Egypt welcomed the Kazakh Minister of Culture and an accompanying delegation with special celebrations in Al-Ghouri Cultural Centre last week. The celebration included a Nubian drums show, a folk show, religious inshad and Coptic hymns. The Egyptian ministers of antiquities, religious endowments and international cooperation were present.
“News of an Egyptian agreement with two American PR companies to improve Egypt’s image in the US for $1.8 million a year raises a simple question: isn’t it better to save our money and start by improving our clearly deficient reality in politics, economics, human rights and freedoms? How can these companies or others publicise our regional role when we, for instance, have failed to resolve the crisis of the Renaissance Dam with Ethiopia? How can these companies shed light on our economic improvement when the government takes random and unstudied decisions that have negative repercussions on millions of citizens? How can they claim that we have a healthy parliamentary life which respects the law and the constitution when we see that parliament breaking the law and ignores court rulings as in the case of MP Amr Al-Shobki?”
Khaled Sayed Ahmed, Al-Shorouk
Tarek Shawki: Revolutionary change
After his recent meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, the newly appointed Minister of Education Tarek Galal Shawki told reporters that the meeting was not about Thanaweya Amma. However, that issue is still the biggest challenge ahead of Shawki, especially after the introduction of the new booklet system.
This week, he appointed Reda Hegazi as chairman of the Thanaweya Amma examinations in what is hoped to be the first step on the way to change.
However, he has always believed that certificates are small milestones as opposed to the purpose of education. And that is exactly the bigger challenge awaiting him.
He is required to bring genuine change to the Egyptian educational system in the hope of making it an instrument for cultivating the talents of the Egyptian student.
Shawki’s background is promising. He was a professor at the University of Illinois in the US. He worked with UNESCO as regional representative from 2008 and as a technological and educational specialist from 1999-2012.
Shawki was dean of the School of Science and Engineering at the American University in Cairo from 2012, and was appointed secretary-general of the specialised councils, affiliated with the office of the Egyptian presidency, in 2015.
He came to office last month in a limited cabinet reshuffle that brought in nine new ministers, replacing outgoing Education Minister Al-Helali Al-Sherbini who was subjected to public criticism for failing to present a clear strategy for improving the school system.
Before becoming minister, Shawki was outspoken about his opposition to the way the Egyptian educational system operates. Shawki has stated that he will attempt to significantly change the system, remodelling it on the far more successful systems, which would be revolutionary. He wants to encourage innovation and creativity in young learners. But will he be able to achieve his goals in the deep-rooted bureaucracy?
That will be revealed in the coming months.
An active move in the region
An active move in the region?
“There are active moves in Turkey, Iran and Israel in the hope of putting the regional and international situation in order ahead of possible military confrontations. Turkey is moving in Syria and Iraq through unprecedented coordination with both Washington and Moscow. Meanwhile Binyamin Netanyahu visited the US to convince his friend Trump to meet his earlier promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and ease the US stand on settlements. Besides, his visit to Moscow aims to weaken Russian-Iranian coordination in Syria. For its part, Iran is moving ahead in the Gulf on the diplomatic and political levels. President Hassan Rouhani visited Oman and Kuwait and his foreign minister visited Qatar. Luckily there are old differences between these states that stop them from trilateral cooperation, which could place the Arab states in serious trouble.”
Emadeddin Adib, Al-Watan
A blessing in disguise
“Since Donald Trump became president, watching non-Egyptian news channels has become an enjoyable daily routine. It is fun to watch how anchors comment on Trump’s daily statements and show other, earlier statements that contradict his present ones. They show how he contradicts himself or comes up with ‘alternative truths’, as they call it.”
Basma Abdel-Aziz, Al-Shorouk
“Trump’s silly attack on immigrants and Muslims has led to the return of consciousness among Muslim Americans, a feeling of pride in themselves as a group which will unite their ranks to act as one pressure group. More importantly, non-Muslim American activists including movie stars and prominent Jewish figures have risen in support of Muslims. Trump has become a subject for satirical and comic shows.”
Saadeddin Ibrahim, Al-Masry Al-Youm
Spiderman protecting Ramses’ head
“The picture of the head of King Ramses II covered with a Spiderman Blanket reveals the level of carelessness and disrespect we have for our history. The guards resorted to covering the head with the blanket one day after the Egyptian-German team excavated the statue and left the head on the ground. That scene is enough to spoil all efforts we exert to show that we respect our history, civilisation and monuments or the government’s claim that it is trying to find unconventional resources with which to improve the economy. If the government is sincere in its claim, it should take good care of the monuments and present them in a respectful way.”
Said Al-Shahhat, Al-Youm Al-Sabei
Amgad Rasmy, Asharq Al-Awsat
Egyptian Essence: 1/2 million increase in 2017
“A report by Reuters pointed out that Cairo’s population is set to grow by 500,000 this year, more than any other city in the world, adding to the pressure on an Egyptian economy struggling to recover from six years of political turmoil. Greater Cairo, a metropolitan area including Cairo and parts of the Giza and Qalioubiya provinces, is home to some 22.8 million people and will gain another half a million in 2017, a Euromonitor International report released last week shows. That represents a quarter of Egypt’s 92 million.”
“Our society is divided into oppressors and oppressed, in short.”
“It is divided into rich and poor. There is nothing in between.”
“…between a hard working class and a colourless class.”
“…and between the two classes, people are watching silently.”
Outrage in #Egypt after archaeologists, officials used massive forklift to pull Pharaoh Ramses II statue’s head out of the water in Matariya.
Khaled Diab @DiabolicalIdea
“The sun god created the world in Heliopolis, in Matariya.” Despite its past glories, Matariya today is a forsaken, pollution-choked slum.
The Big Pharaoh @TheBigPharaoh
What Erdogan said to Holland and Europe he cannot say to Putin. The Russian bear knows how to deal with this region’s megalomaniacs.
Amro Ali @_amroali
Italian women’s rights activists informally rename a street after the murdered Egyptian activist Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh (via Francesca Maviglia)