Category Archives: Politics

Whats that got to do with the constitution ?!

My dear friends did their best to translate my last post from arabic to english , and google failed miserably .. and I must say it is a daunting task to translate the egyptian light hearted dialect into english or even to any other arabic dialect .. I did my best to carry the mood and the sentiment into this translation …

The background to this post is the chaotic pathetic political scene in Egypt nowadays, a shabby referendum on a hastily cooked constitution and a hesitant president who seems to cancel his own decisions as fast as he make them .. Lolo for me is answer to all of this … Tomorrow is hers …

My little Lolo is strict20121224-005559.jpg
in full control
Whatever clouds in her heart
She pours
on her hands
lips and eyes

….

Watch her doing her homework
with fun
Whether the paper is blank or full
straight or crumbled
the homework gets done

….

She writes on lines in her heart
Somehow looks tilted to my careless eyes
Yet perfectly aligned
like the pyramid
in hers

….

Thats her opinion, a verdict passed
On me and the school
Thats my homework, done
Once and for all
and daddy , by the way
tomorrow it will be forgotten
and lost

….

She always sticks that sun of hers
In every drawing
Morning be it or night
called for it or not
There it is
at the upper left corner
Just above the heart
Her warming sun

….

Oh my wicked Lolo
Even in drawing
You grab the truth
by the neck

….

Mr President
Lolo is a princess
in her lines
and sultana
Precise and diminutive
Sometimes frizzly and proud
Her letters remain engraved
and in control

….

She doesn’t care
What you carve
She doesn’t give a damn
About your attorney general
Your declaration or
Constitution

….

Tomorrow is hers not yours
She will scribble it by her tiny hand
Not on your perfect lines
no submission
In this heart

….

in her latest drawing
She wrote
….I love
Words in your world
Missing on intent ,accused and guilt

….

But for Lolo thats
Her dream
Love for her is for all
And tomorrow for her
All drawn
scrambled
Grabbled
Scribbled
But hers ..

….

Let the boys rule
By the ball
By the boyish fights
And the laughs that follows

Let the girls reminds us
Of the butterflies
Of the love
Pure like the dawn

TarekOfCairo

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Egypt’s days of shame

The colour of blood

Is all red …

Spilled screaming

on our dawn

….

The flesh of burnt pride

Is all the same

Like the smell of hate

We both exhale

….

The chasm of void

Between us deeper

Than my stupidity

and your cruelty

….

your fingers hold mine

On the same knife

that stabbed us

into the same fate

….

Just as we were tortured

In the same jail that wore our graffiti

not so long, remember

if you dare

….

If we survived today

we will lie flat black eyed

Stretched on the cold asphalt

Facing the same blue sky

….

And if we die

We will hug each other

Stacked in the same grave

Peacefully gone ,

….

If love fails to unite us

today, Like every other day

In the history of shame

We are wastefully done

Just the same ..

….

TarekOfCairo

A day with Sultan Hassan .. The story ..

This is a political, architectural and photographic story …

It is a story of a human construction, but as everything in Egypt, under every stone you don’t need to dig deep to find humanity in its wisest form. Whenever I return to this sacred piece of land I wonder why is it that the Egyptian intellectual are so paralyzed with their worries and struggles. If anything we should be the most worry-free place in earth. We have the wisdom of deep culture and history. We have a 7000 years young mind. Age-defying mind. Just leave your TV and your FB and walk in the street of Cairo. Look at the face of Cairians and put your hand on any stone and feel the pulse. Yesterday I transcended over personal worries and went to feel love in Sultan Hassan’s Sahn. He insisted to tell me his story again, this time with yet more secrets revealed.

MOSQUE-MADRASSA OF SULTAN HASSAN

The Politics:

This is just less than 700 years old story.

This is story of the Sultan Hassan, the son of the great Mohamed Ibn Qalawoon  the victorious. The later was a great Mamluk Sultan who established a great Egyptian empire and left behind the finest monuments of Mamluk architecture. When he died his son Hassan was thirteen , he was crowned as the Sultan in 1347 CE.  In reality the military Mamluk Amirs had full control. The Mamluk Amirs fought between them for power and control, as a result the Sultan was put at house confinment  in his Mother’s Hareem with a daily allowance of 100 dirhams a day ( The Amir for comparison had 200,000 dirham per day). In 1351 he was actually imprisoned for 3 years until a new Mamluk Amir rose to power and in an attempt to claim legitimate control; he re-crowned Hassan as a Sultan for the second time.

