Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Heavy metal kaman wa kaman

On Augúst 14th 2006 i wrote a blog post that became one of my most read blog posts ever, called Reemerging heavy metal scene in Egypt .

I have been thinking about writing an update on the scene as it looks today, but today Arian Fariborz of the Deutsche Welle/Qantara beat me to it, Fariborz interview´s fellow blogger and friend, Hossam el-Hamalawy on the history and progress of the heavy metal scene to what it is today, here(Arabic) and here(German) - It´s still not available in English, but as soon as it is available , i will post the link. UPDATE: The link to the English language article Respectable Rebels can be found here.

another source about heavy metal in the Arab and Muslim World is Mark Levine´s Heavy Metal Islam, published last year. You could also look on his flickr account for images used in a campaign against metalheads in Egyptian media in 1997, when about a hundred people got arrested for listening to strange music and dress oddly, papers writing about kids worshipping Satan.

The headline is inspired by the fact that heavy metal finally seems to have become recognized as regular music, in terms of having venues to play at, as seen on the photo in the article , the Bibliotheca Alexandrina provided space for a festival,it´s also a testament to the fact that the genre stands stronger than ever after a tough time , and a strong come back, the fortunate choice of Bibliotheca Alexandrina as a venue is of course not always the case, rather the exception to the rule, but this is indeed a long way from secret venues, and an underground environment, though al Baron Palace is equally high class to Bibliotecha Alexandrina in my eyes, and i´m quite sure that al Baron Emplain himself is headbanging around in his grave just a few hundred meters away from the hindu inspired Palace.

The myths about the young satanists in 1997, is of course , just as many, as those of the creator of Heliopolis, Baron Empain, having won the land that Heliopolis was built upon in a card game with the Khedive is a myth, but it makes a good story, so did the ¨Satanistic metalheads¨ , but the kids paid a heavy price for that fantasy.

I´l leave you with a clip , that some of you will love, and most probably hate, it´s an instrumental version of an iconic song we all know, inta Oumri, but this time, with a whole different set of instruments than the traditional way we are used to hear it being performed. I give you the Palestinian-Israeli group from Acre, Khalas , with their interpretation of anta Oumri. For a better understanding of their take on the song and the incomparable Oum Kalthoum you might read this. Enjoy, or turn it off.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wael Abbas and his mother attacked in their home

Wael Abbas and his mother was just attacked in their home by a police major and his brother. The brother is a neighbour of Wael´s, and there seems to be a conflict between the two neighbour´s that´s behind this. the police officer broke into Wael´s home , and the blogger recieved minor teeth and head injuries.Wael´s mother is ok, and Wael went to the police station to file a complaint over what happend.


This is his own words and photos about yesterday´s events(arabic)and in english here

Update II:

Wael Abbas Court hearing

In a twist that feels Kafkesque, Wael Abbas is currently undergoing a court hearing were the two gentlemen that broke into his home and attacked Wael is accusing Wael for assaulting one of them, while the police officer claims not to have been there in the first place. They are demanding 10 000 E.P in compensation from Wael. In any other place this would be looked upon as bizare, but we all remember what happend to Imad al Kabir, who had to go to prison for three months for ¨resisting authorities and assaulting a police officer¨ A trade off was suggested by two senior police officers in conjunction with the arrest of Imad´s brother in November 2006, were the charges being raised against him might be dropped, if he in return dropped his complaint of being tortured at the Bulaq al Daqrour police station.

Imad al Kebir´s torturer released:

The stories of Wael Abbas and Imad al Kebir has been linked ever since Wael being one of those who published the video of Imad being tortured in the most brutal way. The very same day that Wael was being assaulted in his own home by a police officer(Wael´s version), we were also reminded by a Amnesty International press release of how police officers are treated with silk gloves by authorities, and apperantly also by the police force itself, though being convicted of torture, in this case, torturer in chief, Islam Nabih, whom not only being let out of prison a year early(for good behaviour), but according to news stories might be reinstated as a police officer in Asyut.

Police officers work description is to serve the people and implement law and order, they should not be above the law, and any officer convicted should be sacked and never again being allowed to work in any institutions of the state, instead impunity is the rule, and convictions of police officers comitting crimes is an exception to the same rule.

