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By the Gazette Editorial Board

On the fifth anniversary of dismantling the Muslim Brotherhood's armed Rabaa and el-Nahda sit-ins, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced the group's supreme guide Mohamed Badie and some of its key figures to life imprisonment for their part in the violent events of El-Bahr El-Aazam in Giza.

 

This is not the only case in which they have been tried. Members of the group have been handed sentences in several lawsuits related to their violent reaction to the people's revolt against the rule of Mohamed Morsi on June 30, 2013, which resulted in him being toppled, with the help of the army.

 

The El-Bahr El-Aazam case is just one of several bloody incidents which were planned and executed during the MB's 45-day Rabaa sit-in, during which time they occupied a vital square in Nasr City, in the east of Cairo. The protesters blocked roads and gave the district's residents a very hard time, because of the noise, the crowds and the shabby appearance of the place. The residents were questioned by the MB members guarding the sit-in every time they had to go home.

 

The MB used the Rabaa sit-in as a platform to incite violence against the state, the army and civilians who brought down Morsi, who belonged to the group. Prominent members of the group used to take the stand in Rabaa to turn the protesters against the state. Their language was full of hatred and bloodthirsty violence.

 

So, the fact is, the first signs of terror were nurtured in the Rabaa sit-in. And when the security forces decided to end the illegal gathering after several appeals to the protesters to leave the place peacefully, terror acts were carried out in Sinai against the security forces in retaliation. One of the group's leading figures brought it all out in the open when he said that terror in Sinai would stop the moment Mohamed Morsi was reinstated. That was the group's first admission of their collaboration with terror groups in North Sinai.

 

The pain the group inflicted on the Egyptians can hardly be forgotten.

 

Five years on, the security forces have managed to trim their claws. But the group is still trying to destablise society with sporadic terror operations in a desperate attempt to survive.

 

What they are trying hard to do now is to confuse the public with a media fanfare that spreads rumours and false information, with the sole purpose of hitting back at an entire society that expelled them. And it must be said that they sometimes succeed.

 

They are amazingly still cherishing a far-fetched desire to stop the country's genuine progress towards development.

ALEXANDRIA, August 14, 2018 (MENA) - Egyptian league champions Al-Ahly were held to a goalless draw against Lebanese side Nejmeh SC in their first leg of the Arab Club Champions Cup's round of 32 at Alexanria's Borg el-Arab Stadium.

The two teams will clash again on September 27 in the second leg match to be played in Lebanon, where The Red Devils will need an away win to advance to the round of 16.

The 2018–19 Arab Club Champions Cup is the 28th season of the Arab World's inter- club football tournament organised by the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA), and the first season since it was renamed from the Arab Club Championship to the Arab Club Champions Cup.

A total of 40 teams are participating in the tournament; 20 from Asia and 20 from Africa.

The Red Devils will next face Esperance in the fifth CAF Champions League group stage match on August 17 before returning to Egyptto face Wadi Degla in the Egyptian Premier League on August 21.

 

 

 

CAIRO, August 14, 2018 (MENA) - The Health Ministry announced on Tuesday the death of a 43-year-old Egyptian pilgrim, taking the number of Egyptian pilgrims who died in Saudi Arabia to 12 so far.

The deceased man, identified as Yehia Mahfouz Taha, from Assiut governorate, Upper Egypt, died as a result of a sharp drop in blood circulation, the ministry's spokesman, Khaled Megahed, said in a statement.

The Egyptian medical mission's emergency room is coordinating with authorities concerned to issue a death certificate for him.

A Rivoli reminder

Ramadan A. Kader

A massive fire that gutted parts of Cairo’s historic Cinema Rivoli last week should serve as a reminder about perils facing the country’s architectural gems and its once-thriving theatres.

The blaze, blamed on a short circuit fault, destroyed the cinema’s screening hall. Built in mid-1940s, Cinema Rivoli, located on the opposite side of Egypt’s Supreme Court in central Cairo, has a captivating façade. The place is a depository of memories
for many members of the older generation, who attended concerts and shows there.

Cinema Rivoli survived a major fire in 1952. It was among dozens of theatres and shops in Cairo that were the targets of simultaneous arsons on January 26, 1952.

In the aftermath, Rivoli underwent renovation works and re-emerged as a cultural attraction in Egypt for several decades.

In its glory days, it was the venue for sell-out concerts of great Arab singers including Um Kolthum, Abdul Halim Hafez and Farid el-Atrash. Its fans included president Nasser, who went there to listen to his favourite diva Um Kolthum.

Over the years, many Egyptian film classics have been screened in the cinema. For some time, theatrical shows were presented there.

Like other theatres in Egypt, Rivoli felt the pinch of the turmoil that hit the nation following the anti-Mubarak revolt. The cinema house shortly got a facelift and returned to business – a comeback that proved short-lived.

For an unknown reason, the cinema has been shuttered since 2014, a closure that made the surrounding area a magnet for street vendors.

The latest devastating fire has added to the woes of this cinema house and the struggling entertainment industry.

