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By Enas Hamed
The Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Ayman Farid Abu Hadid said Wednesday that the ministry will plant 1000 acres of olives trees as a first stage in planting 3000 acres with olive tree as part of a farm in South Sinai.
The ministry hopes the farm of olive trees can help the South Sinai region, adding that two factories will be built to manufacture products from the trees, reported Youm7.
The farm will also be used as a guide farm to give instructions and training courses and to support young farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture signed an agreement in February with the Arab Organization for Agriculture to plant three million olive trees in Sinai and along the North Coast from 2014 to 2017.
By planting the trees and creating the farm, the ministry aims to support the poor, provide job opportunities and ensure sustainable income for people in Sinai, said Abu Hadid, adding that the Ministry of Agriculture has already planted 600,000 olive trees as part of the project, reported Al-Mogaz newspaper.
This came during the Minister of Agriculture visit to south Sinai to put the cornerstone of the guide farm in Tour Sinai’s region, it said pointing out that the minister inspect the development works on the fishing port there , youm7 stated.
During a visit by Abu Hadid to inspect the farm’s development, South Sinai governor Khalid Foda said the coming period will witness unprecedented agricultural development in which the governorate will distribute 3,000 acres to youth (five acres for each person).
Additional reporting by Fayza Mersal.
The new Egyptian Satellite EgySat was launched today around 6:15 p.m. by the Russian Space Agency from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Youm7 reported.
EgySat will reportedly be able to capture photos with accuracy of up to one meter, as well as work on the sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of about 700 km.
This is not the first Egyptian attempt at launching a satellite. Previously, Egypt launced the satellites Egypt Sat 1 and Egypt Sat 2, but both were lost in space.
The Egypt Sat 2 project was suspended by Ahmed Nazif’s government in 2010, due to political tension before the January 25 Revolution. Egypt Sat 1 was reportedly launched in 2010, and was lost in space three times the same year.
The Minister of Higher Education and State for Scientific Research at that time, Hani Helal, attributed the loss of communication to possible technical defects, Egypt Independent reported in October 2010.
Des musiciens inquiets d'un différend entre l'Ethiopie et l'Egypte au sujet de la construction d'un grand barrage sur le Nil ont décidé de rapprocher, par la musique, les peuples qui bordent ce fleuve, le plus long du monde.
Dans sa longue robe traditionnelle de coton, la chanteuse éthiopienne Selamnesh Zemene remue les épaules en rythme, tandis que sa partenaire de scène, Dina El Wedidi, fait tournoyer ses mains telle une danseuse orientale. À côté d’elles, les percussions de trois artistes venus du Soudan et d’Ouganda résonnent dans l’amphithéâtre bondé de Teodros Square, au cœur du quartier Piazza d'Addis-Abeba, capitale de l'Ethiopie. Complices sur scène, les quatorze membres du Nile Project semblent se connaître depuis des années. Pourtant, leur première rencontre remonte à janvier, sur le lieu de leur résidence d’artistes à Jinja, en Ouganda.
Depuis trois ans, le "Projet du Nil" réunit des artistes originaires des onze pays du bassin de ce long fleuve. En août 2011, l’ethno-musicologue égyptien Mina Girgis et la chanteuse américano-éthiopienne Meklit Hadero ont voulu créer un projet musical afin de protéger le Nil des tensions qui l’agitent. « Nous souhaitions engager une conversation entre les artistes de ces onze pays et créer une identité dynamique du Nil à travers la musique », explique Mina Girgis. Il observe, écoute et tâtonne avant de réunir des artistes et de mettre en forme un mélange de rythmes et de sonorités des pays d’Afrique de l’Est. De leur première résidence à Assouan (Egypte) naît un premier album vendu à 2000 exemplaires.
