Fursa Sa'ida فرصة سعيدة

Literally "Happy chance," but it means "Nice to meet you" in Arabic. (I chose the name when I was living in Egypt.)

If you're looking for substance, there's a handy link called "Analysis" right down below, which I invite you to check out. The rest is shorter thoughts, humor, caps lock, and the occasional personal post. Ask me anything you like.

FYI, I co-blog a lot of pop culture, fangirly things with my dear CT over at 22drunkb. If you enjoy hilarity and flailing, head that way. ________

Tagged The Nile:

aljazeeraamerica:

Opinion: Egypt and Ethiopia face off over Nile water

On Jan. 8, Ethiopia turned down Egypt’s demand that it suspend construction of its mega-dam on the Nile, further escalating tensions between the two states. Fearing that Ethiopia’s $4.2 billion project would reduce the river’s flow, Egypt calls for a halt in construction until the dam’s downstream impact is determined. Otherwise, it has vowed to protect its “historical rights” to the Nile at “any cost.”

While scoffing at Egyptian threats, Ethiopia has called for Cairo’s collaboration in negotiations and claims that the dam will have no adverse effect on Egypt. It would, in fact, decrease evaporation and improve water flow. Ethiopia hopes that the ambitious hydroelectric project, slated to be completed in 2017, would catapult the country out of poverty. Frustrated by what it described as Ethiopia’s stubborn stance, Cairo is threatening to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.

Read more

Photo: William Lloyd-George/AFP/Getty Images

Feb 08
aljazeeraamerica:

Opinion: Egypt and Ethiopia face off over Nile water

On Jan. 8, Ethiopia turned down Egypt’s demand that it suspend construction of its mega-dam on the Nile, further escalating tensions between the two states. Fearing that Ethiopia’s $4.2 billion project would reduce the river’s flow, Egypt calls for a halt in construction until the dam’s downstream impact is determined. Otherwise, it has vowed to protect its “historical rights” to the Nile at “any cost.”
While scoffing at Egyptian threats, Ethiopia has called for Cairo’s collaboration in negotiations and claims that the dam will have no adverse effect on Egypt. It would, in fact, decrease evaporation and improve water flow. Ethiopia hopes that the ambitious hydroelectric project, slated to be completed in 2017, would catapult the country out of poverty. Frustrated by what it described as Ethiopia’s stubborn stance, Cairo is threatening to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.

Read more
Photo: William Lloyd-George/AFP/Getty Images

Wrapping up the trip I was on last week [soooo I started this draft a long time ago and let it languish. I sorry].

After our glorious breakfast and exhilarating truck ride, we arrived in Aswan, where a friend of May’s had planned a full day of touring and delightfulness. I don’t really understand why he decided to organize this and pay for ALL of us to do it (he flatly refused any reimbursement, and there were four of us, man, it comes to a lot of money), but it was very kind of him.

We started at the High Dam in Aswan. I believe I mentioned that one of my companions is Nubian; she told us the story of the displacement of the Nubian people who lived on the banks of this part of the Nile when the time came to change the course of the river. First, a wave of people were moved to the desert. Their traditional way of life was in no way adapted to desert conditions; many died. So the second wave of people who were asked to move refused.

The government opened the dam and drowned them.

The third wave went where they were told. May says the displaced communities are seeking the return of their lands, or at least some sort of redistribution that will put them back near the Nile. Remains to be seen whether anything of the sort will actually happen.

Sooooo, after that sobering story, we were presented with the vista of Lake Nasser, the biggest artificial lake in the world:


Seriously, y’all, this thing is biiiig.

After that, we headed over to the Soviet-Egyptian Friendship Monument, which has gushy statements from Stalin and from Gamal Abd el Nasser in each other’s languages written all over it and is surrounded by a quite nice garden and a fittingly dry fountain.

After that, we got in a little boat and went across to the most gorgeous temple in the middle of Lake Nasser. (They had to move it after they made the lake because it was partially submerged.) This place was stunningly beautiful. It was in the water, like this:

And the place itself looked like this:

I could go on, but this isn’t a photoset.