By Ramadan A. Kader

In 1969, Egypt’s state censors blocked the showing of “Shai Min Al Khouf” (Something of Fear), a local film dealing with despotism and oppression. The ban came amid reports that the film, based on the story of the same name by writer Tharwat Abaza, has unfavourable overtones against then president Gamal Abdul Nasser and his government.

The star-studded film was made two years after Egypt’s military defeat by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War, a rout that dealt a harsh blow to Nasser’s pan-Arab dreams and deeply traumatized Egyptians. To many Arabs, the defeat is known as naksa or a setback.

“Shai Min Al Khouf” is set in an Egyptian village terrorised by a gang and its ruthless chief, portrayed by great actor Mahmoud Morsi.

Nasser learnt about the row over the film and reportedly saw it twice before he ordered its release.

“Are we a gang? If I act like Atrees [the chief gangster in the film], then I deserve everything bad,” Nasser was quoted as saying after watching the film. “If I were so brutal like Atrees, the people would have killed me,” the iconic leader added before giving the go-ahead for its public showing.

At the time, Nasser also intervened and ordered the showing of several other films and stage works, including a film based on Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz’s novel “Miramar” after censors had banned them due to their varying political messages.

Nasser’s aide, Sami Sharaf, recalls the presidential intervention. “After the 1967 naksa, President Abdul Nasser sensed what people felt that freedoms were incomplete. He was overwhelmed by a desire to allow more freedom in literary works,” said Sharaf, who
served as director of Nasser’s office.

Sharaf added that “Shai Min Al Khuf” was one of a long list of cinematic works that Nasser approved.

“Shai Min Al Khouf” was screened and proved one of the greatest film productions in the history of the Egyptian cinema. It has claimed several prizes at home and abroad since it was premiered in February 1969.

The cast includes big names of the time. Besides Morsi, it features versatile singer- actress Shadia and accomplished actor Yehia Chaheen. Shadia presented in it one of her most memorable roles as an actress.

She plays Fuada, a female villager whom Atress has loved since early childhood. She stops reciprocating his love after he succeeds his grandfather in terrorising villagers, and looting their limited properties.

In a powerful scene, Fuada defies Atress the Jr after he cuts off water supplies to the village in a punitive step over the killing of one of his henchmen.

In the lead-up to the act of defiance, eerie gloom permeates the scene. Fear-stricken faces are featured as the land appears parched and plants shriveled as a result of the punishment, the most dreadful for villagers who earn their living by working as peasants.

Fuada daringly open the sluice gate, letting the water flow into the barren farmland amid traditional joy cries from the village’s women.

When Atrees proposes to Fuada, she spurns his offer. He marries her under duress. The act draws public condemnation from the local mosque preacher depicted by Chahin.

“Atrees’ marriage to Fuada is void” is the sheikh’s protest cry against the oppressor, who tries to silence him by killing his son at his wedding ceremony.

Undaunted, the aggrieved father roams the village, chanting the slogan that gradually rallies support from the villagers as they break down the barrier of fear.

In the final scene, the angry villagers, holding torches, march on to Atrees’ residence where he has held Fuada against her will. She is freed while he is left to face his doomed fate.

The film’s timeless message is enhanced with expressive music score composed by celebrated musician Baleegh Hamdy and a chorus voiceover based on lyrics by veteran vernacular poet Abdul Rahman Al Abanudi, who also wrote the dialogue.

“Shai Min Al Khouf” is also a strong statement on women’s empowerment through its female protagonist Fuada, seen as representing a strong-willed and indefatigable Egypt. Images of Fuada were painted on the nation’s walls during the 2011 uprising against the Mubarak regime.

The film’s iconic slogan, about the invalidity of the Atrees-Fuada marriage, was also revived and reverberated in Tahrir Square during the anti-Mubarak protests.

Statuesque stir

Ramadan A. Kader

Art buffs were last week shocked by online images showing a disfigured statue of Khedive Ismail, who ruled Egypt for 13 years in the 19th century. The granite structure in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia appeared funny as it was subjected to an apparently botched renovation.

The outcry prompted Culture Minister Inas Abd el-Dayem to form a committee of specialists to set things right. Days later, local media reported that the seven-metre-high statue has restored its original beauty after it was properly repainted.

Ismail is remembered for commissioning the construction of central Cairo modelled after Paris. During his reign, the Suez Canal was inaugurated at a lavish ceremony.

He is also credited with establishing the first girls’ school in Egypt in 1873, besides building many factories, bridges, the National Library and the Cairo Opera House. The latter was burnt down in a 1971 blaze.

The harm recently done to his statue was the latest to have hit sculptures in the country’s public squares. They include statues of legendary singer-musician Mohamed Abdul Wahab and late chief of the army staff Abdul Moneim Riad.

In 2015, an ugly replica of ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti’s famous bust was removed in the southern city of Samlut after online protests.

In the wake of last week’s uproar over the Ismail statue, the culture minister urged state authorities to observe a prime minister’s decision to coordinate with her ministry about planned renovations. With fiascos of recent years, it is high time bunglers were kept at bay.

 

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