The sorry state that we are currently living under, reminds me of one of the famous qoutes of Shakespeare from Hamlet ¨there´s something rotten in the state of Denmark¨ only this is not Denmark(though i have arguments with the state of Denmark 2009 as well), this is unfortunately the state of Egypt today, once the craddle of civilization, Um ad Dunya, now and it pains my heart that mother Egypt has to endure these times. In a week´s time, we will celebrate Sham al Nessim, unfortunately the smell of something rotten will stay much longer than the feast of spring breeze, the smell of fesikh will leave us, but the rotten smell will linger on.

You can follow the developing story on twitter@Wael Abbas. UPDATE: To follow some of the traffic on twitter about this story, this might be a good place to start.

Today´s events had a happy ending, the two men accused of breaking in to Wael´s home was released on bail , while Wael seems to be free and not suspected of anything at the moment. The latest twitter uppdate read:

i'm free now and safe for the moment

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Um Yousef stuck at Cairo Airport

Laila el Haddad , Palestinian journalist and probably Gaza´s most famous blogger is currently being detained at Cairo Airport, and being denied entry into Egypt, in order to travel to her home in Gaza. Laila is being held together with her two small children Yousef and Noor. They traveled to Cairo from Durham North Carolina where Leila´s husband lives. A journey that is part of her and her family´s life, while her husband is a Palestinian who´s not allowed to live in Gaza, in order to live a life that contain dots of family life, she travels back and forth.

This time she is denied entry to Egypt, though she has obtained the necesary paper work from the Egyptian Consulate in the U.S prior to her traveling to Egypt. The reason why they are not allowed entry to Egypt , is because the Rafah border crossing is closed according to airport authourities.

We have been stuck in Cairo airport for nearly a day now. We are neither being allowed entry or exit by Egyptian authorities, who insist that as long as Rafah Crossing is closed, they are under strict orders not to allow Palestinians in.

Yes Rafah´s border crossing is closed, until Egypt decides to open it again, as they do haphazardly seldom, but why can´t the authorities grant them entry to Egypt? It´s not Egypt that is a closed zone, or have i missed something? What´s so unique and changed this time, it´s not the first time she travels through Egypt to Gaza via Rafah´s border crosssing, this is routine for her and her kids, though a dreadful and endlessly tireing one. The authorities should let her into Egypt, instead of treathening to send her and her children back to the U.S with the next plane, despite the small fact that her visa to the U.S already expired, being the reason of why she left for Cairo in the first place.

Laila, Having been held at the airport for approxmately 32 hours at this point, this seems to me as being a combination of something written by Kafka and the Terminal, only this is not fiction, it´s a mother and her two small children Yousef and Noor.

You can follow her ordeal on twitter or on her blog.

Update: A new quick blog post by Laila

¨quick post to let everyone know after 36 hours I am being deported- away from my home. more later¨
and also the latest tweet with the same meaning.

UPDATE: April 10th - Laila was allowed back in to the U.S this morning.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Today is not a day for serious blogging, at least not for me, i need something to lift my energy levels, so i´ll give you one of my favourite musicians, the one and only king of punk-Rai , Rachid Taha with his version of the Clash classic Rock the Casbah, enjoy!

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Day of Anger

In memory of those who lost their lifes, got torturted and abused, sacked and imprisoned in connection with the events of April sixth 2008, in Mahalla al Kubra and elsewhere, and also in solidarity with those making their voices heard today, in what is called the Day of Anger by the organizers. And also in support of the brave workers whom have lead by example, over the last years, and also won some battles.

April Sixth 2009

There has been reported clashes on Ain Shams Campus, and following arrests, were students are said to be held in Madinet Nasr first precinct, with laywers there, but students being denied legal counsel so far. At Helwan students in their hundreds are staging a sit in , campus demos in Mansoura(flickr photo set) and Asyut as well. As for the center of gravity last year , Mahalla has had a heavy police presence, but everything is calm in the city accoding to Muhammed Maree.

There was five people arrested in Menoufiyya at dawn today, four of them students, and one belonging to Kefaya.

As a prelude to today, there was 30 arrested in Kafr ash Sheikh, among them two female students Omniyya and Sarah whom were putting up posters for the previous strike, now only known as ¨the day of anger¨, there have also been reports on arrests in Port Said, Tanta, Fayoum, and Alexandria prior the events today.

There is live coverage from Cairo University here. Background can be found at the Arabist here. Zeinobia also has some background info, as well as continues updates. As always Arabawy is a key source for information about this. And the tool that had it´s first 15 minutes of fame during last year´s events is still a reliable source for minute by minute news, just use the twitter tag #6April and you´re up to date.

This is just a rough first quick attempt on the run to scribble down quick notes, more later.

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