ANYWAY. I loved this place. After that, we felucca-ed our way along to another island, where we ate “lunch” (it was like 5 or 5:30 pm, the whole schedule got pushed back because it took us so long to get from the hinterland into Aswan) annnnnd I held a baby crocodile. I drew the line when the guy wanted to hang it around my shoulders, though.

The thing was, my Dutch companion and I were supposed to be on the 7 o clock train back to Cairo (the rest were staying). So we ended up getting felucca-ed back to the main part of town, and even THAT was gorgeous, and then we took a taxi to the train station. The dude who was driving the felucca was instructed (and, I feel certain, very well compensated) by our host to see us all the way onto the train and make sure we got off okay, and this he did. He even insisted on carrying our bags onto the train, and then when I tried to tip him he wouldn’t take it. This is why I say VERY well compensated.

After that, the porter dude whose job it actually IS to carry the bags on hung around us, waiting for his customary baksheesh (tip/bribe). I got really pissed off and yelled “WHAT DID YOU EVEN DO” at him in Arabic, and he looked really sheepish and I gave him two guinea to get rid of him.

In retrospect I feel sort of bad. Most people who even have jobs here don’t make anywhere near enough to live on, and they legitimately need baksheesh money. Government jobs pay, like, maybe a couple hundred dollars a month. I don’t think he felt any better about what he was doing than I did. But still, I mean, come ON.

Anyway, we sleeper train-ed our way back to Cairo and even though I was completely exhausted, I was SO GLAD to be back. That was the moment when I realized I feel at home here now.

Apr 23

Yesterday, some friends and I brought a bunch of food down to the Nile and ate dinner on a felucca.

This is what a felucca looks like! It was dark out, though.

It was lovely! We had wine and foul and bread and rice and roast chicken. But that is not the point of this post.

I was talking to this dude Scott while we were all waiting to get on the boat, and he pointed out that over near the back of the dock, there was a guy sitting by a little firepit, fanning the flames…with his gallabiya.

Understand, a galabiya is basically a dress for men. It goes to the floor. This is the equivalent of a woman fanning a fire with her skirt. I’m talking full-on, grab the hem, wave it up and down action. Smoky can-can. (Can there be a character named Smoky Can-can someday? Maybe in like a Tarantino film?)

Happily, in this case, the guy had pants on underneath. I am reliably informed that this is not always the case.

Mar 07
aljazeeraamerica:

Opinion: Egypt and Ethiopia face off over Nile water

On Jan. 8, Ethiopia turned down Egypt’s demand that it suspend construction of its mega-dam on the Nile, further escalating tensions between the two states. Fearing that Ethiopia’s $4.2 billion project would reduce the river’s flow, Egypt calls for a halt in construction until the dam’s downstream impact is determined. Otherwise, it has vowed to protect its “historical rights” to the Nile at “any cost.”
While scoffing at Egyptian threats, Ethiopia has called for Cairo’s collaboration in negotiations and claims that the dam will have no adverse effect on Egypt. It would, in fact, decrease evaporation and improve water flow. Ethiopia hopes that the ambitious hydroelectric project, slated to be completed in 2017, would catapult the country out of poverty. Frustrated by what it described as Ethiopia’s stubborn stance, Cairo is threatening to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.

Read more
Photo: William Lloyd-George/AFP/Getty Images
aljazeeraamerica:

Opinion: Egypt and Ethiopia face off over Nile water

On Jan. 8, Ethiopia turned down Egypt’s demand that it suspend construction of its mega-dam on the Nile, further escalating tensions between the two states. Fearing that Ethiopia’s $4.2 billion project would reduce the river’s flow, Egypt calls for a halt in construction until the dam’s downstream impact is determined. Otherwise, it has vowed to protect its “historical rights” to the Nile at “any cost.”
While scoffing at Egyptian threats, Ethiopia has called for Cairo’s collaboration in negotiations and claims that the dam will have no adverse effect on Egypt. It would, in fact, decrease evaporation and improve water flow. Ethiopia hopes that the ambitious hydroelectric project, slated to be completed in 2017, would catapult the country out of poverty. Frustrated by what it described as Ethiopia’s stubborn stance, Cairo is threatening to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.

