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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Picture: Clashes on the Garden City corniche yesterday

This was the situation on the Garden City corniche yesterday afternoon. It was very windy and therefore difficult to take photos, with smoke, sand and tear gas blowing everywhere. My safety goggles came in very handy.
On my way out, I got harassed by some asshole wearing a balaclava, swinging around a molotov cocktail that he had prepared. He demanded I deleted pictures I took of him, which I did, after he became very threatening and started yanking my camera strap and pushing me. I'm sure there's at least 50 other photographers that have pictures of him, so his action was a little futile. Also, since he was wearing a ski mask, nobody would have recognised him anyway.
But yeah, I was one of the last photographers to leave the scene, so I got singled out and picked on. Apparently that's how it works. I slapped him in the face and managed to get out when he got a little too agitated and tried to rip off my gas mask, though.
Tahrir 28th Jan 2013

The chaos increased after dark, when protesters managed to steal to police vans and set them on fire, one of them in the middle of Tahrir square. I missed out on all that, because I was stuck at home filing photos. You win some, you lose some.
They were shooting rubber bullets and birdshot at that point, though, so even if I had had time, I probably wouldn't have gone in anyway. I've had enough injuries for this week.

More mayhem this way

Monday, 28 January 2013

Throwing tear gas back at the police....

I've seen a lot of photos from the recent clashes, published in big media outlets, with protesters throwing tear gas canisters back at the riot police. FYI: those things are piping hot. If you're not wearing heavy duty gloves, you WILL burn your hand.

Tahrir 24th Jan 2013

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Pictures: Clashes 26th Jan 2013

Tahrir 26th Jan 2013

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26th Jan 2013, a set on Flickr.

Kort interview in de Tros Nieuwsshow

























Hier terug te luisteren. 

Black Saturday: The Cairo Fire

Sixty-one years ago today, a great fire ravaged downtown Cairo, destroying nearly 300 shops, 30 corporate offices, 13 hotels, 40 movie theatres*, 73 coffeehouses and restaurants, 92 (!) bars and dozens of other buildings.

Twenty-six people died (among them nine Brits) and 552 were injured. No one was ever arrested (but of course in true Arab spirit there are numerous conspiracy theories). The reason for the fire appears to have been a battle between the British occupier and the Egyptian police force in Ismaïlia, in which fifty police officers died.



As a current resident of downtown Cairo, I am wildly intrigued by this historical event, as I walk the streets it happened on every single day and regularly visit buildings that were set on fire back then.

Al-Ahram featured a slideshow with some pretty interesting pictures a few years ago and there is also a slideshow on Flickr.

* According to Wikipedia. Forty movies theatres just in the centre of Cairo seems like a lot to me, I don't think there even were that many. 

Pictures: January 24th & January 25th

Tahrir Jan 25th 2013

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25th Jan 2013, a set on Flickr.

And here are some shots I took on the 24th of January. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Pictures: Small fire in downtown Cairo

I was walking around downtown today, late afternoon, when I suddenly found a big gathering of people, with everybody looking up at the sky. Turned out there was a small fire on the roof of a residential building on the corner of Talaat Harb street and Abd El Khaliq Tharwat street. 


Small fire in down town Cairo

Instagramming Cairo: Donkey kart


Donkey kart
More Instagramness here.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

It's not 2013 in Egypt, it's 1977

Cairo men hanging off the back of a streetcar
I was reading up on the 1977 bread riots in Egypt and came across this CBS '60 minutes' report from the same year (source).



This quote from the interviewer when he is interviewing Sadat is remarkable:

"There is not enough transportation, not enough housing, not enough electric power [ …. ] at the root is overpopulation, almost 40 million now!"

Egypt currently has 82 million inhabitants. Power cuts are still around and occur daily in summer. The housing issue certainly hasn't been solved, because "random housing and slums constitute around 40 per cent of urban areas around Egypt" (source).

"Sadat is acting like a dictator", parliament member Kamal el Din Hussein says towards the end of the clip.

Seems it's not 2013 in Egypt, it's 1977. Oh no, wait, the situation is even worse than it was in 1977. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The ‘paparazzi at the frontlines’ are bored to death

Graffiti outside the Al Ahly club on Zamalek 
My phone has been ringing off the hook lately. Not with possible job offers or assignments - if only! - but with friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Everybody is bored out of their mind. See, most people in my social circle practice some form of journalism for a living. They make their money off of news, and Cairo has been lacking that as of late.

There haven’t been any big protests for weeks, nor have there been any other visually interesting events. For most of my contacts, that means they’re out of work and sat at home counting the specks of dust on the floor. In a weak attempt to curtail their boredom, they start calling everybody they can think of to check and see if there is anyone out there that might know of the slightest of events going down somewhere.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Instagramming Cairo: Marters' memorial on Mohammed Mahmoud street


Marters' memorial
Again, taken somewhere at the end of November 2012. This was only up for a few days, then it mysteriously disappeared again. 

Monday, 14 January 2013