Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm not buying books from Shorouk any more

I went to Shorouk book-store few days. I was having a cup of coffee with me, but no one said anything about it. Then I put it in the cornet beside me, and made sure it's out of reach of people's kicks in order to free my hands to have a look at the books on the shelves. After I finished, I turned around to find out they just decided to throw the cup in the trash without even asking me.

I told the above story to many people, and almost all of them believed it was my fault. And how could the shop keepers know it's mine in order to ask me before throwing it away? Yet, I am still not convinced, not because of the cup incident itself, but because of the reaction of the shop keepers afterwards, who refused to apologize or say anything reasonable but blaming and yelling at me! And it ended up with them calling the security forces for me, and I found myself too curious to see how will those security forces react towards something silly like this, so I waited for them to come. And in fact, the security guys were even more confused than myself, and they kept shaking hands with both of us, and asking us to calm down!

I am not sure if you will agree with me or not. And I will not tell you which branch was it, as my goal of writing this post is far from revenge, but my be just digressions. However, I am not really a reasonable person most of the time, and I think I made my mind now, I'm not buying books from Shorouk book-stores any more. God bless Virgin Megastore, Diwan, Kotob-Khan, Alef bookstores and even e-Books.

Friday, May 20, 2011

From Cairo to Athens

It's always interesting to visit new places and then share your experience with others. I visited Jordan three years ago and blogged about it. I also visited Santiago, Chile and London recently, but I was lazy to write about my trips there. So, here I am writing about my recent trip to Greece.

I was invited by two Greek newspapers, Konteiner and Re-public, in order to give speech about the Egyptian Revolution and the effect of Social Media on it. The event was called "Networked Revolts", and you can find the slides of my presentation here, and here is the video recording for my speech there.


Well, let's go back to the main aim of my post which is writing about the trip itself. It all started in the aeroplane. The man sitting beside me, who was by all means not less that 40 years old, was about to sell his kidney in order to have the window seat, he kept on annoying me till I swapped my seat with him. Also on my way back there was another guy who told us that he went there on a boat without visa and stayed for two years working there, and apparently they now found him and he was forced to go back to Egypt. So, if those are the kind of people to go there, I think the reputation of the Egyptians in Greece is not the best.

I learnt just few Greek words during my 5 days stay there. My favourite is Kalimera, which means good morning. There is also Kalispera, which means good afternoon. Efkharisto, thank you. and finally Yasso for hello.


I was staying in a hotel in Panepistimio street, so I took the metro to Sintagma station, and walked from there. It's an 8 Euros special ticket when you are going to or from the airport. There is another metro line that can take you from Sintagma to Panepistimio, but I preferred to walk to see the city. Sintagma or Syntagma Square, which means Constitution Square, is located in central Athens. The Gre Parliament is there, and it also is the frequent site of political demonstrations. So in brief, it is their own Tahrir Square. The square is also like an open area with seats and stairs where there were many people just sitting there enjoying the sum, some guys were trying some tricks with their skateboards. Later on I found a shop than only sells skateboards in another area called Monastiraki, which I might talk about later.

Prayer Beads in Athens

The next day I went to the Acropolis. On my way, I went to the Plaka, Monastiraki square and nearby streets. The shops there are very much like Khan El Khalily in Egypt. They do even sell similar stuff. Never imagined to see praying beads and blue eye other where outside Egypt. It's the same are where I ate roasted corn after fancying it without finding it anywhere in Egypt since a month.

Sleeping Dog

Also in the same area I ate Baklava, in Diodos. I found it less sugary then ours though, yet it was very delicious. And while eating it I met that scary dog, which came out to be so calm and peaceful especially when it slept. In fact the streets of Athens are full of dogs and motorbikes, but the dogs are all peaceful, and the motorbike drives are way better drivers than the ones here.

Aegina Port

On Sunday all the shops were closed, so I decided to go to one of the near by islands. I walked down Athens street (which is so much like, well, may be Sidi Bishr area in Alexandria). Took the metro from Monastiraki metro station to Piraeus, which is like the port of Athens, and apparently the famous Greek bank is named after it. I then took a boat to an island called Aegina.


I didn't have much choice in selecting which island to go, I arrived late to Pireaus and its was the only one that fitting my schedule, yet I believe the best photos I took were there. So, I believe if I had chance to go there again, I will visit the other islands which I hear are even better.

Temple of Zeus

Despite the huge fame of the Acropolis, I liked the temple of Zeus even more. May be because Zeus is surrounded by green fields, or may be because the Acropolis looks like it's under construction all the time with all those cranes and metal cages surrounding it.


Then I went to what they call the Anarchists district. There were lots of graffiti in the streets, leftist posters, a building for the Communist Party (KKE). Graffiti and beggers who play music instead of those who follow you asking for money, are two things I'd like to see here in the Egyptian streets some day. Any way, in Athens there were the two styles of beggers, the musical ones as well as the Egyptian-style beggers.

Keynes and Nietzsche

I think the books sold in the streets of any country help you understand how the people of that country think. And books about John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Nietzsche are rarely sold in the streets here in Egypt. May be in big book-shops but not on the pavement!

Lady of the Balloons

Finally, I think Greece worth a future visit if I had chance to in order to discover the different parts of it. And I'll leave you now with more photos I took there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Free Tarek Shalaby

I wasn't really convinced about the sit-in people wanted to have in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, but my friend Tarek Shalaby as well as many others were in favour of it.

Free Tarek Shalaby

I've met Shalaby many times, and I guess I can tell that he has great passion in supporting the causes he believes in, and you can see this in the fact that he was one of the first people who made tents and slept in Tahrir Square during and after the Egyptian revolution. But on the other hand, he is not one of those who might break the law nor destroy any public properties. So I am sure he was peacefully demonstrating in front of the embassy that day when he was arrested as well as others.

This makes me really wonder, on what bases was he arrested? Even more, I want to know on what bases are priorities of arresting people made? I haven't seen all those who burnt churches or looted shops being arrested, while now a peaceful protester and one of those who participated in the Egyptian revolution since its very beginning being arrested! Did you know that Shalaby risked his life in order to carry food and medication to the Libyan revolts a short while after Mubarak stepped down!? Isn't it ironic that he came safely from the country ruled by the lunatic bloody Gaddafy, and now he is arrested by the Egyptian officials!? You do the maths ba2a.

One final note:
I know many people who went to revolt in January 28 for different reasons, but the main reason that made me participate that day was the murder of Khaled Said by the hands of the police. I did not know anything about Khaled Said as a person, but I feared the unjust of the police, and feared the possibility of me or any of my beloved ones being murdered someday without a trial or anything. And Kaled Said was not the only case I've seen in the past few years, there were lots of them. And that fear is what made me resist the other fear of participating. And I am afraid that a similar fear of an unjust be created soon and force many people like me to have another revolution, may be next week, may be next month, or may be next decade. I just don't know.

Free Tarek Shalaby!