Read more
Photo: William Lloyd-George/AFP/Getty Images

aljazeeraamerica:

Opinion: Egypt and Ethiopia face off over Nile water

On Jan. 8, Ethiopia turned down Egypt’s demand that it suspend construction of its mega-dam on the Nile, further escalating tensions between the two states. Fearing that Ethiopia’s $4.2 billion project would reduce the river’s flow, Egypt calls for a halt in construction until the dam’s downstream impact is determined. Otherwise, it has vowed to protect its “historical rights” to the Nile at “any cost.”

While scoffing at Egyptian threats, Ethiopia has called for Cairo’s collaboration in negotiations and claims that the dam will have no adverse effect on Egypt. It would, in fact, decrease evaporation and improve water flow. Ethiopia hopes that the ambitious hydroelectric project, slated to be completed in 2017, would catapult the country out of poverty. Frustrated by what it described as Ethiopia’s stubborn stance, Cairo is threatening to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.

Read more

Photo: William Lloyd-George/AFP/Getty Images

The President of Egypt had a sensitive national security meeting, broadcast it live on TV, and forgot to tell anyone at the meeting that they were on TV.

fursasaida:

Like, I kept trying to come up with a more dignified headline, and there just isn’t one.

The live broadcast of a consultative meeting held by President Mohamed Morsy and various political figures on Monday to discuss the consequences of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam included sensitive national security issues and suggestions for naval action.

Most of the attendants were unaware that the meeting was being aired live. Morsys’ assistant, [Pakinam] al-Sharqawy, apologized for forgetting to notify the participants about this.

Last week, Ethiopia announced the diversion of the Blue Nile’s stream as a step towards launching works on its Renaissance Dam. But the declaration and the project in general, sparked fears in Egypt and Sudan that the diversion would affect their shares of waters which they obtained under British occupation. […]

The most controversial contribution was made by Ayman Nour, chairman of Ghad al-Thawra party, who suggested that Egypt disseminate rumors that it is seeking advanced aircrafts. He said this is an intelligence technique of intimidation. “It might not be realistic, but it will bring results on the diplomatic path”. Nour, however, said he believes diplomatic efforts will not yield great outcomes: “Ethiopians have taken the decision, and it is highly difficult for them to backtrack”. […]

Younis Makhyoun, chairman of the Salafi Nour Party, said the last chip Egypt has is using its secret services to demolish the dam, describing the project as a declaration of war.

Chairman of the moderate Islamist Wasat Party, Abul Ela Mady, suggested sending army destroyers to the Bab al-Mandab strait and spreading rumors that Egypt is about to strike the dam.

Former information minister Osama Heikal said broadcasting the meeting live was “a farce” that reflects “the state of absurdity Egypt is experiencing”. “Is that the way to solve a national security issue?” he wondered in a phone-in with Tahrir satellite channel late Monday. “There should have been a meeting by the National Defense Council to determine the method of handling that crisis”.

Heikal blamed President Morsy for the confusion concerning the broadcast of the meeting: “There is no way the meeting was aired without Morsy’s knowledge. Had I been an Ethiopian watching that meeting, I would have concluded that Egypt is a failing state that has run out of options. The President invited irrelevant personalities to solve a national security issue. The whole world is now laughing at Egypt because of that meeting”.

I can’t lie, I am DEF LAUGHING. But seriously: what were half of those people even doing in that meeting? WHY BROADCAST IT AT ALL?

According to this article,* they decided to broadcast it “at the last minute” because of “the significance of the water security issue,” which—what? Like they’ve ever cared about keeping the public up to date on important issues before?

Like, this whole thing is 100% bizarre. I admit that it occurs to me that this was some sort of ploy by Morsi to try to embarrass and discredit his political rivals—look how many people who have nothing to do with national security, or in fact any government authority, were invited; notice that Morsi himself doesn’t seem to have said anything intemperate, and all the major pull quotes are from leaders of other parties; and, how random is it that this is the one time they decide to go live? But a) if it WAS such a plan, was a REALLY STUPID PLAN because hello, Ethiopia and Sudan, b) it even backfired real bad against Morsi, and c) the whole idea seems a little too far into conspiracy theory territory for me.

I JUST, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? WHAT IS THIS? 

