11 - 17 May 2000
Issue No. 481
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Pack of CardsBy Madame Sosostris
* I do not know if you are like me, but I think that nothing can beat a pastoral wedding for charm and gaiety. It immediately brings to mind images of mysteriously beautiful women, dainty party dresses, floral capelines, happy days and long-lasting bliss. The one I attended last week was no exception, or, coming to think of it, maybe it was, by its brilliant yet subdued elegance and attention to the smallest detail. To say that it was just perfect seems almost an understatement. I am still so excited by the event that I feel that no less than a full description is in order: At 2.30pm precisely last Friday, the bells of the Evangelical Church in Qasr Al-Dubara began to toll, announcing the arrival of the bridal procession. First, to the sound of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, and preceded by an adorable page boy and girl, the bridesmaids filed down the aisle, their dresses matching the colours of the flowers with which the church had been entirely decked.
As the close family began to rejoin their pews, the Nuptial March was struck and all heads turned towards the door as the ravishing bride, Yasmine appeared at the arm of her father, tycoon Louis Bishara. The groom, Amir Medhat Wissa, assistant manager of BTM, was waiting for his bride-to-be by the altar. The ceremony was extremely moving, rendered even more inspiring by the music of the Better Life Team Chorale and the beautiful voice of the groom's sister, Nora who sang an angelic solo.
The reception immediately following the church wedding took place in the extensive grounds surrounding the Bishara estate off the Ismailia Road. Golf buggies were provided to convey the guests from the parking area to the ceremonial loan, where a DJ was already practicing his skill for things to come. Needless to say, that such a setting called for the more traditional tango and waltz as well as less conventional numbers for the young and the young at heart..
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The parents of the happy couple, BTM's Chairman Louis Bishara, his charming wife Amal -- BTM's and Marie Louis' capable general manager -- Medhat Wissa, a civil engineer with USAID and his gorgeous wife Nancy were warmly welcoming the numerous distinguished guests, among whom I noticed our prime minister, Atef Ebeid; Mustafa Kamal Helmi, head of the Shura Council; Mufid Shehab, minister of higher education and state minister for scientific research; Hussein Kamel Bahaeddin, minister of education; Youssef Boutros Ghali, minister of economy and external trade; Nadia Makram Ebeid, minister for the environment; Gamal Abdel-Aziz, Chief of the President's Bureau; Mark Silverman, acting director of USAID and many many others. A good time was had by all of course and I hope that Amir and Yasmine have set a trend towards displaying more creativity in planning one's wedding.
* And while I was dancing the night away, what do you think my dear friend Maged Farag was doing? Launching his new historical magazine in Arabic, Masr Al-Mahroussa no less. If you are not among Maged's favourite friends, like yours truly, you may have to wait to set your eyes on his latest brainchild and enjoy the original way in which he is presenting his advertising pages. No dears, I will not disclose this particular secret, you will have to ask Maged yourselves, I am afraid. The ads are not the only interesting feature in the magazine which brims with new ideas of course. Maged has managed to make the study of history pleasurable, writing lightly about important episodes of Egypt's past illustrating the narrative with a large number of rare period pictures . That he did it all single handed, is one more proof that he is, as I always, said a rather special person. And for budding historians who are dying to publish your research, this is your golden opportunity to approach him with the product of your intensive historical cogitation.
* The Armenian Embassy was the venue last week for a very interesting conference by Professor Vahakn Dadrian on "Genocide as a Problem of the 20th Century". A distinguished academic, with degrees from Europe and the US, Professor Dadrian was the first Armenian scholar to be invited in 1995 to the British Parliament, House of Commons, to deliver a lecture commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Hosted by the ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Egypt, HE Sergey Manassarian, who introduced the speaker, the conference attracted a number of historians and literary figures. Among the guests, I noticed Professor of History at Cairo University Raouf Abbas, our own culture editor, Mursi Saad El-Din; architect Nairy Hampikian and Hourig Sourouzian of the German Institute of Archeology.
* Today, AUC is organising its annual Honours Assembly 2000 at Oriental Hall, an annual celebration aimed at honouring outstanding students for their superior academic achievement in computer science, mechanical and constructional engineering and science. For the first time, this event is being celebrated as a School Honours Assembly. The ceremony is scheduled to be inaugurated by AUC's President John Gerhart, Dean Fadel Assabghy and Provost Tim Sullivan. The keynote speaker will be Bebo White, a prominent figure in the team which launched the engineering and development of the worldwide web application on the Internet. White is also a computational physicist and senior computing information systems analyst at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre (SLAC), the high-energy physics laboratory operated by Stanford University. He is the author of several books in WWW development and engineering. Three books are to be released soon.