This time Sultan Hassan learnt his lesson and he had a different plan.

The Mamluk Amirs used to live in and around the citadel fortified behind walls and totally detaching them-selves from the Egyptians. Sultan Hassan was adamant to rid the Egyptians (and himself) from the corrupt Mamluk Amirs and regain full control and power. To achieve this he started to get rid of the Mamluk Amirs one by one, and in their positions he put Awlad AlNas (second and third generation Mamluks who were born free) and Egyptians. In few years he had full control.

And in few years he was assassinated by one of his Mamluk….. and bang … Everything is undone …

This is how it ends… Yes, so abruptly. Never mind the   glorious deeds; everything just went back to normal. Is there a lesson here? ..

This political story was needed to explain the architectural one…

Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan

The colossal complex of Sultan Hassan encompasses a mosque, Madrassa, a hospital and huge domed mausoleum. Sultan Hassan was said to call for engineers from all over the world to build the biggest building ever. The complex was said to be an architectural triumph that challenges the building of the great pyramid of Giza.

Every Cairian – I hope – visited the pyramids of Giza. Most of Cairians – I think- never visited Sultan Hassan complex. I myself came to know about this grand site from a tourist guidebook only two years ago. When I visited the site for the first time I was amazed by the colossal size and the architectural design. I kept snapping photos like crazy without putting any thought into it, but something was odd. Something didn’t make sense.

I did not understand why a historically insignificant young Sultan who reigned for a mere 7 years in the worst years of political turmoil and black death (the plague took one third of the Egyptian lives during this years –Cairo had half a million inhabitant )  would build such a magnificent complex ? And how he build it, how did he fund it, where he found the artisan and laborers? .. And why in this strange spot, outside the walls of Cairo at the foot of the citadel within easy reach from what is supposed to be his enemies the Mamluk Amirs in the citadel?…

The answers I found in a  paper by a Dr. Howadah Alharthey a Saudi archeologist who had her PHD from Harvard university in 1992 and her dissertation was entitled ” Urban form and meaning in Bahari Mamluk architecture” ..

Back to Sultan Hassan ..

The building of such a great monument was meant to symbolize and charge his battle against the corrupt power hungry Mamluk Amirs.  His strategy was to side with the Egyptians and Awlad Alnas against them. That is why he decided to make this building in this spot (used to be a Horse Market) called the Midan AlRemeela. This Midan – just like Al Tahrir- was always the starting point of peoples uprisings and protests. The place was surrounded by grand palaces of the Mamluk Amirs. Sultan Hassan bought these palaces and demolished them with all the symbolic gesture in doing so. He decided to have a Madrasa with 4 Iwans, each dedicated to one of the 4 Imams of islamic sunni rites (Maliki, Shafai,Hanafi and Hanbali) , on top of every domed Iwan there is 4 story students residence. The Madrassa would signify the importance of the education of the common people. The largest Iwan had Al Mihrab, the Minbar and the Qibla, the place was dedicated in his Waqf statement for Friday prayer which was a weekly congregation of the common people with their Sultan.

Behind this Iwan and directly facing the Citadel lies the greatest mausoleum in Egypt. In this place the Sultan and his sons were supposed to be buried. The Sultan body was hidden after his assassination and he was never buried here (You never know in which land you will land !!! )..

The complex had a hospital with 3 resident doctors and 10 interns !!!!. The significance of such a hospital is evident as the construction started following aftermath of the plague. The possessions of the people and rich who perished in the epidemic provided the funds for  a great part of the construction. The common people found it more plausible to believe the myth that a treasure was found at the construction site.

The complex’s main facade would directly face the Citadel signifying the struggle and defiance against the Mamluks. The main entrance facade  is the biggest known in Egypt and lies to the north, putting the peoples entrance behind the Sultans mausoleum and facing the Citadel. Very defiant gesture. If you look at a Google satellite map you can see how this building is skewed to make this arrangement.