Cette année, d’autres musiciens ont pris la relève en Ouganda pour composer les chansons d'une tournée africaine qui a réuni 20 000 spectateurs en février et en mars. De Kampala à Zanzibar, en passant par Nairobi et Alexandrie, une musique du Nil a résonné dans les pays concernés entre lesquels les tensions politiques se font de plus en plus fortes, en particulier à cause de la construction du grand barrage de la Renaissance sur le Nil bleu en Ethiopie, qui affole les autorités égyptiennes. Mina Girgis l’affirme : le Nile Project est politiquement neutre et n’affiche de soutien à aucun des pays riverains. Les artistes regrettent cependant la désinformation ambiante sur les questions relatives au fleuve. « Nous avons tendance à uniquement croire ce que nos gouvernements nous affirment à propos de nos voisins, déplore l’artiste soudanaise Alsarah. Si nous nous connaissions mieux, il serait plus difficile de nous induire en erreur. »
Aux citoyens du Nil de reprendre en main l’avenir de leurs ressources en eau, en créant collectivement un sentiment d’appartenance régionale par le biais de l’écoute. Celle d’une musique d’abord, puis d’un débat que les artistes du projet du Nil organisent à la fin de certains de leurs concerts sur le thème du développement durable ou de la géopolitique. « Nous aimerions inspirer les étudiants pour qu’ils puissent inventer des solutions concrètes aux problèmes du Nil ; nous souhaiterions que notre musique ait une traduction en termes de projets de développement »,notamment par le biais de partenariats avec les universités, explique Mina Girgis. Le projet compte déjà plus de 50 000 fans sur sa page Facebook.
Le harcèlement et les agressions sexuelles à l’encontre des femmes en Egypte sont encore très répandus, affirment nos organisations dans un rapport publié aujourd’hui.
Par Vinciane Jacquet
(...)Graffitis puissants et lourds de signification mais aujourd’hui illégaux
Balata avait confié quelques semaines plus tôt : « Les femmes ont toujours le second rôle, elles sont invisibles. Elles reçoivent en permanence des remarques sur leur apparence ou leur présence dans un espace public. Il n’y a que quelques endroits où elles se sentent totalement à l’aise. Simplement marcher dans la rue est un problème. Il est primordial que la société réalise qu’il est naturel qu’il y ait des femmes à l’extérieur. Cet espace leur appartient à elles aussi ».
Le rôle revendiqué par W.O.W. est d’illustrer ce qui ne va pas au sein de la société égyptienne. Grâce aux graffitis, les femmes peuvent atteindre et marquer les esprits. El Gamal ajoute, « ça en vaut la peine même si le résultat est minime. Le fait qu’il émerge des artistes féminines dans le domaine des graffitis est en soi une amélioration ». Le message part de l’artiste pour toucher le passant, quel qu’il soit. Chacun peut y accéder.
Balata tient à préciser la ruse nécessaire à la réalisation des projets. « La révolution a rendu les graffitis célèbres et puissants dans leur habilité à toucher la population, à la faire réfléchir, à exprimer ses opinions. Mais par la suite ils sont progressivement devenus illégaux. Aujourd’hui nous peignons sur des murs privés, avec l’accord des propriétaires bien sûr. Pour cela, nous devons souvent occulter le caractère féministe des images, et leur proposer comme une sorte de décoration gratuite ou bien comme une aide à de jeunes artistes sans en préciser le but ».
En 2011, avec la révolution, le graffiti est devenu un outil populaire pour parler de la jeunesse et de la politique. Aujourd’hui, grâce à l’initiative de Gröndhal et Balata, ils parlent aussi des femmes. Et il était temps. Mais la photographe suisse de préciser : « Nous ne pouvons pas nous permettre de parler des femmes simplement en tant que victimes. Nous devons également montrer que les femmes sont fortes, et retourner ce message en direction des rues ».Loi contre le harcèlement sexuel promise « bientôt »
En 2014, Women On Walls a débuté une collaboration avec deux organisations de défense des droits des femmes au Caire, Nazra for feminist studies et HarassMap. Des discussions ont également été lancé avec The women and memory Forum et Uprising of women in the Arab world pour de futurs projets. Le groupe prévoit également une participation à un festival de rue en Jordanie avec des artistes féminines venues de Jordanie, de Palestine et du Liban. Angie Balata espère que ces associations se poursuivront avec d’autres pays.
