Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Although I'd been to Tahrir numerous times over the course of the summer, this time round Tahrir was a different place to contend with. There are certain images that will stay in my mind forever. They're not the kind of graphic images that we have become accustomed to through countless YouTube postings and news reports, but the kind that inspire humanity

The first image was that of the countless volunteer doctors helping the wounded in Tahrir. Working in makeshift hospitals on pavements around the square, they cared for their patients in the dark with little more than flashlights to guide them.

The second memory was that of the volunteer motorcycle drivers, transporting the injured with a high sense of urgency through the crowds from Mohamed Mahmoud Street to the makeshift hospitals.

But one image will last forever. It's the image of those enthusiastic youths, with hearts of lions, prepared to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Egypt's freedom.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Freedom from Fear

A blog post called: "Why do we care about Alaa more than Maikel,"  spurred me to write this entry as I've been following the case of Maikel Nabil Sanad often wondering why his case did not garner the same type of support locally that the international scene afforded him. This was even more evident when he was locked up in a mental institution and even then, I did not see a large outcry for his freedom.

To understand Maikel Nabil's case better I read some excerpts from his blog entries and as in the above post, I too concluded that reluctant support for him might be down to the fact that he had voiced opinions too controversial for some to accept (loosely in his pro Israel stance, his campaign against compulsory military conscription and finally his vociferous critique of the army). 

But while the crux of the problem probably lies in some people's inability to accept other views in the context of free expression, I would add another factor to the mix that might explain the sensitivity around Maikel Nabil's case. I would argue that fear is another factor.

The freedom to express one's opinions without fear of retribution by those in power, is not to be underestimated. It's a truth I have sometimes felt. Maikel Nabil was imprisonned for three years by a military court, sending out a strong signal that if a red line is crossed, the price might be one's freedom. It's a precarious situation that might explain why people are disengaged. 

If Maikel Nabil is not set free, it will set a dangerous precedent. For after that, who will guarantee that the next voice is not silenced and the next and the next? If a climate of fear is harboured as a result of it, where does that leave freedom? 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The little face of Panda in a window sill

After spending the summer looking for Panda around the city and with a little help, I found out that my Panda treasure hunt was made possible by an artist called Sad Panda (unknown to the artist). Click here to see Sad Panda's work. 

I'd always thought of Panda as an Egyptian revolutionary, saddened by some of the events going on around him.
Artist unconfirmed. Shot taken on 24 September 2011 in El Horriya Cafe 

I was looking through some of my photographs today when I discovered this shot here of Panda that I'd taken over the summer. It's the little face of Panda in the window sill of a cafe called El Horriya in downtown Cairo. The slogan next to Panda's face says: And then what? I'm not a hundred percent sure if this is by Sad Panda, but it resembles some of the artist's work I've come across.

I first discovered Panda in Tahrir on one of the walls of the Mogama3. Smitten by Panda and following a few more sightings, I decided to make it my mission to locate Panda around the city and to document its whereabouts around Cairo. Please get in touch if you've seen any more sightings of Panda. Thank you.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Cow Calls Out...We're Falling Asleep

Artist unknown. Photo taken on 31st October 2011 on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, near Tahrir Square. 

The Cow calls out:
Ha Ha
 And says: My children
Ha Ha
And children of the stick
Ha Ha
We're  falling asleep
Ha Ha

Yosri Fouda and Self-Censorship

 Artist unknown. Photo taken on 31st October 2011 on a wall on Mohamed Mahmoud Street

I discovered this street art portrait of Egyptian journalist Yosri Fouda a week ago who has become a symbol of censorship.

Yosri Fouda, had cancelled his ONTV show Akhir Kalam (The Final Word) scheduled on October 20th. Along with other guests, Fouda's show was planned to analyse an interview conducted on satellite channel Dream with two generals from the ruling military council. Fouda said he cancelled the show in protest against subtle pressure exerted against him prior to the planned airing of his show.

"This is my form of self-censorhsip. I have the choice between saying the truth or nothing at all," Fouda said in a statement on October 21st.

Fouda defended his position in a tough interview with Stephen Sackur on BBC's Hard Talk.

Artist unknown. Photo taken on 31st October 2011 on a wall on Mohamed Mahmoud Street