The Sultan facing the Citadel

The Bad news …

This grand construction had its flaws; historically; the idea didn’t work and the poor Sultan was killed. Architecturally; the 30 meter high mausoleum hall had a wooden dome (Quba) supported by amazing wooden maqarnasat.  After the construction the dome fell and the wooden moqarnasat survived. The dome was subsequently rebuilt ( looks like stone and cement to me).

The complex plan had 4 Minerates, only 3 were constructed. One of the Minerates fell killing 300 people, an event which caused heated discussions (rumors) that the Sultan’s power will decline, and surely 33 days later he was assassinated. What remained is 2 Minerates and Omens. Who would dare and fiddle with that?!!.

I will post my photos in the next post ….

ليلة جاهين ومكاوي وزوربا اليوناني

كنت علي يقين

كنت علي حق

فبلدي في امان

ولا خوف ولا يحزنون

اياخذ الظفر من احجار الهرم ام تراه  ينكسر …

وفي بلادي اهرام في كل حارة وتحت كل حجر …

 

في اسبوع واحد انست في بلدي مشاهد الاطمئنان

ذهبت الي الاوبرا …

في الاولي مشهدين .. زوربا اليوناني والليلة الكبيرة

شئ كان يحدثني ان شيئا ما يحرك هذا المزيج

عرضين للباليه لا يجمع بينهما الا المؤديين … لوهلة …

زوربا اليوناني … القصة الشهيرة للكاتب اليوناني نيكوس كازنتزاكيس ..

زوربا هو نموذج لحب الدنيا في في كل احوالها .. يرقص بسعادة ويضحك من القلب ويغني ويعظ ويساعد الناس ويرتكب كل الموبقات ويبكي رقصا .. ولزوربا قدرة خلاقة علي العمل والتسلية وبساطة فلسفته جعلته انسانا سعيدا وملهما لم حوله .. وفي القصة اعداء الحياة واهل الكنبة والمثقفين المنعزليين ..

ما اشبه الشخوص بالشخوص والبلاد بالبلاد والاحوال بالاحوال …

اما الليلة الكبيرة .. فهي ليلة جاهين ومكاوي

قصة احتفاء المصريين بالحياة والموت والضياع والامل والطقوس …

قصة الفولكلور والتراث المصري

قصة كل ما انتقل علي مدي الاف السنين من دم لدم ..

 ليس مكتوبا ولكن  مبنيا عظم ولحم … مصري حتي النخاع

هل يبقى منا شيئا لو ذهب ..

ومرة اخرى

ماذا يخدش الظفر من احجار الهرم .. بل لاشك ينكسر …

وفي بلادي اهرام في كل شق ثعبان وتحت كل حجر …

شكرا للاوبرا المصرية

العرض كان اكثر من رائع

الاداء والديكور والموسيقى

انا فخور ببلدي

صوتها وصلني كما وصل كل الحاضريين

Ode to President Morsy

President Morsy

مابالكم برجل يعلمه الشعب … فيتعلم ….
تحية الي الرئيس …..
هل يثبت في ظل السلطة والعسكر والهتيفة ….

لهذا اقاطع صناديقكم … ومازال صوتي حر …

في الساحة الان صراع بين الاسلاميين والعسكر … وأهل مصر مدعوون الى هذا الصراع

هو صراع بين قوى المرشدير … قوي المشير والمرشد … إخلط الحروف والاقدار ستجدها على أي حال هي هي

فإما العودة خطوة او العودة خطوات … النتيجة في الاخر واحدة … الزحف المرشدير

بدايةً هذا هو صوتي …. فماذا انا به فاعل ؟ … او بالاصح ماذا فعلت به ؟

قناعتي بان القطار سيسير الى الخلف … فعلام الركوب ؟!! …. وعلام التوهان ؟

فأما سائق يعود بنا الى السجن الذي خرجنا منه ٫ واما انه آخر يتوه بنا في الصحراء قبل ان يسوقنا الى سجنه الخاص 

ويخوفونني بأن القطار سيرحل ويتركني … وكأني بهم يقطرون بلادي بحالها ومحتالها وتاريخها ويتركونني في الخلاء

ولست أعجب من ابتسامة على وجهي وانا اعطيهم قفاي 

 

20120615-120646.jpg

قاطعتهم 
نعم قاطعت صناديقهم … حتى لا يكون صوتي علي حجة 

يوم تسألني نفسي 

لماذا صوت لمرسي ؟ فأرد : خوفا من الفسدة الدهاة 

او لماذا صوت لشفيق ؟ فأرد  : خوفا من الشرفاء الجهلاء 

فتسألني نفسي مستنكرة وأين صوتك أنت ؟! .. اين الامانة التي تحملها ؟! .. اين اهدافك النبيلة واحلامك البريئة ؟!