Le 10 mai prochain, l’ensemble des participants de février retournera au garage Negiba, rue Bustan au Caire, pour une cérémonie de clôture, une discussion et une analyse finale du projet. Une occasion peut-être de débattre de la promesse du président par intérim Adly Mansour le 9 avril 2014 de la soumission au gouvernement d’une loi contre le harcèlement sexuel.
There is a myth now being promoted by intellectual, political and media groups who favor the regime that followed the July 3 2013 overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, and support former Defense Minister Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s run for president. While this myth deals with Egypt’s current situation, its structure is far from new. In fact, consecutive ruling elites have relied on this myth since the 1950s to justify oppression, human rights violations, restriction of freedoms, autocracy, and lack of democracy and sustainable development.
By HEBA AHMAD
CAIRO: “If you want to be an atheist, do it in your bathroom.”
Mortada Mansour, a recent entry to the current presidential race, is known as a firebrand. In his comment above, however, given in a press interview shortly after announcing his candidacy in April, he expressed a common sentiment towards those who do not identify with a religion in Egypt.
Security forces in Alexandria announced March 26 their intent to arrest atheists who announce their atheism in public, even on Facebook or through any other means. Although atheism is not technically illegal in Egypt, those who openly question or deny religions, in particular Islam, can be charged with contempt of religion or insulting Islam.
The government recognizes only Abrahamic religions, and both visitors to the country and those born here must have a religious label; visitors must report their faith to obtain a residence visa, and Egyptians must have either a Muslim or Christian label printed on their national identification cards from birth, which is determined by the religion of the child’s father.
The Arabic word for atheism, kofr, encompasses three concepts: atheism, agnosticism, and blasphemy, and religion in Egypt is inextricable from the language and culture.
Egypt’s 2014 constitution guarantees the freedom to choose an Abrahamic religion, but for those who reject or question religious practices, the law is murkier, and can make rites of passages such as marriage difficult; Egyptian law forbids the marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man, and in cases where both parties are atheist, but with non-compatible national IDs, even a civil union can be practically impossible.
Life as an atheist
“I am not an atheist of an existent entity; I believe that no God exists, and the scientific method is the best explanation of everything,” said Mustafa, 22.
Mustafa said he is not yet open about his beliefs to his family, although he suspects that they have noticed how his beliefs run counter to theirs.
Mustafa added that he wants a civil marriage law in Egypt, noting that an atheist man with a Christian ID would be unable to marry an atheist woman with a Muslim ID.
S., 37, who identifies as non-religious, and declined to use his full name, told The Cairo Post that he believed in a God, but questioned the validity of any one religion. Raised as a Muslim, he said he was dissatisfied with the answers to his questions about doctrine, such as how the Prophet Mohamed could have recited a “doaa” [prayer] before using the bathroom in the Bronze Age while living in the desert, where no such facilities existed.
“Muslims, in my point of view, confirm freedom of belief when they call on non-Muslims to join Islam, but they don’t accept that some Muslim may practice their freedom to believe and have the right to leave Islam,” he said.
The call by the Alexandria Security Director’s to arrest the atheists “is anunconstitutional statement that conflicts with the right to freedom to belief, which the constitution guarantees.”
S. said that the January 25 Revolution led some non-religious people and atheists to announce their beliefs, but extremist Islamic currents also pushed others to fundamentalism.
Further, one does not need to self-identify as an atheist to invite legal scrutiny. Islamic studies professor Nasr Hamed Abo Zaid was forcibly divorced from his wife by the Egyptian Court of Personal Status in 1995 after his lectures were deemed by some colleagues as blasphemous, and they filed a suit against him.
The suit alleged that he was an atheist, citing his referencing the Quran as a “text,” instead of a divine source, in one of his articles. The court ruled that he was guilty, and also divorced him from his wife with neither parties’ consent, as under Egyptian law, a Muslim woman may only be married to a Muslim man.
