslims

Is there a clash of civilizations? London-based British photographer Peter Sanders, a Muslim convert, tries to answer this question in an exhibit at the British University in Egypt. Through a mix of portraits and scenes from British Muslims’ daily lives, “The Art of Integration: Islam in Britain’s Green and Pleasant Lands , Sanders zooms in …

Deena Douara

"Thank God we play bridge"

A rowdy room of fashionable women in smart suits, discussing the latest in housing costs and hair styles, suddenly take their seats and get very quiet. The North-South pairs stay seated while the East-West partners shift tables every 15 minutes. Every fourth round is a smoke-able round, but otherwise smoking is off limits. Chitchats and …

Deena Douara

Philanthropy and Development Conference presents new research, calls for waqf revival

CAIRO: The first conference tackling Philanthropy and Development in Egypt brought together nearly 400 individuals from the public, private, educational, and civil society sectors Wednesday to address how NGOs can be more successful, why waqf should be reinstated, and how partnerships can aid philanthropy and sustainable development, rather than simple charity. The first study of …

Deena Douara

Seymour Hersh delivers a "miserable unpleasant touch of reality"

CAIRO: “What drives me is the belief in truth internationally renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh told a packed crowd at the American University in Cairo. “I wish I could give you some good news. There isn’t a lot. Hersh first made headlines in 1969 when he exposed the controversial My Lai massacre and cover-up during …

Deena Douara

A mediocre 1001 Nights leaves much to be desired

The images, if not the stories, of 1001 Nights are legendary. We can imagine the grand court of the clever Scheherazade and the disillusioned King Shahryar; Ali Baba coincidentally stepping into a treasure trove; and the charming Aladdin summoning his genie. With such high expectations and our familiarity with the tales, the Cairo Opera Ballet …

Deena Douara

Egyptian boy recovers from bird flu

CAIRO: In the first positive news in Egypt’s fight against the spread of bird flu, medical authorities have reported that a boy who contracted the disease weeks ago has now made a full recovery. Mohammed Ahmed Suleiman, who was hospitalized after testing positive for bird flu on Feb. 16, was released after successful treatment with …

Deena Douara

Living the dolce vita, outside of Cairo

There are places in North America where children can ride their bikes freely, the scent of freshly-cut grass is omnipresent, birds sing a happy tune, and neighbors send each other baked goods on momentous occasions. These utopias are called the suburbs. They have taken over the US as the ideal places to live for well-to-do …

Deena Douara

"Miracle" tree, a sign from God?

CAIRO: Over a hundred people clustered around a tree at Hikestep on Ismailia Road. But this was no ordinary tree. Protruding from the miracle creation were the words “Allah, Mohammed, Taha. [one of Prophet Mohammed s names]. They believe it’s a direct sign from God. One man relates the story of how a soldier stationed …

Deena Douara