I leave you with this: another suggestion included ”backing Ethiopian rebel movements against Addis Ababa. ‘We can communicate with them and use them as a bargaining chip against the Ethiopian government,’ [Salafist Nour Party leader Khaled Makhioun] said.”

We have taught them well, everyone!

________________
*disclosure: I volunteer as a copy editor at this site.

So I did a reblog for time zones last night, and on my personal mission to avoid reblogging text posts as links I totally forgot that this post WAS A LINK TO BEGIN WITH and I should probably not remove the source link. Oops. Here’s the post as it was originally intended, my b.

The President of Egypt had a sensitive national security meeting, broadcast it live on TV, and forgot to tell anyone at the meeting that they were on TV.

Like, I kept trying to come up with a more dignified headline, and there just isn’t one.

The live broadcast of a consultative meeting held by President Mohamed Morsy and various political figures on Monday to discuss the consequences of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam included sensitive national security issues and suggestions for naval action.

Most of the attendants were unaware that the meeting was being aired live. Morsys’ assistant, [Pakinam] al-Sharqawy, apologized for forgetting to notify the participants about this.

Last week, Ethiopia announced the diversion of the Blue Nile’s stream as a step towards launching works on its Renaissance Dam. But the declaration and the project in general, sparked fears in Egypt and Sudan that the diversion would affect their shares of waters which they obtained under British occupation. […]

The most controversial contribution was made by Ayman Nour, chairman of Ghad al-Thawra party, who suggested that Egypt disseminate rumors that it is seeking advanced aircrafts. He said this is an intelligence technique of intimidation. “It might not be realistic, but it will bring results on the diplomatic path”. Nour, however, said he believes diplomatic efforts will not yield great outcomes: “Ethiopians have taken the decision, and it is highly difficult for them to backtrack”. […]

Younis Makhyoun, chairman of the Salafi Nour Party, said the last chip Egypt has is using its secret services to demolish the dam, describing the project as a declaration of war.

Chairman of the moderate Islamist Wasat Party, Abul Ela Mady, suggested sending army destroyers to the Bab al-Mandab strait and spreading rumors that Egypt is about to strike the dam.

Former information minister Osama Heikal said broadcasting the meeting live was “a farce” that reflects “the state of absurdity Egypt is experiencing”. “Is that the way to solve a national security issue?” he wondered in a phone-in with Tahrir satellite channel late Monday. “There should have been a meeting by the National Defense Council to determine the method of handling that crisis”.

Heikal blamed President Morsy for the confusion concerning the broadcast of the meeting: “There is no way the meeting was aired without Morsy’s knowledge. Had I been an Ethiopian watching that meeting, I would have concluded that Egypt is a failing state that has run out of options. The President invited irrelevant personalities to solve a national security issue. The whole world is now laughing at Egypt because of that meeting”.

I can’t lie, I am DEF LAUGHING. But seriously: what were half of those people even doing in that meeting? WHY BROADCAST IT AT ALL?

According to this article,* they decided to broadcast it “at the last minute” because of “the significance of the water security issue,” which—what? Like they’ve ever cared about keeping the public up to date on important issues before?

Like, this whole thing is 100% bizarre. I admit that it occurs to me that this was some sort of ploy by Morsi to try to embarrass and discredit his political rivals—look how many people who have nothing to do with national security, or in fact any government authority, were invited; notice that Morsi himself doesn’t seem to have said anything intemperate, and all the major pull quotes are from leaders of other parties; and, how random is it that this is the one time they decide to go live? But a) if it WAS such a plan, was a REALLY STUPID PLAN because hello, Ethiopia and Sudan, b) it even backfired real bad against Morsi, and c) the whole idea seems a little too far into conspiracy theory territory for me.

I JUST, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? WHAT IS THIS? 

I leave you with this: another suggestion included ”backing Ethiopian rebel movements against Addis Ababa. ‘We can communicate with them and use them as a bargaining chip against the Ethiopian government,’ [Salafist Nour Party leader Khaled Makhioun] said.”

We have taught them well, everyone!

________________
*disclosure: I volunteer as a copy editor at this site.

The…Venice of Egypt? What?

Posted on Monday April 23rd 2012 at 02:43pm. Its tags are listed below.