هل يسرق الساسة احلامنا بدعوة الممكن ودعاوى البراجماتية ؟! … هل اصبح الشعب كله ساسة ؟

هل فعلا نتخلى عن الامل من جديد ونعود الى دولة الخوف في داخل كل منا ؟

ترى هل لو فكر شهداء الثورة ووقودها بهذا المنطق أكان القيد انكسر ؟!!! … هل فعلا نستوحش الحرية ونتوق لأمان النوم في القيود ؟

كثيرة علامات الاستفهام والتعجب الاستنكارية

لو كنت ممن يؤمنون بدولة اسلامية سياسياً… فكن مرسياً
لو كنت ممن يؤمنون بأن ليس ابدع مما كان …. فكن شفيقياً
اما ان كنت – كما أظن الاغلبية – لست هذا او ذاك …فكن نقيا لا تقيا ولا تقهر نفسك بالخوف من ايهما
وعندها سيعدوا الاصوات – وحتى لو زوروها
٢٠٪ من المصريين يأتون برئيس لنا جميعا
وما اصدقه من واقع … انه الحقيقة المجردة …

سيكون لنا رئيس كامل الشرعية منقوص الشعبية … وماذا عساه يصنع المسكين بدبابة او جماعة وخلفه شعب مازال يرقب خطواته ويعد انفاسه … أليس هذا الوضع هو روح الديموقراطية …

سنتعطل وسيقف القطار حتي ندري من نحن وماذا نريد والى اين المسير … ولكننا لن نحرق القطار او نقطع الطريق ..

هكذا صنعت شعوبا قبلنا نهضتها … صدقت الايمان بقدرتها وخاضت في الصعاب حتى اجتازتها …

ادعوكم الى البحث عن اصواتكم بداخلكم وليس في الفيس بوك ولا التوك شو .. ادعوكم للبراءة والنقاء .. نعم ادعوكم للفطرة الانسانية ..

ادعوكم الى الحرية … اعط صوتك حيث ايمانك وقناعتك … لن نعود ابداً الى سكة السلامة الا باحلامنا الطاهرة النبيلة

صوتي مازال محلقاً في سماء الحرية يبحث عن صندوقه بعين الامل … فأين صوتك ؟

Black holes in our way ..

Too many black holes we have stepped on ..

Plain naive , blind folded or fooled dolls ..

how many along the way  are there before  ..

Hungry holes are full and from us are done ..

 

TarekOfCairo

.. الاعدام للشهداء In the memory of Gladiators ..

Once upon a time …
In the beautiful land of Egypt..
Heinous tyrant clogged the Nile …
Committing the eternal mischief…

Lass, diminutive with flaming eyes
Poked sphinx ; wake up .. stand up
Revolt and claim your life
Gentle and indulgent … thus
Committed the eternal mischief…

Glorious and noble .. Is not life just ?!
Up to it with stone and dust ..
Is not life just ?!… Pick your knights
Oh .. Committing the eternal mischief..

The arena is set from dawn to dusk..
People harvested with hypnotizing fears
come my brother , bring your spear… bring your lust
Bring your flesh, blood and tears..

Gladiators with rattling armors and shaky knees
For fear for life and fear of life
Hailing the mysterious master
And …Committing the eternal mischief..

Gladiators are gloriously doomed …
For the crowned winner is slaved
And the pathetic loser is slayed…
The master remains …. and loots ..

In the book of history
There is an eternal decree
Dig up ..Uproot.. thy rotten weeds…

Before you plant your freedom tree…

Or else … and yes .. its an eternal mistake …

TarekofCairo

صباحك يا مصر ..!!!

تعبت ونمت زي ما تعبتي …صباحك إيه يا مصر
نمت والهم مِلو مخدتى … صباحك فين يا مصر …
صحيت على غير جمالك …هو فين كحلك يا مصر …
من تاني عندُ نِفسْ ولا عين ولاّ دم عشانك امِّك يا مصر …

Tarekofcairo

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