Nael M. Shama

45 Articles

Advertising Area





Latest by Nael M. Shama


Why Do They Hate Businessmen?

Why do they hate us? is not only George W. Bush’s favorite question. Apparently, many Egyptian businessmen ask the same question, lamenting the lack of popular appreciation of the “constructive role they play in the Egyptian economy and the “valuable services they provide to their fellow countrymen. Their bewilderment invites equal bewilderment because the conduct …

Nael M. Shama

The Beauty of Garbage!

For the past few months, the eyes of TV viewers in Egypt and the Arab World have been glued to the dubbed-into-Arabic Turkish soap opera “Noor. The series, premised on the legendary love story between Noor and Mohannad (the drama’s central couple), has taken the Arab World by storm. “I sell more than 500 photos …

Nael M. Shama

DECODING EGYPT: The Chinese Syndrome

Along with the straitened heat and humidity of the month of August, watching the Olympic Games added a sense of disgrace and bitterness to summer in Egypt, for the disparity between Egypt and the advanced world was all too vivid in Beijing. Egyptians apprehended how weak their nation was compared to other nations two centuries …

Nael M. Shama

Decoding Egypt: Inside Tyrants' Minds

During his recent visit to South Africa, President Hosni Mubarak was asked about Egypt’s stance toward the International Criminal Court’s indictment against Sudanese President Omar Al-Beshir for war crimes. Mubarak affirmed his country’s support of Sudan and solemnly added that “it is not appropriate to take a President to court. What can one, in the …

Nael M. Shama

Decoding Egypt: The Execution of Reason

Today, as regional and international powers contemplate the choices of war and peace at the historical juncture that will shape the future of the Middle East, Egyptian foreign policy busies itself combating an Iranian documentary that criticized a former Egyptian President. The documentary entitled “Execution of a Pharaoh was produced in 2006, and was recently …

Nael M. Shama

Decoding Egypt: Shadows of a State

Realist scholars of international relations argue that “anarchy is the defining characteristic of the international system in which states interact. According to these scholars, anarchy simply means the absence of any overriding authority above states. That is the case because states are sovereign and the system lacks any “hierarchy of authority. Unlike domestic societies, there …

Nael M. Shama

Hosni Mubarak: CEO of Egypt

Because the current Egyptian government is composed predominantly of technocrats who have no – or little – previous political experience, its members have been frequently charged with political incompetence. A number of political blunders provided the assailants with further fuel for indictment. That President Hosni Mubarak, however, is himself a technocrat has received little attention. …

Nael M. Shama

Egypt's 'Smart' Government: Language vs. Rhetoric

Throughout history, even the most dishonorable deeds have been supplemented with assertions of noble intent and devotion to humanity and freedom. Hitler, Pol Pot and George W. Bush propagated the nobility of their sacred missions and services to civilization , against the backdrop of mass killings, misery and devastation. In Egypt, state propaganda is pervasive. …

Nael M. Shama

Gamal Abdel Nasser vs. Gamal Mubarak

Two chapters in the chronicles of modern Egyptian leaders narrate the story of two men and the sea of change separating the nature of the country’s political leadership in 50 years. Generations apart, both men are influential politicians with wide aspirations, a penchant for change and the spirit of youth. The first is Gamal Abdel-Nasser …

Nael M. Shama

Times of mistrust in Egypt

It is said that mutual trust, rather than mutual interest, is what keeps human associations together. Lack of trust among members of a community resembles cracks in an aged building; they reveal its vulnerability and forecast its collapse. Civil wars, for example, do not erupt suddenly. They are preceded by extended periods of animosity, taking …

Nael M. Shama

The Demise of the 'omnipotent' Egyptian State

“I wonder about you peasant; you use your mattock to break up the soil to earn your livelihood, so why don’t you use that mattock to tear the chests of those who inflict injustice upon you? These were the words of the 19th century prominent reformist Gamal El-Din Al-Afghany. The question of why Egyptians do …

Nael M. Shama

Is Egypt Still 'the Gift of the Nile'?

Egypt’s unique relationship with the River Nile was probably best captured by the renowned Greek historian Herodotus who noted, 2500 years ago, that “Egypt is the gift of the Nile . The ‘father of history’ was certainly right. The river gave ancient Egyptians everything: water, food, animals, trade and transportation – in short, the fundamentals …

Nael M. Shama

The 'Shia Threat' Unmasked

Even though Shiism is roughly as old as Islam itself, its role in Muslim history has been, for most of the past 1,400 years, confined to its periphery. The fact that Shias comprise a small minority living amidst a vast sea of Sunnis, coupled with a historically-old proclivity to conceal their faith to protect themselves …

Nael M. Shama

Cairo's Taxi: Tragedy and farce juxtaposed

Eighty thousand taxis roam Cairo every day. They have become part and parcel of the city that has inspired and intrigued throughout history countless philosophers, writers and poets. In “Taxi: Tales of Commuting , author Khaled Al-Khamisy lists 58 conversations he had with taxi drivers while traveling in the streets of Cairo in the period …

Nael M. Shama

The Death of the Reader: An Epitaph

In the late 1960s, the renowned French philosopher and literary critic Roland Barthes articulated his highly-praised theory: “The Death of the Author . The theory credibly argued that writing, in essence, is that neutral and complex space where all identity is lost and every voice of origin destroyed. Critics have hitherto sought explaining literary production …

Nael M. Shama

End of Section