The…Venice of Egypt? What?

Wrapping up the trip I was on last week [soooo I started this draft a long time ago and let it languish. I sorry].

After our glorious breakfast and exhilarating truck ride, we arrived in Aswan, where a friend of May’s had planned a full day of touring and delightfulness. I don’t really understand why he decided to organize this and pay for ALL of us to do it (he flatly refused any reimbursement, and there were four of us, man, it comes to a lot of money), but it was very kind of him.

We started at the High Dam in Aswan. I believe I mentioned that one of my companions is Nubian; she told us the story of the displacement of the Nubian people who lived on the banks of this part of the Nile when the time came to change the course of the river. First, a wave of people were moved to the desert. Their traditional way of life was in no way adapted to desert conditions; many died. So the second wave of people who were asked to move refused.

The government opened the dam and drowned them.

The third wave went where they were told. May says the displaced communities are seeking the return of their lands, or at least some sort of redistribution that will put them back near the Nile. Remains to be seen whether anything of the sort will actually happen.

Sooooo, after that sobering story, we were presented with the vista of Lake Nasser, the biggest artificial lake in the world:


Seriously, y’all, this thing is biiiig.

After that, we headed over to the Soviet-Egyptian Friendship Monument, which has gushy statements from Stalin and from Gamal Abd el Nasser in each other’s languages written all over it and is surrounded by a quite nice garden and a fittingly dry fountain.

After that, we got in a little boat and went across to the most gorgeous temple in the middle of Lake Nasser. (They had to move it after they made the lake because it was partially submerged.) This place was stunningly beautiful. It was in the water, like this:

And the place itself looked like this:

I could go on, but this isn’t a photoset.

ANYWAY. I loved this place. After that, we felucca-ed our way along to another island, where we ate “lunch” (it was like 5 or 5:30 pm, the whole schedule got pushed back because it took us so long to get from the hinterland into Aswan) annnnnd I held a baby crocodile. I drew the line when the guy wanted to hang it around my shoulders, though.

The thing was, my Dutch companion and I were supposed to be on the 7 o clock train back to Cairo (the rest were staying). So we ended up getting felucca-ed back to the main part of town, and even THAT was gorgeous, and then we took a taxi to the train station. The dude who was driving the felucca was instructed (and, I feel certain, very well compensated) by our host to see us all the way onto the train and make sure we got off okay, and this he did. He even insisted on carrying our bags onto the train, and then when I tried to tip him he wouldn’t take it. This is why I say VERY well compensated.

After that, the porter dude whose job it actually IS to carry the bags on hung around us, waiting for his customary baksheesh (tip/bribe). I got really pissed off and yelled “WHAT DID YOU EVEN DO” at him in Arabic, and he looked really sheepish and I gave him two guinea to get rid of him.

In retrospect I feel sort of bad. Most people who even have jobs here don’t make anywhere near enough to live on, and they legitimately need baksheesh money. Government jobs pay, like, maybe a couple hundred dollars a month. I don’t think he felt any better about what he was doing than I did. But still, I mean, come ON.

Anyway, we sleeper train-ed our way back to Cairo and even though I was completely exhausted, I was SO GLAD to be back. That was the moment when I realized I feel at home here now.

Smoky Can-can is coming for you

Posted on Wednesday March 7th 2012 at 10:38am. Its tags are listed below.

Smoky Can-can is coming for you

Yesterday, some friends and I brought a bunch of food down to the Nile and ate dinner on a felucca.

This is what a felucca looks like! It was dark out, though.

It was lovely! We had wine and foul and bread and rice and roast chicken. But that is not the point of this post.

I was talking to this dude Scott while we were all waiting to get on the boat, and he pointed out that over near the back of the dock, there was a guy sitting by a little firepit, fanning the flames…with his gallabiya.

Understand, a galabiya is basically a dress for men. It goes to the floor. This is the equivalent of a woman fanning a fire with her skirt. I’m talking full-on, grab the hem, wave it up and down action. Smoky can-can. (Can there be a character named Smoky Can-can someday? Maybe in like a Tarantino film?)

Happily, in this case, the guy had pants on underneath. I am reliably informed that this is not always the case.