Archive: Egypt

Behold, the Raisin!

My Cairo-based peace piece (a short story) was published this week by LITRO Magazine, a dandy little UK literary journal.  Please honor them and me by joining Ahmed, a 12-year-old Muslim boy, as he brings joy and hope to Egypt and, eventually, to the United States.  Click here for the LITRO home page and the story.

http://www.litro.co.uk/?p=33907

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Tips for the Egyptian Junta

Yo, Generals!  If you want to head off the Moslem Brotherhood and at the same time ease the rolling tide of rebellion by industrial workers, police officers, ambulance drivers, reporters, academics and Allah knows who else, then here’s a gargantuan tip: issue a new “Emergency Order” establishing a decent minimum wage, providing healthcare for all, and guaranteeing the right of workers to join unions. (More)

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Labor’s Big Role in Cairo

When Egyptian protest leaders this morning called for a “million man march” tomorrow in Cairo and an “indefinite general strike,” they not only raised the bar in their challenge to the Mubarak government, they tied their movement back to its deepest roots, a struggle in which more than two million workers have staged an estimated 2,000 strikes since 2004, most of them in the country’s textile industry.  Their gains have been incremental, but their willingness to risk their jobs and their lives to defy authority paved the way for the “spontaneous” demonstrations that erupted on January 25th in Cairo, Suez, Alexandria and in dozens of countries around the world. (More)

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January 28, 2011

Live! From Cairo ….

4:15 PM EST. I’m glued to the tube watching the Egyptian revolution, the ultimate television reality show, play-by-play by MSNBC’s Richard Engel from Cairo, commentary live from the White House via Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.   Gibbs finishes his daily press briefing saying, “The government of Egypt is a subject for the people of Egypt.”   Cut to Engel holding an empty tear gas cannister.  The legend on the can reads: “Continental Technical Assistance, Jamestown, PA.”  Who the hell are we kidding? (More)

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August 10, 2010

The Arc of History’s Late Summer Bender

I’m probably leaning on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., far too often these skitzy days, but the man still brings us hope.  When he so confidently intoned, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice,” he surely must have had August/2010 in mind.

Sunday, August 1.  The Washington Post ignores the serial ethical transgressions of DC Mayor-for-Hype Adrian Fenty, endorses him for re-election, and assures us that City Council Chair Vince Gray will be elected in November to replace him.  Goodbye insouciant adolescence, hello mature moxie. (More)

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June 3, 2009

Obama in Cairo

In recognition of President Obama’s historic trip to, and speech in Cairo, I offer this little short story, which was just named one of 10 runnersup in the annual Potomac Review fiction competition. Good deeds can change history, don’t you think?

Behold, the Raisin!
by Ray Abernathy

Cairo. Everything is moving. Small, square Russian cars, junkers all, speeding down the broad boulevard next to the Nile, slowing neither for traffic circles nor for pedestrians dodging in and out of lanes. Young men riding cranky bicycles past crumbling French, Soviet and Italianate buildings, right hands gripping handlebars, left hands balancing wide wooden trays of precious flatbread. A bus careens wildly around a tiny girl riding side-saddle astride a donkey, the donkey piled 20 feet high with used tires, the girl furiously beating the slow-moving animal with a stick. Two black armored personnel carriers with no windows, only slits for rifles, lumber off the boulevard into the Garden City district, crawl up narrow streets and come to a stop at the back entrance to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia just as two identical vehicles leave. A boy of twelve skips down the walk of an apartment building, crosses the street, pulls himself up by the gun slits on one of the carriers, sticks his tongue out at the soldiers inside and greets them with the refrain from his favorite cartoon show: “Yabba-dabba-do.” The soldiers, most of them little older than children themselves laugh and reply, “da-da-da-da …. da-da-da-da ….dadadadadadadooo.” (More)

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April 23, 2009

Egypt’s 1st Indie Trade Union

This is a crosspost from the Solidarity Center.

In a historic move for the Egyptian labor movement, the 270,000-member Real Estate Tax Authority (RETA) Union will become Egypt’s first independent union, reports the Center for Trade Union and Worker Services (CTUWS), a partner of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center.

Yesterday, more than 300 representatives of the RETA union’s General Assembly gathered at Egypt’s Ministry of Manpower in Cairo to submit their application to become the first independent union in Egypt. After a five-hour protest followed by intense negotiations, the Minister of the Labor Force agreed to accept the petition, a precedent-setting move that establishes RETA as Egypt’s first independent union. (More)

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January 18, 2009

Obama, Out of Egypt

Behold, the Raisin

by Ray Abernathy

Cairo. Everything is moving. Small, square Russian cars, junkers all, speeding down the broad boulevard next to the Nile, slowing neither for traffic circles nor for pedestrians dodging in and out of lanes. Young men riding cranky bicycles past crumbling French, Soviet and Italianate buildings, right hands gripping handlebars, left hands balancing wide wooden trays of precious flatbread. A bus careens wildly around a tiny girl riding side-saddle astride a donkey, the donkey piled 20 feet high with used tires, the girl furiously beating the slow-moving animal with a stick. Two black armored personnel carriers with no windows, only slits for rifles, lumber off the boulevard into the Garden City district, crawl up narrow streets and come to a stop at the back entrance to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia just as two identical vehicles leave. A boy of twelve skips down the walk of an apartment building, crosses the street, pulls himself up by the gun slits on one of the carriers, sticks his tongue out at the soldiers inside and greets them with the refrain from his favorite cartoon show: “Yabba-dabba-do.” The soldiers, most of them little older than children themselves laugh and reply, “da-da-da-da …. da-da-da-da ….dadadadadadadooo.” (More)

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October 21, 2008

Alaa Al-Aswany’s new novel, Chicago, debuts at Politics and Prose this Friday night

The last time I used this space to promote a book signing at Politics and Prose bookstore, only three people showed up and I was, well, mortified. Please don’t embarrass me internationally by failing to join me this Friday night, October 24 at 7 p.m. at P&P when the courageous Egyptian novelist Alaa Al-Aswany reads from, comments on and signs his new book Chicago (Harper Collins). (Politics and Prose is located at 5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW in Washington, DC.) P&P says Al-Aswany, “Employs the same narrative structure that was so effective in The Yacoubian Building. These linked stories focus on the physicians in the Histology Department of a Chicago hospital. The heavy hand of Egyptian security threatens several of the characters — even in the United States.” (More)

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February 20, 2008

Egypt Not a Depressed, Decrepit Dictatorship

What a week of surprises! First, Castro resigns after 50 years. Then Obama wins his tenth primary in a row. Oil tops $100 a barrel. And Egypt turns out the be a land of milk and honey, rather than the depressed, decrepit dictatorship we all thought it was. (More)

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