Abu Zaid and his wife fled Egypt to the Netherlands, where he continues to teach Islamic studies at Leiden University.
“Believing or not believing in God is a personal issue; as written in the Quran: ‘The Truth is from your Lord; so whoever decides, then let him believe, and whoever decides, then let him disbelieve [Al-Kahf]’,” Professor of Philosophy and Islamic faith at Al-Azhar University Amna Nousair told The Cairo Post.
Nousair said that Islam guarantees the freedom of belief, so it would not be legitimate to arrest atheists for theirs, but said that announcing one’s atheism between friends or social media pages could be considered as an invitation to atheism, which is “a crime.”
She said that atheists who announce their beliefs and talk to people about it are “warriors against Islam,” and that arrest was appropriate in those cases.
Karam Saber was sentenced to five years in prison for blasphemy by the Beni Suif Court in March , for publishing a book of short stories called “Where is God?”.
Head of the Writers Union Mohamed Salmaway told Al-Masry Al-Youm on March 30 that the union plans to file a lawsuit, announcing that such a verdict is unconstitutional.
Mina Thabet, a researcher at The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms told Al-Badil newspaper on March 27 that the Alexandria Security Director’s decision was “criminal,” and that the constitution guarantees the freedom of religious beliefs and the freedom to practice different rituals.
Thabet added that such a call to arrest atheists conflicts with international treaties that Egypt has joined.
No one in Alexandria has yet been arrested in accordance with the security director’s decision.
By DALIA FAROUK
CAIRO: Due to the continuous violations that target ancient monuments in Egypt, “Save Cairo” was launched aiming to defend architectural heritage in the Egyptian capital, CBC aired in a report on Saturday.
Omnia Abd el-Bar, a member in the initiative, explained that constructions near the monuments could cause them to collapse.
There are no accurate statistics regarding the violations that affect monuments, which include mosques, according to Salah Adel, another member in “Save Cairo.”
He added that some mosques suffer from neglect, in addition to the theft of historical texts in them.
The Egyptian Creativity Front released a statement on Facebook on Monday, saying “the front denounces the Ministries of Antiquities and Culture for what is happening in Fustat.”
The front added that the Ministry of Antiquities allowed this region to be transformed into a park against the law, neglecting the fact that it is considered to be one of the most important regions in Egypt that contains Islamic monuments.
In the statement, the front said that some experts also stated that constructing a park in that historical place could destroy monuments due to watering.
El-Badil reported on Monday that the governorate of Cairo started on the same day to fill up the remaining land of Fustat, Egypt’s first Islamic capital, which is estimated to be seven acres.
Smarat Hafez, Head of Islamic Antiquities Sector in the Ministry of Antiquities, told El-Badil that a ministerial committee inspected the location to protect it from waste, adding that the park is temporary and it will be planted with Cactus to limit groundwater.
The change demanded by tens of thousands of people in Tahrir Square more than three years ago came quickly and subsided even faster. The leader of three decades, Hosni Mubarak, finally stepped down; a democratic vote put the Muslim Brotherhood at the seat of power; and the nation’s army chief, who helped orchestrate a coup last July, resigned—only to run for president. That turmoil, along with a deadly crackdown on Islamists and attacks on the press, has made progress hard to pin down.
Bieke Depoorter, a photographer based in Ghent, Belgium, found a way to capture the often-unseen reality of a nation collapsing into its past. She would ask people on the streets of Cairo and other areas to stay a night in their homes. In each of her four several-week trips since late 2011, she would spend a few nights photographing, each time with a different family, then take a day off and repeat. She’s been to between 30 and 40 homes but denied entry from far more.
Depoorter, 27, doesn’t know Arabic, but the language barrier hasn’t proven a fault. “By not speaking, just being together, you can really get to know each other in a more thoughtful and real way,” she says. “People give me a lot and I give a lot, and it’s easier with strangers because they know I’m going away the next morning,” she adds. “It’s a very short, intense moment. It’s there and it will never come back.”
She mostly approaches women with her request but has also struck up conversations with others, like older men who were drinking tea. A translator helps her facilitate access, and after that she usually works alone. But as xenophobia has escalated and as a foreigner with a camera, she nevertheless stands out.
One time that meant overhearing a woman, who invited her home, talking hysterically with a neighbor on the phone about her. Depoorter was so concerned she told the woman that she deleted her photos, then went back to her room. She couldn’t leave because of the state-imposed curfew.
Two days later, she went back with her translator. The woman explained that the son of the neighbor, who was visiting the day before, told his father about the camera-wielding foreigner next door. The father had phoned the woman to say Depoorter was a spy, which the woman denied. She and the translator smoothed everything out—to the point that Depoorter admitted she still had a few pictures left from the night—but suspicion like that has been a constant theme for her and others.
Depoorter was once in the predominantly Christian area of Minya, in one of the neighborhoods with her translator, when someone began shouting, “They are spies!” Hundreds of people swarmed around them, but an older man helped the duo to a taxi. It was enough to call off their plans, but the day wasn’t lost. “We were sitting in a park when a woman came over and said her boy wanted to talk in English with us,” she recalls. The woman, a police officer, lated insisted she spend the night in her family’s home.
That’s the real Egypt to Depoorter, a mix of hospitality, curiosity, suspicion and awe. She’s motivated by the small things, how people interact or make their lives together, the impact of a failed revolution. Sometimes she’ll stay awake all night, just taking pictures and observing what’s going on around her. “I think it’s really amazing that people trust me and show their lives,” she says. “Every time they take me home, it’s a surprise.”
Depoorter plans to return soon to continue the project, which pairs well with pictures from similar work she’s done in the U.S. and Russia, the latter of which led to her book Ou Menya. She hopes to show that even when disparities between people are being shown so much, there are undeniable parallels. “People are very similar,” she points out,”when it’s about intimacy and being at home, with family.”
Bieke Depoorter is a photographer and a nominee with Magnum. This project was supported by The Pascal Decroos Fund for Investigative Journalism.
Even the tomb of Tutankhamun holds virtually unknown treasures. A group of decorated gold leaf-on-leather objects is currently under restoration by an Egyptian-German team in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, to be displayed for the first time.
Gold-leaf decoration showing a hunting-scene (a dog and a griffin attacking an ibex) using motifs from levantine art (Photo: Christian Eckmann)The objects which formed part of Tutankhamun's war chariots, the trappings of their horses and the sheaths of weapons are since their time of discovery in 1922 in a bad condition and were never studied adequately. However their decoration is of unusual beauty and decisive historical significance. The combination of Egyptian and Levantine motifs bears witness to the political and cultural interconnections between Egypt and the city-states of the Levant in the 14th century BCE.
A team of restoration specialists and archaeologists from the Egyptian Museum Cairo, the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz (the leading German Institution for scientific restoration), the Institute of Near Eastern Archaeology of the University of Tübingen (which excavated and studied similar objects at the site of ancient Qatna in Syria) and the German Archaeological Institute Cairo embarked now on a project to carry out a full archaeological and technological analysis of this group of objects and to restore them so that their value and importance can be appreciated for the first time.
Thanks to special funding by the Federal Republic of Germany and investing a sum exceeding 1 million Egyptian Pounds, a specialized restoration lab could be equipped at the Egyptian Museum Cairo. To support professional capacity building in the context of this project, scholarships are extended to Egyptian restorers to receive high-level specialized training at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz.
On the 6th of April 2014, the project was inaugurated in the presence of H.E. the Minister of State for Antiquities, Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, the representative of H.E. the German Ambassador to Egypt, Chargé d'Affaires Kai Boeckmann and the representatives of the research institutions involved. It is planned that the project, which is supported also by funds of the German Research Council (DFG), will be concluded after three years with a first public exhibition of the objects in the Egyptian Museum.